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  1. Default Tetons to Mesa Verde or Utah mighty 5??

    Hi, new to the site! My sister and I are planning a road trip this summer and the possibilities are wide open. Originally I was considering the Utah Mighty 5 but am wondering if that would bring enough variety into the trip. I would like a variety of landscapes and scenery with a potential quirky and interesting town thrown in. We are in our 50's and early 60's, quite active but not big on hiking and camping. Reasonable walks are fine. Would also like to see some dark sky designated areas. I also am not restricted into flying in and out of the same airport unless the rental car one way drop off (is that still a thing?) is prohibitive. A long way around to ask if you think Grand Teton to Mesa Verde (with points in between) in 10 days is reasonable or is the Mighty 5 a better bet?

    Thanks in advance!!.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,326

    Default The Big Picture

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I think that I'd opt for the Utah 'Mighty Five'. There are at least a couple of problems with a Tetons to Mesa Verde trip. The first is where driving miles take you. While both trips would eat up the better part of two days in driving, the Utah route could be a loop starting/ending at a relatively busy airport, Salt Lake City or Las Vegas, while the Tetons/Cortez route would be a straight line from a relatively small airport (Butte, Billings or Bozeman?) to another small airport (Durango or Farmington). I'd be very surprised if the Tetons/Cortez trip wasn't two or three times as expensive just in terms of airfare and car rental fees.

    Second, I think that you're not giving Utah its due when you say that you think that a tour of the 'Mighty 5' would lack variety. Yes, there will be a lot of sandstone scenery, but there will also be mountains (including the site of a recent Winter Olympics), forests, a unique natural lake as well as a couple of man-made ones, and a bit of American history/culture/spirituality that you can find nowhere else.

    It's worth noting that pretty much every national park has a range of possible hikes, including ones that are 'reasonable' for whatever level of exercise you're looking for. And that you can get either a Golden Eagle or Golden Age Pass at the first one you come to that will also be good for all the others you visit that year.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,698

    Default

    Both great options but I too would opt for Utah's finest. Although similar in some ways the parks are each unique in there own right. If you fly into Vegas you also have other options where you could include a couple of Utah's park such as Bryce and Zion and visit Sedona, Grand canyon and Monument valley, or for more 'variety', after Bryce and Zion head to the Sierra Nevada (Yosemite and Sequoia NP's) and back through Death valley.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default

    If you're already 62, better pick up that Golden Age pass now while it's still $10. It's always a possibility that it could go up in price. (sigh....)

    I too would think you'd have an amazing variety in Utah's Mighty 5, and (as has been pointed out), you'd have "the rest" of Utah to consider, as well. Just northwest of Salt Lake City is Promontory Point, the place where the Golden Spike was laid to join two railroads back in the 1800s, so there's history. Along the route to get there is a nice display of rocketry, thanks to Morton-Thiokol. Also, the Mormon Tabernacle is quite a spectacle to look at, and the Great Salt Lake. So there are four things just in the SLC area that are not made of sandstone. :-)


    Donna

  5. Default Thanks!

    Thanks for the great replies! Sounds like the Mighty Five plus extra's are the key. I ordered the lifetime pass for my sister, too! If I do it this year we will probably have to go late July or August. Does that change anyones opinion??? So, I'll throw another possibility into the equation if you seasoned roadtrippers don't mind: Mighty Five vs East coast from PA to Acadia. In July or August. Thanks again. This site is awesome!!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-25-2017 at 01:05 PM. Reason: Removed quote of entire previous post

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,326

    Default For Your Consideration

    If Pennsylvania is your home base, and you have an opportunity (time and money) to see the great parks of Utah, then that's what I would do. The thing is that, although it seems contradictory, Maine is both close enough that you can do it 'anytime' and far enough that you'd still be chewing up three to four of your ten available days just getting there and back. That's actually more time than you'd spend getting onto the road in Utah, but cheaper of course.

    Also worth taking into consideration: The Maine 'season' is short enough and the state is close enough to major population centers such as New York, Boston and Montréal that it can get quite crowded in the summer months. And dark skies in Maine are not as dark as you'd find in the more remote reaches of Utah. Utah is also a popular summer destination, but its remoteness will keep it a bit less clogged than the Maine coast.

    Whichever you and your sister finally choose, let us know and we can perhaps help you with a few details or less well-known attractions.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Note that you both don't need passes. Your pass admits everyone in the car.

  8. Default Utah's Mighty Five

    Thanks for everyone's input. so my sister and I decided on Utah's Mighty Five.we will probably start and end from Las Vegas. Interested in dark sky viewing and any potential ghost towns and quirky towns to see along the way. All comments and suggestions about the trip are welcome.

    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about the same trip in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-26-2017 at 07:06 PM. Reason: Merged Threads

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,698

    Default Some thoughts.

    You could create a nice loop here and throw in the Grand canyon for good measure and the quirky town of Seligman on old route 66 heading back to Vegas, Williams and Kingman being a couple of nice route 66 towns along the way. I would recommend booking lodgings as a priority as each of these parks are very popular. Springdale is a lovely town and right on the doorstep of Zion from where you can catch the free shuttle into the park and makes an ideal location. Ruby's Inn is ideal for Bryce canyon as it's located right by the entrance and has a nice restaurant and opposite is Bryce Old town, a bit touristy yet kinda quirky. There are other lodging options as well as the town of Tropic for more budget friendly. There is a nice Best Western near Capital Reef and Moab has a variety of lodgings for Arches and Canyonlands. From there you could drive through Monument valley to the Grand canyon south rim. On the way you might like to stop at Cameron Trading post to look around the stores or even lodge there for the night.

  10. Default Mighty Five + Route 66 loop

    I would love some feedback from you road tested warriors please. This is just a tentative outline of a 9 day trip. My sister and I are not hikers or campers and we realize it will be stinking hot so our plan is more geared to scenic drives, dark sky stargazing, small hikes and taking park shuttle tours when available. Our plan is the loop from Las Vegas and will be the week of July 15-23.
    Saturday
    1. Arrive McCarran airport around noon and drive to Valley of Fire
    2. Spend a few hours in Valley of Fire (drive to Zion)
    3. Stay in/around Zion
    Sunday
    4. Spend most of day in Zion and (drive to Bryce in late afternoon)
    5. Stay in/around Bryce
    Monday
    6. Spend day in Bryce (drive to Moab late afternoon)
    7. Stay in/around Moab 2 nights
    Tuesday and Wednesday
    8. Canyonlands and Arches
    9. Begin drive toward Mesa Verde
    Thursday and Friday
    10. Thursday and Friday spend some time at Mesa Verde and start drive back through Gallup to Seligman to Kingman and back to Vegas
    Saturday
    11. Saturday in Vegas
    Sunday
    12. Fly home

    Is it doable? Will I be missing something? I tried to ensure I had an overnight near most of the parks to take advantage of any dark sky sightseeing (tours) we could. We have been to the Grand Canyon so we're not planning on stopping there. I've figured in drive time but realize that can be sketchy. We left Saturday in Vegas as a catch all in case we get pushed behind but there are a couple of things in Vegas I'd like to see (the museum of Neon) if possible. Also any tips for places along the way that are interesting would be most welcome.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Moderator Note: As previously noted, please do not start new threads to ask more questions about the same trip.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-15-2017 at 11:08 AM. Reason: Merged Again

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