I am currently planning a tour of the Southwest with my boyfriend. We are arriving in Phoenix on the 27th October and plan to stay there for a week. We want to get in as many highlights and attractions as possible using Phoenix as a base (ie staying there each night) with maybe one or two overnights in between. The Grand Canyon is must see. We then head to Vegas and from there we are planning to take 2 overnights before arriving in San Francisco??? from here we are hoping to spend one night on the way to LA?? Any suggested routes, or trip advise you be much appreciated! Thanks in advance
Las Vegas to San Francisco
Two nights between LV and SF -- It is certainly possible (since one can easily drive that distance in 9 hours) but I am guessing you were planning to see the Sierras enroute(?) or go by way of Tahoe or??? We can suggest a number of routes, but what kinds of things interest you?
Thanks for your swift response! We are open to any suggestions you may have. Given that we really know very little about the area I cant really be specific about our requirements. We are looking for a relaxed trip through scenic countryside and would love to see Death Valley.
Arizona and Red Rock Country
Arizona is a large state, with much to see. Using Phoenix as a base, or at least a starting point, I suggest a visit to the Chiricahua National Monument in SE Arizona. That is a very long day (from Phoenix), so you might plan an overnight in Bisbee, AZ, and explore that area a bit also --Bisbee is a quaint and fun little town.
On the way back to Phoenix, you can see some of the Spanish-mission influence of old Pimeria Alta at Mission San Xavier del Bac -- the "White Dove of the Desert." The mission is still an active parish today, but was founded back around 1692, if I remember correctly. Pimeria Alta was the Spanish name for what is now northern Sonora (Mexico) and Arizona. The mission church is breathtakingly beautiful, and is just south of Tucson on highway I-19. To get there from Bisbee, take the state highway that runs through Sonoita (from Tombstone and Sierra Vista); it is a very beautiful drive.
Then, heading north (from Phoenix again), you can visit Jerome (an old mining town perched precariously on the side of a mountain), Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon (at LEAST an afternoon), & the Grand Canyon (1 or 2 days).
I strongly urge you to continue north or northeast from there and see Monument Valley, the Durango (Colorado) area, and the National Parks in southern Utah (Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce, and Zion) before heading into Las Vegas for R&R at the casinos and the rest of your trip (taking at least another two days from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas). These are some of the scenic highlights of the American southwest and not to be missed (in my opinion).
If you can, and you have time, most of these locations have great opportunities for hiking. If you really want to gain an appreciation for the beauty of the southwest, it is a wonderful treat to get out into the rocks on a hike, short or long.
It all sounds fantastic! We are hoping to take in as many highlights as possible in a short period of time and of course on a budget. Your suggestions are great....keep em coming!
Well guys I have arrived in PHX and I am about to book my trip to the Grand Canyon. I am thinking of doing one over night there and then travelling back to PHX via sedona and jerome. Then I am going to take another over night trip to Tombstone, Bisley and the Mexican border. But I am still unsure of the best route to next from Vegas to San Fran through Death Valley and with 2 over nights on the way so any advise in relation to routes to take or places to stay would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again
I am not an expert on California road conditions, so I am not sure this route is possible (because of winter snows)but I SUSPECT it is as I do not think winter has set in even in the high country -- yet.
But here's my preference if it's still possible -- the scenery is beautiful on this route. Take Nevada 160 through Pahrump turn left onto Nevada 372 (at Pahrump) and into California (the road becomes California 178 at the border). However you see Death Valley at this point, work your way west when you've finished to US 395 either at Olancha or Lone Pine, then take 395 north to Lee Vining. Turn left onto CA 120 over Tioga Pass and head into San Francisco through Groveland and Manteca.
This is not the fastest route probably, but it is very scenic and there is the added benefit of being able to see Yosemite Natl Park as you pass by!
Hopefully someone else more familiar with that area will pipe up with a yes or no on the mountains at this time of year! You are in my home state (Arizona) -- so welcome! I hope you enjoy your visit with us!
Tioga is open today
Bob's route is glorious and as of today Tioga Pass is still open. Last year it closed on November 5th.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-15-2007 at 08:24 PM.
Yes this route sounds great but I checked the pass and I think it is likely that it will be closed by the time we get there 8-9 Nov ??? Maybe not but just in case is there another route maybe taking the Western side of the Sierras that you could suggest?
If you find the passes closed, you might continue west out of Death Valley on CA 178 into Bakersfield, then on to San Luis Obispo on CA 58. The stretch between Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo is beautiful, old California ranch country and coastal hills. Once to the coast, then take CA 1 north into SFO. This highway (CA 1) and especially this stretch of it, is one of the most famous scenic roads in the United States; you'd enjoy it. You shouldn't have any weather troubles along this route.