western us and canada road trip
Hello. I am looking to plan a road trip through the western half of the US and Canada, starting in California, including Vancouver, colorado, texas maybe, yellowstone.. and the area in between. I will be traveling with a friend and we would like to keep it rather inexpensive, staying in hostiles or even camping maybe. Any suggestions or ideas would be very much appreciated! Thank you.
It's hard to give advice without knowing when you're going, how long your trip will be, what types of things you're interested in seeing, etc. Give us more info and we'll try to help you out.
We're planning to go sometime in June for about two or three weeks. We want to see and do lots of outdoor-sy things, such as yellowstone, grand canyon, native american dwellings perhaps in colorado, and i would like to take routes which have pretty country side scenery... Also the main cities and areas in each state. hope that gives u a better idea.. thanks for the help!
Doable but quick
Your route is certainly doable but it might be a little quick. You didn't say where in California you're starting from. And are you ending in California, too? Anyway, I ran a route through MS Streets & Trips...you might invest in this software or use one of the online services to play with routes.
The route I ran is as follows: Los Angeles-Vancouver BC-Yellowstone-Denver-Dallas-Mesa Verde NP (great cliff dwellings)-Grand Canyon-Los Angeles....and you will be traveling about 5500 miles for at least 100 hours driving time. This is using the feature that asks for the quickest route.
Over 2 weeks, this would be averaging about 7 hours daily in the car alone. Over 3 weeks, you would average closer to 5 hours daily in the car. Of course, this doesn't include gas breaks, bathroom breaks, meal stops, or time to stretch your legs so you should add at least, at the very minimum, an hour to this time each day....probably closer to 2 hours. So this means more like 9 hours driving daily over 2 weeks or 7 hours driving daily over 3 weeks.
Of course, I realize that you will probably be driving hard for a day or two and then spending a day or so in each location you want to explore so, of course, this means even longer driving days while on the road to allow for more exploration time once you reach your destination.
My thoughts are this: I love a good, quick roadtrip. However, when I'm doing a roadtrip with this many hours of driving, it's normally for no more than a week or so. Fatigue sets in after several days of this. I could not keep it up for 2-3 weeks. Maybe you're more energetic than I am. In the past, I have done roadtrips where I drive 9-12 hours daily for 2-3 days at most, then explore for a few days, and then drive home over 2-3 days with the same 9-12 hour days of driving. Then I try to get home with at least one day off before returning to work in order to sleep!! It is fun, invigorating, exciting, yet exhausting as well. Again, I could not do this for 2-3 weeks without planning at least a couple of rest days along the way where I would be doing minimal sightseeing and concentrate on doing some relaxing...like maybe laying around on a beach or by a pool. If you're up to it, go for it though!
If I were you, I would spend some time with route planning software or on some of the websites that do this for you....this site has some good suggestions under the "road trip planning" tab. You might want to drop a destination or two.
Personally, I would drop Vancouver BC and Texas and concentrate on the California to Yellowstone to the Rockies to Grand Canyon portions. This makes a better loop. For example, LA to Seattle to Yellowstone to Denver to Mesa Verde NP to Grand Canyon to LA is only 3750 miles and about 70 hours driving time giving you much more time to explore the fun things to do and see along the route.
And if you drop going north from the trip and skip Seattle, going straight to Yellowstone, you get more like 2900 total miles and 55 hours driving time. This gives you even more time to explore and makes a nice interior loop back to California. If I were you, this is more the trip I would lean for doing.
You could drive to Yellowstone and have time to explore the Grand Tetons and Cody, WY, as well. Then onto the Rockies with time to explore Leadville, Colorado Springs, various Rocky Mountain parks including Pikes Peak. Don't miss the very cool town of Durango! You could also veer into Utah's NE corner where there are a lot of neat dinosaur digs to explore. Near Durango is Mesa Verda NP. Then on in Utah where you wouldn't want to miss Arches, Canyonlands, and other great scenic parks. Then onto the Grand Canyon and then home.
To really see the sights along just this route alone could easily eat up 3 weeks. 2 weeks would be OK but you would have to leave out a few neat places along the way.
Hope this gives you some good ideas while planning your trip!