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  1. #1
    imported_KJ Guest

    Default Summer road trip in the southwest

    Hi All<br>
    <br>
    As so many roadtrip newbies, I and my wife are planning a July road trip (probalby the worst in terms of weather and crowd, but no other choice so...) starting from LA and ending in San Fransico but travelling through Calif, Nevada, South Utah and north Arizona. The route we were thinking of was :<br><br>
    LA to Joshua Tree NP (possible stay at Yucca Valley or TwentyNine Palms) (1 day)<br>
    Onwards to St. George (1 day, night halt here)<br>
    Drive through Zion, Highway 12, Capitol Reef, Monument Valley etc. to Kayenta (4 days - stay at hotels or camping grounds)<br>
    kayenta through GC Park to Las Vegas (2 days)<br>
    Stay at Vegas (2 nights)<br>
    Vegas to Kings Canyon, Yosemite (1 day)<br>
    Yosemite to SF (1 day)<br>
    Please do let me know what you think. This plan is definitely not final, except for the start and end points (mainly to save of car rental fare - less one way drop-off charge, and family halts there). We were also plannig to carry a tent for camping in Utah, but elsewhere we were plannig to book into hotels. Any suggestions for lodging, travels routes, reseource sites (this site is truly the best I have seen so far) etc will be most welcome...
    <br><br>
    Thanks !<br>

  2. #2
    imported_Robert Guest

    Default trip

    If I had a choice between Yucca Valley & 29 Palms, I would choose Palms. Bigger choice of rooms. However, be aware that Palms is a Marine Corps town, and with this war in Iraq, it could be crowded. St. George is a nice town. We've stayed there before. When you see Zion, don't forget Bryce. . The North rim of Grand Canyon is spectacular, and less crowded. A consideration. Be aware that Vegas is going to be crowded and hot in July. Unless you've made reservations, it's going to be tough to find a room at a reasonable price. Yosemite is great, so don't give it just 1 day. There are parts of Yosemite that the tourists don't see. If you can, spend some more time there.
    I hope this gives you some food for thought. Enjoy your trip, and be sure your rental car is big enough for all your trappings. Some people tend to rent a small car just to save on fees, and end up being unhappy. I would recommend a large sedan or a mini van.

    Enjoy your trip.

  3. #3
    imported_KJ Guest

    Default Summer road trip in the southwest

    Hi Robert
    <br><br>
    Thanks for your excellent suggestions ! Yes, Palm Springs is definitely a better choice for accomodation and its still pretty close. Yucca Valley or TwentyNine Palms was an earlier option mainly because I was planning to do the trip through Joshua Tree the same day we leave from LA, spend the night at either of these two places, and leave for Utah the following morning.
    <br><br>
    I am not too sure if the trip from Joshua Tree to St. George can be done in one day. We don't intend to stop anywhere at this leg, but not knowing the terrain, I don't know if this may be possible. One option was to break at Vegas, but I would rather do this on the return part.
    <br><br>
    Another question is what would you estimate the utah road trip to take ? We pla nto drive from St. George - Zion, Bryce, highway 12, capital reef, down to highway 95, natural bridges, monumet valley, kayenta, highway 160, join highway 89s, highway 64 to GC, highway 64s to William and finally speed on to Vegas. Lots of beautiful scenery and landscapes. We were planning 4-5 days for this. Would this be possible ? We plan to camp out when we have to, else use inns and hotels where available.
    <br><br>
    Thanks !

  4. #4
    imported_KJ Guest

    Default Summer road trip in the southwest

    Hi Robert
    <br><br>
    Thanks for your excellent suggestions ! Yes, Palm Springs is definitely a better choice for accomodation and its still pretty close. Yucca Valley or TwentyNine Palms was an earlier option mainly because I was planning to do the trip through Joshua Tree the same day we leave from LA, spend the night at either of these two places, and leave for Utah the following morning. I do agree about Yosemite - more than one night would be better there.
    <br><br>
    I am not too sure if the trip from Joshua Tree to St. George can be done in one day. We don't intend to stop anywhere at this leg, but not knowing the terrain, I don't know if this may be possible. One option was to break at Vegas, but I would rather do this on the return part.
    <br><br>
    Another question is what would you estimate the utah road trip to take ? We plan to drive from St. George - Zion, Bryce, highway 12, capital reef, down to highway 95, natural bridges, monument valley, kayenta, highway 160, join highway 89s, highway 64 to GC, highway 64s to William and finally speed on to Vegas. Lots of beautiful scenery and landscapes. We were planning 4-5 days for this. Would this be possible ? We plan to camp out when we have to, else use inns and hotels where available.
    <br><br>
    Thanks !

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Whoa!

    I think he was speaking of 29 Palms for the "Palms" reference, but if Palm Springs is on the menu -- I would suggest an over-night at <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/sams.htm">Sam's Family Spa<a/> in Desert Hot Springs. The motel is not lavish, but the pools are the nicest (commercial quality) in the entire valley!

  6. #6
    imported_KJ Guest

    Default Palm Springs or 29 Palms

    Thanks for clearing that up ! We really hadn't decided on the night stop for JT yet. In fact, camping in a tent is also an option here for us, nighttime summer desert weather nothwithstanding !
    <br><br>
    One criteria, as I mentioned beofre was to reach St. George the same day we leave from Joshua Tree the next morning. Is that possible through highways 62, 95, 515, 15 ?
    <br><br>
    Thanks !

  7. Default Canyon de Chelly

    You've got quite a list, but if you can work it in, Canyon de Chelly is an awesome place. If you go, I recommend Thunderbird Lodge (although some other hotels are just as nice), because it was the original -- and be sure to arrange for the guided tour of the Canyon. Either the half day or the full day, but do the full-day if you can and if you are up to it (the weather will be kinda warm).

  8. #8
    Guest

    Default feedback

    Joshua Trees to St. George should be do-able. It's only about 375 miles via Hwy 95 in California and it is a good road.

    St. George - Zion, Bryce, highway 12, capital reef, down to highway 95, natural bridges, monument valley, kayenta, highway 160, join highway 89s, highway 64 to GC, highway 64s to William and finally speed on to Vegas is almost 900 miles. That's a lot of territory to cover in just 4 days and have time to set up camp, tear it down and site see!

    Most of the campsites in the parks fill up VERY fast. You might be able to pull in late at Capitol Reef, Natural Bridges and Monument Valley and get a campsite. Zion you might be able to find a place later in the day, but Bryce will have to be early in the day.

    Las Vegas, Kings Canyon and just to Oakhurst is over 500 miles. Kings Canyon roads are not fast driving roads!!!! I wouldn't try to get into Yosemite and camp unless you have reservations. I think you will be lucky to make it to Fresno on the first day and then go into Yosemite on the second day.

    Utahtea

  9. #9
    imported_KJ Guest

    Default

    This is all great information. Thanks for all your advice, Utahtea ! Regarding camp, we weren't planning to camp at every location in Utah, only at a few points where motels may not be available and we need to halt for the day, avoiding planning a rigid trip route. Though considering that this IS peak season, it does make more sense to plan ahead and reserve campsites where possible - but that does make the trip pretty fixed then, and we might as well book rooms.
    <br><br>
    We planned to drive through Death valley, Kings Canyon, Sequoia Forest in one day, not really stopping anywhere really except at the night halt in Yosemite (where we should have reservations). Do you think that may be possible ? Where would you suggest there ? Lee Vining or in the Village or some other convenient location for the next day drive through and a day hike inside ?
    <br><br>
    Thanks !

  10. #10
    Guest

    Default Confused..

    You say you want to drive through Death Valley, Kings Canyon, Sequioa Forest and end up at Lee Vining? Lee Vining is on Hwy 395 and you can not get to Kings Canyon and Sequioa from Hwy 395. You do get some nice mountain views driving up Hwy 395 and I'll warn you EVERYTHING including ICE is very expensive in Lee Vining. Now the good news is there are many national forest campgrounds on Hwy 120 as you head to Yosemite and not far from Lee Vining. We've pulled in late and always have found a camping site even in the summer. From Las Vegas through Death Valley and up Hwy 395 is about 400 miles and could be done in a long day.

    If you plan on driving through Death Valley and then go down to Bakersfield and drive through Kings Canyon you might make it as far as Fresno. This route is 532 miles with MANY SLOW driving miles.

    I mentioned the campground to give you an idea of what you might find.

    Utahtea

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