We are flying to LA in March for a 3 week vacation, when we will also be getting married. I have a very good idea of where to go but can't find info on driving conditions and weather for that time of year. It is a complicated trip, and I am unsure if we are trying to squeeze too much in. We just want to make the most of this trip of a lifetime!!!! Any advice would be much apprieciated. Below is a brief list of places we want to visit.
LA 1 night - VEGAS 3 nights- GRAND CANYON 1 night- GALLUP (via meteor crater, painted desert etc)1 night - MONUMENT VALLEY (via four corners)1 night - BRYCE CANYON 1 night - ZION NP 1 night - DEATH VALLEY 1 night - YOSEMITE 2 nights - SAN FRANCISCO 2 nights - CARMEL 1 night - LA 3 nights.
This allows us 2 spare nights incase we have to do a detour or stay an extra night anywhere.
Is this too much? How much snow is around in March? Is anything likely to be closed? Also we are getting married on the edge of the Grand Canyon (west) any advice on weather please!?!
First off, CONGRATULATIONS!, what a fantastic place to get married. I almost cant imagine a more scenic "Chapel". March might be a bit chilly yet, but if the weather trends stay as I think they will, you will have an awesome wedding. Temps can range here from the low 40s at night, to 90 degrees or so during the day. The temperatures fluctuate, but I feel like you will probably see daytime temps around 70 degrees, with dipping temps in the night time. March in the desert southwest is going to be fantastic! As for San Francisco, and Monterey, Carmel....might be a bit foggy in the mornings, with cooler winds coming from the water. I would dress for two extremes, as it also tends to rain along this coastline almost year round. Again, my gut says, you picked the right time. Last point here...if you spend any time in Monterey, please find your way to a restaraunt called "Steinbecks" It is located fairly close to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but you will have seafood the likes you have never tasted. Ask to sit in the Steinbecks booth, the very table where John Steinbeck used to sit and eat oysters while writing his books. I put this restaraunt as on the othe very must sees on any trip close to or surrounding Monterey! Congrats again!
Route and weather
March is usually a great traveling month in the west, but you will not likely be able to get into Yosemite from US395 using Tioga Pass Rd (SR120). I suspect it will still be snow-closed in March west of Lee Vining, but there are other ways to get to Yosemite from Death Valley that will be open.
Grand Canyon should be very nice at that time. I think your route and schedule is do-able, although not leisurely. In order to keep to it, you'll need to keep moving. Bob
Congratulations on the planned wedding! When you say that you are getting married on the edge of the Grand (west) -- Do you mean somewhere at Grand Canyon Village (south rim) or within the Hualapai Indian reservation or???
There are a number of road conditions and weather reporting resources on this site. Check out the <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/links/conditions.htm">road conditions<a/> page for more information.
Hopefully in this drought-striken west -- there will plenty of snow in March -- but... it is unlikely that snow will be much of a factor for you in at the Grand Canyon.
At this exact moment -- access into Death Valley from the east (Las Vegas)and the south (Baker) is problematic. The flash floods of early August wiped out those entry roads. Hopefully, by March those roads will be open again -- but you will need to confirm access before you make the assumption that you will be able to drive from Las Vegas through Death Valley headed west.
As Bob relates above Tioga Pass WILL BE CLOSED. Both Monitor and Carson pass are questionable due to snow in March most years.
The only reliable routes over the Sierras that would enable you to go to Yosemite (from Death Valley) would be US-50 past Lake Tahoe and south (or even I-80) and/or use the southern route and use US-395 to CA-58 through Tehachapi and up CA-99 and CA-49 up to Yosemite. There are scenic routes along both main routes -- but short of using a plane there are no short-cuts that time of year.
Thanks for your reply, the info on access to death valley is especially helpful - as I had no idea the roads were wiped out.
The location of our wedding by the way, is 'New Water Springs' on the edge of the West rim.
Thanks again for your help.
Thanks for the advice, Steinbecks sounds great, we will make a point of trying it!
We have reconsidered our schedule. although we wanted to see as much as possible, we are getting married and thought we should relax a little! We are still going to see Vegas, death valley, yosemite, san fran, monterey and LA! I think we are just going to miss out Grand Canyon Village, Gallup, Monument valley (big disappointment) , Bryce Canyon, Zion. Its a shame, I really wanted to see monument valley and grand canyon village, but I don't think there is a do-able route fom vegas and then back towards Death Valley.
A suggestion for flights
If you have not already booked your flights, you could fly to Vegas do a loop round the places you list in the south west then fly Vegas to San Fran and see places west of the sierras. Booked properly the flight cost will be the same as a return flight to LA (Vegas is booked as a free stop-over that comes with the trans atlantic flights).
I hope this helps. You've picked a wonderful part of the world for a wedding and honeymoon.
Just want to clarify
Are you planning on staying at the Grand Canyon West Ranch by any chance? I know they market wedding parties to British visitors. How are you getting to "new Water Springs"? That is a serious road and one that I would use caution on that time of year -- unless the ranch handles the transportation duties.
Just for your knowledge --most folks consider that area of the Grand to still be a part of the south rim although it is on the extreme western boundary of Grand Canyon National Park. I know that the Grand Canyon West Ranch folks refer to it as the "west rim" but I am not sure that term will mean much to locals if you need to stop and ask for local directions.
It should be a glorious locale for your wedding -- I haven't been to that particular plateau, but it is all gorgeous country.
Relaxation is always my first choice!
Unless you have a magic carpet that uses a flight plan I am not familiar with -- your wedding site ("New Water Springs") is very close to Las Vegas, and it also would allow for a reasonable drive to the south rim and to Grand Canyon Village.
If you were to proceed southeast on US-93 to I-40 at Kingman and then east on I-40 to Williams and then north up Hwy 64 you could certainly see the village and the south rim. By cutting over to US-89 you can drive through the famous Painted Desert, cross Marble Canyon on US-Alt 89 and go through Zion on your way back to Las Vegas.
By March, Death Valley roads may well be open and there are a number of scenic roads to consider in the area. You still will have the same challenge after you leave Death Valley -- the passes in the Sierras will be questionable in March and you will not be able to reach Yosemite by the most direct route.
If it were me, given the parameters of time, I would still do Death Valley (& the Grand and Zion as indicated above) but take the southern route around the Sierras (over Tehachapi pass) and save Yosemite for a future anniversary road trip. Head directly for the coast, enjoy Monterey and San Francisco and rest up a bit.