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  1. Default Best Route (quickest?) Great Sand Dunes to Yosemite

    Two of us are starting a trip out west. I'm looking for advice in one stretch in particular. The Great Sand Dunes to Yosemite. Our current itinerary is:

    May 14: Spend the day at Great Sand Dune and then drive towards Bryce Canyon and stay along the way.
    May 15: Drive to Bryce and camp.
    May 16: Drive to Grand Canyon (North Rim) for a short stop and drive thru the night.
    May 17: Arrive at Yosemite and camp.

    We're not planning on hiking much. Just going through casually. Hopefully getting a few good photos.
    Do you think this is itinerary is doable?
    That is, do you think we're alotting enough time?..and more importantly, would you suggest a different route?

    Any help is very much appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Photo opps

    Hi Dantelobster and welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You could change your plans a bit and drive from Sand Dunes to Grand Canyon (North rim) first, using highways 160, 98, 89A and 67. That way, you will have the opportunity to see Mesa Verde National Park, the magnificient Monument Valley (on highway 163 between Mexican Hat and Kayenta), Antelope Canyon near Page and the Vermillion Cliffs. It's not a shorter road but it sure is a scenic one!

    On your way from Bryce to Yosemite or GC to Yosemite, don't forget to stop by Zion NP, Valley of Fire SP, Lake Mead and Death Valley NP. One last thing, if you really want to have good photo opportunities and make it a more pleasant trip, you should consider taking a couple of extra days to complete this trip. Just my opinion.

    As for camping, I hope you have good sleeping bags because it won't necessarily be very warm at night. Also, I don't know when exactly you plan to make this trip, but maybe you should check out with GC if the road to the north rim will be open before you go!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Do You plan on sleeping?

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got yourself quite a trip there, but I'd say you'll want to give yourself quite a bit more time. Right now, you won't have time to make this a casual trip. You barely enough time to slow down for a quick pictures.

    Sand Dunes to Bryce is nearly 550 miles on the shortest route, which is two lane roads. That will take you at least 12 hours. If you just spent a couple hours at Sand Dunes, and then got on the road, you should be able to get within a few hours of Bryce. Keep in mind though, that towns along this route are spaced out pretty good, so you'll have to keep an eye on your lodging possibilities.

    If you get within a few hours of Bryce, your second day should be ok.

    The rest of your trip looks very problematic. Bryce to Yosemite via the north rim is more than 900 miles, much of which is not on freeways. The Absolute best case I can see is 18 hours of driving minimum, not including stops at the Canyon or for meals. Even if you limit your visit to the Grand Canyon to just a couple of hours, it would be entirely possible that it will be 24 hours between stops for sleep here.

    I just don't see how detouring to the Grand Canyon is worth it. Even without that stop, you would still be looking at 750 miles of driving between Bryce and Yosemite. That's still close to 15 hours on the road, and far beyond a full day of driving for most people.

  4. Default Thanks

    Thanks to the both of you for the wonderful advice.
    We'll keep planning and keep your thoughts in mind.

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