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  1. #1

    Default More West Coast Trip Advice?

    My friend and I are coming over to the West Coast in June/July and we had a few questions, googling found this site which has answered some but we'd still like some more advice. We are flying to/from San Francisco and are doing the following route.

    San Francisco - Yosemite - Death Valley - Las Vegas - Kingman/Williams - Grand Canyon (south) - Grand Canyon (North) - Bryce Canyon - Monument Valley - Mesa Verde - Route 66 - San Diego - LA - San Francisco.

    The questions

    1. What kind of car will we need to hire for the roads/route, some things say you need a 4WD other say normal cars will do. Its a couple of hundred pounds of difference between the two car types and we don't want to have to spend the extra on a 4WD if its not needed.

    2. The route 66 bit, we're thinking of taking 3 nights to do Mesa to San Diego. The first night we're saying in holbrook but any suggestions of places to stay for other two are welcome (palm springs?)

    3. Not really a question but if anyone has route suggestions between the places, things we must see, these are welcome too

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Always Room for More

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Some quick answers:

    1) Comfortable. You're looking at driving about 3500 miles by the time you're done wandering around all the spots on your list. You can see the best of everything you want without leaving paved roads, so 4WD or AWD are simply not needed. You'll also save quite a few quid on your gas by getting a simple sedan rather than an SUV, although you'll find gasoline (petrol) remarkably cheap by Scottish standards.

    2) There are multiple possibilities, of course but here's one idea. Spend the second night in Seligman, AZ after stopping in some of the many great places along the way. This would set you up for the Route 66 bit the next day and your third overnight stop in Needles, CA, leaving you the final day for crossing the Mojave Dessert into Los Angeles.. This way, your three days' drives are at least relatively comparable in length, although the last day is a bit longer than the first two.

    3) Again, there are more possibilities than can be adequately discussed here, but have a look at many of the threads listed here.


  3. Default A couple of alternatives?

    Hello mcsheepie,

    A couple of comments if I may?

    On your initial route you show

    Las Vegas - Kingman/Williams - Grand Canyon (south) - Grand Canyon (North) - Bryce Canyon - Monument Valley - Mesa Verde

    Thereis a bit of retracing the route I think between Grand Canyon (south), where I'm assuming you're going to the Grand Canyon Village area north of of Williams and then retracing to Grand Canyon (north)?

    An alternative might be to do LV- Bryce - Grand Canyon North - Monument Valley - Mesa Verde, then return south to Gallup area, then west to Holbrook to Flagstaff to Grand Canyon South. I think that's more of a direct route without backtracking.

    For an alternative back to LA from the Holbrook area, you might consider taking a southern route across Arizona to the Phoenix or Tucson area, and then west to San Diego.

    From the Holbrook area (following your original route) you have the option of going south to Globe (an old mining town in the mountains of Arizona), then to either Tucson (Saguro National Park, etc.), and west via Yuma, or west via Phoenix & Scottsdale to San Diego.

    If you follow more of the route I suggested, you can do the red rock country around the artist's/ new age town of Sedona, down to Phoenix via Montezuma's Castle (another Indian Cliff Dwelling) or even Tucson, and then west to San Diego via either I-10 or I-8 -- both major superhighways.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default The 4x4 Contradiction

    1. What kind of car will we need to hire for the roads/route, some things say you need a 4WD other say normal cars will do.
    I'll join in and say that getting a regular car will be more than adaquate. The vast majority of travelers never get off the pavement, and even most gravel roads can be driven easily without 4 wheel drive.

    Now there are places and things where a 4x4 is required to get through.
    Rental Agencies are also more than willing to rent out (for a premium) 4 wheel drive vehicles.
    But the problem is, even with 4 wheel drive, almost no rental car company will allow you to take their vehicles on an off road path where 4 wheel drive is required.

    In other words, rental car companies will gladly let you pay more money for the feeling that you're able to drive anywhere, just so long as you don't actually think about leaving the well worn path.

  5. #5


    Wow, that brings back memories! Did a very similar trip last year so happy to help if I can. We flew into LAX and did 3500-4000 miles in a Rav4.

    Our basic route was something like LAX-Buelton-San Fran-Alcatraz-Yosemite NP-Bishop-Death Valley NP-Las Vegas-Hoover Dam-LV Motor Speedway-Zion NP-Vermillon Cliffs-Glen Canyon-Horseshoe Bend-Navajo Bridge-Page-Monument Valley-Moab-Arches NP-Canyonlands NP-Monument Valley-Grand Canyon NP-Meteor Crater-Route 66-Kingman-Lake Havasu-Yuma-San Diego-Long Beach-LA-Hollywood-Santa Monica-LAX so, as you can see, there's some overlap between our trips.

    I've got to say that, although we never actually needed a 4x4, we were damn glad that we had one; they're just so much more comfortable for longer trips. There were a few occasions where we'd have probably died if we'd not had one (crossing 70 miles of unpaved road through Death Valley is one) but that was just us looking for a bit of adventure when we cba to stick to the tarmac.

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