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  1. Default San Diego to Grand Canyon- Best route?

    Hello Folks,

    We are planning a trip in May/June around the West Coast in a hired RV from Los Angeles. We have a rough trip planned, but would appreciate advice on the San-Diego to Grand Canyon leg. Is this feasible in one days driving, or should we allow for an overnight stop en route?
    Also, which would be the best way- via Needles and Kingman, or via Las Vegas?
    There are similar questions for the next leg, Grand Canyon to Yosemite National Park- one day?
    After that we should be fine, and any advice would be very much appreciated.

    Roger Ramjet

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Define "best"

    Greetings Roger!

    Two routes jump off the page at me as potentially good routes, but which is best is up to you. I really can't see going up through Vegas to get to the Grand Canyon.

    My first option would be:
    Interstate 8 East to Yuma
    US 95 North to Interstate 10
    Interstate 10 East to US 60
    US 60 East (North-North East) to either:
    -Arizona 71 via Merritt Pass to Arizona 89 at Congress
    -Wickenburg & US 93, then US 93 North to Arizona 89 south of Congress
    Arizona 89 North via Prescott and Chino Valley to Ash Fork and Interstate 40
    Interstate 40 East to Arizona 64
    Arizona 64 North to the Grand Canyon


    Interstate 15 North to Interstate 40
    Interstate 40 East to Arizona 64 (with optional detours along Route 66)
    Arizona 64 North to the Grand Canyon.

    The last one has fewer routes to remember, but takes you through Los Angeles. The second one is a bit more diagonal to the canyon, and has more turns, but takes you through some of the more rural areas of Arizona, and some of the more picturesque, depending on what you like.

    Those are really the two best options in my book.

    Now, chances are you may want to stop for the day in between, as it would be a long straight-through drive, longer in an RV. I would at least plan on having an extra day just in case.

    Grand canyon to Yosemite might also be tough to do in one day, two might be best, but again, it will be all driving.

    For a return route, I would go back down Arizona 64 to Interstate 40, and take Interstate 40 West to Barstow, CA where it becomes California 58 on to Bakersfield.

    From Bakersfield, CA, I would head north on California 99 to Fresno, and California 41, which will take you into Yosemite.

    Those are the best options I can see, someone else may have some other ideas though!

    Last edited by RoadTripper Brad; 03-28-2007 at 11:26 PM. Reason: Addendem

  3. Default Several options

    There are several routes from San Diego to Grand Canyon.

    The fastest route would be the I-15 north to I-40 (at Barstow) then east to Williams and north on Az-64 to Grand Canyon. That one is doable in a long day of driving (10+ hours on the road). The I-15 is one of the new superhighways, and skirts the LA area to the east -- so other than roadwork or the end-of-the-day conguestion wehre the 15, 210,60, and 10 all come together in a limited gegraphical area, and the I-15 head up the Cajon pass to Victorville, it should be pretty smooth travelling. It's doable in a day, but would be a long day of driving

    If you have a bit more time, there are several other routes. Arizona Brad suggested the I-95 route which pretty much follows the Colorado River up from Yuma. That's a good one.

    There's also the I-8 route east through Yuma to the Az-85 cutoff to Phoenix, and then north on I-17 to Flagstaff. But this would be a longer route.

    The most interesting route in my opinion would be a 2 day (or 3 day) route, which would go through the little town of Julian in the San Diego back country (Julian is an old mining town, now known for its hot apple pies), and then down the rift escarpment to Borrego Springs in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park (this is a good quality, but winding, road down from the mountains to the desert with just stunning views), and then from there north through the Indio area to come north from the Chiraco Summit area (where Patton's 3rd Army trained for desert warfare in WWII -- there's a Patton musuem and small armored vehicle display at the Summit), through Joshua Tree National Park. From Joshua Tree National park, you can continue north through 29 Palms to Amboy (and the Amboy volcanic crater), before heading east on a leg of historic route 66 to Needles and the I-40 east to Williams and the Grand Canyon.

    This would however be a longer route in time -- you'll be on good quality roads the entire way, but instead of 4-8 lane superhighways you'll be on 2-4 lane highways. You'll also be going through a wide diversity of areas, from 4000' mountains to near the Salton Sea, and through several different desert climates (Sonoran desert near Borrego Springs, Mojave desert near Joshua Tree, and Colorado Plateau near Grand Canyon). This is at least a 2 day trip in my opinion. You can stop in Indio for example as they have a number of hotels, or even Palm Springs. Palm Canyon campground at Anza Borrego (near Borrego Springs) is one of my favorites as there's a short (< 5 mile round trip) day hike up Palm Canyon to a real desert palm oasis. There are also hotels in 29 Palms and nearby towns, as well as campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park (I've stayed in several -- Cottonwood campground near the south end of JTNP not far from Chiraco Summit being the most recent). And if you go up near Amboy, you do need to stop at Amboy Crater and look around -- this is a recent (historic times) volcanic cinder cone which covered the surrounding area with jagged lava flows. You're also near the Mojave National Preserve with its sand dunes and caverns, among other natural sites.

  4. Default San Diego to Grand Canyon

    Thank you both for your excellent suggestions. By "best" in my original query I meant the shortest and most direct route, hopefully possible in one day.

    From you comments though this would be too much of a stretch, so we'll plan on a stopover between SD and the Canyon, and likewise between GC and Yosemite.

    Thank you again for your very helpful replies, and we are very much looking forward to our trip, with the possible exception of tackling the Los Angeles traffic in an RV on what to our view will be the "wrong" side of the road!

    All the best,


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