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  1. Default Denver to SanFrancisco, 30 days driving and camping


    I'm very new at this forum, and for the moment I see I have a lot to read, and I'm doing so.

    We just bought the fly tickets, and we are still trying to find rental car for the ride.

    We are not really interested in big citys, except for denver, las vegas and San francisco... What we really like is National Parks, and trying to stay inside them.

    We are making a point map with google maps, so we have put all national parks we would love to visit...

    I know you'll think we are crazy, we just put everything we knew, I'm sure we'll have to choose..

    The big problem we are experiencing is that we don't like "closed" planings, and as far as we can we would love not to book any place to sleep, are we crazy?? Should we start booking? (we go camping, and we pretend to sleep inside NP if possible).

    Thanks in advance for everything you can say to help us..

    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-22-2008 at 09:38 AM. Reason: link format

  2. Default

    You may want to make reservations for the more popular national parks (yellowstone, yosemite, grand canyon) but you should be fine at a lot of the parks without. Also, I highly recommend a national parks pass (I think they cost like $50) which comes with a little book that lists all the parks. Don't discount the smaller, lesser known parks either. They are some real gems in among them.

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

    Default roads

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think your basic trip will be fine, although I think one thing you'll want to do is actually plot your points on a map that includes roads. Some of the areas you're looking are rather close "as the crow flies" but can be several extra hours away because of a lack of direct road access, typically because of river or mountain crossings.

    Reservations can be a tricky things. If you do have your heart set on camping within the National Park, then reservations would probably be best, especially for the most popular parks. However, I rarely make camping reservations on my trips and I always find "someplace" to sleep. It just depends upon your comfort with risk.

    Finally, check out this amazing field report that goes through many of the areas you are talking about.

  4. Default

    yes, thnk, I just took a look to that report yesterday :) nice pictures... It makes me feel more anxious to start the trip!!!

    The thing with the bookings is that we can't really find a place where to book, cause it says in what we read "first in first served", and living overseas (barcelona) doesn't give us much information on wich are the more interesting campings to stay in the National Parks.

    As I said, we know we still have a lot to work to do, to read, and to find.. tones of hours to spend in internet... but we need to start with something, and if anyone knows internet pages where to book it would be more than apreciated...

    thanks a million!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    for the n.p.s navigate your way through there site.
    click on a state,then select a park and then find the campsites available for booking in the where to stay/reservations part.
    i'm glad you enjoyed our report, have a great trip!!

  6. #6

    Default Don't forget National Forests for camping

    Hello pirata,

    We are most fortunate to have many wonderful National Parks in the western US, and all offer fine places to camp. What is often overlooked by or unknown to visitors is the large areas of the western US called National Forest (NF) land. The areas of NF lands are typically mountainous but with stream valleys and canyons throughout. There are literally hundreds of NF campgrounds throughout the western US, and the number of campgrounds and campsites available within the NF system greatly exceeds the number available within the National Park System.

    The National Forest Service (NFS) is an agency of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and each NF unit has a website which shows the distribution of campgrounds within the NF. Most campground guidebooks include listings for NF campgrounds, as well. The last copy of "Woodalls Campground Guide" I purchased some 8 years ago included the NF campgrounds along with various State Park system and Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campgrounds.

    Many of the NFs in the northern Rocky Mountains, particularly in Montana and Idaho, offer rentals of small cabins as an alternative to tent camping. These cabins were built for and used by NF work crews in the days when travel into the NFs was by horseback, so work crews would sleep in the cabins during the work week. The cabins I've been to and stayed in, all in Montana, are quite small and rustic, but they're fully equipped with cooking gear, fuel, firewood, and the like. You're expected to bring some supplies and leave what you don't need, but except for bedding, it's all right there for you to enjoy. Have a look at some of the pictures of cabins in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Montana for an idea of what the cabin system is like.

    Oh, and I can't forget the fire lookout rental system. In the days before large-scale aircraft patrol for forest fires, the NF Service operated an extensive network of "fire towers" which are one-room structures strategicaly located on mountain tops and ridge lines. They are some 10 to 30 meters above ground level and offer, obviously, long unobstructed views. There are dozens and dozens of "lookout tower" rentals available in the NF system, and that's a unique way to spend a few days or nights on your trip.

    Jessi's advice about a Season's pass to National Parks and National Monuments, etc. is great. Any of the National Park websites will show a link to the pass and how to obtain one. Provided they're available to non-citizens, they're a must for the kind of Road Trip you are planning.

    Enjoy the ride!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default campsites

    It can be tough to get a good review of campsites before you go, and I've found most of them time you just have to go and find out for yourself. I belive all reservations for campsites in the National Parks system are handled by Reserve America. I'd check that site out, as well as the actual national parks service site. The NPS site will also allow you to pre-buy the National Parks Pass, which actually now costs $80, but would still be a great deal for your trip.

    I'd also check out the Camping Pages of our Planning Section, which includes among other things recommendations for campground directories.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-23-2008 at 09:51 AM. Reason: Fixed Link - Thanks Gommy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    the n.p's site [which i put up a link for]will direct you to reservations which is

    hi michael,i think you got a link to schools instead of the n.p.s.:)

  9. Default Scenic but Long Drives

    All great advice here. I never book ahead and only have had trouble finding a place to camp once. There are a lot of national and state parks along the way and only when there is some kind of event or holiday can it get busy. Monterey, CA has national/state parks in Big Sur that will sell out months in advance but you probably won't be in that area. Northern CA has many options. Keep it open and enjoy the scenic drives. As scenic as your drives will be there will also be long drives. Keep that in mind when looking at road-trip music or books on tape, etc. Often overlooked the on-road entertainment is critical for a fun journey. I highly recommend comedy stuff. I am a bit of a dork and I make road trip mixes interspaced with comedy. If you have an ipod itunes has a whole section on road trip mixes which is really cool because you have

  10. Default

    Thanks a million for all the information given!!!

    As I was looking for this I saw also many people is doing part of the same trip, so I'll take a look to those also!

    I resend it to my personal email, so I can take a look slowly when we start planing exactly what to do...

    Thanks again!

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