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  1. #1

    Default October : LA-SF-Yosemite-LV-Sedona-Mesa Verde-Phoenix

    Hi all

    My girlfriend decided that we should go to America this year - and I was more than happy to go along with this idea - the last time I was in America was about ten years ago out in Colorado / New Mexico / Arizona.

    What first was going to be a simple trip from LA to San Francisco and back again has turned into a monster! Unfortunately we got out a map and it turned into - "oh well Yosemite is only x miles away from San Francisco, oh and Death Valley is only x miles away from there, we have to go there - but wait Las Vegas is only x miles away"...... etc

    What we have come up with is a strange mix of city-living, nature (plan to go out whale-watching for half a day in Monterey), depravity (Las Vegas), archaeology (Mesa Verde), spectacular landscapes (umm about everywhere it seems!), varied climate zones (forests, deserts, mountains and ocean), and binding the mix together - a lot of driving!

    We are heading out on the ninth of October, returning on the twenty-fifth

    1. Arrive LA
    2. LA
    3. Drive up Highway 1 to Monterey
    4. Monterey - SF
    5. SF
    6. SF
    7. SF to Yosemite
    8. Yosemite
    9. Yosemite to Death Valley
    10. Death Valley to Las Vegas
    11. LV
    12. Las Vegas to Sedona - anyone tell me what this drive is like?
    13. Sedona to Grand Canyon to Kayenta
    14. Kayenta through Monument Valley to Mesa Verde (possibly stay in Durango)
    15. Mesa Verde for half a day then possibly to Holbrook through Gallup?
    16. Holbrook to Phoenix
    17. Phoenix to London :(

    A few points

    - Hours of light - from memory it gets dark about 6 in Arizona?

    - although I know there is a lot in LA it has never been a place we actually wanted to go - we do plan on spending on going to a few things on the day we have there, but the whole Universal Studios / Disney etc thing is not our cup of tea (sorry English expresion!).

    - San Francisco - she who must be obeyed wants to go for that long. End of story.

    - 2 nights in Yosemite - anyone got any comments? Obviously we have to get there from SF (if anyone can tell me how long, good route etc :) ) - I thought that the next day would be in the park, then staying on the eastern-side, say in Mammoth Lakes in the evening

    - Las Vegas to Sedona - ok I know the Hoover dam is there, but what is the Journney like from Kingman?

    - Sedona - well I have been here a couple of times before, most of it with people who enjoy saying "ommm" a lot and waving their arms about as if they are trying to take off (my mother being one of them). I was planning on doing the scenic drive south - maybe stop off in Jerome before heading up to the Grand Canyon in the late afternoon for sunset. Then doing the drive from there to Kayenta.

    - Snow in Mesa Verde / Durango / in general - is there any?

    - Meas Verde to Holbrook - ok, I know that we could go to Canyon de Chelly, however I planned to go to the petrified forest, however, being blunt, it's not the fossilised wood that interests me, it is the landscape. Any comments, or is there someone equally as spectacular elsewhere?

    So in summary, the first half up to Sedona is pretty much in stone and I know is not realy much of a "roadtrip", the second half is not yet confirmed, but it is what I want to do. Any comments / tips / suggestions would be gratefully accepted!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default not much of a roadtrip?

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I will say your last line stuck me as a bit odd, your first half certainly is a roadtrip. In fact, its far as away the most popular and most discussed roadtrip on the forum.

    The second half of your trip seems pretty rushed. You really are trying to crunch a whole lot of things, plus quite a bit of driving into day 12 and beyond. I think I would either trip some things off or trying to steal a day or two from the first half of your trip.

    The above links will help you with the first part, but additionally this is some good information about the LA area, and Here is a Field Report that covers much of the same ground you will be covering. I think you may be too early to see much snow at Durango/Mesa Verde, and in addition to the Petrified Forest, nearby there is also the Painted Desert which certainly has some unique landscapes.

  3. #3


    sounds like a great trip. it will be to early for snow up at mesa verde. This is strictly my opinion of course, but i found the petrified forest disappointing. The entire region has some great scenery but canyon de chelly is far better. Great dramatic scenery that i enjoyed more than the PF but the ruins are also uniquely beautiful. Of course your mileage my vary.


  4. #4


    Thanks guys. Great site by the way, lots of good info abounds!

    Major changes have been decided! First half upto LV is pretty much the same, but we have decided to head North into Utah (Zion, Cedar Breaks Bryce Canyon etc) before dropping down through Page (maybe nip off to Monument Valley for a visit (I went years ago, misses hasn't been but really wants to go, although I don't really want to "backtrack" back to) Grand Canyon, Sedona and ending in Pheonix.

    One area I could do with a little guidance on : SF to Yosemite (where we will be staying for two nights) - any recommendations on where is good to stay - as we would like to get the most out of Yosemite before heading out to Death Valley

    Thanks again all!
    Last edited by Gruff; 07-08-2008 at 08:42 AM.

  5. #5


    When passing by Flagstaff, AZ in the middle of October, I would recommend paying a visit to Lockett's Meadow to see a beautiful display of fall colors. It's about 20-25 miles north along the US 89

  6. #6


    Thanks fairweather, it was this sort of "insider tips" that I was looking for - my previous post thanking you was deleted as I unintentionally "bumped" when infact all I was asking was for information. Ah well - could of just edited eh? :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Bay Area, CA

    Default Stay in Yosemite

    One area I could do with a little guidance on : SF to Yosemite (where we will be staying for two nights) - any recommendations on where is good to stay - as we would like to get the most out of Yosemite before heading out to Death Valley
    Yosemite is a good 4-5 hr drive from SF. If you start early, you can try to be in Yosemite for lunch. There are innumerable options to stay in side the Yosemite valley. You can check the NPS website for accommodations. The time of year you plan to visit the national park, crowd should not be an issue, so does accommodation availability.

    Hope this helps.

    Have fun planning!

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