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  1. Default Grand Circle - 13 days - Early September

    Hi --

    First, cheers to a great site - I've found a wealth of information on roadtripping! This is my first roadtrip and the posts here have really helped me plan for my trip.

    My companion and I are flying into (and out of) Vegas in September; we're renting a car (a convertible, yeah!) to drive the Grand Circle. We have 13 days and would like to see as much as possible (we've never been to the southwest)! Ideally, we'd like the trip to be mostly geared towards visiting national parks, a few local towns, and 3 or 4 nights of camping at different destinations.

    I'm not sure if our trip is going to be in a clockwise or counterclockwise route, but so far our list of destinations include:

    Vegas (to pick up the car)
    Glen Canyon (Antelope Canyon)
    Bryce Canyon
    Grand Staircase
    Capitol Reef (and scenic highway 12)
    Canyonlands (Island in the Sky)
    Canyonlands (Needles)
    Mesa Verde
    Four Corners
    Monument Valley Canyon de Chelly
    Flagstaff/Sedona/Walnut Canyon? or Tuba City?
    Grand Canyon
    Hoover Dam (if there's time)

    All in all it's about an 1800 mile trip, not counting random off-shoots.

    The problem is I think I'm being overly optimistic about how much we'll be able to see in 13 days and since we've never seen any of the stops on our route I don't know what to cut out, if anything.

    Any suggestions or helpful tips anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks and happy roadtripping!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Decisions.

    Hello and welcome to R.T.A !

    With 13 days you have time to make this trip happen but it's down to how much time you want in each of those places. From Vegas to Four corners the places are on route and progress naturally, other than Antelope canyon.
    As you continue from Four corners Canyon De Chelly would be the next place I would visit which is another place slightly "of course" and then through Monument valley. From MV I would go to the Grand canyon south rim via the East entrance which is163/ 160/89 south and the 64 which is the Desert view drive into the canyon that has good view points along the way, the first being at the Old watchtower. You then leave by the South entrance back to I-40 on the 64 to Williams or 180 to Flagstaff and to Sedona if you wanted to do so. From I-40 head West and onto 93 over the Dam to Vegas.

    How you want to use your time will depend on what you need to drop [if any], but maybe Sedona, Canyon De Chelley and lastly Page would be the ones I would choose in that order. Not because they are not as fantastic as the others but because they will free up the most time for a more relaxed pace.

    If you go to Page it might be better to do so between MV and GC.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    The Netherlands

    Default Whirlwind trip

    This already will be a a bit of a whirlwind trip but doable:
    Day 1: Arrive Las Vegas p/u rental and drive to Zion
    Day 2: See Zion most of the day and drive to Bryce late in the afternoon
    Day 3: Visit to Bryce in the morning and the drive on ut12 to Torrey
    Day 4: Visit to Capitol Reef NP in the morning and via Goblin Valley and White Horse canyon to Moab
    Day 5: Arches all day
    Day 6: Visit to Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Dead Horse Point SP and the drive to Cortez.
    Day 7: Mesa Verde NP and back to Cortez
    Day 8: The drive to Monument Valley via 4state corners. Visit to Monument Valley
    Day 9: Monument Valley to Page. Visit to Antelope Canyon. See Glen Canyon Dam and Horseshoe bend overlook
    Day 10: From Page to GCNP. Enter via its East Entrance and try to stay at the rim. Make your reservations asa possible at
    Day 11: Take the morning for GCNP and drive to Sedona stopping at Oak Creek Canyon. Fastest is via Williams but more scenic via Flagstaff. Entering Flag you'll see the Museum of Northern Arizona on your right hand side on 180Very worth a visit.
    Day 12: Day in Sedona. A Pink Jeep tour should not be missed. You also could do the Jeep tour first thing in the morning and drive to Las Vegas after that.
    Day 13: Back to Las vegas.
    Actually, if you have never been to Las Vegas before, I would recommand an overnight stay there. Love it or hate it but it's an odd place.
    You'll miss: Canyonlands The Needles. You'll need to take time to explore because to see the real beauties here you need to hike.
    Durango: Will be a detour.
    Canyon de Chelly. Also a detour but it's a pity to miss it because it's very beatiful. But you already will see Mesa Verde, the best place to see ancient sides.
    Tuba City: Not much there.
    Walnut Canyon: Also nice but....
    For Hoover Dam, you'll pass it on your way back to Vegas, but Glen Canyon Dam in Page is almost as large and with the better views (and cheaper to visit).
    Anyway, you're going to make a fantastic trip through many wonders of the world.
    Happy planning.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    South Central Orange County

    Default Northern Circle Route

    If you'd like to spend more time at your destinations, you may want to choose the road less traveled, as follows:

    Grand Canyon (North Rim)
    Bryce Canyon
    Grand Staircase Escalante
    Capitol Reef
    Mesa Verde
    Four Corners
    Monument Valley
    Canyon de Chelly
    Page/ Glen Canyon

    This is the Northern Circle Route is about 1,550 miles (without Durango), and very little of it is will be at highway speeds. You will miss the bigger crowds and wonderful tourist kitsch of the Southern Rim (and a stop at the Cameron Trading Post), but you will enjoy great scenery.

  5. Default Thanks

    Southwest Dave, Yeehaw and Shirohniichan:

    I really appreciate you all taking the time out to offer such great suggestions and advice. I'll research each of your comments and if I have any questions I'll be back with another post!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A certain freedom.

    The great thing about the road trip is your ability to change things on route according to your time.
    The places you have listed make a sound route and you can decide certain things on the road such as whether there is time for Canyonlands after visiting Arches, a detour to Canyon De Chelley from the Four corners and the like.

    I really appreciate you all taking the time out to offer such great suggestions and advice. I'll research each of your comments and if I have any questions I'll be back with another post!
    You're very welcome, enjoy the planning and let us know if you need anything else and we would like to hear about your trip on your return !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you need to make a choice between Island in the Sky and Needles, I'd recommend Island.

  8. Default

    August, 2008 we made a whirlwind 15 day trip, some of the same areas as you plan, going to the following states:
    Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Four Corners, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and back to Arkansas! Once we got home we wished we had taken more time. However, now we realize it help us to plan future vacations and we know where we would like to spend more time and areas we weren't really interested in (very, very few!) We realized that we never wanted to leave the country on vacation as there is more than we will ever seen right here. We realized how little we really knew about our great country and that we didn't even know what we didn't know!!!! We will be going to Utah and Colorado in September and can't wait. Look forward to hearing details of your trip.
    Danny and Phillis in Arkansas

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