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  1. Default October: San Francisco to New Orleans Itinerary Advice


    First of all, as a new member, can I say that this a great forum with loads of useful information. The search function has allowed me to find out a great deal about the trip we plan to make in October. I'd like some advice on an itinerary I've cobbled together, based on research on this forum, and lonely planet guides etc. I've tried to break the drive into managable trips, but would be great to hear any else's thoughts.

    We are traveling from the UK, flying from London to San Francisco, here's the trip as planned:

    Oct 5th - Arrive SF
    Oct 6th - SF
    Oct 7th - SF
    Oct 8th - SF - Yosemite - Pick up Car (190 miles)
    Oct 9th - Yosemite
    Oct 10th - Yosemite - Sequoia (197 miles)
    Oct 11th - Sequoia/Kings Canyon
    Oct 12th - Sequoia
    Oct 13th - Sequoia - Death Valley (244 - 395 miles)
    Oct 14th - DV - Las Vegas - (169 miles)
    Oct 15th - LV to Grand Canyon South Rim (269 miles)
    Oct 16th - Grand Canyon South Rim/Flagstaff
    Oct 17th - Flagstaff
    Oct 18th - Flagstaff to Monument Valley (196 miles)
    Oct 19th - MV
    Oct 20th - MV to Santa Fe
    Oct 21st - Santa Fe to Alburquerque (64 miles)
    Oct 22nd - SF/Alburquerque
    Oct 23rd - Alb - White Sands National Monument (267 miles)
    Oct 24th - White Sands to San Antonio (644 miles total) Travel Day 1
    Oct 25th - White Sands to San Antonio Travel Day 2
    Oct 26th - SA to Houston (197 miles)
    Oct 27th - Houston to New Orleans (348 miles)
    Oct 28th - NO (ditch car)
    Oct 29th - NO
    Oct 30th - Train NO to Baltimore Maryland visit family (fly home from washington 5th Nov)

    I'm hoping all the South West Parks are doable in that time frame, distance - wise. We might make a long day on the 13th and drive straight through to vegas, stopping only to look around DV. Its really getting across texas that's gonna be a bit of back to back driving. does anybody have any thoughts or suggestions? I'd really appreciate it.


    Mr C

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    There is no need to go to Flagstaff from the Grand Canyon, then to Monument Valley. That would be backtracking. You can stay overnight in Tusayan, in the park, Cameron, or Kayenta.

  3. Default

    thanks for your reply. we may go to flagstaff first, then up to grand canyon and on to monument valley. thanks for your help

    Mr C

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

    Default flagstaff

    I would echo that backtracking to Flagstaff doesn't make much sense.

    However, my bigger question, is there something you are really hoping to see there? To me it seems odd that you are going to basically have one day total for both Death Valley and Las Vegas combined, but then you are giving yourself almost 2 days in Flagstaff. Its a bit of an unusual way to break up your time.

    I will say that I really wouldn't advice going from Sequoia to Vegas in one day via Death Valley. You'd be looking at a very long day on the road, to the point where you would really have almost no time to see any of death valley. Going to Vegas via Death Valley is going to add nearly 100 miles to your trip, there's no point of adding that extra driving time, if you're not going to get anything for it. Either stop and see Death Valley, or skip it altogether.

    Otherwise, I think your trip looks very good and you shouldn't have any problems with the other legs you've laid out.

  5. Default

    Hi, Many thanks for your reply. I don't think I have explained that part of the route very well in previous posts. We weren't sure whether to go straight to Grand Canyon from Vegas, or see Flagstaff before (it just seemed somewhere interesting to visit nearby) and then head up ot the South Rim. In short we were a bit undecided about that part of the trip.

    I think you're right though about spending longer in Death Valley. I'd love to spend the night there, so will probably take a night off the GC/flagstaff section and add it there instead.

    Many thanks for your help, its good to hear that the other parts are all doable.

    Any advice on trains for El Paso to New Orleans, in case its easier to cross by rail rather than car?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Amtrak has 3 trains a week from El Paso to NO. It departs El Paso at 9am on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday and arrives in NO at 4pm the next day. Booking this far in advance, a reserved coach seat is $100. A roomette for 2 is an additional $242.

    Short notice prices are considerably higher, and are subject to availability. For example, there are still coach seats available on tomorrow's train for $157 but roomettes are sold out. There are coach seats available on Thursday's train for $125 and roomettes are $459.
    Last edited by glc; 07-12-2009 at 11:00 AM.

  7. Default

    many thanks glc, will check it out.

    Best wishes,


  8. #8


    If you don't end up taking a train from El Paso, you might consider continuing up to Austin instead of San Antonio. I realize there isn't much time to enjoy, but Austin's a fun place.

  9. Default austin

    hi world famous,

    thanks for your reply. we may well go through austin, as we might lose a bit of time at the front of our trip, as our plans are changing. potentially, we may miss out sequoia, giving us a few more unallocated days. the drive across texas would take a couple of days, and it would be good to break it up. so will definitely have a think about it. the train will take a while anyway but we'll see what happens. cheers


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Tioga pass possibly.

    If you are considering dropping Sequoia/Kings canyon from your itinerary you could visit the Mariposa grove of giant Sequoia's at the Southern end of Yosemite. This would also make the trip to Death valley shorter by driving over the wonderful Tioga pass [120] from Yosemite to Lee vining. It might also free up enough time to visit Mesa Verde between MV and Santa Fe. As previously mentioned it's probably not worth back tracking to Flagstaff on the way to MV but if you wanted to stay near to the GC then Cameron trading post is well located just out the East entrance on the 89. By entering the canyon from the South and leaving by the East you will drive along Desert view drive which has many great view points and the Old watch tower.

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