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  1. Default Late December Las VEgas to Denver via Zion and Bryce

    Hi All,

    I am a new poster here and would greatly appreciate some assistance. I will of course return with a trip report and any 'gems' i find along the way as a thank you.

    I am going to fly into LAX,pick up a car and head to Vegas for 5 nights. From VEgas we want to drive to Aspen and Denver via Zion, Bryce, Grand Junction as my research says this is the route to take. Any advice whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.

    I have planned on 5 days (could make it 6) to get from Vegas to Aspen and would like to stop visit the national parks of Zion and Bryce as well as any other worthy stops on the way. I would greatly appreciate any advice on the best route to take considering the time of the year, especially as we move into the snow and mountains. I would also love any advice on accommodation along the route and any special places to stay. In terms of costs we are not overly restricted and are willing to pay for nice accommodation.

    Thank you all in advance for any assistance you can provide.


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

    Default additions

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The basic outline for your trip covers I-15 and I-70. These are two of the most scenic freeways in the world, and will certainly be your best bets if weather does get back.

    There are several other national parks you could consider stopping at along the way Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef in Utah, and possibly Black Canyon or Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado would all be pretty close to your current trip, and would be potential extra stops if you have time.

  3. Default

    Thanks Michael. After doing some more research it seems that a one way drop off is very expensive so I have thought about making this a round trip. LAX - Vegas - Zion - Bryce - Grand Junction - Moab - Denver - Aspen and then head back, perhaps shortening my route on the way out by 1 night and taking 3 days on the way back or even longer by spending less time in Aspen and Denver. Any suggestions on a round trip route ending up in the LA area?

    Thank again,


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

    Default depending on time

    Well, if you need to keep things quick, you could head down I-25 and I-40 with stops in Santa Fe, Albq, Grand Canyon, and/or Route 66.

    If you've got a bit more time, you could cut across some of the various 2 lane roads across Colorado, towards Durango. From there, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon would all be pretty obvious choices.

  5. Default made a decision, need help on stops

    Okay so I have made the decision that I will simply suffer the one way drop off fee for the convenience of flying back and having some time on the west coast. I need to finalise my route from Las Vegas to Boulder and I think that is pretty straight forward however we will be heading out on 24 December and have 3 full days and nights to get to boulder. My question is where would you plan to stop along the route to get the most out of the drive, not drive too much in one day and enjoy the route? I would really appreciate some help on this, we would like to arrive mid morning if possible in Boulder on the 27th and will be able to leave Vegas early on 24th.

    Thanks so much as always,

    Big T

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    It's all going to be dependent on the weather and road conditions - it may take you 3 full days just to get there on I-15 and I-70. You aren't exactly picking the right time to visit the Utah parks with such a short amount of time available.

    You shouldn't have any problem getting into Zion, but there's a possibility the tunnel and eastern exit may be either closed or very dangerous. Bryce is at around 9000 feet elevation, and it can get rough up there. UT-12 out of there through Escalate and up to Hanksville can be hazardous. I-70 across Colorado can get bad.

    You are simply going to have to wing it - examine the weather and road conditions at the time.

  7. Default where to stop

    Thanks so much for the advice! What I am having trouble determining is where i should plan to stop on the way. we will leave Vegas early and would like to attempt Zion and Bryce and have 3 full days to get to Boulder. By the end of the thrid day we would like to be relatively close 2 - 3 hours from boulder so it is an easy ride the next morning.

    What I would like to know is assuming the weather holds up where should we plan to stop on each night? Any suggestions?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Had to re-read this one

    At first I thought you were planning to do Bryce & Zion all in the same day. But if you have three days to reach Boulder from Las Vegas, there are several options. But as Michael as alluded above, you'll need to be flexible and not rely on reservations at specific places on specific days -- if there's a blizzard, it can take much longer than normal to go anywhere in Utah and Colorado.

    Here's a field report that I wrote that you can follow, at least for much of it. It'd be cutting it a little close but you could go to Zion and then make your way up to Tropic (getting to Bryce in time for sunset) and either staying at Ruby's (at the resort) or the smaller motel in Tropic that I mention in that report. The next day spending 1/2 day or so at Bryce and then proceed north up UT-12 and check out Capital Reef NP. And then push on to Green River, Utah (check out this page for food fare suggestions) and then I-70 on into Boulder the next day. Green River lodging is somewhat limited -- I stay at the Holiday Inn Express when I'm there or you could push on into Grand Junction.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Holding It in Reserve

    If the weather holds, you could drive from Las Vegas to Boulder in a couple of days fairly easily. If you use your first day to mostly see what you can of Zion and Bryce Canyon, then you should still be in pretty good shape. You should try to stay somewhere between Beaver and Richfield, UT on the first night. Then you can pull up for the 2nd night anywhere between Vail and Georgetown, CO and be only a few hours from Boulder. That is a full day ahead of where you want/need to be, so I'd just keep in mind that you have that 'extra' day and use it (if the weather does not hold) to sit out any storm and let the road crews work their magic. If the weather does hold, you can use the day to explore some of the sites along I-70 such as Colorado National Monument, Vail, or Loveland Pass.


  10. Default here is what I decided

    thanks for the great help, i have decided to do the following:

    Early start Day 1 and head to Zion and Bryce and although we wont be able to do it justice we can at least visit. HEad as suggested towards Beaver and see how far we get, stop for the night and another early start to get to Georgetown where I have booked a couple of nights at the Hotel Chateau Chamonix before heading to Boulder and then Denver will be our final stop. We will fly back to LA from there.

    Thanks for allyour help and assistance. Any other suggestions on where we should stop enroute would be welcome and of course any great drives from Vegas lthough we have done the Dam and the Canyon.

    Thanks so much to you all for your help.


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