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  1. Default A road trip with a hole in it -- help!

    Hello all,

    This seems like one of the friendliest places on the entire internet, so I'm hoping you can help us. Me and my GF are from the UK. We're planning a month-long roadtrip in June, starting around the 10th - 11th. The rough plan is to fly in to Chicago, then make our way to Vegas. From there, through Death Valley / Yosemite and on to SF. Then a drive down the coast to LA. Finally, a flight from LA to NYC for a long weekend before flying home to London.

    All of which is very exciting. We're familiar with the Vegas-SF-LA section, and that's exciting in itself. But the bit we can't quite decide about is what route to take from Chicago to Vegas. It's a vast expanse neither of us are familar with. Which route, in short, will be the most fun? Do we try to take in Mt. Rushmore? Is it better to go via South Dakota or North Dakota or Wyoming or Colorado or etc etc etc -- there seem to be about 100 different ways to do it, each of which is a mystery to us.

    Incidentally we've both seen the Grand Canyon / Monument Valley before, so it doesn't matter if we skip those (although we're not trying to avoid them either). I guess we're after as much variety as possible, without wanting to spend every day driving driving driving.

    We're hoping to reach Vegas roughly halfway through our trip, so we've got a fortnight or maybe a little more to spend on the Chicago - Vegas route. Any suggestions? There's a baffling range of options!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Looking at the big picture with your available time, I'd think you would need to make a choice between Yellowstone or the Colorado Rockies. Either way, you could take I-90 out of Chicago up through SD and see the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. Then you could either go to Yellowstone or head down to Cheyenne and toward Denver and go through Rocky Mountain National Park. From either location, then you could head down into UT and see the southern UT parks - Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. This assumes you prefer to see nature rather than big cities.

  3. #3


    I think glc listed the two best options and the best part is, either route is a great choice. If you go the Yellowstone route, you can also hit the Grand Tetons.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Keep chipping away.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    A month is a nice amount of time for a road trip but with so much to see and do you will have to make choices and decide upon the pace you want to set yourselves. Some people like to shoot through places and get a "taster" of what's on offer from a number of places and others prefer to spend more time and take a bigger bite from less.

    If you look around the forums and road trip planning pages where you will find all kinds of route choices and suggestions it will help you to pick from what you consider the "best" as each and every option has it's own merits.

    I have yet to go to Yellowstone etc but I can tell you there are some amazing National parks, scenery and towns through Colorado, Utah and Arizona before heading to Cali. You could take a look at the National park pages at which has info on every park in good detail.

    Once you have researched a little more and you have some ideas you can run them by us and we should be able to help fine tune your trip, but for now, enjoy the planning !

  5. #5

    Default Either, or.....

    Hello Preposterous,

    Mighty kind of you to offer the kind words about the RTA Forums. It IS an enjoyable place to hang out, isn't it?

    You might consider the crowd factor with respect to Yellowstone and the Tetons. Each will be a full capacity during your time period, I'd think. Ditto Mt Rushmore. Likewise I'd consider the chances of very hot daytime temps in southern UT (Arches and Canyonlands) in mid- to late June.

    With all of that, and my own personal preferences leaning towards forested alpine vistas over desert scenery (while I thoroughly enjoy the desert Southwest), I'd favor heading to the Badlands (because it's unique), skipping Rushmore, thence to Red Lodge, MT, over the Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone, out the bottom of Yellowstone to the Tetons, south through Jackson Hole to Flaming Gorge, a day on a river raft below the huge dam within the Flaming Gorge, over to Park City, UT for an overnight and fine dining, down the east side of the Wasatch Range to Robert Redford's Sundance Resort, complete the balance of the Alpine Loop by driving over the Wasatch Range from Sundance to Provo, then on down to either Vegas or cut over to Zion/Bryce from the Provo area. Along that route, Red Lodge, Jackson, and Park City are lively, fun towns with lots to do and see within walking distance of nice hotels. Sundance can be described as a green-friendly, eclectic resort with fine dining, if one likes something a bit different than somewhat bacchanalian Red Lodge, Jackson, and Park City.

    Enjoy planning and taking your RoadTrip!


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