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  1. Default From L.A to Yellowstone NP and back.

    Hi all,

    Last year my girlfriend and I went on our holidays to the states. 3 days in New York and 4 in Vegas. As a bit of an after thought we added a 1 week road trip from Vegas, through Death Valley and Yosemite to San Francisco. We enjoyed it so much we're back for more!

    I gained lots of valuable insights and advice from here and am hoping to again.

    We are looking at early to mid September and want to incorporate Zion NP, Bryce canyon and Grand Teton into the trip. We've come up with a rough itinerary but I'm after as much advice as I can possibly get.

    Day 1 - Arrive LA.
    Day 2 - Day in LA.
    Day 3 - Leave early and drive to Vegas.
    Day 4 - Leave Vegas and drive to Zion NP and Bryce canyon.
    Day 5 - Leave Bryce canyon and drive through Utah (where to stop???)
    Day 6 - Drive to Yellowstone NP
    Day 7 - Yellowstone
    Day 8 - Yellowstone
    Day 9 - Drive down to Grand Teton NP
    Day 10 - Grand Teton
    Day 11 -
    Day 12 -
    Day 13 -
    Day 14 -
    Day 15 - LA
    Day 16 - Fly home!

    First thing. Am I spending too much/enough time in certain places? Does anyone have any suggestions for somewhere to stop between Bryce and Yellowstone (mapquest takes us through Salt Lake city)

    Im also after suggestions for places to visit along the way to break up the driving. Originally I wanted to extend the drive into Montana but I don't want to over stretch us.

    As I said early stages but we're looking to book pretty soon so any help/advice would be much appreciated.

    Also any suggestions for places to stay along the way (including in Yellowstone) would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance


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

    Default a change to start

    Welcome back to the RTA Forum!

    I'll start by suggesting that you look into flying into Vegas or maybe Salt Lake City. That's going to save you some miles, and let you have more time to focus on the areas you haven't been yet.

    The other thing I'll say is trying your current plan of starting in Vegas and seeing both Zion and Bryce in one day is just too much. You can see Zion and possibly get to Bryce that night, but you really won't have time to see Bryce until the next day. From there, perhaps Salt Lake would be a goal.

    You might also look at going through Capitol Reef and/or Arches before going north. Perhaps coming back down through Great Basin and western Nevada. Or you might look at the possibility of a one way trip, and finish by going through Montana and heading to Washington State, with a flight home from Seattle. Or maybe look at returning from Denver, and explore a few things out that direction.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A couple of thoughts.

    Hi and welcome back to RTA !

    My first thought was that you really are short changing Zion NP by continuing to Bryce the same day and would definitely recommend a night in Zion. As you have been to Death valley, Yosemite SF you could consider taking a little more time to get to Yellowstone. For instance you could head along Utah scenic 12 to Torrey and Capitol Reef on route to Moab home to Arches and Canyonlands NP's. From there head North past Dinosaur NM and Flaming gorge to the Teton's on 191 and then to Yellowstone. You could take a more direct approach back to LA via Salt lake City and if you were to go back through Vegas, you could consider heading to the Grand canyon from LA at the start and then through Page to Zion and Bryce. You need to do a little research and find what works for you and then we can help fill in the blanks.

    An afterthought is that if you considered something like the above, you could reverse the trip and get to Yellowstone early in the trip to lessen the risk of winter coming early.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    For Yellowstone, I can highly recommend the Evergreen Motel in West Yellowstone. It's a charming recently renovated 50's style roadside motel. It's right outside the western entrance to the park. It's owned by a young couple, and they are very nice people.

  5. Default


    Thanks for the quick responses and the advice.

    I'll have a good think about our route and come back for more specific advice.

    We have checked out flights to/from Vegas and Denver as an alternative to LA and it turns out price wise there isn't much difference so we'll most likely fly into Vegas.

    We have more or less ruled out a one way trip due to having to pay a one way fee on the rental. One quote was almost double the cost of the actual rental!

    We are most likely going to get from Vegas to Yellowstone/Teton as quickly as possible and then take our time getting back. Possibly drive scenic route 12 and do a couple of nights in Zion/Bryce before heading to Vegas and home.

    Thanks again.


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


    You will need an overnight stop between LV and Tetons/Yellowstone and Salt lake City would make for 2 reasonably comfortable driving days and leave you a little time to wander around there.

  7. Default a little re-think!


    Ive changed some things around and may have squeezed an extra day into the trip. Here's where I stand:

    Day 1 – arrive in Denver at 18.00
    Day 2 – Pick up hire car in Denver and drive to Grand Teton NP (7 hours 30.). Stay in or around the park.
    Day 3 – Grand Teton NP
    Day 4 – Drive to Yellowstone NP (2 hours)
    Day 5 – Yellowstone
    Day 6 – Yellowstone
    Day 7 – Drive to Salt Lake City (6. 30 hours) and stay overnight.
    Day 8 – Drive to Bryce Canyon (4 hours). Spend the day exploring and stay overnight.
    Day 9 – Drive to Zion national park (1.45 hours) and spend the day in the park and stay overnight.
    Day 10 – Drive to Las Vegas (2.45 hours) and stay overnight.
    Day 11 – Las Vegas
    Day 12 –
    Day 13 –
    Day 14 –
    Day 15 –
    Day 16 – Complete the drive back to Denver.
    Day 17 – Fly home 13.00

    As you can see we have a big gap after we get Vegas so I'm looking for ideas and drive times here. Would you recommend going to some of the attractions in Utah from Salt Lake City rather than going straight to Bryce/Zion? If so what sort of distances/drive times are we looking at there? I would like to try to incorporate Monument valley in there too.

    We're looking at an 11 hour drive directly from Vegas to Denver to fly home so that will take 2 days but is there a route we could take which would lead us past some worthwhile sites? Should we look at getting back to Denver early or leave late to spend time there?

    Any suggestions on where to stop between Vegas and Denver?

    Any and all suggestions are welcome as I want to fit as much in as possible without spending all our time on the road.

    Again thanks very much for your time and help.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Top, middle or bottom ?

    From Vegas to Denver you have many great choices ! Grand canyon South rim, Monument valley, Arches, Canyonlands, Colorado National monument, Glenwood springs and Rocky mountain NP are a few to consider along the 'top' route. Along the 'middle' from Monument valley would be Mesa Verde, the 'Million dollar highway' through Durango and Silverton, [famous steam train ride] Black canyon of the Gunnison, Currecanti Nat. rec area and up through Leadville. Along the 'bottom' from Monument valley, Mesa Verde, Pagosa Springs, [soak in the natural Hot springs] Great sand dunes NP, Garden of the Gods and Cave of the winds at Manitou Springs and Pikes Peak. These are to name a few highlights that are possible and you can 'mix and match' to a certain extent so have a look and take your pick !

  9. Default Things to see between Bryce and Denver!

    Hey all,

    Just after a bit of advice regarding my road trip in September. Me and my girlfriend are starting and ending in Denver and going through Yosemite, Grand Tetons before heading down to Zion and onto Bryce Canyon. This part I have sorted. From here to Denver is the problem.

    We are planning on visiting Bryce on 19th Sept and will then stop somewhere outside Bryce (any ideas?). We then have to be at Denver Intl on the morning of the 23rd so ideally we want to be within 1 hour 30 of the airport on the night of the 22nd so we can just drive in and hop on the plane (Been looking at Manitou Springs).

    So my problem is that with 3 full days we haven't got nearly enough time to fully appreciate the area so what are the things we can do with the time available? I've read up on Mesa Verde, Monument Valley etc but if we can't fully appreciate them should I choose one or two things to see and take my time?

    I read a similar thread on the subject but it descended into anarchy (an argument over delusions I believe) and was closed before I could ask for advice!

    Anyway any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks very much for your time in advance.


    Mod Note] Please keep all questions regarding this trip in this thread, Thanks.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-01-2011 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Merged threads.

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


    There is no right or wrong answers to your question, just many options. Many of those options have been mentioned in your previous questions, but only you can decide what options appeal to you the most. Arches, Canyonlands and Rocky mountain NP are all quite incredible and at least one of those would be on my 'to do' list. Manitou Springs could be OK for your last night as could Estes Park or perhaps Idaho Springs, but keep in mind that you need to drop your rental car off and allow for International check in times, so it would be an early start if you take off in the morning. It might be worth considering staying in Denver, maybe at an airport Hotel, or somewhere closer by than the others, such as Golden.

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