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  1. Default Trip San Fransisco, LA, Las Vegas + Grand Canyon/Monument Valley/Bryce/Zion/Arches

    Hello everybody :)

    I think this forum is very usefull :) My BF and I would like to plan a trip to America in September. It will be my first time in America. Our biggest problem = time. We only have 17 days. My BF would love to go a few days to New York and from there to the Niagara Falls.

    2 years ago my BF went to Monument Valley and he made some nice pictures there. The result is on a wall in our living room:
    So he had to promiss me to go there with the two of us.

    From Niagara Falls (I think best airport is Buffalo?) we would like to fly to San Fransisco to start our road trip. We would like to spend 2 days in San Fransisco for sight seeing and a little shopping.
    From there by car we would like to visit Yosemite and Sequoia. Then drive to LA, also spend a day or 2.
    After that we are thinking of visiting: Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce, Zion, and Arches. What is the best sequence and route for all these places? (We have to end at an airport, Las Vegas, Denver, Salt Lake City?)

    For now I was thinking this:

    day 1 (15 sept): flying from Amsterdam to New York
    day 2: NY
    day 3: NY
    day 4: NY, 7 hour drive to Niagara Falls (sleep somewhere there)
    day 5 (19 sept): Niagara Falls (in evening flying to San Fransisco)(sleep in San Fransisco)
    day 6: SFO
    day 7: SFO (sleep in San Fransisco)
    day 8: Yosemite (sleep in Fresno/Visalia)
    day 9: Sequoia (sleeping in LA)
    day 10: LA
    day 11: LA (sleeping in LA)
    day 12: 8 hour drive to Grand Canyon (sleep there somewhere near)
    day 13: Grand Canyon and driving to Monument Valley (sleep at Kayenta)
    day 14: Monument Valley and driving to Arches (to be there with sunset) (sleep at Moab)
    day 15: Capitol Reef, drive to Bryce Canyon, sleep somewhere near
    day 16: Bryce Canyon (sunrise), Zion, (sleep in Las Vegas)
    day 17: Las Vegas
    day 18 (2 okt): flying back from Las Vegas to Amsterdam

    As you can see I used an extra day for this schedule to make it doable. Do you have tips for this trip? To shorten the drive-distance, nice places for sleeping, eating, more places to see, or better skip places. Please let me know :)

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

    Default Rushed.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    That's quite hectic pace in places. For instance, 2 days to get from SF to LA Via Yosemite and Sequoia will hardly leave you anytime to see these amazing places and after LA the pace continues in the same manner. On paper, yes it's doable but I would think about cutting back a bit, where [if at all] would be your choice. You could drop Sequoia and head from Yosemite to Vegas by crossing the mountains on CA120 [Tioga pass] and then Zion, Bryce, Moab through Monument valley and end in LA. On a personal level I would most likely drop LA and enjoy the wonderful scenery the Southwest has to offer. If that's not an option perhaps choose between Niagara and Moab/Capitol Reef.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I really have to agree, you've got several cases where you're going to spend so much time on the road, you're not going to have any time to see the places you are driving through.

    Sequoia and Yosemite are each cases where you'll need to be on the road for 7-8 hours before you stop for sightseeing at 2 huge parkes, and then with Bryce and Zion you're trying to see 2 parks on a day where you'll be on the road for at least 6 hours.

    I'll mention that if money is any issue, a one way car rental from NYC to Buffalo and then a one way flight from Buffalo to SF are both likely going to be quite expensive.

  4. #4


    If it was me, I'd definitely drop LA. We did something a little similar last September, but we had a full 3 weeks and not one part of it was rushed, thanks to some great advice on here.

    You could also skip Sequoia as mentioned, as you can still see some of the trees in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite.
    If you're going to Monument Valley, I'd stay in the View hotel, therefore you'll be right there for sunset & sunrise which is when the place is at it's best and best times for photography (sunset especially).
    I'm going to throw Canyonlands into the mix also as something you might consider, as this park in particular was one of the highlights of our trip.
    We've another trip planned for Oct/Nov, a little shorter but concentrating on what we loved best, and honestly Grand Canyon doesn't factor into it!

    PS: Lovely photo in your house, and I love the size of it too!

  5. Default

    We did something similar last year. 3 nights in NYC then flew over to Vegas and began our roadtrip. Most rental places dont have a one way fee between Vegas and SFO (which is where we ended our trip)
    We did it in 2 and a half weeks and had to drop LA which worked out better as we had a few days in Yosemite which I would recommend. Looking to go to Arches, Capitol Reef etc in Sept ourselves so can't advise you on that but definitely drop LA and Sequoia, spend 2 nights in Yosemite and then drive along the Tioga pass, onto the 395 (I think) stay somewhere around Bishop and then drive through Death Valley into Vegas.

    Hope that helps. Have fun.

  6. Default Drop NY, start in Vegas end in San Francisco

    Thank you all for your replies. I realise we have not much time to see everything we would like to see on our trip. We are considering to drop NY city + Niagara Falls. That would give us some more breathing space.
    I also considered dropping LA. But my BF didnt agree with that. He would like to visit Kingman, Victorville, LA airport + Mojave for watching aeroplanes. He is an aeroplane spotter..

    But he agrees, if we run out of time and have to drop something. It will be LA.
    Thats why we were thinking of starting in Vegas and end in San Francisco instead of the other way round.

    Yesterday we figured out the best days/times/prices for flying tickets. Leaving San Francisco on monday instead of sunday, gives us the possibility to fly in the evening instead of morning. That means we have 1 day extra :) But we also need one more day off from work. Leaving Amsterdam one day later results in much higher ticket prices (more than I earn in one day work) So thats not an option :p
    By seeing the prices for flights from New York to Las Vegas we thought it would be better to come back another time for visiting New York :p

    Means we have much more time for the roadtrip :D Ill write down our new schedule:
    day 1 (th): flying, arrive at 4.48 pm in Vegas
    day 2 (fr): Las Vegas
    day 3 (sa): Drive to Zion, stay there and after dinner drive to Bryce and sleep somewhere near. Does anyone know a nice place to stay there?
    day 4 (su): sunrice at Bryce, driving to Torrey and spend the night there
    day 5 (mo): Capitol Reef, driving to Moab
    day 6 (tu): Arches, spend the night again in Moab
    day 7 (we): Canyonlands, drive a few hours to our next sleeping place (somewhere between Moab + Monument Valley, any suggestions? View hotel is to expensive :p )
    day 8 (tu): drive to Monument Valley, see sunset, and sleep in Kayenta
    day 9 (fr): drive to Antelope Canyon, sleep in Page
    day 10 (sa): Horseshoe band, drive to Grand Canyon (sleep near Grand Canyon somewhere)
    day 11 (su): Grand Canyon, drive to Kingman and spend the night there
    day 12 (mo): Kingman, drive to Victorville, drive to LA to spend the night
    day 13 (tu): LA
    day 14 (we): LA, drive to Mojave, sleep in Bakersfield
    day 15 (th): drive to Seqoia or Death Valley (we are not sure what is nicer to see?)
    day 16 (fr): drive to Yosemite, sleep somewhere near.
    day 17 (sa): Yosemite, drive to San Francisco
    day 18 (su): San Francisco
    day 19 (mo): San Francisco, leaving at 9.05 pm :(

    When we run out of time we drive from Kingman to Las Vegas, through Tioaga pass to Yosemite. We save 2 days on that :)

    What do you think of this trip??? I assumed all parks are open 7 days a week?
    Last edited by snoda88; 02-03-2011 at 05:52 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The right decision !

    I think you have made the right choice and I am convinced you will have a far more rewarding trip because of it !!

    For Bryce canyon you could look at 'Ruby's Inn' which is at the top of the canyon entrance, great place. Tropic nearby will offer cheaper lodgings.

    All parks are open 7 days a week and you can buy an annual pass for $80 that permits entrance to all parks and is cheaper than paying individually with the number you are visiting.

    Your trip is a little 'messy' [unfinished] after Kingman, but before I go into detail could you tell us if it is still possible to fly out from LA, or whether you are already booked to fly out of San Fran ?

  8. Default Aeroplane spotting

    @ Southwest Dave

    Thanks for your advise :)
    No we didnt booked the flights yet :)
    But we really dont want to miss San Francisco and Yosemite. I agree it's a bit messy at the end. If it was up to me, I would drop Victorville and LA right away. And drive from Kingman to Las Vegas, through Tioaga pass to Yosemite, like we would do if we run out of time.
    But my BF wants to see the aeroplanes XD Sometimes I get crazy of it :P

    Maybe there are some aeroplane spotters on this forum??? Who can tell me if there are some other nice places to see aeroplanes (flying or broken doesnt matter :p ). As long as it is on the route.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Mojave is a "boneyard" where old airplanes are stored and preserved. There isn't much activity there and you can't get close enough to the flight line to see much. It is not open to the public, anything you see must be seen from outside the fence. The only aircraft storage facility that I'm aware of that has tours is the military boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB outside of Tucson AZ.

    I don't know how public the access at Victorville is - with security concerns these days, I doubt it's very accommodating - I don't see any public tours mentioned on their website.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default one idea

    One thing you might do then is go from the Grand Canyon, then to Death Valley, Yosemite, to San Francisco, and down the coast to finish your trip in LA.

    You could head back inland at Cambria and shoot over to Mojave and Victorville, and down to LA. However I also question how much you're really going to get to see there.

    You are also going to be careful, because your trip is already packed full, and I'd be looking to figure out what places to cut much more than thinking about adding additional spots.

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