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  1. Default Route ideas (to inc Yosemite, and Zion)

    I am stuck on thinking of a route for my trip that will take place in late August/September. I will more than likely be on my own (late 20s). What i'm looking for is amazing scenery to photograph, but also at least a few stops in large cities. I also could do with some adventure (even if it's just a few of the more interesting hikes!). I do not want to end up having to stay in the middle of nowhere with no one around for miles, as being on my own this wont be much fun.

    I would like to at least include Yosemite, and Zion. Other than that the route is open to suggestion, and will be approx 3 weeks in length.

    I do not want to visit LA, and do not do tacky tourist activities, so please keep those away from any suggestions you have. If i have to stay in Las Vegas, i would prefer it to be a quick stopover.

    The budget is strictly limited, so i can't stay in high end hotels either, though will have a car for the entire time if required.

    Please help, as i've been saying i'm going on holiday for years now and not actually gone anywhere :D


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

    Default From where ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You will get many ideas searching through the forums and you should also check out the Map Centre where you can create routes and find attractions along them, or find attractions and create a route around them. When you have a few more dots on the map we can help fill in the blanks. Bryce canyon, Antelope canyon, Monument valley, Grand canyon, Death valley are just a few options that offer incredible landscapes and amazing photography opportunity's.

    To be of any additional help it would be good to know where your trip starts from and whether it ends in the same place.

  3. Default

    The trip can start or end anywhere really. I have been thinking of flying in to Denver/Salt Lake City, and out from San Francisco, but it doesn't have to be those places :)

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

    Default That doesn't narrow it down then.

    That literally leaves you with thousands of options which you could turn into a 'loop' trip or a one way trip, the latter will most likely have one way drop off fee's with your car rental.

    From Denver for example, you could visit Rocky mountain NP, Black canyon, Colorado NM, Arches and Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, plus those places mentioned above and Lot's, Lot's more. As I said previously, you need to look around and get some ideas together [it's your trip after all] and once you have done so we can offer meaningful advice.

  5. Default

    I have had more of a think and so far have this:
    Dates: 27/August > 18/September
    Flights: London > Chicago > Denver, San Francisco / Los Angeles > London

    27: Fly in to Chicago
    28: Chicago
    29: Chicago
    30: Fly in to Denver
    31: ?
    01: ?
    02: Drive to Arches NP
    03: ?
    04: Drive to Bryce Canyon NP
    05: Bryce Canyon NP
    06: Zion NP
    07: Zion NP
    08: Drive to Las Vegas
    09: Drive to Mammoth Lakes (maybe), via Death Valley
    10: Mammoth Lakes
    11: Drive to Yosemite, via Mono Lake
    12: Yosemite
    13: Yosemite
    14: Drive to San Francisco
    15: San Francisco
    16: ?
    17: ?
    18: Drive to LA, and fly home

    There are a lot of gaps to fill!

    The reason for adding LA as a possible end point (even though i don't want to stay there, just fly from there), it to add some time at the beach. There's also the added benefit of Highway 1. I have done this route before when much younger on a family holiday, so am not to worried if my trip ends in SF and i miss it.

    Ideally i would also like to ignore Las Vegas and stay somewhere else, but i'm not sure there are that many options in that area! I am also undecided on Death Valley or Sequoia.

    Please help me fill some gaps :) Remember that the main purpose is photography, and i will be on my own. Ideally i don't want to be camping (unless it's on a group activity trip or something like that), and also do not want to spend a fortune on hotels. My last major trip was to NZ and i found it much simpler to find very good low end accommodation, this is something i am struggling with in the US at the moment.

    I am having problems finding a rental car for a reasonable sum of money also. The one way fees seem extreme for this route. It's cheaper to go Cali to Denver, but i'd rather go the other way and end my trip by the sea.

    Any help would be appreciated, this is my last trip before i buy a house, so it needs to be a good one! :D

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    There are plenty of things that could fill in your gaps. In fact, Dave's last list of ideas (including rocky mountain, canyonlands, etc) would fill in your blanks quite nicely for the first section around Denver and Moab.

    If you want to skip Vegas, and don't mind missing Death Valley, you could drive directly from Zion to Mammoth/Mono via Caliente and Tonopah Nevada.

    Your final 2 gap days seem pretty obvious - especially since you mentioned it already - but 2 days to drive the coast would be a very nice way to finish things off. (a portion of CA-1 collapsed this week north of Big Sur, but hopefully by August they'll have that fixed.)

  7. Default

    I have been told that around Arches/Bryce/Zion it will be very hot and hazy during September which is a problem for me :( So need to either have a complete new route, or move this by a month or so.

    Is October a better time?

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

    Default October is my favourite time.

    If you are not keen on heat, October would be better. It is generally a cooler, dry Month and a great time to travel in my opinion. You will find climate data for the parks with a simple search like here at Zion NP. The visitor numbers start to dwindle as well in October making it my favourite time to travel, but if it came down to visiting these places in September or not at all, I would take September.

  9. Default

    Haze is more of a problem for me because it reduces my photographic opportunities. September is the ideal time for me to go really, but i could potentially push it by a few weeks if it really makes it better.

    Either that or i make a route starting in Seattle and going down the coast...!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default It need not be so!

    Quote Originally Posted by WhyHelloThere View Post being on my own this won't be much fun.
    As a solo traveller having covered some 100000 miles during four trips which total almost 20 months, I can only say, the extend to which your trip is fun, is completely up to you. Of course, if you start with the mindset that it will not be fun, it won't be.

    Let me share some of the things which for me have made my trips topics of great interest to others and wonderful memories for myself. Maybe they will give you some ideas.

    No matter where you are, talk to the locals. You already have a topic which is of great interest to the majority of the population... photography! Why not ask for something extra ordinary they can suggest? Or some out of the way place? Or whatever! You would be amazed how this can lead to a conversation where you will learn about things which are not in tourist brochures or on the internet.

    When some heard that I was travelling alone, they were always amazed (given that I am female), and I have had offers of accommodation (not taken up) and others who refused to let me pay for my accommodation. When having a meal don't sit down at a table on your own. Try to choose a table with another sole traveller. [Initial enquiry usually gives a good indication as to whether you are welcome or not.] The places I have seen and been because someone suggested it, are numerous. Sure there were disappointments, but very few.

    Many of these are folk with whom I am still in contact, and whom I have visited on subsequent trips. I take along business cards printed especially for the trip, and hand them out freely. All it needs to have is your name, what you do, email address and web address - if any. I also include the address of this site, where I post my field report.

    You need not always be alone. You can make this a fun trip. But it is up to you.

    Lifey who is planning her fifth trip

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