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  1. Default Needing help/advice on a road trip from Chicago to LA!


    I've been reading through these forums for the past couple weeks and found multiple of the same trips that I am trying to take. Unfortunately, most all have been in a different season or multiple years ago, so I have not found as much use out of them as I had hoped.

    I am leaving thursday morning to Los Angeles from Chicago, and want to get to LA on the 25/26th. I would prefer not to show up later, but a day or two wouldn't be the worst thing to happen. I'm leaving with my girlfriend so we can split up driving. My first destination I am planning on hitting is Colorado, specifically I want to go to Steamboat Springs (unless somebody has a better suggestion??). What would the best place to stop from Chicago to Colorado be? It's about an 18 hour drive, and 12 hours would be the MAX we want to drive on the first day. Of course I'm looking for something safe as well as possibly interesting.

    From Colorado, I would like to head to Utah, either Bryce Canyon National Park or Zion National park; Or both!! I'm not sure how long the drive would be, but I may need to stop somewhere to spend the night as well. Any Suggestions?! From there I plan on going to the Grand Canyon...and finally LA. I have never driven further than 4 hours from home so I have no idea where I will have to stop in between Utah/Arizona to rest. Maybe there are some cool spots along the way to sight see??

    Honestly I haven't even built a route to how I am getting to Colorado let alone any of the other states, so any bit of advice/routes would help a ton! I am moving out west so I want to make the trip worthwhile :)

    Thanks so much, and I love the idea behind this forum. Who knows....this trip may be just the beginning to many more...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Getting started.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by szilber View Post
    Honestly I haven't even built a route to how I am getting to Colorado let alone any of the other states, so any bit of advice/routes would help a ton! I am moving out west so I want to make the trip worthwhile :)

    Thanks so much, and I love the idea behind this forum. Who knows....this trip may be just the beginning to many more...
    Here is a paragraph to help you get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    At about 1200 miles, Chicago to Steamboat Springs is about a 20-22 hour drive. If you got that "18 hour" figure from a computer, the computer doesn't have to fill a car with fuel, get food, go to the bathroom, stop and stretch its legs - but you do. It's two very long days on the road, mostly on I-80 by the shortest route, and your halfway point is right around Aurora, NE. Just a hair further is Grand Island, where there are more choices for motels.

    From Steamboat Springs, it's another almost-600 miles (some of it on 2-lane roads) to Zion. From Zion to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (easiest to access, and also the rim most people think of) is about 255 miles, most of that on 2-lane roads. Grand Canyon to LA is a long, 10 hour drive.

    To really see Zion, allow at least one full day. Same with Grand Canyon, if not two so that you can see a sunrise or sunset over the Canyon.

    If you want to take more than a day to drive from the Grand Canyon to LA, you could consider stopping in Barstow and driving along the old Rt 66 between GC and Kingman.


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


    The first thing to note is that electronic mapping programs are not great for estimating travel time. A computer doesn't have the need to eat and sleep or to fill with gas, never mind other real world problems such as road congestion and construction. In other words you won't get from Chicago to Steamboat in 18 hours, but you could still do the trip in 2 full days of driving between 10 and 11 hours with appropriate stops. Grand Island NE would be a good target for day one with an early start. It would be another 2 days of driving direct to LA, with Springdale UT being a good days drive which is a lovely town on the doorstep of Zion NP and to do it justice, you would need to spend a full day in the park. From Springdale you could drive direct to LA. Yes, there are plenty of other options, Rocky mountain NP, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce canyon, Grand canyon and many more but only you can decide which you want to see and whether or not you want to add a day or two to make it possible to include much else.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Something to Consider

    Visiting the Grand Canyon in August can, surprisingly, be an unpleasant experience. This year to date, with visitations up and the operating budget down, facilities and personnel are stretched to the limit. This is especially true of the by far more popular South Rim. In contrast, the North Rim receives far fewer visitors and is a more 'natural' setting for seeing the canyon. It is also more easily reachable from Zion. You would get to it by taking Alt-US-89 south from Kanab UT to Jacob Lake AZ and AZ-67 south from there. As noted, the North Rim is considerably less crowded and more tranquil, it is at a higher elevation, farther north, and densely wooded - thus cooler. The downside is that there is no road along the rim, so unless you're willing to hike a bit, your views of the canyon will mostly be from the same closely grouped vantage points. Still, having visited both rims, there is nothing wrong with either one. Both are spectacular. But in this case I believe the logistics and time of year favor the North Rim.


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