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  1. #1

    Default El Paso to San Francisco (10th - 26th November) from the UK

    Hello everyone,

    Hope you are well. This is my first post on this forum (I hope I've done it correctly!)

    My boyfriend (Thomas) and I are spending November in the USA - travelling from the UK. We're flying to NYC on the 2nd, Austin, TX on the 5th and get to El Paso on the 10th. Here we hire a car (at 18:30) until 26th November (drop off at San Francisco at 18:30). Fly home from SF on the 1st December!

    So, in short, we have a car (Ford Mustang) from 10th - 26th. I've had a flying visit to the south-west before when my old band toured (Florida to AZ and back) a few years ago and I have a fair idea of the places I'd like to spend a bit more time.

    We are both into natural history (both work as ecologists) and we love music (both play in bands!)

    • Carlsbad Caverns
      White Sands
      Meteor Crater/Petrified Forest
      Grand Canyon
      Page, AZ (raft trip in Canyon) - from Flagstaff on Route 89
      Historic Route 66 (Kingman)
      Saguaro cacti
      Joshua Tree
      LA - SF PCH drive

    We did want to go to Yosemite but I understand November isn't the best time to go (winter road closures). We plan on returning to road trip North of SF/Portland/Seattle etc so will probably incorporate a trip to Yosemite then.

    I'd be really, really grateful for any input on the above... i.e. route advice, must see places in south-west that we should try incorporate into our trip, etc. I really want to make sure we make the most of our 16 day roadtrip!

    Thank you in advance,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Few Others

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You can fit everything you've listed into a two week RoadTrip with relative ease, as long as you don't plan to spend more than a day or two at each site, and for most of them a single day is quite sufficient. What I would suggest, then, is that rather than just concentrating on the geology and flora of the area you delve into the human ecology a bit as well. Humans have been living in this relatively harsh landscape for over 10,000 years and there are a number of sites that let you see how they did it, some almost directly on your route and others a bit farther afield.

    Let's start with the human habitation sites that you would almost trip over on your present route. These include Walnut Canyon National Monument and the Museum of Northern Arizona (both in the Flagstaff area), the oddity of London Bridge in the Southwest desert, and Santa Barbara's Museum of Natural History. A few others that would require at least some rerouting are the Salinas Pueblos and Petroglyph National Monument outside Albuquerque, the Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico, Canyon de Chelly National Monument outside Chinle AZ, and Tuzigoot National Monument reachable via Oak Creek Canyon from the Flagstaff area.

    As for music venues, your best bets are probably in one of the many college towns you'll be passing through such as El Paso (UTEP), Albuquerque (U. of New Mexico), Flagstaff (U. Of No. Arizona), Los Angeles (UCLA, USC and others), and San Francisco (Cal, Stanford, and others).

    And one other thing. Since you will be visiting a number of national parks and monuments it will be worth it to you to buy an annual pass at the first one you come to. It's $80 but is good for admission to all facilities in the national park system for the holder and everyone in the car with him/her.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default So long as you are heading in that direction....

    If you follow most of the above, and head to/towards Albuquerque, I would highly recommend that you include Mesa Verde NP. It more than almost any other place is shows how/where people lived hundreds of years ago. These are accessible by ranger guided tours only. The rangers really make the place come alive.

    With your interests I'd say it's not to be missed.

    It you want to experience route 66 from Kingman, continue on it all the way to Topock, through the lovely little old town of Oatman.... with the burros wondering down the main street. It is much more authentic than the bit to Seligman.

    Last edited by Lifemagician; 09-22-2015 at 01:06 AM. Reason: correction

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default another option

    Quote Originally Posted by teamgritty View Post
    • Saguaro cacti

    I will note if you want to see Saquaro's, the only place you can see them is in Southern Arizona. Probably the easiest place to see lots of the is by visiting Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, although you'd see some just by driving through this part of the country.

    The easiest way to fit this in would be to head towards Tucson after White Sands, instead of going up towards Albuquerque. Then eventually head up through Phoenix to Flagstaff. Tucson and Phoenix could also both be good stops based on your music interests.

    I'll also note that Yosemite isn't a bad place to visit in November at all. It is true that there could be some snow related road closures, especially Tioga Pass across the Sierras, but the park is open year round, and winter can be a nice time to visit.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    To add to MWMichael's comments, above, Saguaro National Park is in two different sections. The eastern portion of the park has a huge forest of the cacti. In the western section, the cacti are more spread out, and may be a little older. Both sections are easy to see through a driving tour.


  6. #6


    Thank you all so much for your suggestions and advice. Please keep it coming!

    Yes - I'd read about Tucson being the place for cacti! I've been before but Thomas hasn't. I'd happily go again - absolutely loved it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Tucson's 'Natural' Stuff

    Besides Saguaro National Park, there are a few other great natural and ecologic sites in the Tucson area including Kartchner Caverns, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Coronado National Forest, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. And if you do decide to come through Tucson and then continue up through Phoenix, consider taking the 'back' road, AZ-77/AZ-79 and visit Boyce Thompson Arboretum on your way north.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    To tag onto AZBuck's suggestion of AZ 77-79, at Hayden-Winkelman, take AZ-177 north to Superior. You should get at least one view of the Ray Mine at Kearny. And I second the suggested of the Arboretum -- very impressive! On the way into Phoenix on US-60 west (AKA "The Superstition Freeway") you'll get more than a few views of the Superstition Mountains -- home of the claimed Lost Dutchman Mine.


  9. #9


    If you get a chance visit Bisbee Arizona. You might run in to fellow Brits there.


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