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  1. Default Milwaukee, WI to Grand Canyon road trp


    My friend and I are trying to plan a road trip to the grand canyon. I also want to see Zion and Arches national park on the way back for sure. Our plans so far are nonexistent. I figured I'd post in this forum and get ideas of the best route to get to the GC, how much time to set aside, and so on. Also, what are other neat places to stop at on the way to the GC and beyond when we hit up other parks on the way home. The duration of this road trip can be as long as we need. Thanks in advance for any assistance! :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default General Answers to General Questions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you've read more than just a few of the discussions on this site, you'll already know that we don't do generic 'must see' or 'best of' lists, so I'll first offer just an outline of what you'll need to be aware of as you and your friend set about planning your RoadTrip.

    First: Time. You'll need at least a full week to make the round trip drive from Milwaukee to the Grand Canyon when you factor in the other places you'd like to include. Add another week to actually explore the many places you've already mentioned as well as others worth seeing that are more or less on your way and you will need two weeks, absolute minimum, to make this an enjoyable trip.

    Second: Basic Planning. We usually recommend, and your trip is no different, that you take different routes out and back so as to maximize the amount of new country you get to explore. In your case that would be basically down to St. Louis then across to Kansas City, through Kansas and southern Colorado to Arizona. Return up through Utah and across northern Colorado to the Platte River and the old Oregon Trail through Nebraska and through central Iowa back home.

    Third: Compatibility. You say you plan to travel with a friend. You also need to be aware that it's incredibly easy for you both to think in broad terms that a RoadTrip would be wonderful and think that you're in agreement when you each have very different ideas and plans for that trip. It's important, then, that you sit down and work out what you want from your trip before planning goes much further.

    Fourth: Budget. Ah yes, money. While it's possible to do such a trip on a bare bones budget, sleeping in a tent at state parks, eating out of a cooler, etc., it's more realistic to plan on a budget of about $150/day for food and lodging, plus gas, plus admission to attractions, plus (and this is important) a contingency fund in the case of a breakdown, accident, medical emergency, or other unforeseen event. So, I'd say you need to have about $3,000 - minimum - between the two of you before you can turn your dream into reality. Obviously, if you're going to be longer than two weeks, the costs will rise.

    Fifth: Sites. Note that this is purposefully last on my list of things you need to worry about. There are literally dozens and dozens of places that might appeal to you on such a trip. Among the ones you should be looking at are Hannibal MO, Dodge City, Mesa Verde, Four Corners, Monument Valley, several smaller national monuments in the Flagstaff AZ area, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Arches (and Canyonlands) National Parks, Colorado National Monument, Rocky Mountains NP, and the Oregon Trail sites. And those are just the major ones on your route; there are many, many more.

    So talk all this over with your friend and see if you still think it's possible. If so, please continue to come back and we'll be more than happy to help you both avoid some mistakes that we've made and hit some out-of-the-way places we've stumbled upon in our own travels.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    To add to what AZBuck has already mentioned: time is what you definitely need, if you want to actually see things that you've driven to.

    Grand Canyon -- at least one full day, that includes the ability to see either a sunset or a sunrise over the Canyon.

    Zion -- at least one full day (and time to drive from GC to Zion) -- more if you'd like to do a longer hike, like the Narrows, Angels Landing, etc (providing each is open).

    Arches -- at least one full day, or at least the better part of the day, more if you want to do any serious hiking besides out to Landscape Arch or some of the viewpoints.

    Nearby Arches -- Deadhorse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park. There are lots of BLM campsites along UT-128 that weren't overly used, one weekday July day a few years back.


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