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  1. Default Best way to travel from St. Louis to Grand Canyon

    We are a dutch family if 5 with 3 teenagers. We are planning a roadtrip in the USA next year. We will arrive at June 29th in Chicago and leave at July 24th from San Francisco.

    The places we surely are going to visit are Chicago – St. Louis – Monument Valley – Grand Canyon (we think of North Rim) – Las Vegas – Los Angeles – Yosemite – San Francisco.
    We hired a RV with unlimited miles ;-)
    We would like to have some advice for the middle part of our trip. We will celebrate 4th of July in St. Louis and plan to arrive at Grand Canyon 12th of July. So we have approx. a week.

    We have a several options:
    • We can follow original route 66:
    St. Louis – Springfield -Tulsa – Oklahoma City – Amarillo – Albuquerque – Gallup and then north to Monument Valley.
    • Another option is to cross a little bit higher:
    St. Louis – Joplin – Wichita – Colorado Springs – Durango – Monument Valley
    • Or even more higher and visit Denver.

    I would like to have some advice what will be the best (and of course nicest) road to pass the Rocky Mountains. We have to regard we are travelling with an rv.

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

    Default No 'best' but some great options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As you are going to the North rim I personally would opt for routing through Colorado and Utah. The scenery is amazing and you could visit Rocky mountain NP and Arches and Canyonlands near Moab before driving through Monument valley. You could take US50 from near Colorado Springs that would take you through the Currecanti Rec area to Black canyon of the Gunnison NP. Another route from Moab by-passing MV, but worth it in my opinion, would be to go from Moab to Bryce canyon via UT24 through Capitol Reef NP and take UT scenic 12.
    From the North rim to Vegas I would allow time to stop at Zion NP, amazing !

    If your flights and drop off point are not yet booked you might look at going from Vegas to San Fran via the Tioga Pass [CA120] into Yosemite and head south down the coast to LA to put the ocean on your side of the road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default To Add to That

    I totally agree with Dave that if seeing the Rocky Mountains is high on your list of priorities, then you'll want to head through Colorado. Farther south, say following the route of the former US-66 (which has been decommissioned and replaced by I-44/I-40 between St. Louis and Arizona), you'd be crossing the country on the High Plains and Colorado Plateau rather than crossing the Rockies. It's also worth noting that getting from St. Louis to Denver would or could entail passing through or near many locations associated with the 'Old West' if such sites are of interest to you. These might possibly include St. Joseph MO - the starting point for the Pony Express, Kansas City - the eastern terminus of both the Osage and Santa Fe Trails, Fort Scott KS - with a restored calvary fort, Dodge City - an old cattle town, and other such places.

    Another advantage of taking a slightly more northern route is that after Denver, you can visit Rocky Mountain National Park as Dave suggested, then continue west on US-40 to Dinosaur National Monument, drop down on CO-139 to Grand Junction and Colorado National Monument, then continue west on I-70 over the San Rafael Swell to Arches National Park, all before continuing south on US-191/US-163 past Goosenecks State Park to Monument Valley.

    Note that Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park and not a National Park, so any annual National Parks pass that you would (and should!) get will not work there. But otherwise, your National Parks pass will get you and everyone in your car into pretty much every park, monument, and other member of the National Parks system. The pass does not, however, cover any 'special' fees such as parking, camping, etc. But it pretty much pays for itself if you are going to visit four or more park units during your travels. The year for which it is good starts at the time of purchase, so it makes no sense to get one ahead of time. Just buy it at the first park you come to that charges admission; they'll have the annual passes for sale at the gate.

    After visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, you could easily continue on to Las Vegas and then head northwest through Death Valley to US-395 and cross the Sierra Nevada on CA-120 over Tioga Pass and into Yosemite before competing your journey into San Francisco.

    People can and do travel all of the above roads every day in RVs/caravans. Some roads will be slow going, but your vehicle should be able to handle them all. As a courtesy to other drivers on two-lane roads, keep half an eye on the traffic lined up behind you, and if the road does not offer many chances for them to pass you, pull over occasionally - where safe and convenient - to let them pass.


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