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Thread: Toronto to LA

  1. Default Toronto to LA

    Hey guys,

    Had a last minute change of plans and my road trip got moved up. Leaves me in a bad spot cause I don't really have too much planned, so I thought I'd post here for some advice. Unfortunately, the road trip's length is limited, I got 6-7 days max to make the drive, most likely leaving in a week. I've looked into Route 66, I like that it passes through two national parks, some small towns and a good amount of variety in sight seeing spots. The only down side is I did want to go to Colorado (to see the national forests) or Tennessee (to see the Great Smoky Mountains) on the way. Does anyone have any recommendations for routes and/or places to visit? I love greenery, nature, small towns and artisan shops/stores. Being realistic I know I can't stop and spend a lot of time everywhere, so driving through forests, mountains or greenery would make the drive so much better. Apologizes about the last minute-ness about all of this, would love any advice.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Compromise May Be In Order

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The most direct all-Interstate route from Toronto to Los Angeles would take at least four and a half days, and while it does go through Colorado it doesn't follow what used to be US-66 at all and it does go around Chicago. On the other hand, with only six days to make the trip, you don't have a lot of time for major detours.

    What I'd suggest then is to head from Lansing MI down to Indianapolis using I-69 and pick up I-70 to St. Louis. From there to Los Angeles, I-44/I-40/I-15 roughly follow the old US-66 alignment. While that old route has been decommissioned, the physical roadbed is still there, now marked as various state route 66's, 'Historic Route 66', or other designations. You won't be able to drive long stretches of the old route but by judiciously picking your spots such as in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri or the high desert of northern Arizona, you can get a feel for what the old road was like without burning up too much extra time. Also along that route are national parks such as Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Mojave National Preserve in California.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Up against the clock.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With the time you have available I really don't think the Smokey mountains are a viable option. As it is by the most direct route it's pretty much 5 full days of driving so you haven't got a lot to play with. Just for the fact you will get to drive some amazing scenery and take breaks from the car to quickly enjoy some great views, I would opt to go through Colorado and into Southern Utah and then drop down through Moab on 191 past Arches and Canyonlands and through Monument valley on 163 and on to the South rim of the Grand canyon before LA. You really need to allow a full 7 days just to reward yourself the briefest of glimpses through this amazing and diverse landscape.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the advice guys!

    I was thinking:
    1. Toronto to Long Beach
    2. Long Beach to Omaha (Short stop in Chicago for a few hours)
    3. Omaha to Denver
    4. Denver to Durango
    5. Durango to Grand Canyon
    6. Grand Canyon to LA

    I was planning out something more elaborate, but it ended up going over time. I'll most likely just be going with the most efficient route here. I go through a few of the national parks in CO, USA. Any thoughts on this?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Generally speaking, that will work, but with some notes.

    I'm not sure how you came up with Long Beach, IN as a stopping point. I've driven through there a million times, and had never even heard of it! Distance-wise, it is fine, although Michigan City would be the far more familiar reference point.

    However, if you do want to make a detour into Chicago, you might want to get a bit farther on your first day. Chicago actually is a bit of a detour, in the sense that you've got about a 30 mile drive North from I-80 to get to Downtown Chicago, and factoring in Traffic, those 30 minute drives could easily take an hour, each way, and from Chicago, you've got nearly 500 miles of driving ahead to get to Omaha. If you want to do even a quick tour of Chicago, I'd probably look for a hotel just into Illinois, near I-80, perhaps near a Metra Rail stop, so you could take the commuter train into and out of the city.

    Which route are you thinking of taking between Denver and Durango? Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison are the two National Parks that are most easily included between those two cities, but each would involve a significantly different route. Remember, because of the mountain roads between those two cities, you're already looking at a 6-8 hour drive, again depending upon your route, so your National Parks stops will have to be pretty quick.

    Similarly, from Durango to the Grand Canyon, you're looking at about 6 hours of driving, and it's a full day from the the Grand Canyon to LA, so you're not going to have a lot of time to explore the Canyon, much less make any other stops along the way.

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