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  1. Default South /West coast help

    We're planning the trip below for next year
    June 1- fly into Vegas
    June 2- drive to/ stay Grand canyon
    June 3/4- drive and stay in Zion
    June 5-7Here's where I'm lost, originally I really want to go to Hoover Damn Raft tour, Death Valley and Sequoia but that seems way out of the way
    June 8-11am Yosemite
    June 11- 12 drive and stay in San Francisco
    June 13- fly home


    So I'm open to any and all suggestions June 5-7 that will get us to see the most sites and least amount of driving.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,648

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first question, which part of the Grand Canyon are you planning to visit? The South Rim is the more visited side, with more services, but the North Rim would be closer to Zion and could mean less driving.

    If you are thinking of going to the Hoover Dam, that would right on the way to the South Rim, so you'd probably want to work that in there.

    As far as getting to Yosemite, there are a couple things. First, will depend a bit on the weather and luck, because you'll be at the mercy of Tioga Pass being open. While the odds of it being open are in your favor, the pass can open any time from mid-May through late June. If its open, it's certainly worth going that route, but if it's closed, you'll have to drive around the Sierras and enter Yosemite from the west.

    In either case, Death Valley would pretty easily fit on the trip from Zion.

    Sequoia on the other hand can only be reached from the west side of the Sierras, so while it's close as the crow flies, it's actually a pretty significant detour. If you have to drive around the Sierras anyway, then it's not as big of a deal to get there, but if it's me, and Tioga Pass is open, I would skip Sequoia and just spend that extra time in Yosemite. There are still groves of Sequoia trees in Yosemite, so you wouldn't need to miss that part of the experience.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,531

    Default You could check out Bryce canyon. (Its pretty cool!)

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Personally I would consider slowing down a little which will mean doing a little less, or at least a little different. As Michael mentioned, which rim are you visiting, North or south ? (Forget West rim/Skywalk. It's not part of the National park and nowhere near as spectacular, just more expensive and tourist led.) To start with I would add another night at the Grand canyon, by the time you have driven there on the 2nd and departed on the 3rd to get to Zion you just won't have had the time to fully appreciate this natural wonder of the world. So I would depart GC on the 4th where you could head to Bryce canyon and then to Zion on the 5th and 6th, depart on the 7th across Death valley and stay around Lone Pine and then back on track to Yosemite, hopefully via Tioga Pass (CA120).

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first question, which part of the Grand Canyon are you planning to visit? The South Rim is the more visited side, with more services, but the North Rim would be closer to Zion and could mean less driving.

    If you are thinking of going to the Hoover Dam, that would right on the way to the South Rim, so you'd probably want to work that in there.

    As far as getting to Yosemite, there are a couple things. First, will depend a bit on the weather and luck, because you'll be at the mercy of Tioga Pass being open. While the odds of it being open are in your favor, the pass can open any time from mid-May through late June. If its open, it's certainly worth going that route, but if it's closed, you'll have to drive around the Sierras and enter Yosemite from the west.

    In either case, Death Valley would pretty easily fit on the trip from Zion.

    Sequoia on the other hand can only be reached from the west side of the Sierras, so while it's close as the crow flies, it's actually a pretty significant detour. If you have to drive around the Sierras anyway, then it's not as big of a deal to get there, but if it's me, and Tioga Pass is open, I would skip Sequoia and just spend that extra time in Yosemite. There are still groves of Sequoia trees in Yosemite, so you wouldn't need to miss that part of the experience.
    We are planning to visit the South rim. We wanted to do a Hoover Dam river tour, I've only found one family friendly one and it starts at 11 and is 2 hours, so we could possibly do it but would end up at the GC a later. Would you send the extra day in Yosemite to make 4 there or add an extra day somewhere else. I guess it would be a wait and see for the Tioga pass.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks, yes I thought about Bryce also, it looks beautiful. We're planning on the south rim.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,940

    Default So Many Sights, So Few Roads

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Actually, I think you can include almost everything on your list if you keep a few things in mind. First and foremost is the fact that many if not most of the places you want to visit are natural wonders that preclude roads: Canyons, mountains, forests and deserts. So you'll simply have to work with what you've got. Let me, then, just point out a few specific things that might help you with your planning.

    1) Plan Early. Even in June, many National Parks will still be restricting the number of visitors and the activities that those visitors can engage in. I'd very much encourage you to come up with a first-draft plan as soon as possible and start trying to make reservations. You'll need to be ready to adjust your plans on the fly as accommodations are, or are not, available.

    2) Limit Your Miles. The best example of this is at the beginning of your trip. I suspect that you are planning to go to the far more popular and accessible South Rim of the Grand Canyon, but the North Rim would actually be a better fit for your other targets. Look at spending your first full day (two nights) in Las Vegas doing a day trip to Hoover Dam, then spending the night cruising the Strip. Then head for the North Rim to see the Canyon. There is one hotel in the Park and on the Rim so try to book as soon as you can. Staying on the North Rim also saves you from having to drive all the way over to Cameron AZ or back to Las Vegas to get to Zion. It would be just a direct drive AZ-67/US-89A/UT-9.

    3) Combine Targets. There's not a whole lot of difference between Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks inasmuch as they both feature essentially forest covered mountains known for their scenic beauty. I would, therefore, suggest that you more or less skip Sequoia which has no easy access from the east side and instead head up to Lee Vining CA and cross Tioga Pass (CA-120) into Yosemite.

    Just with those three considerations, I think you'll find that you'll have quite a bit more time than you thought and can really enjoy the places you do get to. And while we're on the subject of enjoying your destinations, look at the average high temperature for Death Valley in June. It's 110║F, with a record of 127░F! I live in the desert and I can tell you that's simply not enjoyable. You should also make sure that your car rental firm knows that you plan to drive through Death Valley and see if they have any restrictions or recommendations.

    So in summary, I think your trip is doable and not as restricted as you might think. But it will require some compromises and much pre-planning. I've given you a few places where I'd start those processes. Others will have other suggestions. And we're always here to serve as a sounding board as your plans take shape

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Thanks, I hadn't even really considered the north rim but that's a good idea. Death Valley really isn't on the top of my list but I figured it's easy to go thru and check off the list. The distance between Zion and Yosemite is what's getting me, doesn't seem like much of on the way nice places to stop.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,531

    Default Alternative route.

    Just a drive through Death valley with a couple of brief stops can be rewarding enough. However, if it doesn't really appeal to you and the Tioga pass is open, you could get to Lee Vining from Zion in one long day. ( Lee Vining being close to the east entry gate into Yosemite. You will want to take your time over Tioga pass and enjoy some of it's sights the following day) To make this alternative drive interesting you can head south on 1-15 to Moapa and take NV168 to US93 at Coyote springs and north to Crystal springs where you will meet up with NV375. This is otherwise known as the 'ET Highway' where you will find some 'Out of this world' memorabilia and refreshments from the Little A'le'Inn. Expect to see some dust being kicked up by security guards patrolling Area51 in the distance. When you get to US6 you will see abandoned buildings and a small swimming pool fed with water from a natural hot spring just across the road. This is (was) Warm Springs which originally was an old stagecoach station and you can still see remains of the old stone coral. It's worth a quick stop to stretch the legs and look around. US6 then continues to the historic town of Tonopah, 'Queen of the silver camps' back in it's day. At Benton take CA120 to US395 into Lee Vining and after a long day on the road, enjoy sunset over Mono Lake.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Just a drive through Death valley with a couple of brief stops can be rewarding enough. However, if it doesn't really appeal to you and the Tioga pass is open, you could get to Lee Vining from Zion in one long day. ( Lee Vining being close to the east entry gate into Yosemite. You will want to take your time over Tioga pass and enjoy some of it's sights the following day) To make this alternative drive interesting you can head south on 1-15 to Moapa and take NV168 to US93 at Coyote springs and north to Crystal springs where you will meet up with NV375. This is otherwise known as the 'ET Highway' where you will find some 'Out of this world' memorabilia and refreshments from the Little A'le'Inn. Expect to see some dust being kicked up by security guards patrolling Area51 in the distance. When you get to US6 you will see abandoned buildings and a small swimming pool fed with water from a natural hot spring just across the road. This is (was) Warm Springs which originally was an old stagecoach station and you can still see remains of the old stone coral. It's worth a quick stop to stretch the legs and look around. US6 then continues to the historic town of Tonopah, 'Queen of the silver camps' back in it's day. At Benton take CA120 to US395 into Lee Vining and after a long day on the road, enjoy sunset over Mono Lake.
    Thanks so much! It's so overwhelming trying to figure out the best way to get somewhere and not just using Google maps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,943

    Default

    Plan Early. Even in June, many National Parks will still be restricting the number of visitors and the activities that those visitors can engage in.
    Buck, I believe this person said that this is a trip for next year, not this year.

    Note that if you choose to take the ET Highway option, there is no fuel between Ash Springs and Tonopah, this is over 150 miles.

  10. Default

    I think you’re trying to do too much and are driving rather than sightseeing.

    Consider spending one entire day in Zion doing the Narrows Hike in the Virgin River. This can only be done in times of low water flow. Less than 70 cfm is best. With June, you never know. Here is where you can check the flow

    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?09405500

    IF the weather is cooperative, I would go so far as to skip the Grand Canyon in favor of the Narrows. Again, June could have low flow or torrential.

    You HAVE to spend a full day at Bryce! Hike from sunrise point to sunset point. It’s otherworldly!

    I’ve been to the Grand Canyon several times but much prefer Bryce and Zion for the personal experience.

    On the other hand, if you’re planning a hike down into the Grand Canyon, then definitely do that instead.

    You could easily make a loop from Las Vegas and cut out San Francisco. You could add In Arches NP as well as Canyonlands. There are also some unique State Parks such as Goblin Valley.

    I love to visit, and experience, these wonders every time I’d visit the West. For me, the Grand Canyon is beautiful but it’s a “been there, seen that” experience. From the rim, that is.

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