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  1. Default Upstate NY to Utah

    I was going to take this trip in October, but with the current situation itís been delayed to either the spring or fall. Our plan is to do the 5 NPs in UT, Las Vegas and back. For the trip out, what would be the best (interesting, fastest, less traffic, etc) route. I-70 or I-80. Either way, I guess Iím going through Denver with our first stop being the Arches.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    How much time do you have for the trip, and do you have any goals other than seeing the National Parks of Utah?

    As just a very base idea, I'd plan to do some kind of loop. Perhaps taking I-80 all the way through Nebraska, which is toll most of the way to Chicago, then cutting down I-76 to Denver and I-70. (You could also go through Rocky Mountain NP perhaps). On the way back, perhaps go down to I-40 - especially if the Grand Canyon is also in your plans - and then head back on I-44 and I-70.

    But that's just a rough idea. Depending upon where you are starting from, you could take I-40 all the way to I-81 as well - or do any of a million different combinations depending upon what you want to see.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default One Other

    I totally agree with Michael that an integral part of your planning should involve taking different routes out and back, but I might move one of those routes a bit farther south. With the 'Mighty Five' in your plans, adding the Grand Canyon and a number of other National Parks and Monuments in northern Arizona becomes feasible enough to bear investigation. This return (although you could, of course, take it either way) would use basically I-40 to Nashville, I-65 to Louisville, I-71 to Cleveland, and finally I-90 to southwestern New York. Such a routing would also let you include the Ozarks, a couple of music venues (Memphis for blues, Nashville for country and western), as well as some Civil War sites. Remember, the road is more than just a method to get to your destination, it can be the (or another) destination in itself.

    For your consideration, the shortest possible route for you would be the 'northern' (I-90/I-80/I-76/I-70) route through Chicago at about 2,300 miles. (All distances are measured from Ithaca to St. George.) The 'middle' route (I-90/I-71/I-70) is about 2,350 miles. And the 'southern' route I described above is about 2,600 miles. So all are roughly comparable although the 'southern' route will add a half day or so to your driving time. But without knowing how much time you have or what your goals are other than visiting the National parks in southwestern Utah, that's about as specific as we can get.


  4. #4


    Upstate NY is kind of undefined so for discussion purposes I assumed Rochester and chose Arches NP. A couple of my upfront biases: 1) avoid Chicago and 2) generally prefer I-80 over the I-70 section from St. Louis to Denver (it if only one time for you then maybe not so bad and approaching Denver is enlightenment)--density of trucking is a big factor. Having said that, I-80 via Chicago is 1,936 and I-70 is 2,000 miles per Google, so 70 miles more is a no brainer and probably washes easily on tolls vs. additional gasoline, maybe even a net savings. And not the worries of a flat tire or misalignment from the numerous road hazards on the Chicago.

    Going West from Maryland makes I-70 the no-brainer speed run option. But, I usually detour SW at St Louis to Springfield/Joplin, MO, and then head out onto the US highways via Wichita, Dodge City, KS and fork from there. You could easily hook up with US-160 via La Junta & Durango, CO, visit Mesa Verde NP, and approach Arches NP from the South. It depends upon the circle you wish to visit in Utah/Four Corners region.

    P.S. It is kinda nice to be thinking about Road Trips again after putting most everything on hold for a year!
    Last edited by landmariner; 12-02-2020 at 09:56 AM. Reason: P.S. added.

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