From DC to the Wild West and Back
Just got a huge break at work and will be able to take my first vacation all year - so of course, I'm hitting the road! I'll have 10 - 11 days (Oct 7 -17), will be leaving from DC. I was looking for suggestions of the best route (thinking a southern route out, northern route back), but am also considering flying out and renting a car to have more time actually driving out west. If I fly out am thinking NM, UT and CO mainly. Was wondering what is a "don't miss" in your opinion. Do you think it'd be better to fly and drive or enjoy the drive out. I'll be doing this solo, so all the driving is under my foot (which is quite leaded!). Thanks for the great site - so much info!!
Utah in October -- Hard to beat
I like to go on road trips anywhere in North America in October -- it is the best month by far for such trippin'. Given the choice I would certainly urge you to fly to Las Vegas. Round-trip fares to Las Vegas are the least expensive flights of any western city originating from Wash DC.
Using LV as a base, you can easily drive to seven national parks within 8 hours of LV in Utah, California and Arizona. There is more than plenty to see in those areas and you will not face the near 5000 mile road trip jaunt between DC and the west.
One of the least visited NP is Great Basin in Nevada and the Grand is always great.
You should certainly read another post from a fellow road tripper on this same subject. Check out: (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/roadtripamericaConference/Index.cfm?CFApp=44&Message_ID=2117)
Have an adventure!
You are going to lose 5 to 6 days just getting to the west and back. I agree with the other poster. Fly out to Las Vegas and make that your jumping off point. You have to worry about snow in Colordo in Oct. It doesn't happen often but when it does you can get a blizzard. Make sure you listen to weather forcast before you travel to the mountains.
Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, scenic Hwy 12 through Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, Moab, Utah and nearby Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, & Deadhorse State Park. Take scenic Hwy 128 to I-70 to head to Colorado. Colorado National Monument, head south Hwy 50 to Ouray, Silverton and Durango, Colorado. Mesa Verde National Park. Head back to AZ and go to Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon before heading back to Las Vegas.