Me and my wife are planning a trip to Denver-Seattle-Denver mid May. The plan is to go to Mt.Rushmore-Yellowstone Park- Helena-Seattle-Portland-Saltlake City-Archies Park-Denver in 9 Days.
I would like to know 3 thing:
1. Do you think the trip is too much in 9 days?
2. Is it a good time of the year to go to the above places (concerned about the weather/road conditions)
3. Anything you think that I should not miss if I go to these places
Any help is appreciated.
Don't get me wrong, Arches is a fantastic park! But if you live in Denver, it's not far from you and you can visit it another time. In order to make the most of your 9 days, I would save it for another time.
Yellowstone often has snow late in the season so I would check the websites to see if snow will still be an issue.
May can be rainy in the Pacific Northwest but it is still a great time to visit. You shouldn't have any snow. The only areas that might still have snow in May are the North Cascades Highway (beautiful drive) and some of the roads up to Mr. Rainier. Snoqualmie Pass (I-90) shouldn't be any problem.
In Washington state, don't miss Mt. St. Helen's. I've gone every year or two since the eruption in 1980 and I never get tired of seeing both the destruction and Mother Nature's renewal.
Other Washington highlights: Grand Coulee Dam, Olympic National Park and the awesome drive around the peninsula, San Juan Islands, Columbia River Gorge, and the Pike Place Farmer's Market in Seattle (the longest farmer's market in the US in continual operation where you can watch the fish tossers).
Miles and Days
Have you calculated out the miles and driving time for your route? It's 3,200 miles and that means you are going to have to average 350 miles of driving each and every day. You're looking at over 50 hours of JUST driving. If you just like driving and getting a short glimps of areas then you might have enought time.
If you want to have a relaxing time and enjoy some areas, then I would do Mt. Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and spend some time in Moab, Utah and see Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Parks and Dead Horse State Park. I would skip Helena, Seattle and Portland and that will cut out over 1,300 miles.
I can spend a week each in Yellowstone and Moab and not get bored. I guess it boils down to how you like your vacations.
I don't know about the that time of year in these locations. I do think it's possible to run into snow, but it shouldn't last long if it does.
BTW, do you live in Denver or will you be flying in?
Judy and Utahtea,
Thank you both for your ideas.
Judy, I think what you are saying is perfect. As I am living in Denver, I can visit Archies another time.
Utahtea, we love spending lot of time driving long distance through different landscapes (especially mountains). At the same time, we do not want to miss anything important along the route. Want to give equal importance. Also, as a long term goal, we want to go to all the states in US possibly by road (except Hawaii & Alaska). So far, we have driven to 23 states in US. By doing this trip we can cover another 6 states.