Yellowstone to Grand Canyon
I am taking my 11 year old son on Home School Field Trip. I currently have reservations at Yellowstone Sep 5 and 6th as well as rooms reserved at the Grand Canyon on Sep 15 to 17th. I am thinking of flying into Denver and flying out of Las Vegas. Other than that our itinterary is open. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Some possible 'classes'
Hmmm.... My school field trips were never this good!
There are any number of great possibilities to have a wonderful time and learn a good bit on this route. Some suggestions:
On the way from Denver to Yelowstone, stop at least at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO. Of course, stop at every visitor center of every national park and do the Junior Ranger programs. If you continue up I-25 to I-90 to hook into Yellowstone from the north, you'll pass by the Little Bighorn National Battlefield. Check here for an excellent description of some questions to pose in the process.
The trip between Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon offers some of the greatest geologic sites on the North American continent. Just south of the Yellowstone is Grand Teton National Park which is great for the scenery and camping. Then head for Green River, WY. From there, take WY-530 south. (Stop at the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area center just after leaving Green River to get a booklet describing what you'll be seeing.) This road runs down through several millions of years of rocks, including the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, which marks where a huge asteroid hit the Earth and killed all the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The rocks strata are marked with small signs. Also, it's gorgeous!
Next head for Vernal, UT and Dinosaur National Monument. The chief attraction here is a huge rock wall that is literally jam-packed with dinosaur skeletons. They built the museum hall around the rock face.
Continue south to Arches National Park. There are several relatively easy hikes into many spectacular arches. Take the time to walk around to the back side of some of them. Not only will you see some more unique views, but it will give your son some good exercise.
My next suggested stop is in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park. This is the essential site to introduce him to the Cliff Dwellers or Anasazi (ancient ones). Then as you head over to the Grand Canyon, you can make a quick stop at Four Corners.
Take some time to do the tour of Boulder Dam as you cross it from Arizona into Nevada. There is (believe it or not) a small museum of the founding of Las Vegas, but having seen it, I hesitate to recommend that you plan too much time for it, but you have to get SOME history in Vegas. (I can here Editor piping up already!) One good way to get an introduction to Las Vegas is to take the trolley ride. This is somewhat dependent on how talkative your driver is, but if you get a good one, the ride is priceless.
You may have to choose some subset of these possibilities, depending on how much time you spend at each site, but I have to say that I wish my education had included a trip like this.
Last edited by AZBuck; 05-10-2005 at 07:44 AM.