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Thread started 02 Mar 2010 (Tuesday) 05:48
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America Road Trip - Help Needed!

4,206 posts
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Joined Jun 2007
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Mar 04, 2010 18:49 |  #16

I think you may be spreading yourself too thin and doing too much driving. Colorado is beautiful, but the Northern Rockies(Yellowstone, Teton, Glacier) offer everything it does and then another level with more water, more intact ecosytems and more variety in wildlife. People from Colorado, when they want to go on vacation go to Grand Teton and Glacier. For this trip I would knock off the northwest and Colorado.

Remember that as the trip goes on, the more tired you will become and the less driving you will want to do. In fact, you will likely have a hard time staying awake at the wheel about 40 days in. Sleeping in your car and/or camping takes its toll on you after awhile. Give yourself good stretches in the best parks to give your body a break.

If you feel like you can push it though, enjoy!

If you are adverse to cold weather start your trip in the Glacier/Yellowstone area and finish in California or Vegas. It can get damn cold at night in late September in the Rockies.

6D | 70D | 24-105 L IS | 17-40 L | 300 F4 L IS | 50 1.8 II | 1.4x II | LR5 | HV30 | bug spray | wilderness
Gallatin National Forest, Montana (external link)/Lassen Volcanic NP Campgrounds (external link)

Cream of the Crop
29,368 posts
Likes: 294
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
Mar 04, 2010 20:37 |  #17

OK, your itinerary looks much better now. I realize it is a long trip and you will become tired along the way. Allot some budget for the occasional night in a nice motel. A hot shower and good night's sleep will certainly help. No one can judge how far you should travel except for you. However, you must expect to fall behind schedule at times, simply because you will find more to see/do than you anticipate. Therefore, adjustments will be necessary. Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

1. Petrified forest is not a really scenic place, IMO, like most of the other parks. Interesting, but I spent half a day there 15 years ago and have never gone back. It takes you well out of the way for very little payback.

2. Colorado is one of my favorite states, but (as Mike says) the mountains in Grand Teton and Glacier are as good. Driving to Aspen and RMNP will add many more miles than warranted, IMO. If you do have the time, drive from Mesa Verde to Durango, then north through Silverton and Ouray to Grand Junction, then west and south to Moab. There are wonderful 4Wd trails in SW Colorado, but even a drive through will show you plenty of scenery without the added miles of going to RMNP.

3. Olympia NP is another nice place, but not in the same league as many of the others. If necessary, I would drop it to gain time.

4. Lake Tahoe is beautiful, but so developed that access is limited. You can get some good views, but it may not be worth the miles required. Once you have seen Crater Lake, I think you would be disappointed in Tahoe (not because of the lake itself, but the lack of access).

If you find you are getting ahead of schedule, stay longer in various areas rather than driving to additional areas. Moab is an area with much more to do than the time allotted. If you look at all, you will find more ways to spend extra time in many of the areas.

Remember, you can't see it all in one trip. I've been making trips out west for 30 years and still find new stuff every year. Finding the right compromises will be a challenge.

Stan (See my gallery at​parker1 (external link))

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Senior Member
255 posts
Joined May 2008
Location: Pennsylvania
Apr 06, 2010 10:33 |  #18

get a suv to travel in and possably bunk in.
add to your list goblins state park dead horse state park, grand staircase escalante. look into the wave off buckskin gulch.
antalope canyon tourist trap their are many free just as cool slot canyons to try in canyon land di island in sky and needles sections also add natural bridges and gooseneck of the sanjuan river with a drive down the mokey dugway. also check out red canyon and cedart breaks the above are small parks close by or on the way to some of the big parks. they have some cool views.
be sure to do off roading and hike the trails

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Joined Feb 2010
Location: Oxford, MI
Apr 06, 2010 10:47 as a reply to  @ shootreadyaim's post |  #19

Lots of people have tried these "whirlwind" tours of the west. They mostly don't work out. You are going to spend all your time driving. You will probably miss many great photo ops, as you won't be at the right place at the right time of day. You could easily spend 2 weeks in the Beartooth/Yellowstone/​Teton area and still want to return to see things for which you didn't have time. Best suggestion would be to reduce the number and spread of locations. As far as lodging. best to be up and about before dawn, get the sunrises and early wildlife show. Then by shortly after noon, you can beat the crowd into lodging. Then get back out and hit it from late afternoon through dusk. You also miss the most crowded time of day.

3,871 posts
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Joined Feb 2006
Location: Ladysmith, BC, Canada
Apr 06, 2010 11:59 |  #20

^^ I agree with Kerrysco.

This is about 20 road trips moshed into 1. Trying to do them all in one will let you see enough to understand what you wont have enough time to see.

400D, 5D, 7D and a bag of stuff

4 posts
Likes: 1
Joined May 2009
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Apr 15, 2010 21:37 |  #21

I saved a lot of money when under 25 by using corporate discount codes found in this thread:
http://www.fatwallet.c​om …travel-discussion/790643/ (external link)

There are some codes you can use that say you're an Ohio University student, for example, and they'll waive the under 25 fee. This is huge because that can cost $25 per day.

Either way, 61 days renting isn't going to be very cheap. Have you considered buying a beater and selling it when you're done?

Senior Member
326 posts
Joined Feb 2010
Location: Tampa, FL
Apr 17, 2010 05:33 as a reply to  @ truello's post |  #22

IMO you need to focus your time and attention a bit more. I've been most of the places that you are looking to go, and there is just way too much to see for you to cram it all in like that. Also, I could leave the Colorado stuff and even some of Eastern Utah for another trip. Those areas are some of my favorite in the country (esp. places like Telluride in the San Mig's) and they deserve plenty of time and respect on their own (like next summer)! If you focus on Yellowstone, Tetons, Yosemite, Glacier and the points in between I think that you will be very, very happy you did.


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Senior Member
255 posts
Joined May 2008
Location: Pennsylvania
May 04, 2010 23:49 |  #23

sparker1 wrote in post #9717246 (external link)
It's hard to give good answers without knowing more of your plans or you financial situation. Do you plan to hike a lot, and can you hike long distances in the desert during the summer? Can you afford to stay in hotels/motels and eat all your meals in restaurants? Will you be alone? If I were 23, traveling alone, with the kind of budget most 23 YO have, and fit enough to hike in the desert and mountains, this is what I would do:

I would rent a high-clearance SUV, preferably with 4WD. I would either sleep in the SUV using an air mattress, or buy a small tent, sleeping bag, etc. I would buy a cooler, small camp stove, minimum utensils and groceries. Then I would plan a route that goes by all the places mentioned, plus many others. In this plan, there is no need for reservations or schedules. A National Parks annual pass will save money. Camping in government parks/campgrounds is free or very inexpensive. Making your own meals saves much money. By camping, you can be at the best places for sunrise and sunset, without having to rise hours earlier to be there by sunrise or drive long distances after dark.

Some of your planned stops are for longer than necessary, but that is moot in my plan. Stay at any place as long as you care to, moving to the next and staying there as long as necessary. I could recommend length of stay, since I have been to all these places numerous times. This would not necessarily be right for you.

If arriving in LA, I would immediately head up the coast highway (lots to see there) to San Francisco, seeing Muir Woods, Napa Valley and Point Reyes while in the area. Then over to Yosemite, see the valley, Glacier Point and Hetch Hetchy then leave over Tioga Pass. I'd visit Bodie ghost town, Mono Lake and some of the Eastern Sierra down to Death Valley. From there to Las Vegas, up to Valley of Fire then Zion (seeing the main canyon, Kolob Canyon and driving Kolob Terrace. I'd do all the hikes I was able to do.
From Zion to North Rim of Grand Canyon, then Page, AZ to do both Antelope Canyons, Horseshoe Bend, North and South Coyote Buttes, Paria Rimrocks, Wahweap Hoodoos, Cottonwood Canyon Road and some of its hikes/canyons, Kodachrome Basin State Park, drive Skutumpah Road and hike some of its canyons, then Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon. From there, drive Highway 12 (extremely scenic) doing some of the hikes/canyons to be found along it. Capitol Reef is next, then highway 95 to Blanding, down to Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods and hiking on Cedar Mesa. Then up to Moab for Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point SP. Lots of hikes and back roads to drive around there. Up to Salt Lake City, then through Logan Canyon to Bear Lake, then to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, driving Beartooth Highway while there.

From Yellowstone, I would go to Glacier National Park, into Canada for Banff and Jasper, down into Washington and drive through the Northern Cascades, visit Mount Rainier and Mt St Helens, into Oregon for Crater Lake (and other scenery you'll find), out to the coast highway to drive south through the Redwood forests and down to LA.

This would be a wonderful trip and can be done in two months, depending on how much hiking you do along the way. You would have to judge how well your time is being spent and make adjustments. You may not get to all these places, but will certainly be able to see a lot.

I have photos of most of these places on my gallery (link below) to help you decide what to see. I left off Colorado, one of my favorite states. Lots to do there in exchange for some of the other spots. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

This is good advise get the suv and you will be free to modify your behavior because you will find out some places you want to stay more time some less plus you will dig off roading be sure to include the grand staircase escalante forget about two days at antelope canyon its a tourist trap rather their are free slot canyons but if your passing thru page stop at the bend in the colorado check out buckskin gulch's wire trail and if your lucky the wave all part of the vermilion cliffs which is part of the grand staircase.
use flicker as a tool for finding visual delights and hike get away from crowded but do not be stupid mother nature is unforgiving and does not suffer fools gladly. bring a whistle and a compus

Senior Member
731 posts
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Joined Aug 2009
Location: Oakland
May 06, 2010 08:45 |  #24

I would only spend two days in Vegas and I would definitely hit Joshua Tree for one day.​photos/staxnet/ (external link)​ad.php?t=865770

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America Road Trip - Help Needed!
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