Road Trip - Las Vegas/Utah/California - Advice needed

Started May 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
UtahManSir
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Re: Road Trip - Las Vegas/Utah/California - Advice needed
In reply to Confused of Malvern, May 27, 2012

Confused of Malvern wrote:

I have a few weeks off between jobs and so I am planning a trip over to the USA.

Planning a road trip - 3 weeks -early July:
Las vegas
Zion
Bryce
Lake Powell
Monument valley
Grand Canyon
Back to Las Vegas
Death Valley
Yosemite
San Francisco
Monterey
Santa Barbara
return flight from LA

Would welcome any advice as to routes, best places to visit etc. Am I trying to cram too much in? Whilst I want to see as much as possible, I also need to keep the cost down where possible. To what extent is it necessary book accommodation in advance or is it possible to just find motels along the way?

OH WOW! That is a LOT of driving! My first few thoughts are these:

1) If you are going to try to get really good shots, i.e. waiting for the right light, planning for sunset/rise etc... you are going to get pretty frustrated at all the opportunities you cannot wait for.

2) That is a lot of driving, though if you are not a huge get out of the car and hike kind of guy it is doable.

3) Accomodation booking varies greatly, some areas have more hotels than others. Weekends are usually filled up. The recommendation of getting a tent and sleeping bag is a good one, I would add some kind of mattress as well. (Camping pad or air mattress) I usually car camp on my adventures.

4) Here is a more compact but still hugely filling loop to drive from Las Vegas back to Las Vegas. Assuming you are in decent shape, and are smart enough to carry more water than camera equipment. Strongly recommend a Camelbak Backpack with 100 oz bladder that is filled every time you leave the car.

A: Zion National Park 2 to 3 days, Hike Angels Landing & or Observation Point, and the Narrows from the bottom up. http://canyoneeringusa.com/utah/zion/ If you are truly adventurous you could hire a guide and get a permit and do something like this: http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/pinecreek2010/slideshow

B: Bryce Canyon 1-2 days, catch a sunrise or two, hike "Wall Street" and another trail or two. Also recommend a visit to Kodachrome Basin State Park as well, Several nice hikes, both short and long. http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/p668468966/slideshow

C: Peek-A-Boo/Spooky Gulches (& Brimstone Gulch if you are hard core crazy and have the time.) http://canyoneeringusa.com/utah/esca/drycoy.htm
http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/dryforks/slideshow

D: Lower Calf Creek Falls http://canyoneeringusa.com/utah/esca/calflow.htm

E: Capitol Reef National Park 2 to 3 days. Fewer crowds and breathtaking scenery, lots of hiking and car tour opportunities. If you get a SUV I highly recommend driving the Cathedral Valley Loop and camping overnight at the Cathedral Valley Campground. http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/capreef2010/slideshow

F: Arches National Park 2 days or more if you want to add in some trips to Canyonlands NP. Less familiar with this area, I hate crowds.

G: Mesa Verde 1-2 days, a MUST See.

H: Monument Valley

I: Grand Canyon North Rim

J: Coyote Buttes: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/arolrsmain/paria/coyote_buttes/permits.html

then Back to Vegas. Don't bother with Lake (Foul) Powell unless you plan to rent a boat.

If I had the time, this is the trip I would love to make, with a few additions Like: Goblin Valley between Capitol Reef and Arches, and Natural Bridges National Monument and Valley of the Gods by Mexican Hat.

Whatever you do, Drive SLOW and enjoy the trip!

Lloyd

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“For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong.” Henry Louis Mencken

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