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Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

Hendersonville, NC
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Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

Hey folks,

Just joined TA a few days ago and had posted a question about my cross-country trek next year, but now have more of a specific plan. Here's the tentative itinerary, leaving from my home in Hendersonville, NC (near Asheville):

Tues, Sept. 4: Leave Hendersonville at 5 a.m., arrive St. Louis in late afternoon for tour of Anheuser-Busch and maybe a Cardinals game in the evening

Wed., Sept. 5: Travel (arrive near Kansas/Colorado state line and stay the night there)

Thurs., Sept. 6: Boulder, CO (Oskar Blues Brewery, 30 minutes away in Lyons, in the evening)

Fri., Sept. 7: Boulder, CO (day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park around Estes Park)

Sat., Sept. 8: Moab, Utah (Arches National Park), late day/sunset and Sunday morning, staying at hostel in Moab

Sun., Sept. 9: Zion National Park (staying at hostel in Hurricane) late afternoon/sunset and Monday morning till lunchtime

Mon., Sept. 10: Grand Canyon National Park Lodge, North Rim

Tues., Sept. 11: Grand Canyon National Park Lodge, North Rim

Wed., Sept. 12: Travel (spend night at motel in Nevada desert)

Thurs., Sept. 13: Chico, CA (tour, beers and dinner at Sierra Nevada Brewing)

Fri., Sept. 14: San Francisco

Sat., Sept. 15: San Francisco

Sun., Sept. 16: San Francisco

Mon., Sept. 17: Pacific Coast Highway/Redwood Forest, CA

Tues., Sept. 18: Pacific Coast Highway/Redwood Forest, CA

Wed., Sept. 19: Stay at Lighthouse Inn at Crescent City, CA

Thurs., Sept. 20: Portland (beer!)

Fri., Sept. 21: Portland (beer!)

Sat., Sept. 22: Portland (beer!)

Sun., Sept. 23: Travel/explore Oregon's Columbia River Gorge (waterfalls)

Mon., Sept. 24: Arrive and stay at West Yellowstone, MT

Tues., Sept. 25: Yellowstone National Park

Wed., Sept. 26, Yellowstone National Park

Thurs., Sept, 27: Yellowstone National Park

Fri., Sept. 28: Grand Teton National Park

Sat., Sept. 29: Grand Teton National Park

Sun., Sept. 30: Grand Teton National Park

Mon., Sept. 1: back to Boulder, CO

Tues., Oct. 2: Travel

Wed., Oct. 3: Travel

As you can tell, this trip is all about two main themes: 1. Nature: 2. Craft beer

As time (30 days total) and money ($5,000 total) are huge factors), please also keep in mind that this itinerary takes into account, 1. Being out in nature/National Parks during weekdays to avoid the crowds; and , 2. taking advantage of the savings of possibly staying with friends in both San Fran and Portland.

Having said all this, since this is my first trip out West (other than a week in San Fran in 1992 and a week in Seattle in 1997), I would value your feedback/advice on this trip.

Thanks!

Colorado Western...
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for Ouray, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Montrose
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1. Re: Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

I'll just comment on the Colorado/Utah portion of your trip, since that is the region I know well.

My impression of your visits to Boulder, RMNP, Moab, and Zion is: drive, drive, drive, drive, drive...dash to see a few minutes of the spectacular scenery...drive, drive...drink some beer...drive, drive, drive, drive, drive.

Now, maybe that's what you had in mind - just catching a quick glimpse of scenery in Rocky Mountain NP, Moab/Arches NP, and Zion NP. These are some of my favorite places on earth, and I'd hate to give any one of them less than a full day to enjoy, but that's just me.

Good choice on going to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, though. I've always found it much more relaxed and much easier to enjoy the scenery and some hiking without the crowds.

vcv
Tennessee
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2. Re: Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

Agree with WingLady about rushed nature of your plan. Possibly consider saving some locations for a later trip in order to experience fewer places in more detail.

Get national park reservations asap, especially at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

If you have time in St. Louis, there is an excellent museum of Western heritage and expansion at the lower level of the arch.

Indy
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for Indianapolis
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3. Re: Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

I can give some advice on your Yellowstone trip part. Like you, we traveled to Yellowstone and made W. Yellowstone our home base. We went in in Sept. of '07. Note that crowds have only increased every since then, and this will be important.

First off, I don't know what you mean by liking nature. I'm a fan of nature and hiking, but only during cool weather months, as I hate the heat. Anyways, we had three days in Yellowstone. Our main goal was just to see the place. I was with two non-hikers, so we didn't do any hikes.

Yellowstone has a figure 8 road system (for the most part). On day one, we drove into the park at the W. Yellowstone entry, say around 8AMish. Day one we did the north loop. We exited around 5PMish. Day two consisted of the same time frames and we did the south loop.

We were able to see all the major things. The days consisted of stopping at all the main features (Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, etc.). In addition, we have about four or five pull-offs per trip seeing wild life and such. Some folks will say two days isn't enough, and in some seasons, it might not be. We had no animal traffic jams, none. I did notice that traffic was heavier as the day went on, but for the first few hours of our day, traffic and parking wasn't an issue. Might be an issue given the rise in visitors in Sept. since we went four years ago.

Our third day we decided to just hangout in W. Yellowstone. We did some laundry, went to Grizzly Wolf and discovery center, looked around town. This was a huge mistake. We should have taken this day and driven down to Grand Teton NP, all the way down to Jackson Hole, and maybe even stopping off in Jackson, WY. Anyways, the following day we drive from W. Yellowstone to Denver, a full days drive. Doing this means driving through the SW portion of YNP and the northern half of Grand Teton. We did get to stop off at the GT visitor's center, but that was it. We took some photos and exited the east entry.

The amount of time you have for both parks is plenty. If you are a hiker, you may want give one more day for Yellowstone and one less day for Grand Teton. Do some Google searching of what you like when it comes to nature, then find some specific things on both GTNP and YNP.

Now, about loding. There was a hostel in W. Yellowstone, but it seemed small. It was part of a retail store if I recall. Anyways, we stayed at the cheapest hotel I could find that was decent..in my terms. It was the Best Western Weston Inn. It was $110ish a night with a AAA discount. Now, you might try to find some campgrounds (private, national forest, etc.) where you can car camp. Right next to the Best Western in Yellowstone was a laundry mat that also had shower facilities you could pay to use. I know that some people do car camp in the camp grounds.

Hendersonville, NC
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4. Re: Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

Thanks a lot, Ravekid, for the detailed report of your trip. Everyone's feedback is a great help when planning such a big trip

Ann Arbor, MI
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5. Re: Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

Since your goals are to see a lot of the western National Parks and conserve your budget you might consider tent camping at several of your locations. Even if you have to purchase a small tent and a cook stove for the trip you'll come out ahead money-wise if you make good use of these things at campgrounds along the way.

If that sounds appealing, check out Craigs List for your area to see if you can pick up a good used tent and save some money that way too.

6. Re: Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

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West Grey, Ontario
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8. Re: Preliminary month-long Western-trip itinerary

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