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SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Calgary, Canada
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SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Hi, I am planning a road trip with a friend to southwest USA this December and would love to get some feedback for the trip plan. We will be starting in SanFran, with a rental car. The trip is 12 days in total and we can both drive.

D0: San Francisco

D1: Pacific Coast Highway 1 (San Francisco -> Santa Barbara, 8hr drive). Check out Santa Barbara (beach, mission, waterfront, stern wharf, etc)

D2: Santa Barbara -> Los Angeles, 2hr drive. Check out LA (Walt Disney Concert Hall (book ticket for xmas concert), Venice Beach, etc)

D3: Los Angeles -> Grand Canyon, 9hr drive.

D4: Grand Canyon (south kalibab trial). Stay at Phantom Ranch.

D5: Grand Canyon (bright angel trail). Stay at hostel in Flagstaff. no driving this day.

D6: Grand Canyon -> Monument Valley, 2.5hr drive. Side trip to Page, AZ for Antelope canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Tour monument valley and take a break from travel (this is a rest day). Stay at Monument Valley.

D7: Monument Valley -> Bryce national park (Utah), 9hr+ drive. We will be driving past the Bicentennial Highway 95 in Utah, followed by highway 12. Stay at Bryce Canyon.

D8: Check out Bryce Canyon (Queen's Garden/Navajo/Peek-A-Boo Loop). In the evening, Bryce -> Zion national park, 2hr drive. Stay in Zion overnight.

D9: Check out Zion (angel landing hike). In the evening, Zion -> Las Vegas, 3hr drive. Check out Las Vegas and perhaps make back all the $ spend on the trip.

D10: Las Vegas -> Death Valley, 3.5hr drive. Check out death valley.

D11: Check out death valley, then drive to Los Angeles, 6hr drive.

D12: Friend leaves from LA. Return the car in SF.

Boston...
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1. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Well, first things first...

Do you have a reservation at Phantom Ranch, and have you booked something on the South Rim for the day you arrive at the GCNP?

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

I called up phantom ranch yesterday and booked 2 spots for December. This is my accommodation list. Please feel free to comment!

D0: HI Fisherman's Wharf hostel- around $30/night

D1: Santa Barbara Sandpiper's Lodge - around $75 for double room

D2: USA Hostels (Hollywood, LA) - around $30/night

D3: Maswik Lodge (in Grand Canyon) - $85/night for double room

D4: Phantom Ranch (in Grand Canyon) - $45/night

D5: Grand Canyon International Hostel (in Flagstaff) - $21/night

D7: The view (at Monument Valley) - $110/night double room

D8: Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel - $67/night double room

D9: Zion national park lodge - $95/night double room

D10: Planet Hollywood Vegas: $70/night double room

D11: Cynthia's Lodge/Hostel (Death Valley): $22/night

D12: Surf City hostel (LA): $25/night

Boston...
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3. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

It looks very doable, if a bit of a mad dash, but I'm sure you know that!

As long as you've booked your GC lodging, you should be okay.

One thing: I would go straight to Page from the Grand Canyon, leaving from the east entrance through Cameron, rather than doubling back to Flagstaff. It's a great city, but there's nothing of special interest to a tourist there. I understand your not wanting to drive for hours on the day you hike out of the canyon. Why not book another night at a lodge on the rim, enjoy the canyon, then get an early start to Page / Monument Valley the next day?

See the geology museum, watch the sunset from the Rim, go have a beer in the pub and listen to the guy play guitar (he's really good)! Might as well take it easy; you'll be doing the Canyon Shuffle ;)

As for Monument Valley, I've never stayed at The View and am partial to Gouldings, but that's just me. Perks include the little museum and the fact they screen a John Wayne movie every night at 8:00.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Hey Majuni, thank you for the recommendations. Where is this place where the guys plays the guitar?

Boston...
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5. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

It's a pub in the Bright Angel Lodge, next to one of the dining rooms. It's nothing special, really, just a nice place to chill after a long day of hiking. There was a guy playing folky stuff on acoustic guitar when we were there in October and they have a decent selection of beers, including Grand Canyon Ale, which I recommend. You can eat there too.

Wednesbury, UK
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6. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Majnuni.

Good tip on the pub and beer thanks. Although we aren't staying in the park accommodation in March, I'll check it out and get the DW to drive back to the hotel in the Village ; )

Edited: 02 December 2011, 10:14
Lewes, United...
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7. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Apples

You seem to have your trip planned out and your reservations made, so your trip is seemingly pretty much sorted. It is quite rush, but I'm assuming you knew that anyway.

Is there anything specific you seek advice on?

SWT

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8. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Hello, Apples145, and welcome to the Road Trips forum! Glad to see you made your way over here, where for a multistate trip, this is the place to be, and there are some very good road tripper folks who know the lay of the land.

Some thoughts:

I take it you are young, and very flexible. This trip will be moving rather quickly, but you knew that already. . .

There are particular stops you probably want to make in Big Sur south of Carmel. Being December, not a lot of daylight. Start early - 7:00 AM would be excellent. By the time you get to Santa Barbara, it will be dark. I'd save your SB activities for the next morning. Makes more sense to me.

On the way from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon, there are several fun places to stop by and visit, and Historic US Route 66 is a lot of fun to tour on as well. But I can see your focus is getting to the Grand Canyon. A compromise is to stop off at a couple of places. Amboy, California off of Interstate 40 offers Roy's Cafe, a rather iconic Route 66 place. It's open for business, and is selling gasoline (at a higher price than elsewhere, however). Seligman, Arizona off of Interstate 40, exit 123 is the Roadkill Cafe. Fun place, and interesting items named on the menu! Laid back, and worth the while to stop for a meal.

I wouldn't stay in Flagstaff. . . you'd be backtracking for no particular purpose. Either stay at the Grand Canyon another night, or leave the park via the east entrance and stay at Cameron, where there is a trading post and lodge, or Page, where there are a number of services for the traveler, including lodgings and restaurants. Sets you up for Antelope Canyon much better, too.

Monument Valley: stay at Goulding's, where you may also visit their museum and get a John Wayne film viewing at 8:00 PM in the evening. Check out the story about the Goulding's - a couple who helped make Monument Valley what it is today - and why the Navajo Nation loves them so even today, after they are dead and gone.

On the way to Bryce Canyon, as you pass Page again, stop off at the Glen Canyon Dam Visitor's Center. Tours available, and highly recommended by me. $5 per person. Bring your camera, and a water bottle and your ID. . . that's it. Quite the sight to see.

Las Vegas is interesting to see, but is full of "sizzle," and no "steak." Your dream of making all your money back is just that. . . a dream. It's one that keeps the casino corporations in the black.

Lodgings:

I love your choice of HI Fisherman's Wharf. I've stayed there myself many a time. Why spend the $$ for a hotel when this hostel will provide you a spot to sleep, interact with fellow travelers, and give you free parking to boot? A real winner.

Love Maswick Lodge in Grand Canyon. The cafeteria is great for the young and hungry.

As I stated earlier, I'm emotionally and sentimentally attatched to Gouldings. The View is also run by the Navajo Nation, but it lacks the John Wayne film screenings in the evening at Gouldings. . . and the history of Gouldings.

Bryce is a place where lodging choices are few. My spot has always been Ruby's Inn, but that's because I got a free room back in my tour driving days. Dunno about your choice. . . never heard of it, and I was just there in June.

Love your choice of Zion Lodge. Warm and cozy!

If the $$ matters, Terrible's Hotel and Casino Las Vegas is about half the cost of what you've mentioned. It's an off Strip property in the heart of Las Vegas, so it's close to whatever you might want to go to. I was very satisfied with the place. Check around on the Internet to get the best pricing. . . actually check via TripAdvisor first.

That's my feedback!

Uden, The...
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9. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Don't want to throw a spanner in the works but:

0: Very good. San Francisco. Not SanFran or Frisco...

1. 8 Hours only in theory. Don't you want to stop along hw1? (Big Sur coast)It's one of the most scenic coastal stretches in the world. I won't mention other places like Point Lobos, Hearst Castle etc.

2. DL is not in Los Angeles but in Anaheim. 2 hours between SB and LA only if rushhour won't slow you down. If you're stuck in traffic it can take much longer.

3. LA-GC. 9 hours right. Even time for a short stop traffic and roadworks permitted. Also depends on the weather. Can be snow between Kingman and Williams and on your way to GC.

5. No car? Flagstaff is another 1.5-2 hours drive and a detour. Stay at the rim. Not recommended to drive after the strenuous climb.

6. GC to MV via Page. This is at least 5 hours just on the road. Count on 2-3 hours extra for Horseshoe bend and Antelope Canyon. Tour Monument Valley??? At least 2 hours for that in the dark????

7. Moki Dugway drive. Between Torrey and Bryce you're going over 9600' Will be a long day indeed.

8. Don't drive between Bryce and Zion in the dark. An encounter with wildlife can ruin your trip (and there IS wildlife I can assure you) plus you won't see a thing driving ut9. A very scenic road.

9. Las Vegas is famous for its generosity so a fair chance you'll win your money back ;)

10.. Cynthia's is on Old Spanish Trail. That's not Death Valley but Tecopa. It's at least 2 hours from there to Furnace Creek. And don't drive Badwater Rd/178 to Shoshone in the dark. Even in the daytime that's a tricky road.

Hope you won't encounter snow on the whole of your trip (Bryce is 8000') Driving in the dark can be dangerous.

11. Take the interstates and hope no Tule Fog on your way.

Tet

Uden, The...
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10. Re: SanFran->LA->Grand Canyon-> SW Utah->Vegas (12 days)

Maybe also follow this thread tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143028-i157-k4979… and this:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g31407-i708-k49783…