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Road Trip july 2014

Llandyssil
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Road Trip july 2014

We are flying into Vegas for a 3 week road trip in July 2014. We are going to head up to Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City to Yellowstone, then across to Mount Rushmore and back through Denver. Are we being a bit ambitious with the distance and is there anything we should defiantly not miss seeing on that route. Our three teenage kids will be with us but we have done long road trips in the USA before, just not this distance. Thanks for any help.

Chula Vista...
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1. Re: Road Trip july 2014

Hi JaneH,

Welcome to the Road Trips Forum.

You're right. That will be an ambitious trip, but it can be done in three weeks at a moderately fast pace with a couple of long driving days (8 hours) thrown in there to make it happen.

One word of caution. You need to nail down your Yellowstone and Grand Canyon dates as soon as possible and make reservations now. They book nearly a year in advance, especially for the summer travel season.

Is there some compelling reason to visit Salt Lake City? If not, I would suggest this route:

http://goo.gl/maps/dMMLg

That route gets you into a few of Utah's other parks.

Day 1 - Arrive Las Vegas; overnight Las Vegas

2 - LV; overnight LV

3 - LV to Bryce Canyon; overnight Bryce Canyon

4 - Bryce Canyon to Arches/Moab; overnight Moab

5 - Arches; overnight Moab

6 - Moab to Dinosaur NM; overnight near Vernal

7 - Vernal to Yellowstone; overnight Yellowstone (FULL driving day)

8 - Yellowstone; overnight Yellowstone

9 - Yellowstone; overnight Yellowstone

10 - Yellowstone; overnight Yellowstone

11 - Yellowstone to Devil's Tower; overnight near Devil's Tower

12 - Devil's Tower to Mount Rushmore; overnight Mt. Rushmore

13 - Mt. Rushmore; overnight Mt. Rushmore

14 - Mt. Rushmore to Denver; overnight Denver

15 - Denver; overnight Denver

16 - Denver to Durango / Mesa Verde; overnight near Durango

17 - Durango / Mesa Verde; overnight near Durango

18 - Durango to Monument Valley; overnight Monument Valley

19 - Monument Valley to Grand Canyon; overnight Grand Canyon

20 - Grand Canyon; overnight Grand Canyon

21 - Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

Yellowstone really does warrant a minimum of 3-4 nights there. You may be able to play with the itinerary a little if you really need to be back in Las Vegas a night earlier for the flight home (perhaps drop a night in Denver or Devil's Tower).

Again, that's just a starting point for your planning. I'm sure others will chime in with ideas as well.

Here are some links to park websites that may help:

http://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/deto/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm

http://www.utah.com/monumentvalley/

http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

Buy the "America the Beautiful" annual park pass for $80 and it will allow you into all those parks for a year from the date of purchase and will save you over the cost of admission to each individual park.

Enjoy your planning.

Zed

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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2. Re: Road Trip july 2014

I like Zed's suggestions, but I would probably tweak just a little in my neck of the woods. I would go Vernal to Jackson or Grand Tetons and overnight there then go up to Yellowstone. On day 11, I would sightsee Yellowstone in the AM then drive out to Cody to overnight, seeing the 5-museum complex there. The next day I would head to SD, picking up Devil's Tower on the way and overnighting in the Mt Rushmore/Rapid City area instead of overnighting at Devil's Tower.

On the morning after you spend the night in the Jackson WY area, you could do a raft trip on the Snake River before heading to Yellowstone. Cody also has a rodeo that you might enjoy the evening you overnight there.

When you get down to specifics on Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and (if you choose to stay there) Cody WY, we would welcome you on the Wyoming TA site. We can give you info about lodging in Yellowstone. tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28973-i480-Wyomin…

Pam

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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3. Re: Road Trip july 2014

Great ideas!!

You need a minimum of 4 days in Yellowstone because the park is huge- here are the most popular places to visit-

http://yellowstone.net/intro/top-10/

Also Cody is great and worth a stop for the museums and rodeo.

Here is a link to the online travel guide for the Black Hills area-

www.travelsd.com

It has lots of great info.

If you want in park lodging in Yellowstone then split between OF and Canyon or Lake and book only here-

http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/

Good luck and let us know if you have other questions!!

Lewes, United...
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4. Re: Road Trip july 2014

Hi Jane

Lots of great ideas and suggestions above, and zed really got the ball rolling well, showing an option on how to fit a packed trip in.

Just one question, when I read the post, I understood it to mean that you finished in Denver rather than wanted to pass through Denver. Please confirm everybody else is correct and I'm wrong.

Why I ask is that I'd advise really emphasizing the open spaces and small funky towns, and would actually skip Denver as well as SLC, unless you have a reason to visit Denver.

Also, I picked up on your comment that you've already done some road trips in the USA before. Have you been to any of the places suggested above? If so, I'd recommend you skip those or only pass through and then you'd have more time to do some of the more interesting and worthwhile destinations a bit more slowly and get a chance to see more of the numerous attractions, such as the wealth of stuff contained within Yellowstone.

SWT

Llandyssil
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5. Re: Road Trip july 2014

Thanks Zed, that's a fantastic itinerary! Its put it all in prospective for me. I have flights ready to book but have now seen for not much more I can fly into Las Vegas and out of Denver on the same dates - would I be better doing that and visiting the last few steps of your itinerary on the way up to Yellowstone and it will give me an extra day somewhere else. Was thinking of missing out Mesa Verde NP or would you visit it? Have seen Las Vegas and Grand Canyon before, but as our elder son is coming with us this time and he hasn't seen them, perhaps we could get away with 1 night at Grand Canyon but still need 2 in Vegas.

Can you suggest something a little exciting to see or do somewhere on the trip as my boys like adventure, we've done White Water Rafting before in the Great Smokies and had a close bear encounter in Yosemite!

Thanks again, got a busy week ahead reading all the information you've given me so far!

Chula Vista...
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6. Re: Road Trip july 2014

Hi Jane,

Glad to help get you started.

Sorry I misinterpreted that you were doing a one-way trip from Las Vegas to Denver. So, yes, it would make sense to rearrange things to look something like this (if you still want to go to the Grand Canyon):

http://goo.gl/maps/LC6mX

Doing that route would make more sense if you're just doing a one-way trip. And, if you're not interested in seeing the Grand Canyon again, you can throw in Zion between LV and Bryce, or Page/Antelope Canyon between Bryce and Monument Valley. You may also have more time to see Canyonlands National Park near Arches or Grand Tetons National Park near Yellowstone (I can't believe I left that off my original list).

http://visitpagearizona.com/

navajonationparks.org/htm/antelopecanyon.htm

http://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/cany/index.htm

As far as Mesa Verde is concerned... That's a tough one. It's a small park, but to be able to see the cliff dwellings that the ancient Pueblo people built and lived in between 600 and 1300 A.D. is something special if you're at all into the study and understanding of native peoples. That's something that you'll just have to weigh and decide.

Not far from Mesa Verde is the town of Durango, and it has the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, an old steam train that runs between Durango and the silver mining town of Silverton. To ride the train there and back is a full 8+ hour day, but they offer options where you take the train one direction and the bus the other. It certainly won't be as exciting as whitewater rafting, but the scenery along the route is stunning. Reservations are a must.

http://www.durangotrain.com/

Can you skip Mesa Verde and Durango? Sure. The rest of your trip is filled with some of the most beautiful scenery in America.

I'll let you work out the timing of how long to stay in each location. :-)

Zed

Edited: 06 December 2013, 17:42
7. Re: Road Trip july 2014

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