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itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

Sydney, Australia
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itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

(Posted this in the Utah forum and it was suggested I also post here.)

San Francisco arrive Sept 1 leave Sept 4 for Kalispell- Glacier NP

Pick up hire car & stay West Glacier – (booked)

Sept 5 – drive to Many Glacier stay MG (booked) leave Sept 9

Sept 9 – 16 Yellowstone

Sept 16 drive GTNP stay GTNP to 19th probably Colter Bay Cabin

Sept 19 drive Bozeman MT fly afternoon to Las Vegas.

Then drive Zion NP and begin grand circle loop.

The flight from Bozeman 6.50am with 1hr 40min layover in Seattle arrive Las Vegas around 12pm.

I would pick up a hire car and drive to Zion(springdale) that day. What are your thoughts ? Is this comfortably doable ? Does this make sense. I

Or would is it be simpler / more sensible to stay Las Vegas, which I’d rather avoid btw, - I have no interest in the bright llights,- and then head to Zion the next morning ?

From Zion and this is open to change at this stage - I would go onto Bryce, then Moab – (Arches canyon land) , through to Mesa Verde, maybe stay Cortez and /or Durango and maybe work in Monument Valley south rim of GC and then back to Las Vegas around 2 -3 October.

The alternative and I’d like opions please, is is to just keep driving from Bozeman stay somewhere on the way maybe Vernal ? as it is near Dinosaur Nat Monument, check this out for a couple of hours in the morning then then probably head to Moab.

From there I’m a little stuck and not sure how this would work out. Potentially I could do a route from Moab to Mesa Verde cortex/Durango then through to Monument Valley also maybe Page to Bryce Zion etc – how to work in the GCanyon is the issue for this route.

I’m also kind of keen to see some of the pueblo sites and also some of Arizona but the distances are v lareg to do this as well and I think I may be sick of driving by then as I’ll be solo.

Basic question is would you drive from GTNP to Moab or drive from GTNP and then take a flight to Las Vegas. ?

I'd have about 2 weeks for this part of the trip

Feedback from the Utah forum suggested drive to Park City from GTNP then do a grand tour loop through Moab coming back to SLC. I haven't booked flights as yet.

advice appreciated.

regards

thanks in advance btw should this also go in the road trip forum ?

Edited: 19 February 2014, 19:29
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

Others with more experience in this area than I will be along shortly, but what caught my eye is the possibility for one-way drop charges on your rental car vs the cost of the air fare. Typically, when you return your car to a rental depot other than the one where you got it, you will have to pay a fee to have the car returned to its point of origin. This cost doesn't always show up in your initial quotes, so you need to be careful about it. Case in point: one poster was renting a car to travel one way up Vancouver Island from Victoria to Port Hardy. The drop fee (over and above the rental charge) was $1500.

I would expect that the further you take your rental car from its point of origin, the higher that drop fee is going to get, and as you are on your own, the air fare cost by comparison will be relatively small.

As to LV: you may think you have no interest, but some things just need to be seen. I had a friend who felt the same way about Disneyland, and was not happy about taking his children there, but after the trip, he was glad he had seen it. A few hours to experience the place might be well spent before moving on.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

Thanks for your heads up on the drop off fee, I will check. I haven't booked any rental car as yet. I . Had looked at Alamo from Kallispell drop off Bozeman and I think this was included for that leg and wan't too pricey all things considered. Will need to check this and for the for a longer trip as well..

Re Las Vegas you may be right, if this is the best option it may work out.

USA
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3. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

Sept 9 – 16 Yellowstone

Sept 16 drive GTNP stay GTNP to 19th probably Colter Bay Cabin

Sept 19 drive Bozeman MT fly afternoon to Las Vegas.

I would put GTNP in the middle of your Yellowstone-GTNP trip.

Sept 9-11 spend nights in Yellowstone

Sept 12-14 spend nights in Grand Tetons

Sept 15-18 spend nights in Yellowstone

Sept 19 afternoon flight out of Bozeman

That way you will be closer to Bozeman airport when you depart for your flight to LV..

I would also suggest getting lodging in Mammoth Hot Springs or Gardiner your first night in the park for an easier drive from Many Glacier.

A even better option might be to drive from Many Glacier & spend the night in Red Lodge (giving up a night in Yellowstone). Then the next morning drive the scenic Beartooth Highway into the northeast entrance to Yellowstone.

Edited: 19 February 2014, 22:14
Vestal, New York
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4. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

Las Vegas is worth a miss especially on a serene, nature focused trip. I could have survived never seeing the artificial city.

The drive from LV to Springdale is only about 2.5 hours.

Valley of Fire State Park is worth a stop along the LV to Sprindale route.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

Thanks for the suggestions Denali cat. I have already just booked Yellowstone accommodation from 12-16, and am reluctant to change around as there isn't a lot around however I haven't booked 9-12 I had thought to stay in Gardiner and maybe mammoth if there is availability. Unfortunately I hadn't thought of travelling through Yellowstone to GTNP, then coming back Yellowstone and on to Bozeman

USA
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6. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

I too wouldn't change Yellowstone lodging since you are already booked and can work around those dates.

However, what time is your flight out of Bozeman or haven't you decided regarding that?

As I re-read your first post, I'm confused as it says" afternoon flight" & then "6:50 am flight".

Then you also talk about driving from Bozeman to Vernal!

My point was that you don't want to be driving from GTNP to an early afternoon flight out of Bozeman.

Please clarify if your flight out of Bozeman is confirmed or if you have open options from GTNP to Zion.

USA
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7. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

Also of great import to your Yellowstone plans, note that the park road between Norris & Mammoth will be totally closed Sept 14-Sept 30:

nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

thanks for your assistance Denali and others much appreciated.

Things are pretty open at this stage depending on various accommodation availability, especially I the Grand canyon south rim.

I haven't booked much as yet as - as although I booked Glacier last year - various reasons have meant I had decided to put things off to at least 2015

This being the case I haven't been thinking much about this trip for some time (my first to the USA) but due to my wife's encouragement I decided last week to try and resurrect my trip plans.Hence I need some advice !

I needed to get some accommodation sorted quickly inside Yellowstone after Glacier and then go from there , which I've partly done.

Except for accommodation in Glacier and the nights in Lake and OF Inn. I need to still book in Gardiner for the 9th and either Gardiner or Mammoth for the 10 - 12th, then Colter Bay for 16 - 18th.

My focus is national park / nature/ walking and sight seeing as this is a major interest.

Bummer about the Norris mammoth closure ! On the 14th I would be leaving lake and staying at OF Inn. I haven't worked out specifics of what I would do that day, but had thought that the 15th while at OF Inn and AM16th I would devote to the Geyser areas.

.Do you see this as much of an issue, for me convenience wise and for sights ?

Sorry for the confusion ,I had thought that I could have a relatively unhurried day to wind my way up from GTNP via Jackson / Teton Pass / Eastern Idaho & would then stay O/N in Bozeman, on the 18th then take the early flight to Las Vegas, flying out the morning of the 19th 6.50am flight on Alaska Airlines ,arrive around mid day Las Vegas then drive to Zion stay Springdale that day.

The alternative as I see it, rather than driving to Bozeman and the flight to Las Vegas,could be to continue my trip by driving through to Moab by way of Vernal/ ( as it is on the way and near Dinosaur Nat Monument)or possibly Park City (scenery ?)overnight.

This is a quite a few more miles of driving though.

Then I could then go from Moab and do a grand circuit of sorts finishing back in Las Vegas.

your thoughts appreciated.

Tacoma, Washington
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9. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

I highly suggest you look at a loop rental to save money...unsure what the one rental costs are for you. You sometimes can get cost savings doing a ne way with the same state.

What s the cost of the one way vs round trip back to kalispell?

The time from Jackson to Moab is a 9 hr drive. Driving up to Bozeman is about 4 hrs + 3 hrs Vegas to Zion then the flight time...you aren't saving time this way really.

By going down to utah the drive through southern Utah is more efficient as a one way drive rather than having to drive out and back. You may be able to get a cheaper one way rental going to Vegas.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: itinerary advice needed(sorry for length)

Thanks for the reply - if I went back to Kalispell from Many Glacier then I still would need then to get to Yellowstone. A loop from Bozeman would require an extra O/N in Bozeman on arrival as the flights get in late from San Fran, and I'd still have to drive all the way back to Bozeman from Yellowstone at the end. I'm committed to Glacier September 4 - 9 if I go this year.. The one way fee is $150 (Alamo) which would end up being not too much more than a room in Bozeman for the extra night and only $10 a day over 15 days anyway. So that doesn't bother me.

If I continue on driving the one way fee fro a drop off at Las Vegas is $300 which for the 30 day rental is only also an extra $10 a day.

After these discussions I'm thinking I should reduce my trip to 3 weeks and finish with GTNP - Bozeman and fly from Bozeman to SF- maybe I can get up to Yosemite for a couple of days as well and then back to Sydney , Aus.The cost, miles and complications of getting down to Utah etc and doing the grand circle as well as my northern leg are starting to look daunting. Maybe I'll return for that leg another time.

I'll think about it.

thanks for you input !