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Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

Australia
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Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

We have the opportunity to go to Denver Mid September 2014 and thought this is a good opportunity to start our US exploration taking holidays through to early 2015.

We are an energetic mid 50's couple love hiking and exploring national parks more so than cities we are used to camping and travelling in motor homes and prefer this to renting a car and staying in accommodation.

We have just started looking at the choices/restrictions we have with weather and see that there are definite limitations.

We are also looking at the option buying versus renting a motor home (small about 20-22 feet).

What's a good direction to head? Has anyone out there done a trip during this period?

Any suggestions to start us in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

Tacoma, Washington
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1. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

I cant speak for the motor home stuff....

Just in terms of your planning of this trip.

I would actually look to tray and start earlier if possible (like in August and ending in December)

September ---you need to focus on Wyoming (yellowstone), montana(Glacier), then head to Washington and Oregon

October---treak into Southern Utah, western Colordo, Northern New Mexico and northern Arizona

November --California

December southern California and southern Arizona.

Because of your timing ---I would suggest maybe usingg a different base city to start such a trip La or PHX) because of January weather.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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2. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

You can buy the motor home any where ... However you may not be able to register or insure it without a provable US permanent address ... Further, many "affordable" units will be suffering from disuse & usually have non-op onboard systems... And you will find very difficult to sell at any price. As this would be on short notice at trips end in the dead of winter... little demand ... Yes, bad idea ... carracar

Edited: 09 March 2014, 10:42
Indy
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3. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

Just a few things given your time frame.

Glacier NP: Going-to-the-Sun Rd. will close on Sept. 21st to through traffic for this season. The last day to drive to Logan Pass from the west entry will be Oct. 19th.

Anywhere in elevation: If temps are cold enough, snow/ice are always possible. For our Glacier/YNP/Black Hills trip, it was early to mid Sept. and locals were saying temps were cooler than normal. Temps got cold enough at night, but we didn't get any snow or ice. This past Oct. we did a huge road trip visiting the Grand Circle, Vegas, and Death Valley NP. This was around mid-Oct.. Death Valley was plenty hot (even warm temps feel hot to me), Vegas was cool during the morning some days, other days was mild, but we missed something in our Utah part of the trip. Part of a Utah trip might include driving UT-12 and visiting Cedar Breaks. Both are very scenic mountain areas. Prior to our arrival to the area, the higher elevations had already had their first snow. Since the parks were open, the road to Cedar Breaks was plowed, and since the sun was up then, road was just wet from melting snow on the side. We then headed to Moab, and on the way back, wanted to drive UT-12. I turned around due to snow. The snow wasn't heavy, but it definitely was sticking to the road. Since temps were hovering around freezing, I questioned if it was really worth attempting to drive UT-12 to Bryce. We ended up taking a much longer way, which was basically valley roads instead of mountain roads.

Overall I would say that Sept. was good for the Black Hills area, Yellowstone, and Glacier. October was good for the Grand Circle, but just be aware that it could be cold enough for snow in elevation and that could cause issues. One of the rangers at Bryce said they had already had some decent snow dumps prior to our arrival.

Oregon Coast
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4. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

As stated above, buying a motorhome is not a good idea. The exception would be unless you planned to return for several months each year to drive ti around. You'd still have to figure out the licensing nad insurance requirements, plus find a place to store it when gone.

Renting is an option - however, if you will be in any cold areas, RV parks may be shut down for winter. If nothing else, there will be no water! Cold weather camping is possible, but requires extra care and knowledge to handle below freezing temperatures without damaging the motorhome.

Aubrey, Texas
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5. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

Anticlockwise from Denver -- Rocky Mountain NP, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone (note some RV campground closures 9/21), Yosemite, Pacific Coast Highway SF-LA, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon South Rim, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, Durango (Durango-Silverton railway), Santa Fe, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Big Bend, San Antonio, Palo Duro Canyon (Amarillo), Colorado Springs (Pikes Peak), Denver. That would be one heck of a trip.

Australia
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6. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

Thanks so much for all your responses it has certainly helped me already in looking at our options.

Many places suggested we've either not considered or to be quite honest never heard of so lots more research to do.

Interesting to hear that some RV Parks/highways close.

Our starting point is the only thing that is definite at this stage.

Ann

Lewes, United...
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7. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

Hi

Lots of great ideas, but because of the way you worded your post I had a question:

Are you going to be based in Denver for work reason, and would then be able to fly to somewhere warmer for say December and January travel plans? Or was Denver just a hopefully convenient airport which is close to lots of national parks, so you homed in on there?

It just might affect some of the responses, hence asking.

SWT

Sydney
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8. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

Also you will need to check out visas, pretty sure us Aussies are only allowed a 90 day tourist visa in the US, not sure if you are planning on going into Canada at all but you will need to check on that if you are planning a 4 month trip.

Lewes, United...
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9. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

Good spot from Kim. Yes, looks like the trip would be over the 90 day ESTA limit. But popping into Canada in the middle doesn't stop or reset the clock on the 90 days, if your first and last airports are in the USA.

If so, get those visas in place before buying pricey air tickets!

SWT

Australia
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10. Re: Road Trip from Colorado: National Parks September-January

We are only committed to Denver for 2 weeks then have no further commitments