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West coast self drive itinerary.

Belper, United...
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West coast self drive itinerary.

Hi All,

So, I'm planning early for next year. I've got about 16-17 days that I'd be allowed time off work and probably won't have an opportunity to do this again. :)

Firstly, I'm just checking itinerary. I know I'll have to give up time in many locations, but I'm interested in how possible this is? I've adapted a few regular routes to get all my 'must see' locations in and wanted feedback from those 'in the know'. :) I have a spare day or two that I haven't put in yet and have included the driving times as shown from Google. Not sure how realistic they are?

Any feedback is welcome and tips on the best time of year to do this?

Day 1 - LA

Day 2 - LA

Day 3 - Laughlin (4hr 15)

Day 4 - Grand Canyon (3hrs)

Day 5 - Monument Valley (3hrs)

Day 6 - Lake Powell (2hrs)

Day 7 - Bryce Canyon (2hrs 30)

Day 8 - Las Vegas (3hrs 45)

Day 9 - Las Vegas

Day 10 - Death Valley (2hrs 10)

Day 11 - Lake Tahoe (6hrs)

Day 12 - Yosemite (4hrs 40)

Day 13 - San Francisco (3hrs 30)

Day 14 - San Francisco

+ 1 or 2 Spare days

Liverpool, UK
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1. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

Even with your spare days I think you are short changing a number of places - for example you'll barely see Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Yosemite with only a 1 night stay in each of those locations and Zion NP isn't even on the list.

I've never been to Laughlin but LA to GCNP can be done in a single day although it is a long drive.

Not sure why you would want to spend 6 hours driving to Lake Tahoe for 1 night to spend nearly 5 hours driving back to Yosemite.

I personally try to avoid a series of 1 night stays but that's my preferred travel style.

As to when to take this trip my choice would be Sept/Oct after Labor Day (first Monday in Sept).

Try to avoid Fri/Sat nights in Las Vegas as room rates can be 3 or 4 x midweek rates and once your dates are set then book lodges in the National Parks (Yosemite/GCNP) as soon as possible as these can get booked up well in advance.

If you finish in San Francisco then drop off the car when you arrive - you won't need a car in the city and parking can be expensive.

Tacoma, Washington
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2. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

time would be late May/early June.

My suggested itinerary would be:

1 fly into La

2 LA

3 drive to grand canyon

4 grand canyon...after sunset drive to Page

5 Page AM, monument valley PM

6 drive to Bryce via UT 95/UT 24/UT12..night in Bryce

7 Bryce AM, PM Zion

8 Zion

9 Vegas

10 death valley..night in bishop

11-12 Yosemite

13-14 San fran

15-16 coast to LA

Belper, United...
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3. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

Thanks for your replies, guys. I'm more canyons than lakes, so your itinerary looks really interesting Dan. I'll modify my itinerary and see how it affects the drive times. :)

Lewes, United...
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4. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

Hi

Welcome to the Road Trips forum.

To me, the glaring problem with this plan, even if the driving times suggest it won't take you all day to get to most of your stops is that, apart from the cities, you only have a single night anywhere. This really isn't enough time to explore anywhere, just time to tick it off of a list.

Is that really what you want to do? If so fine, but I trust you really do understand that and know what that means.

For example, take day 11's 6 hour drive from Death Valley along the 395 to Lake Tahoe. Once you've added time for the odd slow traffic moment or road construction or loosing momentum as you climb the several hills along that route, or just stopped for gas, drinks, meals, etc here and there, you are looking at 8 hours end to end. You will have no time to stop at the many, many wonderful sites all along that surprisingly interesting road to even take a photo of them.

What would you expect to achieve by a few hours in Yosemite national park?

You won't be the first or the last to have a road trip like this, and even some of the very seasoned travellers who frequent this forum have done these kinds of trip, and say they have enjoyed them. But, they did this before fully understanding the undertaking perhaps, or did so to just to get a quick flavour of somewhere, certain of the knowledge that they'd go back and revisit the places they found interesting to linger longer.

This is just my view, of course.

SWT

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

A day getting *to* a place is not a day visiting it. This is a drive-by itinerary and I think you'll regret it.

Belper, United...
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6. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

Thanks for your replies. I've decided to alter things a little, based on your feedback.

So current plan:

Day 1 -Arrive LA

Day 2 - LA

Day 3 - LA to Grand Canyon (7hr 15)

Day 4 - Grand Canyon

Day 5 - Grand Canyon to Page (2hrs 30)

Day 6 - Page to Monument Valley (2hrs)

Day 7 - Monument Valley to Bryce Canyon (4hrs 40)

Day 8 - Bryce to Zion NP (1hrs 45)

Day 9 - Zion NP

Day 10 - Zion NP to Vegas (2hrs 45)

Day 11 - Vegas to Bishop (via Death Valley) (4hrs 30)

Day 12 - Bishop to Yosemite (3hrs)

Day 13 - Yosemite

Day 14 - Yosemite to San Francisco (3hrs 55)

Day 15 - San Francisco

Day 16 - San Francisco - Fly Home

So, I have a spare day (if I need it). Could have an extra night in Vegas, San Fran or Bryce. Or maybe somewhere else?

Thanks again for your advice all. It's really starting to take shape. :)

Liverpool, UK
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7. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

I personally would revisit Days 5 to 7 - as it stands you are doubling back on yourself to get from Mon Valley to Bryce and that route will be around 530 miles.

I'd do the following:

Day 5 - Grand Canyon to Monument Valley (3hrs 20)

Day 6 - Monument Valley to Page (2hrs)

Day 7 - Page to Bryce Canyon (2hrs 30)

The total distance is less at around 450 miles.

Day 12 - Bishop to Yosemite (3hrs) - I assume you are hoping to go via Tioga Pass but timing could be critical as this road can be closed into late May or early June in some years.

www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm

Washington State
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8. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

Days 11 & 12: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361

Here is a map of Day 11: http://goo.gl/maps/LnjBe It's actually 7 hours, not 4.5 hrs

Day 12 could be 3 hours, if you don't ever stop. But you'll be driving up the Eastern Sierra, into Tioga Pass, through Tuolumne Meadows, past Tenaya Lake, past Olmsted Point (viewpoint), and missing Tunnel View. Plan to make this a day of tourism as well.

Day 14: If you exit Yosemite Valley via Mariposa Grove & the South Entrance, this is 5 hours of travel time instead of 4.

Belper, United...
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9. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

So I could add a night in Furnace Creek or Beatty to break up day 11?

Washington State
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10. Re: West coast self drive itinerary.

The 7 hr day includes drive to tourism destinations (Dante's View, Badwater, Artist Drive.) If you want to stay in DVNP at Furnace Creek or Stovepipe Wells, then you can stay further north on Hwy 395 the next night (June Lakes?) That article I linked has more info.

You need to figure out which destinations best match your travel style.

But whatever you do, don't stay in Beatty. It isn't on the way at all.