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Zion, Utah to Albuquerque, New Mexico in late December?

Long Beach...
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Zion, Utah to Albuquerque, New Mexico in late December?

Hello there!

I am planning a roadtrip for me and my boyfriend. He lives in Milan, Italy, and will be visiting me in the states over the holidays. He wants to see a myriad of places, so this is what I have planned so far:

Monday, December 23: Leave LA. Drive to Death Valley for 1/2 day. Drive to state line and stay night.

Tuesday, December 24: Drive into Vegas. As this is one of the places he really wants to see, we will spend the full day here.

Wednesday, December 25: Up early Head to Zion. Hotel already booked. Spend day on some of the easy hikes in the park.

***This is where I am having difficulties.

Thursday, December 26: DRIVING DAY. From Zion to Albuquerque. Ugh. Quick stop at the Four Corners (a bit cheesy, but neither of us have been there, and we are huge Breaing Bad fans….he especially wants to see several sights from the show - hence the trek to Albuquerque).

Friday, December 27:All day in Albuquerque (mostly to find Breaking Bad locations. Maybe meet up with family if they can make the trek).

Saturday, December 28: Head out of Albuquerque on "Route 66" (he has been wanting to do this since we met and he learned I was from California). Perhaps head to the Petrified Forest and/or Meteor Crater, then secure lodging in Sedona for the night.

Sunday, December 29: Get up early. Drive to Grand Canyon. Spend day walking around catch the sunset.

Monday, December 30: Watch sunrise in Grand Canyon. Then eat breakfast and bolt. Drive home (all 800 miles).

Here are my questions:

1. Should I be overly concerned with risks of snow? Specifically from Zion to Albuquerque and ALbuquerque to the Grand Canyon? If there is snow, won't most of the main roads be regularly plowed? I was in Zion the day after Christmas two years ago, and it was actually quite warm (and there was no snow on the roads all the way from Salt Lake City back to LA).

2. This is a lot of mileage in one trip (around 2000 miles) over 8 days. But he only comes out here once a year, so we want to be sure he sees as much as he can and be home in time for New Year's Eve. The things he really wants to see are Vegas, Grand Canyon, Route 66 and Breaking Bad locations.

3. Is driving from Zion to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon a better option, both for the sake of time and energy and safety with the potential weather?

4. Other suggestions other than Albuquerque, which is a long drive from Zion?

Any help would be much appreciated. I have already spent over 20 hours planning and researching this trip….trying to make it as feasible, cost effective, and thorough as possible.

Park City, Utah
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1. Re: Zion, Utah to Albuquerque, New Mexico in late December?

You basically have the plan. Your time at Zion is pretty limited so you won't take much away in just a day. Look at that carefully. Even with an early start from Vegas, you'll only have a few hours there. And you have a 10 hour plus day ahead of you the next morning.

Four Corners stop is definitely a marginal experience but it's on your route. Grand Canyon South Rim on way back is possible.

Hard to suggest an alternative to Albuquerque if you're really just looking for Breaking Bad locations. But it does seem like there's not a good sense of purpose to the plan overall. Given that primary interest, you might think about skipping Zion and hitting Monument Valley instead.

While snow is possible, it's highly unlikely to impact you. We go down to Moab or MV often during Christmas. Have not seen snow in MV, but you do see it up on the plateaus.

Have fun.

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Zion, Utah to Albuquerque, New Mexico in late December?

We drove from Albuquerque to Sedona, and took 3 days to do it, as on the first day we stopped at Inscription Rock and at the Indian Trading posts; the second day we went to the Petrified Forest, and to Holbrook County Jail; the third day we stopped at the Meteor Crater, and lunched at Flagstaff. It was a full segment of our busy trip, and we were not dawdling anywhere! I cannot imagine driving from Alb. to Sedona in one day, having to stop for meals, and trying to fit in more than one stop. If you want to go to Grand Canyon, are you not much much better stopping in Flagstaff than doing the extra hours to Sedona then backtracking?? Also, Holbrook has some funky Route 66 stuff concentrated in one little town, and Jo and Aggie's cafe is great there.

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3. Re: Zion, Utah to Albuquerque, New Mexico in late December?

Petrified forest is naff. Defo pass on it. However Painted Desert is awesome, so don't miss it.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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4. Re: Zion, Utah to Albuquerque, New Mexico in late December?

I wouldn't be overly concerned about snow, but I would keep an eye on weather forecasts and be flexible enough to make adjustments if needed. You will pass some higher elevations near Flagstaff and Albuquerque.

I think you summed it up well. 2,000 miles of driving in eight days. It's possible, but you're not going to take much from the areas you do visit because your time will be so limited. I might consider dropping Albuquerque, which would eliminate nearly a third of the driving miles. I don't have a replacement suggestion because I'm not a big TV or movie person and have never seen Breaking Bad. Heard it's amazing though.

You might just have to chalk up your losses on that one and still have a great time with everything else for a much more enjoyable overall experience. That way you cold do a more natural loop going from Zion to the Grand Canyon to Sedona and then back to LA via Kingman. A couple of hard decisions to make, but I say kill one (ABQ) for the sake of the others. Have fun.

Edited: 14 November 2013, 18:35
Long Beach...
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5. Re: Zion, Utah to Albuquerque, New Mexico in late December?

Thanks for the input. Albuqurque is out. Bummed, but we an do that a different time. :)

6. Re: Zion, Utah to Albuquerque, New Mexico in late December?

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