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Driving to yellowstone from LA

Melbourne, Australia
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Driving to yellowstone from LA

Hi folks, my family (3 adults) will be visiting in late June 2011, arriving in LA from Australia. I want to fly to Yellowstone and then on to the east coast, but my partner wants to drive up to Yellowstone. Is this a good idea in summer and have you any advice about the best route? Maddy160

Moose, Wyoming
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for Wyoming, Jackson, Jackson Hole
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1. Re: Driving to yellowstone from LA

Certainly there's no problem doing this drive in the summer.

The most direct route is almost entirely on Interstate 15, is about a thousand miles long, and will take about 15 hours of driving. Your route will take you close to Death Valley NP in California, Grand Canyon NP in Arizona, and as many as 5 other national parks in southern Utah. You can end up either in West Yellowstone, Montana (at Yellowstone's west entrance) or Jackson Hole, Wyoming (at Yellowstone's south entrance). If you drive to Jackson Hole, you'll have a chance to see Grand Teton NP on your way into Yellowstone.

Of course, the alternative is to fly on from LA to Jackson (or another airport close to Yellowstone) and save a couple of days driving from LA, plus whatever extra time you'd devote to seeing the national parks along the way. I suppose that depends on whether you have enough time in your trip and whether you'd enjoy the drive from LA. If you need more details, please let me know.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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2. Re: Driving to yellowstone from LA

The drive through the hot Mojave desert north of LA can be brutal in the summer. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

It would take at least two long days to drive straight through. If all you are going to do is drive so that you can see a little bit more of the country I would say don't do it, just fly. Especially if you have to drive back. Use those 4 days for Yellowstone and the Tetons.

But if you are going to take the time to visit some of the other sights along the way (which could take longer than a week) then it might be worth it.

San Antonio, Texas
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3. Re: Driving to yellowstone from LA

The only way it makes sense is if you're planning on visiting Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, or Moab (the town Arches and Canyonlands are near). I haven't been to Zion or Bryce, but of all the other places, Arches is the most spectacular IMO. Still, Yellowstone and especially Grand Teton just blow all of those places away (except maybe Zion and Bryce, since I haven't been to either and thus can't judge there).

Edited: 15 November 2010, 16:10
Everett, Washington
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4. Re: Driving to yellowstone from LA

Amount of time available is everything. While I routinely do trips with 800-1000 miles per day it is only when I am serious interested in getting somewhere in the least time and don't care about not stopping to see things. There are some "speed right through" stretches between LA and YNP and some where you might want to spend two nights and explore the area. Figure at least 4-5 days enroute and then at least 4 days at YNP/GTNP area. Then at least another day to get to an airport for flight to east coast.

As noted there are closer airports. Jackson is probably closest but check airfares and car rental costs and compare to Salt Lake City. SLC is about a five hour drive from Yellowstone. An option for seeing more of "the West" and areas outside the parks would be to resume journey form Denver which is an easy two day drive from YNP with lots to see along the way. The closer flight plan would shave 3-4 days off the drive from LA option.

San Antonio, Texas
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5. Re: Driving to yellowstone from LA

Also, if you're going to LA at the beginning of the trip and expecting great beach weather, you're not likely to find it in June. I lived there for 10 years and June is one of most dreary months of the year (so much so that LA residents call it June Gloom). There's lots of marine layer over the city and especially the beaches most of the month.

6. Re: Driving to yellowstone from LA

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