Salt Lake City-Utah-GC-Vegas-Yosemite roadtrip
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Apr 17, 2013 10:08 AM Last Post By: FlagStuff
Apr 14, 2013 1:02 PM
Salt Lake City-Utah-GC-Vegas-Yosemite roadtripHi all,
We are finalising plans for a roadtrip this spring/early summer I thought I'd post our planned itinerary to get any advice.
We will have 14 full days for this trip, and counting the distance it's coming to about 1,481 mi / 2,384 km in total. We've never done a road trip quite this long so a bit worried if we will have too much driving, we really want to also have some time to enjoy each location. We've already dropped Arches, Canyonlands and Monument Valley to allow a bit more time in the destinations below...
Here's a rough plan of our itinerary so far:
Starting from Salt Lake City airport, drive south to Torrey for highway 12
Drive highway 12 to Bryce
Bryce (how long, must sees?)
Zion (how long, must sees?)
Grand Canyon (north rim or south, we are considering the south so we can walk down and see more of it)
Las Vegas (maybe stay an afternoon or one day)
Drive through Death Valley towards Yosemite, maybe stay in Bishop (we want to see Zabriskie Point, anything else amazing on the route?)
Yosemite Valley (how long, must sees?)
Drive to SF (due to time restraints this might be straight to airport as we've already visited SF)
We are trying to balance distance with what to do in each place. Do you think the amount of driving seems doable for 2 weeks? Also any tips what would be must see places along the route or best road options? Or do you think we have dropped off something amazing that's just around the corner and we definitely should visit?
Massive thanks beforehands for any replies, so looking forward to this trip!
Apr 14, 2013 7:22 PM
1The South Rim is open year round. The North Rim doesn't open until "mid May."
The "walk" down the Grand Canyon is a strenous activity, especially in Summer. I hope you are in good physical condition and have some experience with hiking in a HOT, low humidity environment. Read the precaustions in the web site provided. There are about 400 cases of heat stroke in and around the Grand Canon National Park each year that are serious enough to require medical attention. Don't be one of them.
1500 miles of driving in 21 days is not "a lot of driving." You should be fine.
There is a lot more to see in Death Valley than Zabriskie Point. Death Valley is the largest national park outside of Alaska. Take emergency water with you at all times and see more of it. Death Valley is enchanted as unlikely as that may seem...If you have the time see some of it. There is a place there, called The Devil's Racetrack or Racetrack Playa, where the rocks move apparently under their own power - but only when no one is looking. (No, I am not kidding.)
You have to be joking. Do some research.
Apr 14, 2013 7:28 PM
2You keep asking for "must sees."
Are you hikers? Horseback riders? Photographers? Remember, we don't know you, and what we like may be what you hate.
But either will be good.
Btw, the farther into the canyon you hike, the hotter it will get, and the farther you have to hike back up. Know your limits.
How long you spend here is dependent on whether you can get lodging in the park.
Apr 14, 2013 9:39 PM
Apr 15, 2013 4:19 AM
Apr 15, 2013 10:20 AM
5Yea, what on Earth does "Must See" mean???
Planning your vacation around a blindly picked Bucket List is certainly popular, but it is seldom the best way to plan for and enjoy your trip.
There are plenty of 'Must Sees' in to be found on these and similar pages.
The only problem is that you won't live long enough to visit them all....
Apr 16, 2013 10:29 AM
Apr 17, 2013 5:53 AM
7Thank you so much for everyone for your comments and advice! :)
Sorry for being so vague and giving an impression of not having done any research or getting any
travel books - we have, and we do. However it's always nice to hear what places other people
consider the "must sees" in different areas, as it might not always be the exact same things that the guidebook tells
us and there could be some hidden gems along the way.
Activity wise we are pretty fit and will definitely be doing some hiking. Due to time constraints
probably half a day or day hikes in different areas. Also looking into doing a horse back riding
trip, possibly in Bryce or Zion as those seem to be quite nice areas to be seeing on horseback. We
both love photography as well so looking for those amazing viewpoints (I think the books cover these
Thanks for all the advice considering Grand Canyon, sounds like we should get pretty good view of it
from the north side only and that would also save us a lot of driving. The hike down does sound strenuous and maybe we'll be better off doing more hiking in Zion & Bryce and just seeing GC from the viewpoints.
geo_nerd, thanks for the links, we've already visited some of them but there is definitely some new
sites for us to help plan the rest of our trip!
Apr 17, 2013 6:33 AM
I would definitely go somewhat into the canyon, just recognize this fact.
Half Dome (if you get a permit)
Mist Trail (part of the route to Half Dome)
Four Mile Trail
Some of these may depend on snow and ice.
Pick a canyon viewpoint and enjoy!
Canyon Overlook Trail
Sentinel Bridge (iconic view of Half Dome)
Apr 17, 2013 7:10 AM
9Awesome, thank you for those extra tips bzookaj!
Half dome - my partner is really keen to do that hike but unfortunately we didn't get the tickets you can apply for beforehands. It looks like you can still try and get them more near to the time so we might give that a try. It looks very scary with the cables in the end though so we might just settle doing the Mist rail one instead.
Apr 17, 2013 10:08 AM
Maybe I missed it, but I'm not sure what "spring/early summer" means. The North Rim does not open until May 15. Also, accomodation is severely limited near the north rim - there is one lodge inside the park, one just outside the park entrance, and one in Jacob Lake 40 miles away - so if you don't have accomodations yet, you may be out of luck. The south rim has far more options for accomodations.
I don't know why you think that it has to be an "all or nothing" proposition. Just because you might not be up for the arduous trek all the way to the river and back, doesn't mean you shouldn't do any hiking. Any hike below the rim is worthwhile. Many popular hikes are easier than the Half Dome hike you were considering, and similar in difficulty to Observartion Point at Zion.
On the north rim, there are many easy-to-moderate trails along the rim to remote and secluded viewpoints. There is only one easily accessible inner canyon route on the North Rim, the North Kaibab - the strenuous hike to Roaring Springs is well worth the effort.
There are fewer worthwhile rim-top hikes on the south rim, but more options for a hike below the rim. I'd suggest, Bright Angel to Plateau point or Kaibab to Skeleton Point or Cedar Ridge. The hike to Plateau Point is the longest and most varied and interesting, but for a shorter hike I'd stick with the Kaibab Trail, as that route has great views the whole way.
Edited by: FlagStuff
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