Have I got this right? (14 days LA - SF - LA in October)
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Jul 6, 2012 7:42 AM Last Post By: ianw6705
Jul 5, 2012 1:39 PM
15I've never driven from Vegas to the Grand Canyon.. my guess is that it's not terribly scenic. Flying seems fine as long as you can afford it and that it's possible! I'd just never heard of such flights.
As for Big Basin..
My suggested route would be to drive down Highway 1 from San Francisco into Santa Cruz, then head north on Highway 9 through Henry Cowell Redwoods and Felton. Turn on Highway 236 in Boulder Creek to get to Big Basin. If you're short on time, the inland route from Half Moon Bay to Big Basin on Highway 35/Skyline Blvd. is also scenic, but it's only 15 minutes shorter and the coast is better.
Santa Cruz isn't anything special, so after Big Basin, I would continue on to Monterey to spend the night. You could easily spend that night plus one more in Monterey, there's so much to do.
Day trip from Monterey to Big Basin is too far - do it en route.
Jul 5, 2012 3:20 PM
Jul 5, 2012 3:36 PM
17Ian, I hope you don't mind me asking where this photo was taken?
I can't remember precisely which San Francisco street we took the photo - possibly out near The Castro or near Dolores Mission, but only guessing. It might actually be one of the cross streets on the north side of Haight Street. But it doesn't really matter - there are many SF streets with wonderful weatherboard houses - a lot of them brightly painted as per the photo.
I've never driven from Vegas to the Grand Canyon.. my guess is that it's not terribly scenic.
We've done it about four times, and we always find it incredibly scenic ... Hoover Dam is worth it on its own, but there is a lot of interesting high desert scenery, and a few Route66 towns such as Williams. And if you do not find it scenic, then it is pretty fast to drive through it anyway.
And yes - the ideal for us is (a) a night Las Vegas, (b) drive via a stop at Hoover Dam to Grand Canyon South Rim to see the sunset, (c) stay in a cheap motel in Tusayan, (d) up early and see the sunrise and do the walks, (e) get back to Las Vegas via Hoover Dam by about happy hour, and the buffet at Paris. Stay the night in Las Vegas. Perfect.
Jul 5, 2012 4:26 PM
Jul 5, 2012 5:02 PM
19I've driven x Vegas to Grand Canyon, we drove thr the night but stopped as we went over the Hoover Dam which was good, and you can tour it from memory if there in the day. I've also flown back too. Wasn't a hassle getting on a plane last minute but just keep in mind that after the heat currents of the day it can be a rocky ride home, so go early as to avoid this. As expected, scenery was spectacular. Forget costs and had my friends drive me to the airport so unsure how you may do it alone: ask when booking I guess
Jul 5, 2012 6:15 PM
20Okay, so I guess Vegas-Grand Canyon is scenic after all. Don't trust my advice on anything outside California, apparently!
Jul 5, 2012 6:22 PM
21The Grand Canyon visit was going to be through an organised tour via plane (including taking a coach to Eagle and Guano Points on the West Rim, a helicopter ride down to the base and a pontoon boat ride along the Colorado River) but I'm re-thinking this having read the thread that Nutrax linked. Can anyone advise as to whether there's a huge difference between the views from the West Rim and those from within the National Park? I've had a look on Google images but it's difficult to tell. Also, he/she says "You can drive to West Rim and return to Las Vegas in 6-7 hours" - is that a round trip from Vegas to the West Rim and back? I thought it was 6-7 hours one way.
Thank you Ian and stopthebus for your suggested itineraries :)
Yaguri, thanks for the info. I don't think I'd want to go on a weekend though; I think I'll skip Muir Woods altogether in favour of Big Basin seeing as it's less crowded.
ThurstonHowell4th, thanks for sharing!
Jul 5, 2012 7:27 PM
22I haven't been to the West Rim, so can't factually compare, but would still recommend a half day, a night, and another half day at the South Rim ... it is simply too wonderful to miss - and do it in a rental car. Hoover Dam is a great fringe benefit.
Thanks nutrax ... I have added a locational caption to my pic of the painted ladies.
Jul 5, 2012 7:32 PM
Jul 5, 2012 7:47 PM
24If you're going to drive to the Grand Canyon, consider the North Rim. (Both drives are about 5 hours each way. If anything, possible congestion in the Boulder area can make the S. Rim drive longer.) The forest in in this region of the park is full of Aspen trees that will be turning in the early weeks of the month. Very pretty! Also, the drive itself is, IMO, a bit nicer than the drive to S. Rim.
If you're traveling later in the month, Zion starts to get VERY pretty in the last week of Oct. into the first weeks of November. The timing does vary, but if Fall arrives slightly earlier then usual, this would be a great day trip from Vegas, possibly (?) worth doing instead of the G.C.
Jul 6, 2012 6:36 AM
Jul 6, 2012 7:00 AM
Jul 6, 2012 7:42 AM
27I prefer the South Rim over the North Rim ... better vistas, better infrastructure, many more lodging options, and the regular shuttle bus makes it more rewarding in limited time. Plus sunset and sunrise "work" better from the south side looking north (naturally enough).
The North Rim becomes more attractive if you are also visiting Lake Powell / Bryce Canyon / Zion NP ... but otherwise I think the trip via Hoover Dam to the South Rim remains the better option.
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