3 weeks in the USA - East or West!?
Replies: 58 - Last Post: Mar 7, 2013 9:25 AM Last Post By: FlagStuff
Feb 8, 2013 3:24 PM
Feb 8, 2013 7:14 PM
31Come on guy's E Oregon????? I mean there are still plenty of true western remote areas that are, how will I say it, have tree's!
Feb 9, 2013 1:06 AM
Feb 9, 2013 7:49 PM
Feb 10, 2013 12:31 PM
Feb 10, 2013 5:52 PM
Feb 19, 2013 5:49 AM
Back again... Many thanks for such a comprehensive array of exciting things to see and do in the West - getting itchy feet just reading about it. In hindsight, Denver does seem to be a bit out of the way for the 'southern' route to the coast. The only reason I suggested it was because I wanted to see some snow-capped 'proper' mountains (Rocky Mountain National Park), as well as all the drier areas we'd be heading through. It would be great to see as many different terrains as possible!
Would it be more feasible to start in Salt Lake or maybe Grand Junction then drive via a selection from Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Glen Canyon, Grand Canyon, Zion, Vegas, Yosemite and up the coast to SF? Clearly this is a long list so we'd be selective based on the best route, but further advice on where to start if we want to see these would be appreciated!
To reiterate, we're happy to do some heavy driving to get lots of these in, and happy to be totally flexible with both the route and when we stop/where.
Two other quick questions (both of which will show my naive Englishness!):
1) What's the average price per night for a motel in the west, and are they relatively easy to come by?
2) We'd be happy to camp, but don't want to be stuck having to get to pre-booked campsite, what are the laws on camping in open country?
Feb 19, 2013 6:27 AM
Park accommodation can be difficult to get, especially the cheaper places. I'd book ahead for Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.
Generally illegal in state parks.
Generally permited in national forests and BLM land, though there may or may not be restrictions (no fires, must keep distance from water/road, etc.). Don't expect amenities, obviously.
Feb 19, 2013 6:37 AM
39Good stuff, thanks for the info Bzookaj.
All: would the following route be feasible/fun? A cursory 5 minutes on Google Maps coupled with previous conversations and posts suggests it may be, but interested to hear thoughts on what can be sacrificed/what's missing...
Feb 19, 2013 6:41 AM
40Apologies, not got used to not being able to edit yet, hence double post!
Possible (very apprximate!) route now here... http://bit.ly/YkgTks
Feb 19, 2013 11:01 AM
41I recall I advised starting in Salt Lake regardless of whether you go north or south. There'll be no shortage of snow-capped mountains in the Salt Lake vicinity. And if you go north, the Sawtooth mountains of central Idaho put anything in Colorado to shame.
Feb 19, 2013 10:47 PM
42The La Salles near Arches should be snow-capped, as will the Sierras on your way toward Yosemite.
Not in August, and that goes for the Colorado Rockies as well. There will surely be patches at the highest elevations, but nothing I'd call "snow capped". These are all "proper mountains" though, without question.
There is an understandable assumption that the most outstanding scenic areas in a region will be contained in the National Parks, and while this is often true, Colorado is one place where it certainly is not the case. I'd give a pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, and instead head down to the southwestern part of the state, in the San Juan Mountains. There you'll find spectacular mountain scenery, superb scenic drives and hiking trails, attractive small towns and hot spring pools. And it is still an easy drive over to Moab, Utah to continue on your (the rest of your itinerary I quite like).
And if you go north, the Sawtooth mountains of central Idaho put anything in Colorado to shame.
Anything in Colorado? I've been to the Sawtooths, and they're wonderful, and certainly outclass many areas of Colorado. but all? I don't think I can get behind that. Glacier NP, maybe.
Feb 19, 2013 11:22 PM
Feb 20, 2013 3:53 AM
44Cheers both, seems sound advice. The snow itself doesn't particularly bother me, it was just the easiest way of describing what I'm after. Basically, some alpine-mountains as well as the desert/sandy mountains of Utah and Arizona.
San Juan Mountains look great, and fit in well with the rest of the itinerary, but where would be the best place to fly into? Salt Lake City is too far northwest. Would the 250miles from Denver be a good starting drive, and stay over in the mountains for our first night out of the city?
Willysnoutredux - very very keen on a trip to the north-west US, but I think it's going to be for another day. Next time Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington BC!
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