RV Vacation Vegas to Yellowstone

Old Mar 17th, 2006, 02:17 AM
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RV Vacation Vegas to Yellowstone

I would really love some help with an itinerary for a vacation that we intend to take over the summer. We have two (hopefully three weeks) to go from Vegas to Yellowstone Park. We will be flying in from the UK and thought that Vegas would be the most logical starting point. We would particularly like to see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and enjoy the drive up north. I have heard that Colorado is beautiful as well as Wyoming and Montana although we don't want to be driving the entire time. Any suggestions on itinerary or "must sees" would be greatly appreciated.
Also do you need to book into RV sites a long way in advance, and any ideas on where to hire the best RV?
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 06:48 AM
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++++Does anyone have ideas?
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 07:42 AM
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http://www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm

http://www.recreation.gov/

http://www.us-national-parks.net/

http://www.rv.net/forum/

http://www.areaparks.com/

You may want to check out these sites. The way it sounds you have set your self up for a lot of mountain driving in a large vehicle. You will need to be cautious, there are many roads in that part of the country that can be a little dangerous. You can ask questions on the RV site that I have listed.

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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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Hi J,

For the rough outlined itinerary you have, 3 weeks will be MUCH better, and there is a very big difference between 2 weeks and 3 weeks.

I assume you are coming in the summer months? Yes, you will need to make advance reservations, or arrive at campgrounds very early in the morning to snag a space when someone leaves.

It doesn't sound like you are planning to see the southern Utah National Parks, or are you? Our entire west is absolutely, incredibly beautiful and totally different from what you have in the UK.

One thing to consider is that when driving an RV you will be a bit limited as to which roads you can go on. Sometimes parking an RV at scenic pullouts and in National Parks is difficult. Also consider the price of gas and the very low mileage they get. You could actually spend less money staying in motels/lodges, depending on whether or not you plan to cook in the RV a lot.

Just some things to think about.

You also don't say if you like to hike a lot. If so, you will want more time in each place. Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming and Utah are all very beautiful and places to see are unlimited!

Happy trails!
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 08:23 AM
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Do you want to drive a rented RV on "the wrong side of the road" along winding roads? Also, check out costs of renting - and be sure to include mileage, gas, insurance (which coming from UK may be higher than for US citizens - don't know why, but it is), RV site to park it at, pumping fees, etc. against hotels/cabins, etc.

Except for LV, hotels can be had relatively inexpensively in that part of the country.
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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Dear RedRock, Dayle & Gayle, thank you so much for answering my query. Ok. Good news first. I have now pinned my hubby down to three weeks. So thats brilliant. I guess I also presumed that the roads would be so much wider which was obviously a little naive - so that's also brilliant advice. As for driving on the wrong side, that doesn't faze us, we lived in the States for two years and drive regularly in Europe. So no problems there. The price of gas seems like a dream compared to here, so I'm hoping that once again I'm not delusional on that point!

Dayle: As for staying around the Colorado area and maybe doing a trip down to the Grand Canyon would that be more sensible? I have heard that Montana is exceptional is it worth trying to fit this in as well though in the three weeks? We cannot return the RV up in Montana (closest to Montana would be Denver). We do like to hike, but have a 9 year old who may well like to whine as well. And being completely dumb on this point, how safe is it with bears?
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Sorry, I hit the "post" button instead of "preview" I also meant to add a big thank you to everyone for your help.
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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In three weeks and with careful planning, you certainly could see the Grand Canyon and then scoot up to Utah to see Zion and Bryce National Parks, and the work your way northward. Lots of great country, but take it easy to see all that beauty! Check online for RV sites. Be aware that a lot of outfits will rent you an RV that has big ads plastered on it -- not much you can do but register distaste.
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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Dear Van, eewww that sounds nasty. Had no idea that they do that. Do you think we are attempting too much? If so what would you do in that time?
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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We have a motorhome or trailer and have driven these areas in it over the last 29 years. It can be done safely. If you can pick up the RV in Las Vegas or Phoenix and drop it off in Denver or visa versa, it would save you a lot of driving and time but one way rentals might be a lot more expensive.

Two of the places I know of to rent an RV are Cruise America and El Monte RV.

Las vegas or Phoenix are a days drive to the Grand Canyon. You will need to make reservations at the Grand Canyon campgrounds. Trailer Village has full hook ups and you need to make reservations as soon as possible. If you don't need full hookups, then Mather is a nice campground in the park. This campground doesn't get filled up as fast, but still make reservations.

You mention Colorado. That's a little out of the way, but can be done. I'd spend at least 2 nights at the Grand Canyon for one full day of riding the free shuttle buses out to Hermit's Rest area. You can also walk along the rim and pick up a shuttle bus when you get tired. You can leave your RV at the campgrounds in the park and either walk to the rim or ride the free shuttle buses.

As you exit the park the next day, stop at the scenic overlooks before exiting the Grand Canyon at Desert View. Drive to Gouldings, Utah and spend the night. Again there are two campgrounds in the area. One is a private with hook ups and the Navajo Tribal park that doesn't have hook ups. We've never had to make reservations, but if you want hook ups then I'd call Gouldings RV park. If you want to see Monument Valley then take a guided tour. You won't be able to drive the motorhome on the scenic dirt roads in the park, but you can see a lot from the main highway.

From here I'd go to Mesa Verde National Park. There are a few sites with hook ups in the park, but your changes of getting one are very slim. You can't make reservations for them...the last I heard anyways. There are a lot of campsites without hookups and it's a really nice campground. I'd spend two nights and do at least one or two of the ranger lead hikes to the cliff dwellings.

From here head to Durango and then take scenic Highway 550 up to Montose. This is know as the Million Dollar highway. I'd you don't mind staying at campgrounds without hook ups, then go to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and spend the night there. No need for reservations.

From here I'd go north to I-70 and work my way up to Salt Lake City and then to West Yellowstone spending at least one or two night on the road to get there. I'd spend at least 4 or 5 days in Yellowstone. If you need hookups there is only one campground at Fishing Bridge that has hook ups and you will need to make reservations well in advance to get those campsites. If you don't need hookups then I'd spend a few nights at Mather Campround to see the geyser areas and then another couple nights at a large campground near the lake or canyon area. I would make reservations but it's not totally needed if you want more flexiblity. If you need hookups and can't get into Fishing Bridge, then I'd stay in West Yellowstone. We've never stayed there but it would be the closest place to stay for a private campground outside the park.

I'd also spend a couple nights at the Grand Tetons. I would exit the Grand Tetons on Hwy 26 which will take you through the Wind River range. Work your way down to Denver. If you have time, then stop at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Utahtea
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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Wow what an incredibly helpful lot of people you are! I love this forum!!! I am now about to look up those RV places and will get back to you. Thanks a million.
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 11:45 AM
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Also try www.sahararv.com, a Las Vegas-based company. Www.roadbearrv.com and www.moturis.com have Las Vegas locations as well as others so you may be able to organize a one-way if you like. Road Bear and Moturis also have smaller units if there are only two of you.
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 01:20 PM
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If you don't mind roughing it a little there are many campgrounds both in the National Parks and near by National Forest. Most will have no hook ups for an RV but they normally will have water and at least some form of toilet facilities located in the CG. This will increase your options for staying over night. The campgrounds in the parks are the ones that fill early and fast. http://www.fs.fed.us/ We often stay in the nearby National Forest CG's when visiting the Parks, they are not nearlly as crowded.
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 04:25 PM
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jjah,

Let us know what you decide and then we can be more helpful from there.

Utahtea
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Old Mar 18th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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Dear Utahtea, just wanted to say a big thank you. Thanks to your advice, we saved over $2000 on our RV by going through El Monte. Got exactly what we wanted and now can't wait to go. We are now arriving and leaving through Denver though, it makes it much cheaper and means that at least we are in the middle of things and can just travel up and down. Have spent the day looking at the places you suggested. They look wonderful. Any other suggestions, keep them coming!!!.
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Old Mar 18th, 2006, 02:56 PM
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My closest friend has used El Monte 3 or 4 times over the years and has always been extremely happy with their RV's and service.

Denver can be a great place for starting and stopping. You can make a big loop.

Do you want full hookups or can you live without them? Are you interested in Utah at all or just Wyoming and Colorado?

Utahtea
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Old Mar 21st, 2006, 12:39 AM
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Dear Utahtea, thanks for the reply. Yes we are very interested in Utah, it sounds beautiful. My friend called me last night though and warned me of two things I had not thought about and I wanted your opinion. 1. The Grand Canyon will be too hot to go and visit in August? she said we will be roasting. I'm guessing it will be pretty hot, but only down at the bottom. Is this correct? 2. The roads that we can use due to the RV will mean that we miss out on all the great scenery (see also Dayle's comment).

I don't mind not having full hookups by the way, but I'm presuming in my ignorance that I can just use the generator and still get along just fine.? If this is the case, I will be perfectly ok with that. Can you still fill up with water? or are we talking middle of nowhere type set ups? (which I'm still ok with, we will just plan ahead).
Thanks for the help - frankly (and I think this is fairly obvious) - couldn't do it without you.
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Old Mar 21st, 2006, 08:48 AM
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What size motorhome did you rent? Is it over 35 feet? If not, then the only road that I can think of in the areas that you will be going that you can't drive the motorhome on, would be Wetherill Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park. This is not the main road into the park and unless you have two days or more to devote to Mesa Verde, you won't need to drive on that road. The majority of ruins are on the main road.

I had already mentioned that you won't want to drive the motorhome on the dirt road in Monument Valley, but you can take a guided tour.

Yes, Grand Canyon and Utah will be HOT in August. The rim is cooler than the bottom of the canyon. The last time we were at the Grand Canyon was in August and it was warm but not unbearable and we hiked along the rim for two miles then picked up the free park shuttle. Lake Powell and Zion were HOT but we still hiked in Zion, the heat isn't bad for me as long as it's not humid and this area has dry heat. My pictures: http://www.utahtea.lithium.com/pages.../travelers.htm

Generator rules in the parks are forever changing and you will need to read the park rules when you get to a campground. Some have limited generator hours.

You have so many choices for routes and places to visit, but if the heat worries you, then I'd stick with Colorado more than Utah.

Here's a example of a route you could do.

Denver to Montrose or Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park 320 miles. South campground at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is nice.

Gunnison to Mesa Verde over Million Dollar Highway (Hwy 550) 160 miles. The Morefield Campground in Mesa Verde is one of my favorites. No need to worry about reservations. There is water, dump station, rest rooms at the campground and pay showers at the nearby store. Spend at least two nights so you can see the ruins. Try to fit in at least one ranger guided tour. You won't be able to Long House ruins because it is on the road you can't drive on.

Mesa Verde to Grand Canyon 285 miles and add another 50 if you make a detour to Monument Valley. When we went in August we stayed at Mather Campground without hook ups and it was cool enough at night we didn't need electrical hook ups. My BIL and SIL stayed at the Trailer Village campground and had electrical hook ups. You will need reservations for both campgrounds. We didn't spend much time at the motorhome during the day so I don't know how hot it got there.

Grand Canyon to Zion National Park. 255 miles. I'd stop at Page, AZ see Lake Powell and maybe try and fit in a tour of the Upper Antelope Slots Canyon.

Here most people will tell you not to miss Bryce and scenic Hwy 12, but you will have to decide where you want to spend your time. This would be the most scenic route and I-15 would be your fastest route to Yellowstone. Plan on at least 2 days driving to Yellowstone. Springdale to West Yellowstone via I-15 is 625 miles. IF you add Bryce and Hwy 12 to Torrey then it's 735 miles and I would plan on at least 3 days for siteseeing.

Grand Tetons back to Denver 500 miles and plan on 2 days driving. Exit the Grand Tetons at Moran Junction and take Hwy 26 through the Wind River Range. If you find you have time, spend a day or two at Rocky Mountain National Park.

If you have other parks in mind, let me know.

Utahtea













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Old Mar 21st, 2006, 02:19 PM
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Dear Utahtea, Are you sure you don't want to tag along and navigate? sounds like we could do with the help.!!!
Thanks for the brilliant suggestions, our van is 31-33ft so that should be fine I hope for the roads. As for how hot it is, when you say hot, I'm presuming around the high 30's?
I love the sound of the itinerary - I will now go away and look all of these places up and try and work them all out. I also loved your pictures - they are gorgeous. If they are indicative of how wonderful it all is I can't wait.
Thanks a million.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:11 AM
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jjah,

Tagging along on other peoples vacations would be a dream job!

Zion tempatures in the summer can easily hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit which equals 37 degrees Celsius. That is why a campsite with electrical is very important in Zion! You also have the Virgin River right next to the parks campgrounds. I like to go down to get cooled off and then cook dinner.

Grand Canyon will probably be in the 30 degree Celsius or less range. The elevation is at 7,000 feet so it doesn't get as hot.

Utahtea

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