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Tips for West Coast Trip (San Fran-Yosemite-LAS-Zion-Bryce-Moab-SLC)

Tips for West Coast Trip (San Fran-Yosemite-LAS-Zion-Bryce-Moab-SLC)

Old Mar 8th, 2010, 07:50 AM
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Tips for West Coast Trip (San Fran-Yosemite-LAS-Zion-Bryce-Moab-SLC)

We are BOOKED at LAST!!! Well, airfares and car rentals! I am SO stressed....later we will map our route better since DH wants to see if we can go to Grand Canyon also from Vegas any thoughts?? What's the closest for us to to if we head out from Vegas on our way to Zion???

Dates: April 24- May 9th.
Itinerary so far is:
Day 1: ATL-Sacramento (Day Trip to San Francisco)
Day 2: Muir Woods, Napa Valley
Day 3: Drive from Sacramento to Yosemite (The Homestead Cottages)
Day 4: Yosemite NP (The Homestead Cottages)
Day 5: Drive Yosemite-Las Vegas- (Bellagio)
Day 6: as Vegas (Bellagio)
Day 7: Drive Las Vegas to Grand Canyon maybe???
Day 8: Grand Canyon to Zion -Staying in Cedar City maybe in between Bryce and Zion
Day 9: Zion then to Bryce
Day 10: Bryce to MOAB
Day 11: MOAB- Arches- Canyonlands
Day 12: MOAB- Dead Pt. Horse to Salt Lake City
Day 13: Salt Lake City
Day 14: Fly SLC to Rapid City
Day 15: Rapid City- Mt. Rushmore
Day 16: Fly Rapid City back to Atlanta.

Any help, tips would be appreciated! If we get the $80 America the Beautiful pass, does that cover parking also in the parks??

I will be about 6 months pregnant... so not much hiking.. hubby and I are usually ok if we see something, move on to next.. as long as I can take some nice pics!

Any other hotel recommendations also greatly appreciated or best AREA to stay in Sacramento for example...
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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The north rim of the GC will not probably be open when you are traveling. I love the south rim, but that will involve long driving days to do all you want to do. You might be able to get reservations in the park for day 7 and could be there by mid afternoon and get to see sunset and sunrise then take off and perhaps stay in the Kanab area to go up to Bryce and Zion.

Call the Xanterra number from the GC web site and if they say there is no room at GC, take the number and keep calling as they get cancellations all the time.

Have a fantastic trip.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 10:21 AM
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I couple of things to note.

The begining of your trip looks like a fair amount of back and forth driving if you are planning to stay in Sacramento. I can't quite tell if this is the plan though. Sacramento to SF takes an hour and a half and Sacramento to Napa is about an hour. A day trip from Sac to SF is 3+ hours of driving. So you may want to revise that portion of the trip.

The Yosemite to LV leg of your trip - I don't know if you have considered this in your planning, but Hwy 120 east of Yosemite Valley is very likely to be closed that time of year. It doesn't open until the winter snow is plowed, and we've had some pretty good snow this year so it doesn't look good for an early openning. You can check this site to see the statistics for opening that road.
http://www.monobasinresearch.org/data/tiogapass.htm
To get to LV, you'll need to come west into the central valley and then head south to get around the mountains.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Day 1 - if you want to go to San Francisco, fly to San Francisco or Oakland. Spend some time there. By the time you fly into Sacramento, drive to San Francisco, then turn around and leave the next day, you won't have time to do anything. Plus you'll be driving back to Sacramento at night after a long flight. It just doesn't make sense, IMO.

As november_moon said, Tioga Pass won't be open in April. You'll have to head south to Bakersfield, then east through Tehachapi and Mojave to Barstow to get to Vegas.

If you're going to drive from the Grand Canyon to Zion NP, I would stay in Springdale rather than Cedar City. That will give you a little more time at Zion before you head on to Bryce Canyon.

Lee Ann
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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You are missing a great experience @ Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, Grand Canyon by not staying in the lodges. While you may see a bit at each place and check them off your list, this is a terrible way to do the parks. You can say you have been there, but can't really say you know what they are truly about. This is the way I did the Grand Canyon on my first two visits. Finally, something clicked and I figured that most parks, especially the ones you are seeing, really require several days each to do the justice. I certainly wouldn't fly to Rapid City to spend one day at Mount Rushmore. What about Custer State Park, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Badlands, Crazy Horse. All of these are right there by Rapid City/Rushmore area. Even spending one day in San Francisco or Vegas is odd to me. I say cut half(or more)of the places out and spend some quality time. With 16 days, I would stick with the just the Southwest or just California. I find these to be two seperate trips for 16 days. Did you find some kind of really good deal on flying to Sacramento? I don't understand why you are flying there if you aren't doing anything there? I don't mean my post to sound harsh, just stating my opinion. Hwy 12 between Bryce and Moab takes an entire day in itself. Not to mention all the places that you shouldn't miss on that road(Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, etc). Even though you are pregnant, a lot of the really awesome sights do require hiking at a lot of the places you plan on going. I think I counted 14 different destinations on a 16 day trip. I personally, not sure if this can actually be done in this length of time, not to mention being 6 months pregnant.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 06:09 PM
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There is no charge for parking in the parks. Once in that's it.
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 04:07 AM
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Except there is a charge for parking at Mt. Rushmore.
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 04:42 AM
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Thanks for the input. An option is to stay one night in San Francisco as well, I didn't book the room in Sacramento yet.

We estimated Yosemite to LAS to be 8.5-9 hours, I believe that IS the LONG way...right??

My husband wanted to stop in Vegas on our way, we've been to Vegas for a week before, so just wanted to stop by for 2 nights...Initially I had us flying from San Fran/Sacramento to Salt Lake, and he nixed that idea and wanted to drive.

Also stayed at Grand Canyon last year, INSIDE the park, and the lodge was a total disappointment, the view was beautiful, but we wouldn't stay in the park again.. so for us, that's no biggy... we enjoyed the Holiday Inn Express at Flagstaff better on that one...

Mt. Rushmore was on DH's bucket list, so we're just stopping in to see it....

We looked at flying into San Francisco before... but decided we rather stay in Sacramento rather that San Francisco, personal choice. DH was fine just driving... but like I said, we COULD stay one day NEAR San Francisco...

We NEVER explore a place for days, that's just not us.. so on previous trips this has worked well for us. Like the GC, seen it, ready to move on.... that's just how we are...

Thanks for the info! I will pass it on to DH before we book Sacramento hotel for example.. and also GC/Zion/Bryce....
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 11:26 AM
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The Grand Canyon is the one Major National Park that you can "see it" (sort of) in a single day. Maybe you have been to San Fran before. I have been multiple times and I just don't see it as a "day trip".

Enjoy your trip!!
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 04:19 PM
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Another thought for you - you will be six months pregnant when you do this trip. You will be at a point in your pregnancy when you'll want to stop often for bathroom breaks and to walk around to keep your circulation going. Make sure you factor all that into your travel time.

Lee Ann
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 10:40 AM
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Thanks guys! Yes, the dr. told me to stay hydrated which means stopping often as well... plus keep walking every 2 hours take a stretch...
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:55 PM
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I am anxious to hear this trip report when you return.

You should get a National Park Passport and have it stamped everywhere you go and keep it with you child's records. and for future trip later. He/she will have 8 or 9 places stamped while in the womb. that might even be some sort of record.
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Old Mar 24th, 2010, 04:25 AM
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I'm anxious about the trip also! Still ironing out the Las Vegas to MOAB part... but I think once it's all set, it will be a great trip! I need to get me some comfy pillows to keep in the car.. and some awesome walking sneakers...

I will look into the passport... We're having a girl! also check into the America the Beautiful Pass... I am almost done booking everything... like I said, want to check the Tickets for "O" at Bellagio and get them before we get there and then hotels from GC/Zion/Bryce/Moab are the last thing on my list...

Thanks again for all your help!

We also got a full size car, rather than compact.. hopefully it will be more comfy...
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