Vermont to Grand Canyon

Jul 17th, 2015, 06:16 AM
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Vermont to Grand Canyon

A group of six adults want to drive from Vermont to the Grand Canyon in an RV next May. We have about 16 days. Would like to stop in Cleveland at Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Chicago, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park and the Grand Canyons then back to Vermont. Thoughts on the trip, what would you add or leave out?
LaSwitzer is offline  
Jul 17th, 2015, 06:26 AM
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Personally I'm not a fan of Rushmore. I would not miss the canyon de chelly .
jubilada is online now  
Jul 17th, 2015, 08:07 AM
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I would add Bryce & Zion.
J62 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2015, 08:17 AM
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First, check your travel dates against the expected opening date of facilities and roads in Glacier and Yellowstone. Some things do not open until June.

Secondly, the route you described is about 6300 miles and 96 hours of driving with normal traffic. I would expect an RV to be a bit slower than that. Even if you somehow drive at normal speeds, you are averaging 6 hours a day on the road driving. I suppose if you all take turns and drive a lot at night it could work. But if you are planning to stop at night and only drive during the day, you will need to pare back or else have little time to sightsee.

Yellowstone and Glacier combined could easily take a week of your trip, which would mean you'd need to average 12 hours/day on the road for the remainder of your time. That only works if you are taking turns and driving at night.

Dropping the Grand Canyon cuts off about 15 hours of driving. Dropping Glacier cuts off about 9 hours of driving.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Jul 17th, 2015, 08:48 AM
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Agree you just don;t have time to do/see what you want and get back in your limited time, especially with an RV. My parents traveled a lot after they retired and their (car) trip to Yellowstone was almost 5 weeks - with a number of short stops along the way: a couple of days in bigger places (Chicago, etc ), but mostly seeing various sights and still driving 3 or more hours per day.

Think you need to either cut back on destinations or add time.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 17th, 2015, 09:37 AM
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>>Think you need to either cut back on destinations or add time.<<

Absolutely -- but even cutting some bits in between it will be a dreadfully long slog to the GC. A motorhome large enough for 6 adults will take longer to get anywhere. Plus driving/parking it in Cleveland and Chicago will be a pain.

Twice the time or half the distance . . .
janisj is online now  
Jul 17th, 2015, 09:46 AM
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I should have mentioned that Vermont to the Grand Canyon and back is 76 about 5 hours of driving a day.

If you switch drivers and drive all night to get across some of the longer stretches, it could work. Obviously with an RV those that aren't driving could sleep somewhat comfortably so it wouldn't be awful.

I think you'll need to come back and let us know if you plan to drive through the night a few times or if you want to restrict yourself to day time driving, because that is really the biggest factor in whether this will work or not, IMO.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Jul 17th, 2015, 11:33 AM
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We probably won't drive thru the nights but are willing to revise plans (nothing set). So maybe the better question should have been - driving from Vermont to the Grand Canyon and back in 16 days. Where would you stop along the way? The only two items non-negotiable are Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Thanks for all your helpful advice.
LaSwitzer is offline  
Jul 17th, 2015, 12:21 PM
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>>The only two items non-negotiable are Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. <<

Then you aren't driving from Vermont to the Grand Canyon and back -- you are taking a big triangle tour Vermont > GC > YNP > Vermont. Too much in 16 days in a massive motorhome.

It is a minimum of 5600 miles and more than 90 hours drive time. so you would have to average nearly 6 hours driving every single day. This is just a forced march.

Fly out, rent a minivan to drive between the National parks, fly home.
janisj is online now  
Jul 17th, 2015, 01:31 PM
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You simply are not aware of the distances. You need to drop Glacier, at a minimum. According to, the driving time between Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon (south rim) is 17 hours. Chicago to Yellowstone is 22 hours driving time.

Use viamichelin to get a general idea of driving times (which do not include time for rests and meals), and then recompute your itinerary.
Michael is offline  
Jul 17th, 2015, 01:38 PM
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To clarify my post -- that 5600 miles is for just Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon and back. No detours or other sites.

The equivalent of Montpelier to Miami . . . 4 times . . . (two full round trips)
janisj is online now  
Jul 17th, 2015, 03:33 PM
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First, I would do your route in reverse and start with the Grand Canyon and then Yellowstone. You want to get to Yellowstone as late in May as you possibly can. The first week of June would be better. You don't want to run into snow with an RV that must be pretty large to fit 6 adults.

As others have mentioned you won't have time for Glacier. Haven't spent any time in Chicago, but as an motorhome owner we know that big cities are the worse places to drive in and find parking. I'd skip spending any time here and just make a weekend trip there from Vermont some other time.

Driving a motorhome is slower than a regular vehicle. I would recommend not trying to do more than 500 - 600 miles per day. It's not only tiring for the driver, it's also is tiring for the passengers too!

I'd head out on the interstates and follow them all the way to Flagstaff as quickly as possible. Stay at private RV campgrounds to make finding a place and getting on the road quickly each day. You'll run into a lot of the old Route 66 which can be a devision for an hour or two each day.

I would highly recommend staying at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at either Trailer Village or Mather Campground so you can leave the RV in the campground and ride the free shuttle buses to get to the overlooks. This will save you having to find a parking spot for the RV and it will be easier to view sunrises and sunsets. If you want full hook ups at the Grand Canyon you will need to make reservations at the Trailer Village well in advance of your trip. If you want to stay at Mather Campground which only has picnic tables you now need to make reservations during the peak season of March - November.

Between Grand Canyon and Yellowstone you can drive right though Lake Powell and Zion National Park and maybe spend a couple hours at each. If you want to camp in Zion you have to make reservations well in advance at Watchman campground which has electrical hook ups. South Campground is first come, first serve and you won't be able to get here early enough in the day from the Grand Canyon. There are some private campgrounds in the area if you decide to make this a stopover.

I would stop at the Grand Tetons on your way to Yellowstone. If you want a private campground for Yellowstone then stay in West Yellowstone. It's the most centrally located outside the park. Fishing Bridge has full hook ups in the park but you are packed in there like sardines. We found it was to hard to get level at the Canyon Campground and we're only a 30 ft. motorhome. We like Madison for location in Yellowstone. Yellowstone has made some changes in recent years as to where RV's can park and sorry to say some of the smaller geyser area parking lots no longer allow RV's.

On the way home I don't see why you can't spend a couple of hours at Mt. Rushmore since it's on your way. I seriously doubt you have time for anything else but!

Let me know if you have any campground questions.

utahtea is offline  
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