Western Roadtrip - what should I do?

Old Sep 15th, 2021, 05:43 AM
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Western Roadtrip - what should I do?

Hi guys!!!

Iím going on my first roadtrip with a RV around US, and Iím having trouble to decide all the destinations!

Iím starting the trip by the end of the month (September) in Phoenix, and I have max of 25 days for the tripÖ

Thatís what I came up with:
  1. Phoenix
  2. Page
  3. Salt Lake City
  4. Yellowstone
  5. Glacier
  6. Portland

Since itís my first RV trip, Iím a bit worried with the distances, because the last 3 stops are a little bit far comparing to the first ones but Iím really excited to get to know those places as well!

I would really appreciate if you guys could help me creating my final itinerary and any helps about the roadtrip!

Thank you!
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 06:28 AM
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Welcome to Fodors. Sorry, but 25 days and that itinerary is a HUGE trek - even more so driving an RV. Especially since you've ever driven one.

Are you just looking to do a 'road trip or do you really want to explore National parks and other scenic places in those areas? You could easily fill 25 days with just Yellowstone, Glacier, SE Washington and Oregon. And the southern parts of your list (Phoenix to Salt Lake City) could include a LOT more than just Page/Lake Powell - like all the Utah National Parks including Bryce Canyon and Zion, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, etc.

We really can't create an itinerary for you, but I personally Would not try that scale for a first ever RV trip. Especially in Late Sept/Oct when you'll likel hit snow in the northern parks.

Big question - Is the RV rental cancellable or have you pre-paid? Because there are other options.
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 06:48 AM
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Where do you return the RV? I would skip Glacier at that time of year. The Going to the Sun Rd is likely to be closed by the time you get there and also there's a 21 ft length restriction when it's open. Night time temperatures in Yellowstone will likely be below freezing so you may need to figure out what to do with water in the RV as lines may freeze and cause damage.
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 09:13 AM
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Late September isn't a great time to visit Glacier as a lot of things are closed. It's beautiful that time of year (we go almost every year over the last weekend in September). The tamaracks are bright yellow. But Going to the Sun is typically closed. Many of the lodges are closed. And it can be cold and rainy or snowy. Yellowstone is a little better because you can do a lot of driving, and the Fall colors will be beautiful. But, again, things will be shutting down or shut down for the season. If you could start in Glacier and work your way south that might work better.

Twenty five days isn't a lot for this trip, though.
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 11:19 AM
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I would probably cut Glacier for the reasons mentioned and Portland because driving and parking an RV in a city is not very practical.

Have you already been to the National, state and Navajo parks in Arizona and Utah? If not, I would head to Yellowstone first and hope for good weather. Then look at all the fantastic places between there and my final destination. Perhaps ger a big paper map and highlight the places you want to visit. Then use google maps or the like and work out the timing for your trip by adding about third more time to the estimates the mapping programs give.
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 12:43 PM
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I have a hunch (just a guess) that the OP has rented an RV for a one-way drop off in Portland (or something similar). Maybe we should wait til Juliaosada returns and fills in some of the blanks. We have way too little to go on now. Just a list of general destinations, 25 days and first time RVer . . .
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 09:23 PM
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Thank you guys for all the replies. I understood that the itinerary might not be ideal for the length of time that I planned for this RV roadtripÖ



Since I have already bought my flight to Phoenix, I think it would be better leave Yellowstone and glacier for another one, right?



I thought about doing all the southern part including the national parks like GC, Zion, Bryce, and after salty lake city I could head to Mammoth and Yosemite as my final destination. Any suggestions?


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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by julialosada View Post
I thought about doing all the southern part including the national parks like GC, Zion, Bryce, and after salty lake city I could head to Mammoth and Yosemite as my final destination. Any suggestions?
Great -- yes, definitely limit it to the Arizona and Utah Parks. Is there a special reason you want to include Salt Lake City? If you limit your itinerary to some of the AZ/UT parks you could certainly add Mammoth and Yosemite -- but it greatly depends on where you can drop your rental RV.
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Old Sep 16th, 2021, 04:20 AM
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The salt lake desert is one of the places Iíve been really keen to see!

And also, Sacramento is one of the options to drop off the RV and the closest to YsomiteÖ
By now, the places I thought about going:
Phoenix - Sedona
Grand Canyon South Rim
Monument Valley
Page - Antelope
Zion
Bryce
Salt Lake
And then straight to Mammoth and Ysomite?

since Iím not able to make it to the northern parts like Yellowstone, Iím thinking about spending the last days in California to get some nature hikings.
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Old Sep 16th, 2021, 06:34 AM
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Depending on the size of the RV you may need a tunnel permit for Zion https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvis...mel-tunnel.htm

Check out Antelope Island while you're in the Salt Lake area.

Between Salt Lake and Mammoth, consider breaking up the drive with a detour to Great Basin.
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Old Sep 16th, 2021, 08:31 AM
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Depending on weather and how the rest of the route lays out, consider a detour to Painted Desert/ Petrified Forest National Park, stops in Flagstaff, Walnut Canyon NM. Maybe the night near Winslow?

I am not a big fan on Sedona. It's sort of an espcape for Phoenix residents who like to boutique-shop. I think there is better redrock country when you get to Utah. I head straight for Flagstaff.

if you are going to Monument Valley and Page, map out including Moab and Arches, and coming back through Torrey, Salt Lake, Bryce on to Kanab. From Kanab there are two routes to Springdale for Zion (I don't know about the tunnel).

Bryce is at a high elevation so that may also start to get icy on parts of the trails in October, but the Rim Trail should be open and it's beautiful that time of year. You may also be able to do at least part of the loop.

If you are going to Yosemite, you could drive via Death Valley and then up the Eastern side of the Sierra, as long as Tioga Pass is open.

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Old Sep 16th, 2021, 11:29 AM
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I do agree with heading over to Moab for Arches and Canyonlands before or after Monument Valley.
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Old Sep 19th, 2021, 03:53 PM
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Visiting the North Rim ( instead of South rim)of the Grand Canyon works well with Bryce and Zion National Parks.
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Old Sep 20th, 2021, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by julialosada View Post
Thank you guys for all the replies. I understood that the itinerary might not be ideal for the length of time that I planned for this RV roadtrip…



Since I have already bought my flight to Phoenix, I think it would be better leave Yellowstone and glacier for another one, right?



I thought about doing all the southern part including the national parks like GC, Zion, Bryce, and after salty lake city I could head to Mammoth and Yosemite as my final destination. Any suggestions?
We just returned from Glacier National Park. The scenery is stunning!!!! However, I agree it is too late in the season to visit GNP. All the park lodges have closed with the exception of Lake McDonald which closes by September 22. We stayed at St. Mary's Village, and they are closing on the 22nd, and the nearby restaurants are closing soon since their business depends on guests staying at St. Mary's and Many Glacier Lodge. Very few campgrounds are open. We had a little bit of wet snow in Many Glacier one day. The season definitely ends by late September. In the future, I highly recommend visiting GNP in early to mid September. The crowds are fewer; we always found parking at the trailheads, and the weather is pleasant for hiking. There isn't any snow yet on the trails, so you can hike any trail you want.

Sounds like you will have an awesome trip visiting Arizona and Utah. Safe travels!
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