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Winter trip over the holiday season

Old Jan 9th, 2015, 10:31 AM
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Winter trip over the holiday season

Over the long break of the holiday season, we visited Red Rock Canyon NCA, Valley of the Fire SP, Hoover Dam(passing through), and Death Valley NP. We had also driven parts of the Historic Route 66, and stayed overnight at GC. We then made our way to Phoenix, passing Wupakti NM, and Sedona.

We flew into Las Vegas, did a one way rental from Las Vegas airport, and dropped off the rental car in Phoenix airport (where we flew out). We had a very good deal from Alamos. Below was our itinerary for this trip.

Day 1- Arriving late at night, checked in to Towneplace suites in Henderson for a 2 night stay.

Day 2- Visited Red Rock Park (drove the 13 mile scenic drive and stopped at overlooks); continued to Valley of the Fire SP-fantastic for some good hikes; then we drove the Northshore Drive to Hoover Dam (a lot of people visiting the dam, so we decided just to drive through the dam area).

Day 3- Early morning driving to Death Valley NP (beautiful sunrise on the way passing the Red Rocks); drove to Dantes View - stunning, expansive, and at the same time eerie! The drive was absolutely worth the time. Zabriskie Point is closed , stopped at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, then drove on Beatty Cutoff to Hells Gate, and made our way down on 374 Hwy for the Mud Canyon view. We continued driving to the mouth of the Titus Canyon. Since we do not have a high clearance 4W vehicle, we decided to do a short hike of the narrows of the Titus Canyon. We went on to Scotty’s Castle. It was amazing to see such beautiful green oasis in the middle of the desert. We also visited Ubehebe crater which is just a few miles away. Later the day, we made our way back to Stovepipe Well Village. Before checking in for the night, we did a short hike of the Mosaic Canyon which is just next to the inn. The day ended with a good meal at the hotel’s restaurant.

Day 4 – Woke up early for the Mesquite Sand Dunes sunrise – absolutely beautiful! Checking out and going to the Badwater Basin. On the way, we stopped at the Harmony Borax works interpretive trail – very good short trail. Golden Canyon is absolutely a must do trail in the park. Even a short walk is worth every ounce of the effort. The Artist scenic loop is absolutely beautiful, and the colors of the Artist Palette is fantastic on a good sunny day. On the way we stopped at the Devils Golf Course, and the lowest point of the North America – Badwater Basin salt flats. We drove on the Badwater road to Tecopa Hot Spring – it is a very scenic stretch of drive in the park. Tecopa Hot Spring is an interesting town to stop for the night.

Day 5 – We left early in the morning, driving the Old Spanish Trail to 160. It was a very pleasant drive and the sunrise was absolutely stunning. From 160 to 215, then onto 95 towards Laughlin and Bullhead. We planned on driving the historic route 66 from Oatman to Kingman. It was a very good scenic drive over the Sitgreaves Pass indeed. The town of Oatman is very interesting and rich in history, and beautiful as well. We stayed overnight at Kingman before continued on our route 66 quest.

Day 6 – Route 66 to Williams, and then Grand Canyon NP for the night. This stretch of 66 is not as interesting as the Oatman to Kingman but still good for a drive by. We did a short hide on the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point, and the view is absolutely amazing. We love Grand Canyon.

Day 7 – We are early risers. Once again, sunrise at GC was absolutely stunning! We were on the way to Phoenix for the next day departure on the New Year Eve, and the forecast said snow storm was on the way for the following day. On the way to Phoenix airport, we had a short visit at Wupakti NM, then followed by driving the Oak Creek Canyon highway to Sedona, before heading to Scottsdale for the night.

Day 8 – It was a rainy day in Phoenix, better than the snow. We did part of the Apache Trail since it was raining. The dirt road of Apache trail is not recommended on a rainy day. Even in the rain, the Apache Trail to the lake was very nice.

It was a delightful journey over the winter season, and we were glad that we avoided a major snow storm on the New Year Eve.

Below is the link for some of the pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/119161...7650129221236/
Cherthor is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2015, 11:19 AM
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Great report and pictures!
What are those birds with brown heads? Where did you see them?
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Old Jan 9th, 2015, 12:12 PM
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Lovely pictures! Sounds like you picked the perfect time to visit Death Valley.

Alisa23, those are Gambel's quail.
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gambels_Quail/id

Lee Ann
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Old Jan 10th, 2015, 10:47 AM
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Yes, they are the Gambel's Quails. There was a flock of them happily looking for food near the Goldfield mine Apache junction AZ. They were so cute, plump, and beautiful.

Thanks for clarifying, Lee Ann. Glad you enjoyed the report and pictures, and wish everyone happy travels.
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Old Jan 15th, 2015, 04:23 AM
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This sounds like a fantastic trip. I love Death Valley and it was great to see the pictures you took of it. Thanks for the report.
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Old Jan 26th, 2015, 08:57 PM
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Great post and lovely pictures.I really enjоyed reading it.I can imagine how interesting it would be....
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