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120 through Yosemite or 108 slightly north may not even close until December some years when there is none snow. I would not worry about it at all next week and it may well be high 80s-90s in mid October up there during the day. Although I’ve seen it still closed June 1 due to snow. Lord knows they need the snow badly this year. I’d be more worried about wild fire then snow closure right now
 
Posts: 3852 | Location: Florida Panhandle  | Registered: November 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Aeteocles:
You can do the Zion, Bryce, Arches, Moab, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Valley Canyon loop. Throw in Vegas for a night on the town too.
I used Streets & Trips to make an optimized route to cover those locations and got a 2100-mile route:
Utah NP loop by David Casteel, on Flickr
It uses the Modesto-Bakersfield-Barstow-Las Vegas routing for both go and come. I added Capitol Reefs National Park because it was on the way back from Moab. The route uses Page, Arizona and Moab, Utah as "home points" for where to overnight, with day trips out to the parks, etc. You will note that the optimized route does not put visitations to Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP on the same day. Zion NP is fairly accessible, but visiting Bryce Canyon NP requires a lot of extra driving.

I also tried a route that forced the return to Modesto to use US-50 (with a bypass of Sacramento). It also separated the visits to Zion and Bryce Canyon NPs:
Utah NP loop alt by David Casteel, on Flickr
It does go very close to Virginia City, Nevada--another interesting destination. This route is also 2100 miles long.

FWIW, eliminating Capitol Reef NP and forcing US-50 return does put the travel to Bryce Canyon NP back into a side journey from the path between Zion NP and Page, Arizona. This route is 2070 miles long.

flashguy




Texan by choice, not accident of birth
 
Posts: 25770 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by ChuckWall:
Flashguy also posted a pretty iconic trip. I've done all of it except Capitol Reef and highly recommend his itinerary.
Thanks for the compliment! I've been to all those parks except Capitol Reef, too, but not in a single trip. I have not done any of the journeys I'm positing in this thread--I'm just trying to be helpful. (I've also reduced the size of the posted routes to make it easier to view them, but they are still available to be expanded by clicking on them.)

flashguy




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Posts: 25770 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by flashguy:
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Originally posted by thumperfbc:
What if we reversed direction and went from Modesto to Vegas on day 1… is Vegas a good jumping off point to see Zion?
I didn't make either of those places specific waypoints on my map, but it's about 500 miles from Modesto to Las Vegas and another 160-170 miles from there to Zion NP. (My Waypoints were to guide the route--I just posted flags at destinations nearby.)

The route I posted between Modesto and Las Vegas included CA-120, which goes through Yosemite NP and is partly closed during the winter (like very soon!). Using CA-99 to Bakersfield, CA-58 to Barstow, and I-15 to Las Vegas is about 490 miles (city center to city center). It would not be particularly interesting, but would be a lot faster. (Streets & Trips says would take about 7 hours the way I drive.) From the center of Las Vegas to the entrance to Zion NP is 160 miles, or about 2.5 hours (according to S&T). Unless you really wanted to do things in Las Vegas, you could probably make it all the way to Zion in one day. (Make overnight reservations early.)

You have indicated that 12-hour driving days are OK with you. When I was younger I felt the same way. This late in the year (shorter days) and at my age (83) I'm not up to that any more. I plan my auto trips with 8-hours of travel, which typically means 400 miles or fewer, given that eating and gassing up takes time. Circumstances (stopping somewhere to do something) will cut down the distance traveled. I'm retired and usually not in any hurry, so it's all good. YMMV

flashguy


I’ve done the trip down 99 more times than I can count, but only out to LV once. You’re right, not much for beauty anywhere along that route.

I am intrigued by going all the way through Yosemite… I’ve not done that though I have been there several times. I don’t think they’ve had any significant snow up there yet, and it is true. It could still be open a month or even 2 from now. Or it could close before we get to it on our way back. Have to be flexible, I guess.

We can do the 12 hours of driving this trip cause we’re leaving the kids at home. Ha!

quote:
Originally posted by rsbolo:
Glacier is currently in the middle of "locals" season. The perfect time of year when tourists have gone home and Going to the Sun road is still open...

One snowfall could change that in a heartbeat. You may want to consider the Utah parks.

If you got to Glacier you might win the lottery and get an "empty" park and beautiful weather. You could just as easily crap out.


That’s kinda what I was thinking… I’ll need to pick up a set of chains for this car… don’t have a set yet as I’ve only had the vehicle a few months.

Maybe we can check the weather in Glacier the night we get to Twin Falls/Wendell and then make a choice between going north to Montana or east to Utah?

There are so many choices it’s legitimately overwhelming. My bride mentioned again stopping by Vegas for night and catching a magic show or something. I was kinda leaning towards Wendell/Twin Falls then basing in SLC for the rest of the trip and checking out the Utah NP’s. I guess that could still work.

I would like to come home through Yosemite, weather cooperating.
 
Posts: 5695 | Location: Modesto, CA | Registered: January 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Posts: 385 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: December 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just for grins, I used S&T to do a trip from Modesto to Glacier NP. It's 1249 miles one-way, but does go right past Wendell, Idaho. Adding Yellowstone NP ups the mileage for that leg to 1349 miles (to and from via west entrance). Adding Grand Teton NP brings the driving to 1395 miles (plus park driving) to that leg. It also enters Yellowstone NP via the south entrance. But if you're going to do that, I'd recommend a nice Snake River float trip to the mix. (I used the Barker-Ewing agency, but there are several others.) I won't post those maps unless you ask.

As I mentioned before, just driving up to Glacier NP will take the better part of 2 days, and the return will also. Making no deviations along the way would leave only 2 days of your 6 to see Glacier NP. My tour through the park was 4 days and nights (arranged via AMTRAK) and I'd have liked it to be more.

thumper, in Feb 1960 I drove US-99 (it was then) all the way up California to Eugene, Oregon and then swung over to the Oregon coast on US-101 to get to my first USAF assignment on Mt. Hebo. I had relatives in Fontana and Chowchilla and friends in Leaburg, Oregon to visit.

FWIW, the drive across CA-120 also passes next to Mono Lake, which is a location many photographers enjoy.

flashguy




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Posts: 25770 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Craters of the Moon National Park in Idaho, about 1.5 hours northeast of Wendell. It was awesome.

Back in 2014 we drove from Central Illinois to Northern California/Oregon, took I80, dropped down to Salt Lake, up through Redding to Brookings Oregon. Then back through Idaho, hitting Craters of the Moon, then Yellowstone then back home. On the road for 14 days with a 17, 12, 7 yr old girls. They still talk about it.

We bought a good spiral bound Rand McNally then planned our trip out based upon places/sights we wanted to see. Our goal was to get all the way to California before we really stopped because we knew if we didn't we wouldn't make it!!

The kids loved planning the trip.


Nick
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Posts: 55 | Location: Peoria IL | Registered: December 17, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by nickmur:
Craters of the Moon National Park in Idaho, about 1.5 hours northeast of Wendell. It was awesome.

Back in 2014 we drove from Central Illinois to Northern California/Oregon, took I80, dropped down to Salt Lake, up through Redding to Brookings Oregon. Then back through Idaho, hitting Craters of the Moon, then Yellowstone then back home. On the road for 14 days with a 17, 12, 7 yr old girls. They still talk about it.

We bought a good spiral bound Rand McNally then planned our trip out based upon places/sights we wanted to see. Our goal was to get all the way to California before we really stopped because we knew if we didn't we wouldn't make it!!

The kids loved planning the trip.
I like MS Streets & Trips for doing that. Years ago I began doing it with MS Mappoint, which was pretty expensive and designed for business uses; MS then brought out S&T which was more for the tourism market. Mappoint has been discontinued for many years, and I think S&T has been, too, but it's still available if you look for it.

When looking to plan a trip I find the extreme points (there is a search function) and have it plot a route between them. (There are options available--fastest/shortest, avoid certain types of roads, etc.) Then I look to broaden the route by including points of interest. (There is search function for that, too, but it's not too useful, IMO). To alter the original route it can be done by adding waypoints to be stops, or by just clicking on a piece of the route and dragging it to a new location--the route will adjust automatically (and create a waypoint for it). Different symbols can be positioned on the map to represent stops--I use flags of different colors for different functions (overnight, scenic, eat, boat docks, etc.) and sometimes a camera icon where I've taken photos. The route generator is smart enough to handle car ferries if it knows about them. Unfortunately, it does not handle railroads or cruise ships.

Unless there's no alternative, I also prefer to return home via a different path than I departed. Using S&T to plan an auto trip is quick, fun, and easy. I recommend it highly. (Some say it will run on Win 10, others say no higher than 8.1--I'm running it on Win 7 Pro.)

flashguy

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Posts: 25770 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yosemite on the way out, assuming it is still open, then south on the east side of the mountains, east to Death Valley (actually a lot of cool things to see there) then over to Vegas. From there you can drive to the southern Utah parks. I’d go through Flagstaff and Sedona, then home. Not really a good way back at that point, I40 to 99 home, unless you want to backtrack the way you came.
 
Posts: 1179 | Location: Arid Zone A | Registered: February 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Nuclear:
Yosemite on the way out, assuming it is still open, then south on the east side of the mountains, east to Death Valley (actually a lot of cool things to see there) then over to Vegas. From there you can drive to the southern Utah parks. I’d go through Flagstaff and Sedona, then home. Not really a good way back at that point, I40 to 99 home, unless you want to backtrack the way you came.
I created a map that does Yosemite, continues east to Zion NP, picks up the other 4 Utah NPs, the places around Page, Flagstaff, and Sedona, AZ, and returns. It's 2170 miles (plus local travel). Doesn't go through Las Vegas at all. (I've been to Las Vegas and it doesn't do a thing for me.) Of course, this trip is not for me--I just like puzzles.

flashguy




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Posts: 25770 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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