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South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

Sheffield, United...
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South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

We are travelling to USA this September and landing in Las Vegas airport.

We would very much like to travel around the South West planed a route driving to Kingman, Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Monument valley, Paria Canyon-Vermilion and possibly onto Zion before heading back to Las Vegas.

I understand that car hire insurance in USA doesn't cover for dirt roads and tracks or graavel paths. Is that correct? we really wanted to drive the loop at Monument valley (dirt road), maybe that is not possible in a hire car. Has anyone hired a car and driven the loop?

We hope to do some treking and many begin on dirt road tracks in Arizonia, possibly similar around Zion. Can anyone recommend or advise on car hire? I have read some where that people have had hefty fines for driving on tracks. We have also made a accomadation booking and have to drive on a gravel track to get there. Does that mean we are not covered when we hire a car? Has anyone one experienced problems with car hire? Any advise would be very much appreciated. Thanks

27 replies to this topic
Eastbourne, United...
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1. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

The advice you have had concerning dirt roads is correct, most rental contracts prohibit this and if you do venture onto such roads your insurance is voided and you would be liable for any costs if for example you broke down and needed to be recovered.

As far as Monument Valley is concerned, you can take a tour with a native Guide. We took an afternoon one and were the only passengers, we learned a lot about Navajo history and culture.

We once looked into renting an off-road Jeep in Moab, but as "foreigners" we could not get any satisfactory insurance cover.

I know all this sounds a bit negative, but you really can see a lot of USA without venturing off the pavement.

Sheffield, United...
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2. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

Thank you for your message.

Did you drive around South West USA? Are all the main highways tarmac?

Did you booked the tour ant monument valley in advice or on arrival?

sorry for all the questions

Thanks again

Eastbourne, United...
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3. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

Yes most roads are surfaced. We booked the tour on arrival, the morning tour was busy, but in the afternoon we had the jeep and guide/driver to ourselves.

Munich
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4. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

Hallo miss,

which accommodation have you booked? Because I can't remember any Hotel which is not on a graveled road.

And as for trails: most of the trailhead also are on graveled roads.

Driviing in South West USA is easier as in United States, the roads/hwys are wider and are in good condition.

Beate

Sheffield, United...
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5. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

Hi

I have booked an air bnb place that state it is on a gravel road but not far from the main highway. Are most hotels on tarmac road?

Yes many trailheads are on gravel roads so not sure what to do about that?????

Munich
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6. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

Yes, hotels normally are on paved roads. They have to be reachable by all kind of cars.

And, sorry to say, I'm wondering what kind of AirBnB this is, it must be absolutely remote? Or in a very bad neighborhood? Please check this carefully.

If there really is a trailhead not on a paved road it could not be far aways. So I'd think a few meters on gravel is not a problem. You won't have a breakdown of the car in these few meters.

But could you give me an example of such a trailhead, not on paved road?

Beate

Sheffield, United...
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7. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

The AirBnB is a trailer near the main highway on a gravel road, it has good reviews or I would not have booked.

Some of the trailheads in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and possibly Monument valley are on dirt tracks but if there are trail heads on paved roads then that is a bonus.

Munich
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8. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

There is only one hike possible in Monument Valley:

monumentvalleyview.com/activities/hiking/

For all other hikes you'll need a guide. And he will bring you to the trailhead.

For most of the hikes in Vermillion Cliffs you'll need a permitt. And maybe a guide.

americansouthwest.net/arizona/vermilion_clif…

Beate

Ohio
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9. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

Most of Vermillion Cliffs will require a permit or... will be wilderness. We've done both. Make sure you have a handheld GPS and coordinates and know what you are doing. It is not safe if you're not used to hiking without trails. Even the permit area of the Wave, you need to know how to navigate to and from. There is no "trail"

The area of Hole in the Rock Road will be "off road" and you do not want to have a break down there either. Been there, done that, NOT in a rental car but AAA will not come out that unimproved road and a 21 mile tow cost $500.

Keep with the more conventional areas and national parks and you'll be fine. Do not drive MV on your own, take a tour. I always prefer to book something ahead but not sure you need to there.

Lewes, United...
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10. Re: South West USA road trip sugestions and car hire questions

I'm concerned about your reluctance to provide the full details of this mystery Airbandb up a gravel road. There are gravel roads and gravel roads, some are more than fine in even the most basic car of any kind, whether rental or not. Others would always need a high clearance vehicle and 4WD or AWD - and few rentals have that, even then, are still not allowed on those roads.

Having been (like wings, and probably to the same areas!!!) to several of the hiking areas in the Vermillion Cliffs area, off the Hole in the Rock road, you really do not want to go down that road in the average car. Some parts are very sandy, and even with the right vehicle, you'd need to know how to drive in sand! Other parts are severely rutted with huge rocks.

However, there is so much hiking to be found inside and outside of national parks of Utah and that area, that unless you have explored that area extensively already, there's no need to find out of the way places.

Perhaps share your whole trip plan, and we can make suggestions.

I trust your vehicle has been rented from the appropriate sources, as you seem to be a Brit, so that you have full insurance already, anyway.

SWT

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