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Trip out west

Arlington, MA
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Trip out west

I am trying to plan out a trip out west with my 2 teen age sons. 10 days to 2 weeks. I am planning on leaving at the end of school in June. I want to visit Bryce, Zion, Lake Meade and the Grand Canyon. Is this too ambitious? Any hints on routes to travel. Flying west from MA. Should we fly into Denver? Fly home from Phoenix?

Anyone else do a trip like this? I need comments and would like to hear from you.

Nederland, Colorado
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1. Re: Trip out west

I don't understand why you would fly into Denver when the places you want to visit are in Utah and Arizona. That's a long drive from Denver! Are you planning to spend any time in Colorado?

Park City, Utah
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2. Re: Trip out west

You should post this in the Utah or Arizona forums. That being said, for sure don't fly to Denver for what you want to do. Vegas sounds perfect - everything is within 3-5 hours drive. You can easily hit those destinations in that time period flying in and out of Vegas.

Again, put this in a Utah forum and you'll get lots of ideas.

Park City, Utah
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3. Re: Trip out west

One other point. Should you consider flying into one airport and out of another, which is totally easy to do with your airline ticket - do check the rental car prices first. In all likelihood, that will DRAMATICALLY increase your car rental.

WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: Trip out west

For the sites you've listed, I'd probably pick Las Vegas and make a loop from there. However, also consider Arches/Canyonlands National Park and Mesa Verde National Park (and the Black Canyon if you're in the area). If you want to include some of Colorado's mountains and summer activities (which your teens would love, I'll bet), consider Grand Junction, Montrose, or Durango as a starting point, although lots of people do start this trip from Denver.

Have you found the Road Trip Forum yet? Lots of good info there. Let us know if you need the link.

Columbia, Maryland
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5. Re: Trip out west

In June 2010 we did a 10 day SW road trip - dad, mom, 2 teenage sons. Flew into Denver, drove down to Buena Vista, CO, to Durango , to Grand Canyon N rim. From Grand Canyon N rim, past Bryce and Zion (with 2 weeks we would have had time for them but couldn' t make it work in our schedulre for 10 days), through Utah to Grand Junction, CO and CO National Monument. After Grand Junction, down to Pikes Peak, then back to Denver for a Rockies game.

The drive was part of the adventure. We did minimal interstate driving and the scenery across CO was incredable. The only major interstate driving we did was I70 across Utah on our way to Grand Junction and the geology going across there was fascinating.

In Durango we rode the train and went to Mesa Verde (the 2 must do things in that area). If a day long train ride is not your thing, there are combination adventures you can take. One of the most popular is the train/jeep combo where you take a jeep offroad up into the mounains beyond Silverton, CO.

http://www.durangotrain.com/

There is also white water rafting in Durango and Buena Vista.

The scenery in CO is an argument for flying into Denver. Instead of Lake Meade, you could substitute Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam at Page, AZ.

Here is how we did it.

Day 1 - fly into Denver, arrive AM, drive to Buena Vista vis, I70, US 6 over Loveland Pass, CO 91 to Leadville, US 24 to Buena Vista. (Incrediable scenery) Dinner at Quincys - Prime rib or filet minon for about $1 per ounce. It's all they have on the menu. Includes salad with house dressing and baked potato. Only choices are what to drink and how you want your beef done.

Day 2. US 24, US 285, US 160 to Durango. Overnight Durango.

Day 3. Mesa Verde. Overnight Durango.

Day 4. Durango Silverton RR. Overnight Durango.

Day 5. US160, AZ 98, through Page, Marble Canyon, US 89A to Jacob Lake, AZ and Grand Canyon N rim. Overnight Jacob Lake (coudn't get lodging inside park). Interesting varying scenery from the mountains of CO through the desert terrain of SW CO and NE AZ.

Day 6. Grand Canyon N rim. Overnight Jacob Lake.

Day 7. (This is where we extra time we could have fit in Zion and Bryce). US 89 to I70 to Grand Junction and CO National Monument.

Day 8. I70, CO 9 to Breckenridge, US 24 to Manitou Springs and Pikes Peak. Overnight Manitou Springs.

Day 9. Denver and Colorado Rockies game. Overnight Denver.

Day 10 Return flight home.

It wasn't exhausting, but we would have like to have one more day to put a little down time in after the Grand Canyon. 2 weeks would have been perfect.

If your plan is to visit the Grand Canyon this June, you MUST MAKE RESERVATION NOW! If it doesn't show availability on line, call, and keep calling. There are always cancellations that never get posted as avaiabilities on the web site.

Columbia, Maryland
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6. Re: Trip out west

To save on food, we picked up a cheap foam cooler. We bought breakfast and lunch foods and iced down what was necessary in the cooler. For some dinners we went to a grocery store and bought some of their prepared foods - cheaper than eating out. We stayed in a condo in Durango and stayed in Cabins at some other places. Only ate out about 6 times in the 10 days. Carry plenty of water.

Arlington, MA
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7. Re: Trip out west

Yes I would love the link to road trips. This is a first for my sons and I. I have never tackled this kind of trip without another adult. If I think about too much, I get a little nervous. I have never been to these areas, but want to see them.

All assistance is greatly appreciated.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: Trip out west

Here's the link:

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

Columbia, Maryland
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9. Re: Trip out west

With the Grand Canyon as part of your trip, the first thing you must do is get reservations there, then plan the rest of your trip around that. Use google maps to get an idea of distances and drive times. Don't forget to factor in stops into your travel time. You will find distances between destinations in the SW to be quite long, but speed limits on most 2 lane major highways are 65 MPH. Once you figure out your route and where you will be staying, make reservations at those places. Have reservations at all places so you know you have a place to stay.

WestSlope,CO
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10. Re: Trip out west

I understand you being nervous about a long road trip with you as the only driver in unfamiliar territory! But if you are used to driving in the east, I think you will find that driving "out west" (well, excluding some of the major metro areas like Los Angeles--yikes!) will be easy if you don't try to cover too much distance each day. Carry lots of water, travel early in the day rather than after dusk if at all possible (better visibility on unfamiliar roads, less chance of wildlife on the roads), top up your gas tank often. Get a GPS but don't trust it totally...carry road maps and ask for good routes here on Trip Advisor.

I don't know who first said this, but I think it is good to keep in mind, tempered with common sense, of course:

As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do.