Round trip from Oakland to Nevada and Utah, any advice for not so known places to visit?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by BosseBe, May 17, 2017.

  1. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    For my vacation this summer I'm doing a road trip in the US, flying in to Oakland, CA and then driving to Nevada and Utah (and back again).
    I will be there from the end of May to the middle of June.
    I have 3 weeks for this, so I will try to cover the National Parks on the way (as photo ops, but no trekking as I'm not that agile) and of course Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

    Basically I'm trying to not plan to much, I have the first night covered and know when I fly back, but everything else will probably be decided on the way.

    So, do you have any advice for other places to visit, beside the NP's?

  2. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Are you planning to spend any time in the Bay Area at all? You can add a few days here if you want.

    I did this national parks itinerary last Spring: Bay Area -> Las Vegas (Hoover Dam) -> Zion -> Bryce -> Page, AZ (Glen Canyon Dam/Antelope Canyon/Grand Staircase-Escalante) -> Grand Canyon (South Rim) -> Flagstaff, AZ -> Bay Area. Have posted a few threads from this trip:
    Bryce Canyon NP - Spring 2016
    Antelope Canyons, Arizona, Spring 2016
    Yet Another Grand Canyon Image Thread
    It was 11 days all in with a mix of driving, sightseeing and hiking.

    With extra time, I would have added Arches NP to the itinerary. I think that the North Rim of the Grand Canyon will be open if you want to consider going there. I've never been and its supposed to be beautiful.

    We did not go via SLC which is worth doing if you haven't been there and would be a good place to drive from here and then start the NP tour with Arches. You can then do Vegas on way back from the Grand Canyon.

    Happy to answer any questions.

    Sedona is supposed to be beautiful, but I have never been there. Also the Meteor Crater in AZ and sites in the Navajo nation might be interesting. Driving parts of Route 66 is always a fun thing as well.

    Adding Death Valley NP as another interesting place. Also, if you are driving from Oakland to SLC, Lake Tahoe is on the way. Worth a stop just to see the blue.
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  3. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. Expect heat.
  4. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    Might as well stop by Lake Tahoe on the way. Utah as a whole might as well be a NP. Don't miss the Drive on RT 12 between Zion/Bryce NP and Capitol Reef NP. Super ever changing landscapes. Great drive to enjoy on the way across to Arches/Canyonlands in Moab. You'll want to pull over every few miles to take photos and there are hikes/unique little places you can visit along the way. Even a coffee shop in the middle of nowhere.

    You pass through lunar landscapes, aspen forests, desert, farm valleys, mountains and all kinds of unique formations. I don't know if you camp, but definitely check out the little town of Fruita in Capitol Reef. It's a tiny oasis/orchard in the middle of all that dirt/rock with some really cool non-strenuous hikes (little/no elevation gain) through deep washes. Perfect place for a picnic. The deer are totally unphased by people and will practically come right up to you. It wasn't really on my road trip radar, but when I got there I had to stay over and explore. I wish I had stayed longer. It's not super spectacular unless you get off the main road. Legend has it that it was a hideout for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid at one time. I had a blast on my drive through Utah.

    If you are in downtown SLC, definitely check out their public library. It's gorgeous and a good photo op inside or out.

    If time allows Yosemite NP of course.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Thanks! Luckily I will bring my laptop so I can read this thread while travelling. My list of places to visit has grown thanks to you!
    @SVQuant@SVQuant I will pick up the car and the visit friends in Sacramento the first night, so no time for the Bay Area this time. But a good excuse for another visit!
    I will probably go through NV on I80 (is that correct?) to the north and then turn south in Utah, going back via LV.
    I will not be camping but stay in motels/hotels.

    Keep the suggestions coming! :)
    BTW, I'm going on Monday!
  6. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    If you are in Sac, consider visiting Coloma - site of the discovery of gold in California. It is about an hour away and you can head to South Lake Tahoe from there. Drive up along Lake Tahoe and hit I-80 in the north to continue onto Reno and SLC.
  7. junkyardsparkle

    junkyardsparkle haunted scrap heap Subscribing Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    like, The Valley
    If you find Vegas to be less interesting than expected, head over to the Hoover Dam, perhaps? Not sure what your interests are, but last time I was in Boulder City there were helicopter tours available... never did it (generally rolling into town late and launching on the river at daybreak), but it seemed like it might give some interesting views of the area...
  8. steveadams

    steveadams Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2016
    South Georgia
    Steve Adams
    I haven't been to any of these areas but most of it is very rural. Maybe some photos of the night sky while you're away from big cities? New moon is on Thursday, May 25 so you should have dark skies and the full moon is June 9.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
  10. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 2, 2013
    If you're already in Vegas, red rock is worth a visit.
  11. There are lots of night sky opportunities once you get outside the cities in NV and you can do that quickly. Virginia city has some interesting things , lake tahoe and reno, death valley of course, the whole zion , bryce thing. Im much more a fan of zion than bryce. The ufo highway is desolte with the occassional unusual item. Sedona is nice and there are lots of ops off 89a between flag and oak creek canyon. If you are going south from moab then monument valley is awesome as are the slot canyons outsideof page . Enjoy
  12. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    A little more info about your likes and dislikes would help. e.g. do you plan to spend time in cities? Night life? Are you interested in history? Are you planning to take a few photos to document your trip or is this a photography outing?

    Expect the major parks to be crowded and swarming with people and hot. Places like Arches will limit entry when the traffic at the gate backs up to the highway. Expect queues or get there very early. That said there is still plenty to see. Check out some less well known parks.
  13. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    A little more about my interests as per request:
    Yes, I will spend time in cities, but not so much, maybe a couple of nights in Las Vegas but otherwise just a night or so. I've found that when I'm on a road trip for 3 to 4 weeks it's nice to stay a couple of nights in the same place now and again, usually in cities.
    Night life is a long time ago for me, now night life is a couple of cold ones, a good book and some good music.
    Yes to interested in history.
    When it comes to photography it's more of a photo trip than just snapshots, I haven't been doing photography for so long so I'm still learning and I will try to take "good" photos of interesting things/places. But it is also my main vacation this year so a bit of both.
    The possibility of crowding in the most famous places is one of the reasons for this thread. So what less known parks do you recommend?

    Keep the advice coming! I really appreciate this.
  14. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    US 50 is on my bucket list.

    Unusual places
    The time lapse video on this page is fascinating. Watch the shadows to get an idea of the real elapsed time.

    These galleries on pbase belong to Paula Krugerud
    US 50
    Austin NV
    Dem Bones
    • Like Like x 1
  15. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Its a beautiful drive. We have driven the part from Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe (recommended above with detour to Coloma) and also the stretch from the Nevada border to Ely (Hwy 93). Love the high desert.
  16. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    @BosseBe@BosseBe If you are spend a day or two in Page, AZ I would recommend Lee's Ferry, the Navajo Bridge and points east on route 89a to Kanab and then taking Route 89 back to Page. Lots of interesting places to see and gorgeous colors to photograph. Also, stop and talk to some of the Navajo vendors along the way if that interests you.
  17. masayoshi

    masayoshi Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2016
    Salt Lake City
    If NP like Arches and Canyon land is too crowded, consider some state parks, like Goblin valley and Dead horse point. Goblin valley is like mini-Bryce canyon sand dunes, and Dead horse point is like another-Canyon land horse shoe gorge. This is the shot I had in Dead horse point SP in March.
    32602516165_cbaf27cb35_h.jpg DeadHorsePoint by Masayoshi, on Flickr
    Goblin valley looks like this
    Goblin Valley State Park | Utah State Parks
    and very good for star gazing, if you can bring camping gears (book the camp site first, there aren't many lots, so week day is good.)
    • Like Like x 3
  18. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    We do the same, i.e. stay a few nights in the same place and take daily excursions. However we specifically avoid cities, just don't like them. I find Las Vegas especially annoying and ugly but YMMV. Some people like the glitter. Traffic in Salt Lake City sucks but hard to avoid. Frankly, I would turn off I80 past Reno and take hwy50 east. Otherwise you add a lot of driving time. Save it for the next trip :) Given only 3 wks I'd take hwy 50 and hit the area south to the Grand Canyon. Last trip we used Kanab, Torey, and Valley of the Gods as centers for exploration. Also Moab but it may be too hot and crowded by now however it is a good center for daytrips. V of the G B&B is highly recommended if you can still get a room. Capital Reef and Grand Staircase/Escalante area is worth a visit. Use Hwy 12. Also Natural Bridge. If Arches is jammed try Canyonlands just across the road. North Rim as mentioned may be opened and isn't as crowded and is a much shorter drive coming from the north. A bit far but Mesa Verde and nearby places for history. And petroglyphs are scattered all over the area. Great Basin NP to see some of the oldest trees in the world if the snow has melted. Coming back a drive-thru of Death Valley and up hwy395 past the Sierras with AC cranking :) If the snow allows maybe a side trip west from Bishop to see Mt Whitney. In any event it is visible from the hwy.

    drinking coffee and watching the sunrise at Valley of the Gods B&B

    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  19. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I'm kind of saving Route 50 for my planned (sometime) trip from Atlantic City to Sacramento along Route 50, I will keep it in mind as I highly dislike taking the big highways, you don't see anything from them and can't stop for a quick photo op.

    But anyway, thanks for all the suggestions!
    Keep them coming! :thumbsup:
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