We are going on vacation soon. We are taking my sister-in-law who has never been anywhere, to the Grand Canyon. That is where she wants to see. She has Cancer that is at this time in remission, so this is her year to choose the main destination. We have been to the south rim ourselves. I have a disability card so we get into all the national parks free. Any good suggestions as to scenic drives and drive thrus. We also have my mother with us and my sister in law is not up to any hikes or strenuous things. We probably will ride the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad. in south eastern Colorado into north eastern NM. We have already rode the Durango and Silverton and the Royal Gorge Railroad. We always want to see the stuff "off the beaten path" little know hole in the wall type of things. We will drive as much of Route 66 as we can. We may go by Arches National Park as well, but any good ideas, will be appreciated. And If I get to see a old model T somewhere that is also a plus Ghost towns and gravel roads are also OK with us ...
Donnie - If you are going to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon then you will not be far from Zion National Park, Cedar Bluffs National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park all in Southern Utah. We have done a couple of Model T Tours and stayed in Kanab, Utah and all of the parks were easily driven to from Kanab in a Model T. All of the parks I mentioned are beautiful but Zion is my favorite.
We just visited 6 national parks in 3 days in March in Utah, Colorado, and California. The scenery was unbelievable.
We went to Rocky Mountain N.P. in Colorado; Death Valley N.P. in California; Canyon Lands N.P.; Zion N.P.; Bryce Canyon, N.P.; and Arches N.P. all in Utah. I recommend the Utah National Parks as they are smaller but close together and the best bang for the $ scenery wise. You'll see sites not available anywhere else in the world.
Here's a web site listing the most popular national parks.
We did the North Rim and Utah Parks (& Monument Valley) last June - absolutely should be on everyone's "bucket list" !
We have been looking into the Utah parks, Zion, Bryce, Arches ect. We have been to Arches but Mom and sister-in-law have not. The North Rim is also another of our list of things to see, so that may be the side we go to this year, although I would like to see the glass walkway on the south rim. Any interesting side trips, and back road items are always a plus to us. Things not normally on a map or travel brochures. We always take the small highways and stay as far from a interstate as we can. We have driven to the top of Pikes Peak a few times but we may go again just "because it is there" Thanks for the input so far, keep the ideas coming ...
Please do not take this wrong,but how do you visit 6 National Parks in 3 days?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Several have posted, but it you get to Kanab Utah and follow Highway 89 you can pick your way up to Jackson Hole Wy, and on to Yellowstone.
Actually it is pretty easy, "Ewe-taw" has the highest number of National Parks in the county, and probably as many national monuments.
From Salt Lake City, they are all about 4 hours drive,
If you are a train freak and go to the South Rim, you can ride a train from Williams, AZ to the south rim. As far as drives go, people will differ with me on this, but my favorite is US 550 from Durango to Ouray, CO.
Kevin,It may take me 3 or 4 days in one usually so at 6 in two days what is he seeing the signs?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
You may want to check out the Valles Caldera just a little West of Los Alamos
Is your second picture of an ant farm or are the people in Utah really, really small?
Funny, Dennis ! It was 85 degrees out and danged if I was hiking my fat little ass clear up there - zoomed in !
You might want to check out Capitol Reef. The drive from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef along Utah 12 is spectacular. Highway 12 is designated an All-American road. Capitol Reef has great scenery with very little use (low crowds).
You can get to Arches from Capitol Reef by continuing on Utah 24 up to Interstate 70.
I did this trip, except for Arches, and am dying to go back. I would love to drive my speedster in this area.
I did both North and South rims of the Grand Canyon. I liked the North Rim a lot better because it is waaaay less crowded. In addition, it took a long time to drive from the North to the South rim.
I am told the glass walk way on the South side is a long way from the highway. If I remember correctly, the turn off to the glass walk was in the middle of nowhere.
You might want to get an America the Beautiful pass at the first national park you hit. They cost $80 and are good for a year. Many national parks charge at least $25 for entrance fees. With so many great choices in Utah and Arizona, the pass will pay for itself after a few uses.
I agree with the southern Utah area is beautiful scenery. More than likely we will try the north rim as our "go to" point. Then almost everything else mentioned is on the way and on the way back. When it is just my wife and myself we can handle two to three weeks on the road pretty good. But not for sure how long Mom and sister-in-law will make it this time. We will stay out as long as we can, just have to go day by day. Then we will do the Cumbres and Toltec railroad going or coming back. We love railroads and my sister in law has never ridden one. In my book of railroads the Durango and Silverton is going to be hard to beat. We are "train freaks". I figure this years trip will be a lot of sightseeing drives thru the parks and the train trip. If it is just the 2 of us, we hike the trails, and get up at 3 am to see the elk "my wife's idea of fun) or chase down every rumor of a bear, bigfoot, moose, buffalo, or squirrel, or ????? there is to be seen. (some more of her ideas ) Does anyone have any suggestions about motel rooms with three beds. They seem to be getting very hard to find that way. Thanks for the input so far ...
Tom, I am one of the lucky ones, if you can call it that. I have a disability pass for the National Parks. With it we get in free to all National Parks and National Monuments. It also will get everyone who is with me in free. It does not matter how many are with me or how many cars they are in. So we go to every National Park we get close to. We have about 30 or so of them marked off the "bucket list" so far. It is amazing how many of the lesser know National Parks are very nice and interesting to go to. I have always heard the North Rim is nicer than the south rim ... We will be finding out this year, if it is so.
Drive thru the Monument Valley where John Wayne movies were made by director John Ford. Take the bus tour by the native Americans. This is located on the border of Arizona and Utah.
you will enjoy the Chama train ride.
For those who may not be aware of it, if you're old enough (62+) the senior pass for National Parks and other federal lands is a great bargain. In addition to the many good suggestions so far, here are some other interesting stops: Dinosaur tracks near Tuba City (while in Tuba City try the Navajo fried bread); Caņon de Chelly; Coral Pink Sand Dunes; Mesa Verde NP; Chaco Culture NP. One reason many people prefer the North Rim is that it's a thousand feet higher than the South Rim with alpine rather than desert scenery.
US 160 across southern Colorado is still scenic in many places despite the spreading Californication and proliferating McMansions.
I think you may find that the Cumbres & Toltec beats the more publicized Silverton/Durango. It's a great ride through spectacular scenery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a1nGxF1bro
Up the valley from the Antonito terminus of the Cumbres & Toltec is one of my favorite camping spots, Great Sand Dunes NP.
check on the Grand Canyon north rim, tried to git there last year from Utah - road was closed. The Utah parks are hard to beat
Donnie, if you don't have time to ride the Cumbres and Toltec from one end to the other, and if Chama, NM is more on your route than Antonito, CO., you can ride it to the halfway stop and switch trains and return to the terminal that you departed from. If that is your case, I suggest starting and returning from the Chama, NM terminal as the roundhouse, shops, rail yard, and coal chute are all located there. Also, the climb out of Chama is immediate and spectacular over Cumbres Pass, as opposed to the flat scenery around Antonio. That's my choice if you can't do the whole route.
The Dinosaur tracks sounds interesting. Terry, good suggestion. Im not sure how long the trip is, but I think it is a "all day thing" similar to Durango/Silverton. We have been to Mesa Verde, and the Great Sand Dunes. We will be cutting it close as to the north rim being open. We like the cooler spring weather and the fact that it is not "vacation season" yet. We try to be home or on our way home before Memorial Day Weekend. That way the winter rates are still in effect for the Motels, and the crowds are smaller, and the kids are still in school. We waited one year till school was out so our granddaughter could go with us. Everything was at least 1/4 higher priced and some was double priced as it was before school was out.
Wife & I do the same every late spring, Donnie - "road trip" before school lets out - much quieter !
The wife and I visited some of the national parks in Nevada and Utah recently. Loved them all. What intrigued me most was visiting Scotty's Castle in Death Valley, CA. Quite a story. Worth your time if you are anywhere close. I agree with Steve about the Senior National Parks card. Saved us quite a few bucks and will continue doing so.
If you dig history as I do, I suggest doing some research about the areas
you plan to travel through before you go so you don't drive right past the
interesting stuff simply because you did not know it was there.
Road trips for me include NO INTERSTATES and the ABSOLUTE
MINIMUM of state highways. The DeLorme Gazetteers are wonderful
for the being on the road end of it (mine are full of notes and scribblings),
but I would not have any of that if I didn't research the travel area first.
SW Colorado was a beehive of 19th century mining activity, and as a result
got things like the C&T and D&S (remnants of the D&RG). But there was
the South Park as well, and a drive across the South Park will look pretty
ordinary without the knowledge of where it ran. Jefferson, Como, Fairplay,
Buena Vista, Leadville are all wonderful old places to visit, IF you know
they are there. St. Elmo and the Alpine Tunnel are also pretty neat South
Park related places to see.
I find just about any backwater two-laner in Colorado is a wonderful
adventure just waiting to be had.
Once when camped at Great Sand Dunes I drove over to the National Forest to fetch firewood. This was on a Saturday. I was astonished to find a National Forest campground with only two spaces occupied on a weekend. In some states you have to make reservations ahead of time to get a space.