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Archive 2012 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon
  
 
JetEye
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p.1 #1 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


I need some advise...
I have never been to these national parks and I wish to visit all three. I only have 12 days to do it with a RV. So, I wish to visit the "most interesting" places without wasting much time. Can someone please point out where I should visit?

thanks.



Mar 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Monito
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p.1 #2 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


For Yosemite, get Michael Frye's book and start earning your Merit Badge points. Time of year makes a huge difference at all three parks in terms of which places become more photogenic when, and you have not stated that basic parameter.


Mar 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM
JetEye
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p.1 #3 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


Monito,
Thanks for your advise... I'll buy that book.
I'll be visiting at the end of June of this year...

thanks...



Mar 17, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Monito
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p.1 #4 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


At the end of June, you'll be getting the tail end of waterfalls, so that's good. It will be too late for Dogwoods in Yosemite Valley. The high country will be coming into prime, but it is not as spectacular in the large, more subtle. Bring a macro lens.


Mar 17, 2012 at 03:01 PM
JetEye
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p.1 #5 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


Awesome info Monito


Mar 17, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #6 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


Are you towing a second small car or is the RV your only vehicle? Where are you starting from?

A problem that could impact the too short time frame you have is that Tioga Pass might not be open. However, I'd say given current snow year in California, you should be safe. FWIW, there's probably no good way to catch even the high points of these three parks with only 12 days.

I'd suggest this as a trip (it's sort of a loop). Coming from the east on I-40. North on 89 from Flagstaff. West on 64 following the East Rim Drive. Explore the area from the east entrance/Desert Tower along the rim to the village. Starting from the east entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. Probably camp at South Rim Village. South on 180/64 to Williams, west on I-40 to Barstow. You probably don't have time to go to Vegas and back to Barstow on I-15. West on 58. Choices to be made. North on 395 to Owens Valley and into Yosemite via 120/Tioga Pass or continue west on 58 through Tehachapi to Bakersfield and north on 99 through Fresno then north on 41 to Yosemite.

You'll need to find some sort of camping area in or near Yosemite. good luck. This is tourist season so you can try to wing it or try to use the federal camping reservation system. Assume in the park reservations are all taken. There are some nearby USFS campgrounds also taking reservations. It's hard not to hit the high points in Yosemite. Circle the valley, take the Glacier Point Road. Shuttle to Mariposa Grove. Exit east along 120 through the Tioga Pass/Tuolumne Meadows area.

More choices. You need to get back to I-15 and Salt Lake City area. It's possible to take 395 north from Lee Vining to Reno and then east on I-80 (this is comparatively more well traveled.). Or you can work your way up to US 50 and go east. One way is to continue east from Lee Vining on 120 to US 6 then take that to US 50. I've not taken any of these routes across Nevada so can't vouch for the terrain or distances between gas stops or the likelihood that gas is anything but stupidly expensive the whole route. (I've done the I-15 to SLC from L.A., etc. and 395 to Reno, and the California routes as well as the routes in/around Grand Canyon.)

From Salt Lake City I'd suggest north through Ogden, Brigham City to Logan and 89 to Alpine to Jackson and Grand Tetons. This gets you into the Yellowstone area and again, as in Yosemite, your planning and looping the main roads will likely depend on where you've been able to get reservations.

Backtrack to Salt Lake City then south. You can go east on I-50 or before/later to 89 then parallel south tp Panguithc/St. George. You can go south I-15 or in theis area catch a bit of Bryce and Zion. You can go east to the north rim and around to 89 south to near Cameron and the east rim drive to Grand Canyon or you can continue south on I-15 to las Vegas and then 93 south across Boulder Dam (over the bridge) to Kingman were you rejoin I-40.

If driving west across the US, then perhaps joining the loop from I-80 and Yellowstone from the east might be better.



Mar 21, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #7 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


I'd suggest you lay this out on a map and use one of the mapping/routing programs to get a good idea of the driving distances and times involved. While it depends somewhat on your tolerance and the routes selected, and the ability to perhaps shift driving responsibilities, I'd allow two days between each major "park" area. That's 6 days in itself and leaves only about two days per park. Also, while outside the parks covering lots of distance, the highways are fairly speedy for the most part (89 from Logan to Jackson isn't all high speed, Logan Canyon being a pretty mountain canyon road, etc.), the park roads aren't typically fast roads and especially during tourist season, an RV may require slower driving. I'd suggest that this is too ambitious to be comfortable and that perhaps hitting one or maybe two of these might be a better idea.


Mar 21, 2012 at 03:21 AM
 

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JetEye
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p.1 #8 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


Craig,
Wow, thank you for the information. This is more than I expected... Truly great full for this valuable info.
I will be starting my trip from LA and will be making a loop back to LA.
I will not be towing a car behind a RV. I did some research and found that both Yosemite and Yellowstone offer some sort of public transportation or shuttle services.
I did end up making reservation outside of Yosemite since all the reservation spots in Yosemite was taken. I also made a reservation for Grand Canyon... I have not decided on where to camp in Yellowstone yet... Only site that offer electric hook up is in bear country.
I heard rt 120 is hard to drive using RV... What is your thought?

Again, thanks for your information...



Mar 21, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #9 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


Having been behind RVs at times, I'd agree portions of the Tioga Road (120) and Glacier Point Road in Yosemite could be tough in an RV. Also Highway 41 coming in from Fresno has some spots with long grades and some twisty sections as well. Portions of the Wawona road, 41, in the park are fairly twisty as well. The Mariposa Grove road is closed to RVs but frequent shuttles serve that area from the Wawona area. IIRC, Logan Canyon, 89, in Utah, is steep and twisty from Logan until you crest the grade above the lake. Not too bad after that.

I wouldn't let the bear country issue affect campground choice. All of Yosemite requires bear precautions and I expect Yellowstone does as well, just that some places have more pronounced problems (or bigger bears).

I'm not sure on the Yellowstone transit services. We didn't use them on the trips when we went there. Yosemite shuttles cover the east end of the valley well and I believe there is some coverage to the rest of the valley. If nothing else there are concession operated tours as well and some service to other parts of the park. The NPS websites are likely better resources on that than my memory.



Mar 22, 2012 at 03:49 AM
JetEye
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p.1 #10 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


Craig,
Thanks for your help.
I reconsidered and decided to drop one park from my plan on your advise... I ended up dropping Grand Canyon... I can visit Grand Canyon in the future...



Mar 22, 2012 at 03:20 PM
dalite
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p.1 #11 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


I've been to all of them. Every year for the past 5 years to Yellowstone, and I live only 5 hrs drive from Yosemite. For the 12 days you would be well pressed to try and cover so many places. I'd say it's near impossible for in-depth enjoyment of these magnificent parks. They're all beautiful places and certainly deserve visiting, but I'd stick my neck out and recommend the Great Southwest trip (S.E. Utah, Monument Valley and Arizona). You will have fabulous landscape opportunities and the best time is from mid-April to May. It'll get too hot after that.

Places you can visit: Zion, Bruce, Moab, Arches, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon and Page (Ariz). As someone else mentioned, Tioga Pass in Yosemite may or may not be open before mid-June (it is 9600 ft elevation at the pass) and even though this year is pretty dry, you never can discount lots of snowfall in the weeks ahead.

I love Yellowstone too for its wildlife (and geysers, etc). You could cover Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park in 12 days. It's really a hard choice between these two trips.

But you must act early for RV spot reservation.



Mar 22, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #12 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


If I were considering this and dropping one, I'd have dropped Yosemite. The Grand Canyon area, is less out of the way driving straight up I-15 to the Yellowstone area. Of course, either the Grand Canyon or Yosemite are possibles on much shorter trips from L.A.


Mar 23, 2012 at 04:18 AM
JetEye
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p.1 #13 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


Dalits,
Thanks for the info. I need to take my kids with me and the school isn't over until mid June...

Craig,
I choose Grand Canyon because there might be another trip next year... There are a few sales to Las Vegas air fair and Grand Canyon is closer to Las Vegas than other parks, I decided to skip it for now...

Thanks all...



Mar 23, 2012 at 09:41 AM
jdc562
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p.1 #14 · Trip to Yosemite/Yellowstone/Grand Canyon


I am planning a photography trip to Yellowstone in May-June. This will be my first time there, and I've done a lot of research. So far, I've planned 3 weeks, which seems to be on the short side to hit the prime wildlife and scenic areas--even if the weather is perfect. I suggest you choose one park for your 12-day window; otherwise, you will be doing too much driving and too little enjoying. Take into account that you are visiting when the parks are packed with other people and heavy traffic.

I also considered an RV because I wanted the freedom and convenience of easy stopping and over nighting in all kinds of remote places. That was a myth: the well developed parks have strict restrictions on RVs. In addition, I rejected an RV because it was more expensive, slower, and more cumbersome than the alternative of a regular vehicle and staying in motels. The RV rental is high, they eat gas, gas prices are high, RVs are slow, the mountain roads are narrow, parking for RVs is difficult to find in turnouts and other crowded tourist places, and RV camping places in the parks are expensive and booked long in advance. Plus, you often see RVs at motels so the inhabitants can get a decent shower, etc. So I opted for a regular vehicle as being cheaper, quicker, with fewer hassles, and giving me more maneuverability and freedom to see wildlife and landscapes.

If you Google "photographing" and the name of the park, you will find detailed info on the top photo spots at at these parks with lots of tips, including driving directions, light angles, and sample photos.



Mar 27, 2012 at 01:53 AM





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