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Las Vegas, SLC, and Yellowstone

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Bruce:
Planning one last group trip for the summer, and it's a big one: 12 days to drive from Seattle to Las Vegas, visit a few national parks in Utah, then return via Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, and Montana's major cities. Since most of the route will be totally new to me, I'm open to suggestions for scenic views, new road projects (I-11 included), interesting buildings and historic sites, and other worthwhile stops.

Now given that this trip was planned before Yellowstone and Death Valley were both wrecked by floods, I'm not sure how much I'll be able to see, so who knows if this itinerary will hold.

Day 1 - Seattle to Eugene or Medford

Just a normal drive down I-5 in the afternoon, not much to see due to time constraints. Possibly taking some detours to clinch a few Willamette Valley highways that I've neglected so far.

Day 2 - Oregon to Sacramento

Heading east to Crater Lake, finishing off a clinch of US 97 in the area by going through Klamath Falls, and heading through the Lassen Peak area. Preliminary plan is to take OR 39/CA 139 down to Adin, then CA 299 and CA 44 to get closer to the peak.

Return to the I-5 corridor (or CA 99) around Red Bluff and continue down to Sacramento. Open to suggestions on what to see on the way there as a first-timer.

New counties: Modoc, Lassen, Shasta, Tehama, Plumas, Butte or Glenn, Sutter or Colusa, Yolo, Sacramento

Day 3 - Sacramento to Las Vegas

Probably sticking to I-80 to reach Reno, then circling back to do all of US 395 and I-580. High on the list is seeing the casino overhang in Reno and the state capitol campus in Carson City.

Continuing south on US 395, potentially entering either Yosemite from the east but otherwise heading straight to Death Valley. Taking a few detours to clinch some counties and go around the long way to Las Vegas via Tonopah and the Extraterrestrial Highway as well.

New counties: Placer (CA), Nevada (CA), Washoe, Storey, Carson City, Lyon, Douglas, Alpine (CA), Mono (CA), Inyo (CA), Kern (CA), Nye, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Clark

Day 4 - Las Vegas area

Drive the full I-215/CC215 loop and other short routes to clinch.
Explore the Strip and downtown.

Day 5 - Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, St. George

Drive I-11 down to the dam viewpoint, look for other viewpoints of Lake Mead. Any suggestions?

Continue up I-15 to Zion National Park before dark.

New counties: Mohave (AZ), Washington (UT)

Day 6 - St. George to Salt Lake City

Take UT 59/AZ 389/US 89A to Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim), then return north to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Priority to see the westernmost bit of I-70 before reaching SLC, otherwise open to any route suggestions

New counties: Coconino (AZ), Kane, Garfield, Piute, Sevier, Millard, Beaver, Juab, Utah

Day 7 - Salt Lake City to Jackson

Exploring downtown and a few suburban freeways/soon-to-be freeways (Legacy Parkway and Mountain View among others), then head north on UT 67/I-15 and US 91. Short stop at Soda Springs and then continuing northeast to Jackson via US 30 and US 89.

New counties: Davis, Weber, Box Elder, Cache, Franklin (ID), Caribou (ID), Bear Lake (ID), Lincoln (WY), Bonneville (ID), Teton (WY)

Day 8 - Jackson to West Yellowstone

Visiting Grand Teton and Yellowstone.

New counties: Park, Gallatin (MT), Fremont (ID)

Day 9 - West Yellowstone to Bozeman

More time in the park, leaving via the west side because of the closure.

Day 10 - Bozeman to Missoula

Visiting sights in Bozeman, Butte, Helena, and Missoula, mostly via the Interstates.

New counties: Broadwater, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Silver Bow, Deer Lodge, Powell, Granite, Missoula

Day 11 - Missoula to Spokane

Paying respects to Mullan on I-90 and driving around Lake Coeur d'Alene. Plenty of time to add extra stops, if anyone has suggestions.

New counties: Lake, Mineral, Shoshone (ID)

Day 12 - Spokane to Seattle

Detouring a bit south to hit a bit more of the Palouse. Nothing special to note here.

Max Rockatansky:
Day 2 stop and see Burney Falls.  Regarding Yosemite you can get to Tioga Pass via eastern CA 120 but you wonít get into the park without a reservation unless itís before 6 AM or after 4 PM (ends October 1st).  You might be better served taking CA 270 to Bodie State Historic Park.  FWIW I find Onion Valley Road (old CA 180) and Horseshoe Meadows Road (CA 190) to be epic drives that Tioga Pass Road.  Horseshoe Meadows Road in particular crosses the 10,000 foot elevation mark unlike Tioga Pass Road.  Rocky Creek Road near Tomís Place is the only higher paved road in California.  Regarding CA 190 it is supposed to reopen in Death Valley from being washed out on the 17th. 

Bruce:

--- Quote from: Max Rockatansky on August 13, 2022, 11:53:45 PM ---Day 2 stop and see Burney Falls.  Regarding Yosemite you can get to Tioga Pass via eastern CA 120 but you wonít get into the park without a reservation unless itís before 6 AM or after 4 PM (ends October 1st).  You might be better served taking CA 270 to Bodie State Historic Park.  FWIW I find Onion Valley Road (old CA 180) and Horseshoe Meadows Road (CA 190) to be epic drives that Tioga Pass Road.  Horseshoe Meadows Road in particular crosses the 10,000 foot elevation mark unlike Tioga Pass Road.  Rocky Creek Road near Tomís Place is the only higher paved road in California.  Regarding CA 190 it is supposed to reopen in Death Valley from being washed out on the 17th. 

--- End quote ---

Thanks a lot! I'll check out the falls and the park (which wasn't on my radar before at all). Though I'll have to see if it pans out, as I've had to adjust things a bit since writing the trip plan due to hotel availability (staying in Reno instead of Sacramento means an earlier start).

hbelkins:
Stop at Bear Lake and get a blueberry milkshake. You won't regret it.

Bruce:

--- Quote from: hbelkins on August 14, 2022, 03:55:25 PM ---Stop at Bear Lake and get a blueberry milkshake. You won't regret it.

--- End quote ---

Which Bear Lake are you referring to? I'm not really a milkshake guy (lactose intolerant and all), so it'd have to be really good to suffer through the aftermath.

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