A two-week Southwest USA road trip itinerary

A 14-day Southwest USA road trip itinerary

The USA is the spiritual home of the road trip. Think long straight roads disappearing over the horizon, roadside diners and quirky motels. And probably the most iconic US road trip destination is the southwest. Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Route 66 – even if you’ve never been before you’ll feel like you already know it from films and TV shows, from Thelma and Louise to Tombstone. I love a good route trip and this is one of the best around. So if you want to hit the road, here’s my perfect itinerary for a two-week road trip through the highlights of the southwest USA, taking in five states, six national parks and something like 2000 miles – with what to see and where to stay along the way.

Read more: 12 of the best southwest USA scenic drives

Southwest USA road trip map

A note on driving times and distances: driving times are based on Google Maps estimates and don’t include stops along the way. The road conditions in the southwest vary hugely so the same mileage can take totally different amounts of time. Daily driving distance/time figures cover getting from place to place and don’t include the drives within National Parks en route.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Beautiful Bryce Canyon

Day 1: Arrive into Las Vegas

Arrive into McCarran International Airport and take a taxi or shuttle to your hotel. There are a ton of things to see in Vegas and you only have one night, so pick a few highlights. Don’t miss the Bellagio fountains in the evening and catch a show – there are a few different Cirque du Soleil shows as well as a mix of magic, music tributes and big-name artists. You need to book ahead for the really popular ones but can bag other last-minute tickets from Tix4Tonight outlets.

The Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Strip

Where to stay in Las Vegas: There are so many hotel options in Vegas, but as you only have one night, I’d recommend staying in the centre of the Strip. That way you’re right at the heart of the action and don’t have to waste time in the city’s crazy traffic. Paris Las Vegas, the Vdara, Caesar’s Palace, the Venetian and Flamingo are all really central – prices vary hugely though so it’s worth shopping around and being flexible about where you stay.

Read more: Where to stay on the Las Vegas Strip – whatever your budget

Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip

Paris Las Vegas

Day 2: Las Vegas to Zion

Spend the morning exploring Las Vegas. You can travel the world without leaving the Strip – watch gondoliers at the Venetian, head to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at New York New York, see the pyramids at the Luxor, visit the Bellagio’s botanical gardens and scream your head off on the rides at the top of the Stratosphere. Or you can head up to Fremont Street for a taste of Old Vegas, with historic casinos, vintage signs at the Neon Museum and the city’s Mafia story at the Mob Museum.

Vintage neon in Old Vegas near Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Vintage neon in old Vegas

After lunch, pick up a hire car (it’s worth comparing prices between the Strip and the airport to find the cheapest deal) and start your southwest road trip. It’s a good idea to stock up on a few supplies before you leave – like water, drinks and snacks. There’s a Walmart and a Whole Foods both really close to the airport. Then leave the city and take Highway 15 north for 153 miles/2.5 hours towards Zion National Park. Don’t forget when you’re planning your timings that Utah is in a different time zone to Nevada, so you’ll gain an hour along the way.

Total driving: 153 miles/246 kilometres – approx 2.5 hours

Utah sign on a Southwest USA road trip

On the road

Where to stay in Zion: The nearest hotels to Zion are in Springdale, but for something a bit different you can camp out in style on the edge of the National Park at Under Canvas Zion. These luxury glamping tents come with proper beds, a mix of private and shared bathrooms, and some have wood-burning stoves. The view of Zion’s red rocks are the main attraction, but there’s also a restaurant with a fire pit to toast marshmallows on.

Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Zion’s red rocks

Day 3: Zion National Park

From the camp it’s 20 miles/35 mins to the entrance of Zion National Park. Private vehicles aren’t allowed in the park from March to October, so you’ll need to leave your car at the visitor’s centre and catch the shuttle bus. If you’re reasonably fit and the weather is good, you can tackle one of Zion’s big hikes – Angels’ Landing or The Narrows. Angels’ Landing (5.4 miles/4 hours) takes you up vertigo-inducing chained paths for spectacular views from the top. Or the Bottom Up section of the Narrows (4–10 miles) takes you along a narrow river slot canyon – you need to wade along the river bed though so it’s best done on a warm day.

Zion National Park, Utah, USA

The entrance to the Zion

For something a bit gentler, catch the shuttle to the Emerald Pools Trail for an hour-long walk to the lower pool and another hour to the upper pool. Head back to Zion Lodge, where there’s a café and picnic area if you want to stop for lunch before catching the next shuttle. Stop off at Weeping Rock for a short walk to the cascades, then get the shuttle to the end of the road for the two-mile-long Riverside Walk. Leave the park and make the 77-mile/1.5 hour drive on to Tropic via Route 9 – aka the Zion–Mount Carmel scenic drive. It runs through the original 1920s tunnel and past strange rock formations at Checkerboard Mesa on the way.

Total driving: 97 miles/156 kilometres – approx 2 hours 5 mins

Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Waterside walks

Where to stay in Tropic: Just off Scenic Byway 12, Bryce Country Cabins in Tropic are one of the closest places to stay for Bryce Canyon. Ours was small but perfect formed, with two queen-sized beds, an en-suite bathroom and small kitchenette. With all that pine they look a bit Alpine, with heaters and blankets to keep you warm on a cold night. If it’s sunny there are tables and chairs out the back and barbecues which you can borrow if you want to cook for yourself – or The Pizza Place a few minutes away does good takeaway pizzas.

 Bryce Country Cabins in Tropic, Utah

Bryce Country Cabins

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

Tropic’s only 10 miles from the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park, so you can get there early and spend a full day exploring. Follow the 18-mile-long scenic driving route around the park, starting off in the Bryce Amphitheater area. Park up at Sunset Point and follow the Rim Trail for a mile along to Sunrise Point. This is a good place to get down into the canyon among the hoodoos on one of the hiking trails. There’s the Queen’s Garden Trail from Sunrise Point, which is the easiest at just under two miles, or the steeper 1.5-mile Navajo Loop Trail from Sunset Point. Or you can combine the two of them into a longer route.

Read more: The beauty of Bryce Canyon

The Rim Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Views from the Rim Trail

After your hike, drive on around the amphitheatre to the viewpoints at Inspiration Point, Bryce Point and Paria View. Then leave Bryce Amphitheater and head out along the road to the furthest point at Rainbow Point. There are plenty of places to stop for a picnic and great views on the way – my favourites were the arch at Natural Bridge, the two towering hoodoos at Agua Canyon and the wide views from Rainbow Point. Then leave Bryce Canyon and head south down Highway 89 to the town of Kanab (77 miles/1.5 hours).

Total driving: 87 miles/140 kilometres – approx 1 hour 40 mins

Navajo Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

The Navajo Loop Trail

Where to stay in Kanab: You can’t really do a US road trip without spending at least one night in a proper motel. Quail Park Lodge in Kanab looks straight out of the 1950s from outside, but inside its 13 rooms have been refurbished and updated. It comes with lots of nice extras – like vintage bikes you can borrow, a glass of wine on arrival, morning pastries and fruit, and free international phone calls. It’s an easy walk into town for dinner – we liked Rocking V Cafe, an art-filled space that specialises in slow food with a good range of vegan options.

Quail Park Lodge motel in Kanab, Utah

Quail Park Lodge

Day 5: Best Friends Animal Society

The Southwest USA is all about the natural beauty, but for something a bit different, spend the morning volunteering with animals at Best Friends Animal Society. Their base at Angel Canyon is just 10 minutes outside of Kanab, and is the biggest no-kill animal sanctuary in the US with over 1700 cats, dogs, pigs, rabbits, horses and parrots on site. You can choose which animals you want to spend time with. We spent our morning feeding and stroking the cats but you can also socialise the dogs, groom the horses or even walk a potbellied pig.

Read more: Making new Best Friends at the US’ biggest animal sanctuary

Volunteering at Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab Utah

New friend Oliver at Best Friends

After lunch at the centre, follow Highway 89 to the east on the 80 mile/1 hour 20 min drive to Page, across the border in Arizona. Just before you get there you’ll reach Lake Powell and the spectacular Glen Canyon Dam, where there’s a visitors centre and viewpoint. You can then either take a sunset cruise around Lake Powell or head to Horseshoe Bend – a perfect meandering arc of the Colorado River that cut its way down through the sandstone over million of years. It’s 5 miles south of Page on Highway 89, between mileposts 544 and 545, with a short sandy walk to the canyon rim and a dramatic 1000-foot drop to the river.

Total driving: 97 miles/156 kilometres – approx 1 hour 50 mins

Horseshoe Bend near Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend

Where to stay in Page: The Best Western View of Lake Powell Hotel – unsurprisingly – has a great view of Lake Powell, and a pool and hot tub to relax in in summer. It’s fairly standard chain hotel in style but has a good location with spacious rooms and breakfast is included. Page gets busy so it’s a good idea to book well in advance. There are a few places to eat nearby – El Tapatio is recommended for its giant portions of Mexican food.

Lake Powell near Page, Arizona

Lake Powell from the Glen Canyon Dam

Day 6: Antelope Canyon & Monument Valley

Head 8 miles/15 mins out of Page to one of the southwest’s most recognisable spots – Antelope Canyon. This slot canyon is famous for its curving red rock walls with those super-photogenic beams of light filtering through. The only way you can visit the canyon is on a tour, and they’re hugely popular so book as soon as you can. There are two sections – the Upper Canyon is where you’ll see the light beams, which are best in the mornings. But beware it can get crowded, and the flood risk means tours will be cancelled if it rains.

Antelope Canyon light beams, Arizona

Antelope Canyon (photo by Paulius Dragunas as my tour got cancelled due to rain!)

Carry on along Highway 98 then take the 160 north-east on the 116 mile/2 hour drive to another southwest icon – Monument Valley. North of Kayenta, huge rock buttes emerge out of miles of empty desert scrubland, coloured in vivid shades of gold, orange and pink. They’ve been named after their shapes, so you can try and spot which are the Mittens, the Thumb and the Totem Pole. Inside the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park there’s a visitors centre and a 17-mile scenic drive which takes you through the rock formations. It’s unpaved and pretty rough, so it’s best done in a 4×4 and will probably take at least two hours with photo stops.

Total driving: 124 miles/200 kilometres – approx 2 hours 15 mins

Monument Valley scenic drive

Looking out over Monument Valley

Where to stay in Monument Valley: There’s not much around Monument Valley, but both The View and Goulding’s Lodge have fantastic views of the rocks, and it’s well worth staying the night in the valley just to watch the amazing sunrises and sunsets. Both have a mix of hotel rooms and cabins, with balconies looking out over the valley, as well as camping spots and Navajo restaurants (but no alcohol is available as it’s prohibited on Navajo land).

Monument Valley

Those iconic rock formations

Day 7: Arches National Park

Leave Monument Valley behind in the morning and head back into Utah, following Highway 191 to Arches National Park (151 miles/2 hours 40 mins). The park has the world’s largest concentration of rock arches, with over 2000 of all shapes and sizes. Start your Arches exploration at Park Avenue Viewpoint, then drive on to Balanced Rock, where there’s a short circular path running around a precariously perched rock. Take the turn off just after it towards the Windows Section of the park and do the short walks out to Double Arch (half a mile) and around the loop passing the North and South Windows and Turret Arch (one mile).

The road to Moab, Utah

The road to Utah

Drive back to the main road then take the turn off to the right towards Delicate Arch – famously pictured on Utah’s license plates. The hike out to the arch is three miles, with some steep sections, and it’s best done in late afternoon as there’s not a lot of shade along the way. Or if you’re short on time you can follow the lower one-mile path to Delicate Arch Viewpoint instead, where you get a great view of the arch across the canyon. Then drive 5 miles/20 mins to the town of Moab, where you’ll be spending the next two nights.

Total driving: 156 miles/251 kilometres – approx 3 hours

Arches National Park in Utah, USA

Arches large and small

Where to stay in Moab: Moab’s a really popular weekend spot so we struggled to find an affordable hotel and ended up renting an AirBnB apartment instead (you can get £25 off your first AirBnB stay with this link). It was a studio with kitchenette, lovely views and really friendly owners. Moab’s quite sprawling though so you may have to drive to get to places to eat – the Moab Brewery restaurant and microbrewery is worth a visit.

Sunset views from Moab, Utah

Sunset views from our Moab AirBnB

Day 8: Canyonlands National Park

Take the 30 mile/35 minute drive to Moab’s other local (and less well-known) National Park – Canyonlands. The park is is divided into three sections, but if you want good views then concentrate on the Islands in the Sky district, which is the most accessible area. Stop off at the visitors centre first where there’s a short walk out to the Shafer Canyon Overlook. Then drive on to Mesa Arch where there’s a half-mile walk out to an arch on the edge of a cliff. The road then splits – take the right fork to Upheaval Dome, where there’s one viewpoint after a mile’s walk out onto the dome and a second viewpoint a mile further on.

Read more: Canyonlands National Park: Land of the giants

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands views

Then backtrack to the junction and take the left fork and follow the road out to the end at Grand View Point, stopping off at the Green River and Buck Canyon overlooks on your way for some of the park’s most spectacular views. On your way back to Moab, stop off at Dead Horse State Park, where one of the classic US road trip movies was filmed. When Thelma and Louise drive off the edge of the Grand Canyon at the end of the film, it’s really Dead Horse Point State Park (which gets its name from a gory tale about horses being left to die of thirst on a corral above the river here). Then head back to Moab for your second night.

Total driving: 70 miles/113 kilometres – approx 1.5 hours

 Dead Horse State Park, Utah

Dead Horse State Park

Day 9: Mesa Verde National Park

Leave Moab behind and head south on Highway 191 – though it’s worth making a quick stop at the Hole n’ the Rock about 20 mins out of town, a bizarre house which has been carved out of a sold rock face. Then cross into Colorado on the 491 towards Mesa Verde National Park (145 miles/2 hours 50 mins). This area was home to the Ancestral Puebloans 1000 years ago who built houses in the side of the cliffs. You can only visit most of the cliff houses on ranger-led tours. So stop off at the visitors’ centre to book an hour-long tour of either Cliff Palace, the largest cliff house, or Balcony House where you climb through tunnels and up ladders.

Read more: The mysteries of Mesa Verde National Park

Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, USA

Mesa Verde’s Cliff Palace

Then drive the winding road up to Mesa Verde’s plateau, stopping off at the overlooks on the way to take in the views. The biggest concentration of sights in the park is in the Chaplin Mesa area. Call in at the Chaplin Mesa Museum to learn about the Ancestral Puebloans. There’s also a lookout over Spruce Tree House, the best-preserved cliff house which is closed to visitors after a rockfall. Then drive the six-mile Mesa Top Loop where there are stops at short walkways to pit houses, the Sun temple and great views of the cliff houses across the valley. After your tour, drive back to Highway 60 and 56 miles/1 hour 15 mins to Durango.

Total driving: 200 miles/322 kilometres – approx 4 hours

Spruce Tree House at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Spruce Tree House

Where to stay in Durango: O Bar O Cabins has to be my favourite stay on this whole Southwest USA road trip. These log cabins are located 20 minutes outside of Durango in a lovely peaceful pine forest. There are nine different cabins, our Birdnest was the smallest but was beautifully designed, with a full kitchen, terrace and grill – plus a shared riverside hot tub. It’s a way from anywhere so stock up on food for the night, or head into Durango.

O Bar O Cabins near Durango in Colorado, USA

O Bar O Cabins

Day 10: Santa Fe

Head east out of Durango to Highway 160 and then south on the 84 along the edge of the Carson National Forest on your way to Santa Fe (212 miles/3 hours 45 mins). Spent the afternoon exploring Santa Fe – it’s one of the oldest cities in the US which has a unique mix of Native American and Hispanic culture. Take a walking tour around the old town’s historic adobe buildings. Soak up the sunshine in the Plaza, shop for silver and turquoise Native American jewellery outside the Palace of the Governors, check out the miraculous staircase in the Gothic-style Loretto Chapel and call in at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Saint Francis Cathedral

Santa Fe is a real hub for artists, and there are hundreds of studio and galleries running along the half-mile-long Canyon Road, as well as museums dedicated to folk art, Indian art and the painter Georgia O’Keefe. There’s also the trippy Meow Wolf, a immersive art experience that’s a bit like walking into a video game. Take a walk to the city’s regenerated railroad district, where old warehouses have been converted into galleries and restaurants. And don’t miss the Mexican food and margaritas – Santa Fe is justifiably famous for both.

Total driving: 212 miles/341 kilometres – approx 3 hours 45 mins

Art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sante Fe gallery

Where to stay in Santa Fe: The Old Santa Fe Inn is classic New Mexico style with lots of dark wood, local art and big bunches of dried chilies hanging outside. We stayed in a traditional kiva room with a king-sized bed, sitting area, fireplace and jacuzzi bath. There’s a free breakfast buffet every morning, Starbucks tea and coffee in the lobby all day, and free cookies or chips each afternoon. The hotel is a short walk from the plaza, where we headed up onto the terrace at the Rooftop Pizzeria for blue corn pizzas and local beers.

The Old Santa Fe Inn, New Mexico

The Old Santa Fe Inn

Day 11: Route 66

You can’t really have a US road trip without driving a stretch of The Mother Road – Route 66. The route’s longest driving day covers 412 miles (6 hours 15 mins driving time) on your way to Sedona in Arizona, where you spend the next two nights. First leave Santa Fe and head down to Albuquerque where you’ll join the I-40, the interstate which follows some of the old Route 66.

Route 66 in the southwest USA

Route 66

There are a few good places to stop off along the way. Petrified Forest National Park is made up of fossilised trees which date back to the time of the dinosaurs. Or there’s the Meteor Crater, the world’s best preserved meteor impact site which stretches nearly a mile across. You can also still see some of the vintage style diners, motels and petrol stations which lined the old Route 66, like in Winslow Arizona (one for the Eagles fans). At Flagstaff, you leave Route 66 and head south to Sedona on Highway 89A  – aka the Red Rock Scenic Byway. It runs through Coconino National Forest then zig-zags down into Oak Creek Canyon with some beautiful views.

Total driving: 412 miles/663 kilometres – approx 6 hours 15 mins

Meteor Crater Arizona USA

Meteor Crater (photo by Meteor Crater)

Where to stay in Sedona: We stayed at the Sky Ranch Lodge, a bit out of town on Airport Mesa but with the most amazing panoramic views – it’s worth staying there just for the sunsets. Rooms are fairly simple motel style but most have balconies and there’s a pool and jacuzzi in the gardens. There’s no restaurant at the hotel but the Mesa Grill is only a few minutes’ walk away (bizarrely inside Sedona airport) which does tasty southwest dishes.

Sedona red rock views from Airport Mesa

Sedona red rock views from Airport Mesa

Day 12: Sedona

Spend the day exploring Sedona, a southwest town with a spiritual side. It’s said there are vortexes in the red rocks around town – sacred spots where energy flows radiate the Earth’s power. Whether you believe it or not, the rocks are spectacular to look at. Take the seven-mile Red Rock Loop scenic drive up to see the most famous vortexes, Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. Don’t miss the unique Chapel of the Holy Cross too – a 1950s Catholic chapel that looks more like a Bond villain’s lair. Or get out among the rocks on a Sedona hike and head to Slide Rock State Park for swimming and sliding down an 80-metre rock chute.

Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona

Chapel of the Holy Cross

There are also a few good half-day trips from Sedona, depending on what you’re interested in. There’s the ghost town of Jerome which is 28 miles away. This old copper and gold mining town was known as the ‘Wickedest Town in the West’ in the 1890s. The saloons and brothels have closed but you can still see a lot of the historic buildings. Or there’s the Verde Valley Wine Trail which has nine different vineyards you can visit. If you don’t have time to get to the wineries, Sedona’s Art of Wine bar is a good place to try out some local wine.

Sunset in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona sunset

Day 13: Grand Canyon

Leave Sedona and head back to Flagstaff and then travel north to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim (114 miles/2 hours 15 mins). Drive out to Desert View for that first breathtaking look down into the canyon and the watchtower observation deck. Then head on to the visitors centre where you can leave your car behind and catch the free shuttle. There are a few different shuttle routes – the blue route takes you to the village and then you can catch the red route which is a loop stopping off at some of the most scenic lookout points along Hermit’s Rest Road.

Grand Canyon, Arizona USA

Grand Canyon views

There are walking trails along the rim, but it’s also worth heading down into the canyon to get a closer view of it from a different angle. There’s not enough time to make it all the way to the bottom in half a day, but you can do a shorter walk like the three-mile hike along the South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Point or the hike along the Bright Angel Trail as far as 1.5 Mile Resthouse. Then head to one of the viewpoints for that perfect Grand Canyon sunset.

Total driving: 114 miles/183 kilometres – approx 2 hours 15 mins

Grand Canyon sunset, Arizona USA

Sunset at the Canyon

Where to stay at the Grand Canyon: Flagstaff is the closest place to the Grand Canyon which has a decent selection of hotels, but it’s still 90 minutes away. So we splashed out on a night at the Bright Angel Lodge as it’s right inside the park. It’s a 1930s timber lodge with a mix of hotel rooms and cabins – the cheapest options have a shared bathroom. There’s a café and a steakhouse-style restaurant on site and those amazing views just outside.

Bright Angel Lodge, Grand Canyon hotel

Bright Angel Lodge (photo by Alan English CPA)

Day 14: Depart Las Vegas

Catch sunrise over the canyon before making your way back to Las Vegas. It’s a 275-mile/4.5-hour drive, so if you have an evening flight you should have time to stop off at Lake Mead. The Hoover Dam’s a seriously impressive piece of engineering – 220 metres tall and up to 200 metres thick. There’s a vistor’s centre where you can find out how it was built and see the generators. Then it’s only 30 miles/40 mins back to the airport and the end of your Southwest USA road trip.

Total driving: 275 miles/426 kilometres – approx 4.5 hours

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam

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A two-week Southwest USA road trip through Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, with National Parks, scenic drives and quirky attractions | USA road trip | Southwest USA | Road trip itinerary | #southwest #southwestusa #wildwest #roadtripThe perfect 14-day Southwest USA road trip itinerary – featuring five states, six National Parks, scenic drives, stunning views and quirky roadside attractions | USA road trip | Southwest USA | Road trip itinerary | #southwest #southwestusa #wildwest #roadtrip

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  • Reply
    June 27, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Beautiful photos! Sounds like a wonderful trip. I love the Southwestern U.S!

    • Reply
      June 28, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Me too – it’s such a great area for a road trip, and the landscapes are just stunning!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Lucy, I don’t know how you do it, but you’re one of those few bloggers who consistently produce high-quality photography. Those are some spectacular shots of among the most iconic landscapes of the US! Just by looking at them I really want to go on that road trip (and when I do, I’ll be sure to check this itinerary out). Impressive work!

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      You’re too kind! It really was a dream destination for anyone who loves photography – though I have to go back to do Antelope Canyon myself one day.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Great itinerary, so helpful for my trip planning! Also, great blog post – your photos and writing are great <3

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks – hope it comes in handy, and have a brilliant trip!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2018 at 11:54 am

    WOW!…I’m having trouble to arrange my words, I’m very enthusiastic to see your post

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Great post and gorgeous photos! I’ve been to Vegas before but didn’t have the time or money to devote to a road trip, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing, and you’ve definitely given me some inspiration.

    • Reply
      July 8, 2018 at 9:58 am

      It’s such a brilliant area for a road trip – hope you get to make it someday!

  • Reply
    Suzanne - The Travelbunny
    July 4, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    What a useful post and loads of stunning photos, I love that you’ve included tips on where to stay as well. Our last road trip was more cultural than photogenic with a visit to the Deep South for the music. Still haven’t had time to write it up yet!

    • Reply
      July 8, 2018 at 10:08 am

      I would love to do the Deep South and the music sometime too!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    This is a great itinerary! Fun, yet relaxing. I’ve been to many of these spots but loved to learn about the ones I’ve missed. As soon as I start RVing, I’ll retrace your steps.

    • Reply
      July 8, 2018 at 10:08 am

      I’m such an RV convert after travelling around Canada in one a couple of years ago – a US trip might have to be next!

  • Reply
    Kathryn @TravelWithKat
    July 9, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Such fabulous photos! I’d dearly love to do this one day. The scenery looks stunning, like nothing I’ve ever seen before, other than in photos and films that is. Absolutely breathtaking. Awe-inspiring! I’ve yet to make it to the US but this is top of my wishlist when I do.

    • Reply
      July 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      It is such a unique place – hope you get to make the trip someday soon!

  • Reply
    Citizen on Earth
    December 4, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    A very helpful post and great photos! A question: Wenn you check out in the morning and drive around in a national park and carry on to the next location to check in the evening, what do you do with the luggage? Is it safe to leave them in the car, in case you need to park somewhere in/around the parks?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2018 at 11:43 am

      We left our luggage in the car during the dayime without any problems – though we did make sure to have it all hidden away in the trunk and also took a rucksack with our valuables (laptop/cameras) if we were out walking just in case.

  • Reply
    Bunny Hatgis
    February 12, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    What a great post! I am currently planning something similar and this was very useful.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Great places to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Sean Kenealy
      October 19, 2020 at 2:49 am

      This looks like one amazing road trip. You literally could spend a week at many of these destinations alone! What was your favorite part about your entire trip? I feel like you might be due for hiking in the Grand Canyon for a week. That might be awesome

  • Reply
    March 25, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Hello! Great info. Thanks for sharing. Could you please tell me if you think November is a good month to do that trip or too late? Thanks

    • Reply
      March 30, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Hi, you may have some snow in November, especially in the higher areas – so it’s likely the High Road to Taos will be closed and some of the routes in the other parks are closed if it snows – bonus is though that the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon both look stunning in the snow!

  • Reply
    Southwest Airlines
    April 22, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    Great post, keep up the good work, thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      April 24, 2019 at 8:54 am


  • Reply
    October 11, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    We d like to go 2 weeks mid dec to first week in Jan. Would like to avoid cold icy places. I think Utah is very cold at this time. Suggestions for modifying the 2 week trip. Dec 21 – jan 5.?

    • Reply
      October 13, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      Hi, yes it will be pretty chilly in Utah in January – you could head further south where it might be warmer, maybe places like Death Valley, Joshua Tree and Sedona in Arizona.

      • Ariana Pimentel
        August 17, 2020 at 12:35 am

        Where the parks open?

      • Lucy Dodsworth
        August 27, 2020 at 5:38 pm

        Hi yes parks are now mostly open – there are some where certain trails and vistors centres are closed but you can check the latest details for each park on the NPS website.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Thank u! Do u have suggestions for a 2 week itinerary for places where weather isn’t too cold with snow ? We could start in Vegas or Phoenix ?

  • Reply
    November 13, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    We are planning an RV trip to many of these sites. Your post has been very helpful! My grandmother grew up in Jerome, and we named our son after the town in her honour. Last time I was there was with her in 2001, but she died before our son was born. . Looking forward to taking him.
    Thank you.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Lucy, I appreciate all the effort and dedication you’ve shown in this post. This is a perfect itinerary for our next road trip. A special compliment for the photos!

    • Reply
      January 16, 2020 at 3:05 pm

      You’re very welcome – and hope you have an amazing trip!

  • Reply
    Wanda Collins
    February 24, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Allison, I remember a link for a pass that saved 50% on camping. Can’t find it now. Please let me know what pass gives half price for camping at campgrounds. My husband and I plan to take the southwest trip via an RV rental.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    My husband and I have been to many of the places on your itinerary but now that our son and his wife are in Prescott , we’d like to take in some of them we’ve been to and others that we missed. The one part of your two week trip I really liked was the shorter drives between each place. I hate to spend more driving time than exploring time. Thank you

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 2, 2020 at 6:01 pm

      You’re very welcome – enjoy, it’s a wonderful part of the world (and definitely better to spend more time exploring than driving!).

  • Reply
    October 26, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Hey Lucy, Road trips are so much fun! I hopefully plan to take mini one with my husband soon, to a place he has never been before. I am so excited, to be honest. I like traveling to places within my country by Jeep, it’s so amazing!

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