Highway 1, Big Sur en San Francisco. The must-visits when visiting the West Coast!
This summer we have spend three weeks of driving a brand new Jeep Cherokee through California, Nevada , Utah and Arizona. More than 4.000km and almost 70hours in the car, driving through the most beautiful Natural Parks and cities. From campsites to luxury hotels, Airbnb and motels, we’ve tried everything.. We loved it!
Because we’ve got sooo many pictures, have seen so much and of course want to give you the best tips we share our road trip in three separate blogs. This is our second blog and this time we’re going from one extreme to the other extreme. Of the most beautiful scenery we to the most vivid, commercial city and back the beautiful nature again.
After we visited San Francisco, it was time to explore some nature and this was literally, Back to Basic! The first part of the tour lead us through towns and later through the deserted landscape of the US Actually, as we really only know the movies. Almost no houses and sometimes even a ranch. When we came closer to Yosemite began to become greener. Along the way there was a small tourist information center. A nice little old lady had some great tips for us. After a short talk we drove to the park. At the entrance we bought a pass (America the Beautiful Pass) to get in and shortly after we arrived at the campsite.
We stayed in the Hodgedon Meadows Campground. This is a fairly primitive campground, not as we are used to in Europe. We were happy that there was running water in the toilets. The campground had, of course, beautiful nature.. But a small note, there were bears around, at each spot there’s a bear locker to stuff your food and toiletries. Fortunately we have not seen a bear, but everywhere will you be alerted. BEAR, Be Aware! Yosemite park is a beautiful piece of nature and very versatile. We walked the beautiful hike up to Glacier Point. More than 7km upwards (trained calves get there of) to enjoy the beautiful view and later back down. To end the day we took a dip in the river.
For a short stop on our way towards Las Vegas we chose Mammoth Lakes, quite a deserted place but a real ski resort in winter. We thought bears were only active in Yosemite, but the fact is, there were active bears the night we were in Mammoth Lakes! With a few tips from the Ranger we went to sleep in our tent on the Twin Lakes Campground. This was not as great and relaxed as we thought because the bear walked a few meters past our tent. For this reason we had not slept at all, haha.
A beautiful piece of nature, and definitely worth to drive through.
In the desert, after few hours of driving in the heat, you suddenly see Las Vegas in the distance. A giant city in the desert. This city has everything and you just have to see it once in your life. We want to tell you all about our adventures there, but as is said: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
We had two wonderful nights in the Hotel New York New York. Highly recommended. Hotels are not that expensive in Las Vegas and if you browse the internet or Facebook before, you can get some great discounts!
Ralph had his birthday in LV so we started the first night with a super show: VEGAS! THE SHOW. The show was fantastic! But the bars in our hotel were great as well. The second day we visited the most beautiful hotels and had a wonderful fancy lunch at the Stratosphere with views over Vegas!
Zion National Park
Before we took off to America we were thinking about skipping Zion and Bryce, but in the end we did not and that’s been one of the our choices !! We arrived in the evening at Zion Park Motel and got some tips from locals. Zion is a beautiful park. We got up at 6am start our hike to Angels Landing. This was one of the most beautiful, spectacular hikes we’ve ever done! Really amazing. Besides the beautiful viewpoints of Zion, a walk in the Narrows is highly recommended.
The day after we left the Red Canyons, we stayed at Ruby’s Inn Campground. This is actually in the middle of cowboy country. Almost all the people we saw, had hats and leather boots on. Bryce Canyon is famous for the most beautiful vantage points. We went to see the sunset at Inspiration Point. It was beautiful, words can’t describe it. Look at the pictures yourself. At one point, we saw the sun and the moon on the other side. The next day we got up early to watch the sunrise at Bryce Point. If you ever go to Bryce Canyon, do this as well!
Unfortunately it had been raining and on arrival there was a sign ‘closed due flooding’, so we could not walk in the Lower Canyon. Fortunately, there is also the Upper Canyon. We got a nice guide and first drove 15 minutes with a truck toward the canyon. These Canyons, Wooooow…..! Walking through a crack in the mountain that is worn very beautifully by water and wind. Pictures tell more than 1000 words, so:
Everyone knows the Grand Canyon, this is one of the largest natural parks in America. If you want to walk into the valley, it takes about 1 day. This we haven’t done, but we had a morning walk of about 8km to Hopi Point. Again we were on a camp ground overnight, this time the South Rim, Mather Campground. Amidst the beautiful nature. Frankly, we thought the Grand Canyon is one of the less attractive parks to visit. Very large and difficult to see beautiful places unless you follow the tourist trails or have enough time to get into the valley or above (helicopter flight).