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Autumn travel plans - Western US

Kevin (ksdg01)

Here a lot
I'm planning a 1 week tour of the Western US.
Currently will be arriving in Seattle 2nd October and departing Las Vegas morning 9th October
Between the two locations there are many National Parks and Lands and it's unlikely I'll see them all, but will have a go at it.
My general photography goal will be at location to photo sunrise and sunset every day, with lots of hiking and photography in between.
The List (so far) and I've not visited any of the following previously:
North Cascades, Olympic, Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia
Pinnacles - will be logistically difficult, same with Channel Island
I've been to Joshua Tee and Death Valley previously and will go through DV on the way to Vegas.
There are additional points of interest that aren't NP that will be side trips too, time provided.

Which location would you skip, add or spend more time at?
Thanks,
NP.jpg
 

rebel06

Looking for a cause.
Moderator
The NP I would suggest is Bryce Canyon, it's so different to the other NP's there is nothing like it ..... been twice and would go back if I could.
Also don't miss Yosemite is awesome (as they say in the US)

Are you staying in motels or are you camping??
Also that's going to be quite a rushed tour, last time we were there for over month.
This was our trip .
in 2016 this was our road trip (4 Adults)

San Francisco (Hired a segway and did Golden Gate Park and Corona Heights) and of course Lombard street.
Lake Tahoe
Bodie Ghost town
Yosemite
Lone Pine
Death Valley
Las Vegas
Grand Canyon white water trip (3 days)
Las Vegas
Zion NP
Bryce Canyon NP
Capitol Reef NP
Moab (Arches NP, Canyonlands NP
Natural Bridges NP
Monument valley
Lake Powel (5 day Houseboat)
Williams Route 66
Sedona NP
Scotsdale and Phoenix

Flew into San Fran and out of Pheonix ...Some places 1 night some 2-4 .... total driving distance 3500 miles .... almost 6 weeks.

Phew .... took almost as long to type as to do .... lol

Paul
 
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Kevin (ksdg01)

Here a lot
Paul thanks for sharing and the suggestion, it sounds like you had quiet the adventure while on holiday.

I've never been to Brice, but have heard it’s awesome, lol.

Took a look at the maps and to include Brice I would leave after Yosemite and skip Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Death Valley, in regards to logistics, it is doable, I’ll certainly give it a think.

I’m traveling light, 1 small suitcase and 1 camera bag. Car camping will be the main accommodation, with several motel visits in between along with a nice room in Vegas.

Yes, it is a brief visit with lots of ground covered in a short time. Not ideal, but seemed like a good compromise at the time.
 

rebel06

Looking for a cause.
Moderator

tenchy

Rain maker
Administrator
I think you'll find it difficult to be at spots for sun up/set.
That's a lot of miles for a week. Not impossible, you can do 400+ mile days quite easily over there.
I'm not familiar with a few of your spots. My list is very similar to Paul's. I've done a small 6 day road trip and two 4000 mile 3 week one's.
I'd be tempted to come down via Yellowstone Park, on through utah and on to nevada. Yellowstone is amazing, antelope Valley is also brilliant, grand Canyon, horseshoe bend, bryce Canyon etc.
Yosemite is good and if there general sherman in sequoia makes sense.

Below is a detailed description of my first trip. Unfortunately I haven't posted one for the second but I should have the files.

Dunno if you've been to Vegas before, but if not allow 2 days at least your first time. I was 'meh' about Vegas till the first time I went. Been thrice now and would go again.

 
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tenchy

Rain maker
Administrator
A spot by spot list. Something to Google for ideas.
 

Pteranadon

Always on
Premium Member
Just to say-
Been to Death Valley once..
Thing I noticed as it was pointed out..
We went in early and was told take notice of the mountains...and when we leave later in the day, take a look again.
Early light brought out the best colors of the rock and later everything was "drab" from the harsh light.
It can be said about anywhere in the desert...
But Ansel Adam's "first" noticeable work started there.
 

Kevin (ksdg01)

Here a lot
Yosemite to Bryce is a bit of a run .. 500miles approx but at least the run from Bryce to Zion is only 70 and then to Vegas just 160.
As you say you have done DV before, now as I have never been to either Kings Canyon or Sequoia I can't say if they are worth missing for Bryce.
Here is a link to a few of my images from Bryce..... https://www.photography-forum.org/threads/three-more-from-bryce-canyon.126977/#post-1541871

Paul
Great photos, Brice is an amazing place.

I'm not sure about skipping Kings Canyon and Sequoia either and the 500 miles will be a good chunk of time. There are still a few weeks to figure things out and plenty of time while driving to change my mind again.

I think you'll find it difficult to be at spots for sun up/set.
That's a lot of miles for a week. Not impossible, you can do 400+ mile days quite easily over there.
I'm not familiar with a few of your spots. My list is very similar to Paul's. I've done a small 6 day road trip and two 4000 mile 3 week one's.
I'd be tempted to come down via Yellowstone Park, on through utah and on to nevada. Yellowstone is amazing, antelope Valley is also brilliant, grand Canyon, horseshoe bend, bryce Canyon etc.
Yosemite is good and if there general sherman in sequoia makes sense.

Below is a detailed description of my first trip. Unfortunately I haven't posted one for the second but I should have the files.

Dunno if you've been to Vegas before, but if not allow 2 days at least your first time. I was 'meh' about Vegas till the first time I went. Been thrice now and would go again.

Thanks for that list, I’ll dig into it and try and add some stops to my trip.
Agreed it’ll be difficult to get photos every sunrise and set. I always set that goal when traveling.
I do gain 2 hours traveling from Central to Western time zones which makes sunrise much easier.
I have been to Vegas once before and guessing I'll be there for 8-10 hours for this trip with a couple of hours of that at the airport.

Just to say-
Been to Death Valley once..
Thing I noticed as it was pointed out..
We went in early and was told take notice of the mountains...and when we leave later in the day, take a look again.
Early light brought out the best colors of the rock and later everything was "drab" from the harsh light.
It can be said about anywhere in the desert...
But Ansel Adam's "first" noticeable work started there.
My visit was during wintertime and with the sun being lower in the sky probably helped reduce the harshness, though it was still harsh mid day.
What was your favorite spot?
Ansel did some great work in that desert, I remember a photo of his setup on the car.
 

MikeB

Always on
Premium Member
7 days, plan for two parks - Yosemite and Bryce, and give each at least 2 full days. You want sunsets, sunrises, and night sky. Consult TPE or PhotoPills for Milky Way core time and location. The other parks are great and if you're just checking boxes then go for as many as you can but if you're looking to capture the best photos you can then you need to give yourself more time.
 

Kevin (ksdg01)

Here a lot
7 days, plan for two parks - Yosemite and Bryce, and give each at least 2 full days. You want sunsets, sunrises, and night sky. Consult TPE or PhotoPills for Milky Way core time and location. The other parks are great and if you're just checking boxes then go for as many as you can but if you're looking to capture the best photos you can then you need to give yourself more time.
I agree my plan doesn't allow for much time in any one location, but does allow me check those boxes and plan the next trip.

With no set itinerary, it'll be difficult to plan the sun's location as I don't know where I'll be or the features of locations visited. TPE and PhotoPills do look interesting and I’ll dig into the more.

The guideline of sunrise and sunset photos is mostly there to keep me from being lazy and sleeping in or retiring early. Unfortunately, no room for a tripod with my carry on or checked bag, so no long exposure Milky Way photos either.

Maybe I’ll not get the best photos, but I’ll enjoy every minute of making them.
 

rebel06

Looking for a cause.
Moderator
There are always alternatives to using a tripod, I have done this many times .... use the 10sec timer and stand it on a rock, a post (a woolly hat can shape into a base to help) or wedge it between rocks/stones to get the right angle of the sky. Always worth a practice before you go.
 

tenchy

Rain maker
Administrator
Mike's advice is sound, though for us travelling a long way to even be there it's tough. We did for example 3 days in Yellowstone Park, and all we did was the main tourist stops at non ideal photographically times. But we did see the geysers and amazing pools, formations, business, coyotes, and allegedly wolves (my eyes couldn't resolve them on the telescope even with directions where to look).
Even with two 3 week trips we only really touched the tourist stops, tho I did do the photographer tour of antelope Canyon both trips.(upper and lower on 2nd trip)
If I had the holidays or could retire and had the money I'd go there for a few months and retrace my steps at many spots for more photographic times and more hiking. Things like into the grand Canyon, to The Wave (if I could get a permit) etc. But you'll enjoy it full stop. Even our 400+ mile days were no drag at all. It's not like you're stop start on the M5 & M6 . it's more like 100s of miles of the A82.
On both trips we had diabetic 70+ year old couple, with other ailments. They LOVED both trips. MikeB mentioned it was a tough schedule for them, but at every get together they are talking about it, and are often getting the book I made of the 2014 trip out.
So whatever you end up doing, be warned it will be a warm up and you will be planning another longer visit.
 

rebel06

Looking for a cause.
Moderator
Agree with Steve, longer at each is the way to go,standing at the rim the views are fantastic but get below them and you see a very different side .. my wife and I hiked down into Bryce Canyon (Queens Garden Trail), Grand Canyon (half way down Bright Angel Trail) and a couple of the trails in Zion NP, also a couple of the trails in Arches NP, allthough you don't get away from people you do get away from the crowds.
 

Kevin (ksdg01)

Here a lot
There are always alternatives to using a tripod, I have done this many times .... use the 10sec timer and stand it on a rock, a post (a woolly hat can shape into a base to help) or wedge it between rocks/stones to get the right angle of the sky. Always worth a practice before you go.
Agreed

Ah I just saw you are a 'local' by comparison! Man I envy you!
Agree with Steve, longer at each is the way to go,standing at the rim the views are fantastic but get below them and you see a very different side .. my wife and I hiked down into Bryce Canyon (Queens Garden Trail), Grand Canyon (half way down Bright Angel Trail) and a couple of the trails in Zion NP, also a couple of the trails in Arches NP, allthough you don't get away from people you do get away from the crowds.
Being close(er) by does help. Indian Dunes is my closest NP and I've almost hiked all 50 miles of trails on 5 separate visits this spring and summer and certainly can appreciate spending more time and exploring a location thoroughly. This trip isn't well planned - I was checking flights one day and noticed they were particularly cheap so I jumped at the opportunity for a quick trip out west and my birthday in Vegas. Basically due to arrival and departure locations (the least expensivest flights) I'm making some compromises in time spent and each location - it is a trade off but well worth the experience or so I think.

Mike's advice is sound, though for us travelling a long way to even be there it's tough. We did for example 3 days in Yellowstone Park, and all we did was the main tourist stops at non ideal photographically times. But we did see the geysers and amazing pools, formations, business, coyotes, and allegedly wolves (my eyes couldn't resolve them on the telescope even with directions where to look).
Even with two 3 week trips we only really touched the tourist stops, tho I did do the photographer tour of antelope Canyon both trips.(upper and lower on 2nd trip)
If I had the holidays or could retire and had the money I'd go there for a few months and retrace my steps at many spots for more photographic times and more hiking. Things like into the grand Canyon, to The Wave (if I could get a permit) etc. But you'll enjoy it full stop. Even our 400+ mile days were no drag at all. It's not like you're stop start on the M5 & M6 . it's more like 100s of miles of the A82.
On both trips we had diabetic 70+ year old couple, with other ailments. They LOVED both trips. MikeB mentioned it was a tough schedule for them, but at every get together they are talking about it, and are often getting the book I made of the 2014 trip out.
So whatever you end up doing, be warned it will be a warm up and you will be planning another longer visit.
I agree, Mike's advise is sound!
 

tenchy

Rain maker
Administrator
yeah good luck and do share some pics! Who knows, you could be adding places to Part 3 for me :)
 

wchettel

New Member
It may be a few hundred miles off of your route, but I would not bypass Yellowstone NP. It is the oldest national park in the United States and the second oldest in the world. And while you're there, you should also visit Grand Teton NP which is just south of Yellowstone. They are the "backbone" of the US, IMO!
 

rebel06

Looking for a cause.
Moderator
Thats a great suggestion ... Yellowstone Grand Teton NP .. take a float trip along Snake River to see moose and bald eagles and visit Jackson Hole.... Love it.
 

Kevin (ksdg01)

Here a lot
It may be a few hundred miles off of your route, but I would not bypass Yellowstone NP. It is the oldest national park in the United States and the second oldest in the world. And while you're there, you should also visit Grand Teton NP which is just south of Yellowstone. They are the "backbone" of the US, IMO!
Thats a great suggestion ... Yellowstone Grand Teton NP .. take a float trip along Snake River to see moose and bald eagles and visit Jackson Hole.... Love it.
I love Yellowstone and have been there twice and want go again. Been to Teton too and it was wonderful.
Weather never permitted a float trip, my first visit it snowed and was cold at the higher elevations. The spring melt had the water moving too quickly on the second trip. If I'm there in appropriate weather, I will check into it.
 

tenchy

Rain maker
Administrator
It may be a few hundred miles off of your route, but I would not bypass Yellowstone NP. It is the oldest national park in the United States and the second oldest in the world. And while you're there, you should also visit Grand Teton NP which is just south of Yellowstone. They are the "backbone" of the US, IMO!
Thats a great suggestion ... Yellowstone Grand Teton NP .. take a float trip along Snake River to see moose and bald eagles and visit Jackson Hole.... Love it.
I love Yellowstone and have been there twice and want go again. Been to Teton too and it was wonderful.
Weather never permitted a float trip, my first visit it snowed and was cold at the higher elevations. The spring melt had the water moving too quickly on the second trip. If I'm there in appropriate weather, I will check into it.
Grand Teton and the snake river trip are highly recommended.
Our senior lady was very unsure when I suggested the snake river trip, but I assured her it would be fine (I think she was imagining white water rafting :) ). Halfway through the trip we all wanted to carry on the entire river! :)
 

Kevin (ksdg01)

Here a lot
Grand Teton and the snake river trip are highly recommended.
Our senior lady was very unsure when I suggested the snake river trip, but I assured her it would be fine (I think she was imagining white water rafting :) ). Halfway through the trip we all wanted to carry on the entire river! :)
Did some searching and it does look interesting. Did you have any reservations about bringing your camera gear on the journey?
 

rebel06

Looking for a cause.
Moderator
Before my last road trip I purchased a 16-300mm lens to use the majority of the time, the reason was (as we were visiting very sandy places) so I would not have to change lenses, risking getting dust/sand into the camera, that's probably the only concern I had.
Paul
 
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