Collage summary road trip SF to Denver

Date of travel: May 2017
Duration of the trip: 10 full days + 2 for arrival/departure flights
Main locations: San Francisco (start), Yosemite NP, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon NP, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arches NP, Denver (finish)
Group size: 2 people
Estimated cost per person: $1300 + flight to San Francisco + flight from Denver
Total driving time: 36+ hours
Total distance: 3506+ km

Note: click on the images to enlarge them
Common abbreviations: SF (San Francisco), NP (National Park), LA (Los Angeles)

Table of contents


Link to the map:

Tips & advice

  • Check the national parks app by Rei
  • Check for dispersed (wild camping) free camping
  • Get national parks pass if you intend to visit multiple parks. Valid for a year, transferable to someone else
  • Check opening dates for all parks, routes or monuments. Also check usual weather conditions for that time of the year, as it might not be worth it if it’s too cold/rainy
  • Eat at any of the multiple In-n-out restaurants (it’s like McDonalds but much better and cheaper. It’s an american classic)
  • If I indicate a place with a combination of numbers and letters like 857CX23X+RX is because it’s a plus code, which can be used in google maps to search a specific location that doesn’t necessarily have a regular address

Packing list

  • Clothing & gear
    • Comfortable long/short pants
    • Joggers or similar for the long driving hours (in case the regular pants are not stretchy enough)
    • T-shirts
    • Shirts
    • Underwear
    • Sneakers
    • Socks
    • Hiking boots - Either high or low
    • Hiking socks
    • Hicking long/short pants
    • Fleece sweater
    • Down jacket
    • Rain jacket
    • Thermal long-sleeve t-shirt (if travelling in cold months)
    • Thermal long pants (if travelling in cold months)
    • Gloves (if travelling in cold months)
    • Beanie (if travelling in cold months)
    • Buff or similar
    • Baseball cap or similar
    • Sunglasses category 3/4
    • Hiking poles
    • Day backpack
    • Flip-flops/slides - ideal for showering in places of doubtful hygiene, going to the beach (LA), and to walk around the room/house
    • Swimwear (LA)
  • Camping (optional)
    • Camping tent
    • Sleeping bag
    • Sleeping pad
    • Air pillow
    • Head lamp
    • Sleeping mask
  • Electronics
    • Phone charger/s
    • Battery bank/s (1 small + 1 big)
    • Car phone charger
    • Plug adapters (if travelling from outside US)
  • Other
    • Passport and ESTA (if travelling from outside US)
    • Driving lincese (see compatibility with your country if travelling from outside US)
    • Sunscreen
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Travel towel
    • First aid, pills or any other personal medical needs
  • Food (buy in supermarkets along the way)
    • Can opener
    • Plastic/paper plates
    • Plastic forks/knives/spoons
    • Plastic cups
    • Bottled water
    • Food of preference - Suggestions: canned beans, canned tuna, canned chicken, bananas, bread, dried fruits, nuts… In general anything that doesn’t require cookware and is easy to prepare while giving enough nutritional value

Cost summary of the trip

Weather expectations