First day of what we knew would be a long and potentially over-ambitious road trip. Heat of the summer where we lived but probably not so hot where we were going. Lots to pack for several weeks of camping, lots to prep and think through. Love doing this stuff!
We finally pull out of the driveway heading northeast early in the morning. I knew I would be driving all day, but had not driven the I-15 freeway beyond Las Vegas….in awhile. So off we went through the California desert, finally reaching the 15 freeway and heading toward Vegas. The kids didn’t remember Vegas, but even driving the I-15 past the “Strip” proved impressive. We made good progress. The I-15 freeway through California, Nevada, Arizona and finally Utah is a well traveled, multi-lane freeway where you can make good time and progress. But much of the drive looks like below:
But our turn off the I-15 came just after St. George, Utah and the single lane roads made sure we still had several hours worth of driving to get through to Zion National Park. We soon exited the freeway onto SR-9 and got through the smaller towns of Hurricane, La Verkin, Virgin and several others. The drive into Zion was nothing short of spectacular.
I’m very thankful we had a campsite booked (even just for our one night) because the towns outside the park were overflowing. Arriving reminded us that this one of America’s busiest national parks, the Visitors Center was a bit of a zoo but neat to see pics of the rest of the park we wouldn’t see on this visit. Making our way to our campsite, we were thankful to be camping and out in nature again…but every campsite in the entire park was full so there were people everywhere.
Although we were only able to stay one night in Zion as we could not get a longer camping reservation, we all thought it was rad and voted we would love to come back here when there was time. That next day after Zion, we would go into our longest drive of the trip, traveling from Zion National Park to Dinosaur National Monument, right up in the northeastern corner of Utah all the way against Colorado. But that’s another story…..
Zion National Park: Getting there from anywhere: If you are driving from the west coast, the I-15 freeway makes sense to use as it’s the only major freeway that comes close to the park. If you are driving from the east coast, I would recommend coming through I-40 to Vegas then up the I-15 freeway. Otherwise, there are multiple smaller roads that you can find on your own. Other than the campground we stayed in, most larger vehicles have a challenge getting though the tunnels and roads in Zion as they were not built for larger vehicles. But there were larger rigs at the Visitors Center and Watchman Campground where we stayed. I would definitely strongly recommend a reservation before showing up, as we didn’t see any first come/first serve campgrounds.
You…our loyal readers and friends have not heard much from us in the last several weeks as we’ve been working on the Adventure Base non-stop…and going back to work (gasp) and school. This is the way of things but we’re doing all of this to add to our goal of continued slow travel, when things are right and we can get to where we want to go.
Great first day of driving from Southern California to Zion National Park in Utah. Next story….our longest drive & Dinosaur National Monument.