Colorado Plateau Photo Odyssey 25: Conclusion

Arches SP13-258

To review: my Colorado Plateau Odyssey trip was 2,731 miles long:

The trip involved the following itinerary:

  1. Day 1: Eureka, CA to Reno, NV, with brief stop at Manzinita Lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park (6.75 hrs).
  2. Day 2: Reno, NV to Bryce Canyon National Park (10.5 hrs).
  3. Day 3: Bryce Canyon to Colorado National Monument (7 hrs).
  4. Day 4: At Colorado National Monument
  5. Day 5: Colorado National Monument to Moab, UT (2 hrs).
  6. Day 6: At Moab, UT.
  7. Day 7: At Moab, UT.
  8. Day 8: Moab, UT to Cortez, CO (3 hrs).
  9. Day 9: At Cortez, CO.
  10. Day 10: Cortez, CO to Zion National Park (6 hrs).
  11. Day 11: Zion National Park to Cedar City, UT (1.25 hrs).
  12. Day 12: Cedar City, UT to Lee Vining, CA, with brief stop at Cathedral Gorge SP (8 hrs).
  13. Day 13: Lee Vining, CA to Eureka, CA (9.5 hrs).

The two very long driving days, 2 and 13, pretty much involved straight driving, with only a few bathroom and gas stops thrown in. The rest of the longer driving days involved occasional stops for pics. On my drive from Cortez to Zion, for example, I stopped at the Four Corners National Monument and Glenn Canyon Dam. But as can be seen, except for those two long driving days, not a bad trip. Once I made out to the eastern Utah, western Colorado area, there were no long driving days: everything was close, and it was just a matter of picking out a few spots to focus on. That’s the advantage of that particular section of the country: plenty to do and see in relatively compact area. Eastern Utah has Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Dead Horse Point SP, Colorado River, etc. Colorado has Colorado National Monument, San Juan Mountains, Elk Mountains, Maroon Bells, Grand Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Mesa Verde NP, Crystal Mill, and much more. And much of it within a half day’s drive.

When driving east from California to Utah and Colorado, the biggest challenge is getting through Nevada. It’s not that Nevada isn’t necessarily interesting or scenic: it’s just there’s not a lot of great places to stop, and the scenery, generally speaking, is not as good as one can find in it’s neighboring states. However, there are some a few excellent places of note that make great stopovers:

  • Eastern side of Lake Tahoe
  • Lamoille Canyon, near Elko
  • Angel Lake, right outside Wells.
  • Cathedral Gorge, near Panaca and Pioche.
  • Great Basin National Park, a little more than an hours drive from Ely.

Any of these places make great stopovers when going from central or northern California to Utah, Wyoming, or Colorado.