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What are the must see - Mountain/Southwest

Discussion in 'Mountain/Southwest' started by RAM_Eh, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. RAM_Eh

    RAM_Eh Member

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    I am planning a trip from Toronto to San Diego and then north to Calgary.

    Traveling through Denver and then south to San Diego. Looking for other owners that have done some touring with their cars and would like to know the must see moments in Colorado, Utah, and or Arizona?

    Looking to see if you have details too? This will be a summer trip, mid July to mid August.

    Thanks,
    Rob.
     
  2. MileHighMotoring

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    Colorado:

    The Colorado mountains, especially a place like Breckenridge, can be a nice 1/2 day in the summertime. They have outdoor activities like taking the gondola up to the top of the mountain, riding an Alpine Slide (sort of like a luge but on a metal track), hiking around, that sort of thing.

    I recommend adding the Peak to Peak drive to your itinerary, it's very pretty and a great mountain drive.

    Pikes Peak is also fun but a bit tiring to drive up (constant 180 degree turns wear you out).

    Drive through Morrison and at least by Red Rocks (if able, stop here for the night and take in a concert!).

    Assuming you're coming in on I-70, be sure to stop first in Palisade and enjoy the best peaches this side of Georgia.

    Of course if you're a sports fan, Denver has all the major and minor league teams right in the heart of downtown.
     
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  3. JSergeant

    JSergeant Member

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    I've done several cross-country trips which included Colorado and Utah. The scenery is spectacular. In Utah I would recommend visiting Zion National Park. You can stay in St George, which has a Supercharger, and do Zion as a day trip. You have to park in the Visitors Center parking lot and take a shuttle bus up the valley. The parking can get very full in the summer, however there are a couple of spaces reserved for EV charging which were empty when we were there. You pay about $5 for a 2 day permit which allows you to park and charge.
     
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  4. JSergeant

    JSergeant Member

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    Also there are 3 Best Westerns in St George which have Tesla Destination chargers.
     
  5. abasile

    abasile Working on EVBuySell

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    I would second the recommendation to visit Zion, though with the warning that it can get pretty hot there during the summer (we prefer going to Zion in the autumn). That said, there are some less visited, higher elevation parts of the park that would be cooler and less crowded, namely Kolob Terrace and Kolob Canyons. Also, after getting a full charge at Zion, we were able to drive our Model S 85 to Bryce Canyon National Park for a day trip, with about 75 miles remaining in the battery upon return to Zion. Being higher in elevation, Bryce is a great summer destination.

    If you're into hiking, during the summer, I think it's hard to beat some of the parks in the Canadian Rockies and vicinity. I would especially recommend, among others, the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park (west of Banff) and the Glacier Crest Trail in Canada's Glacier National Park. Both of those trails involve roughly 1000m of elevation gain, so you have to be in shape, but the views are absolutely stunning. Whatever you do, given that you'll be ending your trip in Calgary, don't miss out on the northern Rockies! At the very least, even if you miss the Canadian Rockies, if you'll be driving up I-15, go to Glacier National Park in Montana.
     
  6. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    Also in Utah, check out Arches National Park up in Utah that is like nowhere else, also you must see the Grand Canyon. It's a little 160 mile loop from Flagstaff SC. My wife had never seen it and she just could hardly take it all in, it's so big, far, wide, deep. Fills up the senses, even if all you do is look. Makes a good backdrop for taking pictures. Grand Canyon.jpg
     
  7. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker S 90D 2017.42

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    I second the nomination for Morrison and Red Rocks. They have Level 2 chargers close to the Trading Post but you probably wouldn't need them. If you do need a little charge and wanted covered parking, I know of a large garage nearby. ;)

    Another suggestion might be the a drive around Colorado National Monument. You could start in Grand Junction and just go one-way to Fruita.
     
  8. RickAnstey

    RickAnstey Member

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    There are 59 national parks in the U.S. We've been to 40 of them. Since you have only a month for this long trip, you need to hit the best of the best places. In my opinion ...
    • Grand Canyon is the most spectacular place on earth.
    • Lake Louise (Alberta) is the most beautiful.
    • Angel's Landing in Zion is the most thrilling hike ... if you can tolerate extreme heights.
    • Grinnell Glacier Trail in Glacier National Park is the best hike. The East Rim trail in Zion is the second best (not to be confused with the most thrilling).
    • Red Rocks (as mentioned by others) is the world's greatest outdoor performance venue. If there isn't a concert that you like, you should stop in and walk around (free during the day). It's very close to I-70 a few miles west of Denver.
    • Moab, UT, is a fun town, and it happens to have a supercharger and two national parks.
    I could go on and on. Let me know if you want more detail. I've been to most of these places many times. You will have a great time!
     
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  9. BrokerDon

    BrokerDon Member

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    Telluride CO is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. The Million Dollar Highway stretches for about 25 miles (40 km) in western Colorado and follows the route of U.S. 550 between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado. It is part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway. Between Durango and Silverton the Skyway loosely parallels the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

    Grand Teton near Jackson, WY is stunning too. Also Devils Tower & Mt. Rushmore since they're somewhat nearby.

    Stone Brewing in San Marcos, CA is one of the best breweries on the West Coast and has a spectacular beer garden & restaurant. There are a LOT of breweries in San Diego County on The Hop Highway (SR 79)... and wineries in and around Temecula.

    Highway 1 from Santa Barbara to Monterey is one of the most scenic drives in the U.S. and a good choice in summer... although coastal fog can dampen the view. Then onto San Francisco where you can park your Tesla and walk or take public transportation everywhere.
     
  10. Barry

    Barry Active Member

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    Personally, I think Palisade is more hype than substance. Yeah, the peaches are good, but you don't need to buy them there. There are some wineries, too, and they are pretty poor.

    However, not far from there, Colorado Nat'l Monument is worth a visit.

    You can stay at Zion Lodge, within the park. They have two level 2 chargers in their parking lot. I used them for overnight charges. Bryce is phenomenal, as well.

    In eastern Utah, near Moab, where there's a Supercharger, definitely visit Arches Natl Park. If you have time, Canyonlands is also worth visiting. It will be very hot there in the summer, so you want to do this in the early morning.
     
  11. abasile

    abasile Working on EVBuySell

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    If you go to Lake Louise and are able to hike, I'd recommend visiting one or both of the teahouses. While they can be crowded, it's fun to be able to stop for refreshments in the middle of the wilderness.

    Stateside, I would have to agree with that. We found hiking from one lake to the next, then climbing up to the glacier, to be quite a thrill. To top it off, there was a bighorn sheep (with big horns) wandering around. If you think you might hike in the northern Rockies, though, make sure to buy and learn to use a can of bear spray, because there's a strong chance of encountering a grizzly bear. Canada allows the standard 16 oz. containers of bear spray to be taken across the border (even though they don't allow normal mace).

    Also, if you end up staying closer to the West Coast, then Crater Lake in Oregon is worth a visit. Do a hike to one of the peaks (or a lookout tower) before sunset, and watch the sun set over the lake, the purest and bluest in the world. If you like spelunking, then nearby Lava Beds National Monument is a fun place to explore lava tube caves.

    The last time we visited many of the above-mentioned parks, aside from Zion and Bryce Canyon, we didn't yet have a Tesla. However, I see that with proper planning, you should be in good shape driving your Tesla. You may need to make use of hotel (or campground/RV park) destination charging to access some areas, though.
     
  12. ICEBreaker

    ICEBreaker Member

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    If you happen to make your way into Northern Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is stunning. It's about 1.5 hours (ish) from Denver.
     
  13. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Active Member

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    Depending on what route you take up to Calgary, here are some possibilities. If you do go up I-15 through Utah to go up to Calgary, you will be passing right by where the transcontinental railroad was joined with the golden spike, at Promontory Point, Utah. It's about 15 miles off the side of the highway by Tremonton, Utah. They have a pretty interesting museum there about the history of how the railroads were built. And really awesome is that they have full-sized operating replicas of the two locomotives that met at that site when the railroad was joined! They will start one up and run it up and down the tracks a few times a day. It's open 7 days a week. Here is the site:
    Golden Spike National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)

    Also, it's kind of a two-fer if you do this one, because on that same little side road off the highway is Orbital ATK Aerospace Systems (formerly called ATK Aeronautics). They build rockets for NASA and the Air Force, Navy, etc. They have a big display out front of a bunch of the rocket boosters that you can always stop and look at, even on weekends when they are closed. Here's a Google Map link.

    Google Maps

    As you go farther up I-15, past Pocatello and Idaho Falls, split off West on highway 26 to see EBR-I (Experimental Breeder Reactor 1). It was the first nuclear reactor to generate electricity in the world. It's obviously shut down now and is a museum with guided tours 7 days a week. They are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, so it is mainly a summer thing. Craters of the Moon is right nearby too, but with volcanic rock at 100+ degrees Fahrenheit, it's generally not a pleasant thing to explore in the summer heat.
    Idaho National Laboratory - Experimental Breeder Reactor No.1 (EBR-I)

    If you continue father North, instead of going I-15 all the way up, I recommend this slight deviation along the Supercharger path: Pocatello, to West Yellowstone to Bozeman Montana. Surprisingly Bozeman has a couple of really good museums that you can see in one day, which I did a few weeks ago. Museum of the Rockies is open 9 to 5, so you can do that in the morning, and then the American Computer and Robotics Museum is open 12 to 4, so you can do that in the afternoon. They are only about two blocks from each other on the same street, opposite sides of the university football stadium, so it's really easy. If they have a home football game on that day, they will have the street blocked off in between, so just walk from one to the other.

    Museum of the Rockies is mainly a history museum, known for its fantastic dinosaur fossil exhibits. They also had an amazing exhibit on the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, which destroyed the city of Popeii in 79AD--tons of cool artifacts from that.
    Welcome To MOR | Museum of the Rockies

    The Computer and Robotics Museum looks really small from the outside, but it is packed with amazing inside. Especially for a person like me, whose whole life and hobbies and career have been about computers and technology, I was in heaven. They had a multiple room display on the German WW2 Enigma encoding machine and the groups from Poland, England, and America that worked together to find a way to compute through cracking the code of it. Alan Turing, famous for the Turing A.I. test worked on it. They do have one of the actual Enigma machines there on display too.
    American Computer & Robotics Museum

    So yeah, that's obviously a lot of stuff, but it fills in some of the gaps through areas where people might not think there is a lot to see.
     
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  14. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

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    #14 dgpcolorado, Dec 2, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
    I don't know about "must see" but I think there have been a number of good suggestions from others above in my "neighborhood" here in the Four Corners area. So, some favorites of mine, in no particular order:


    Colorado National Monument CO:

    [​IMG]

    ^ The road from the Fruita (west) entrance to Colorado National Monument

    [​IMG]

    ^ Independence Monument

    [​IMG]

    ^ Map showing the route through Colorado National Monument. Notes:
    The route roughly parallels I-70 and is very easy to access from the Grand Junction CO Supercharger Station. The road through the Monument is longer, slow, has considerable elevation change of about 2000 feet (600 m), and is very scenic.
    https://www.nps.gov/colm/planyourvisit/upload/COLM_Map.pdf

    Also of note: at exit 2 near the Utah border is "Trail Through TIme", a short trail right next to the freeway through an area of dinosaur fossils. Not the least bit scenic but if you want to see real dinosaur fossils in situ it is worth a visit. (I helped build part of the trail many years ago with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.)


    Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ^ Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Notes: A bit off the beaten track but it can be accessed from the Grand Junction CO Supercharger Station. One of the campground loops has 14-50 outlets and there is an L2 charge station in nearby Montrose CO. The canyon is more than 1800 feet deep and less than a thousand feet across at the top at one point. Lots of scenic overlooks with views down into the canyon.
    https://www.nps.gov/blca/planyourvisit/upload/BLCAmap_2013_w-masthead.pdf


    Arches National Park UT:

    [​IMG]

    ^ Landscape Arch

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    ^ Delicate Arch (Interesting bit of trivia: the names of Delicate and Landscape Arches were mixed up by an early mapmaker and the wrong names are used to this day.)

    [​IMG]

    ^ Double Arch (Can you see the single person I included in the photo for a size reference?) I have many more pictures from Arches but these will do for a start.

    Arches National Park is a couple of miles from the Moab UT Supercharger Station. This is my favorite national park. One caution: the campground and much of the access road will be closed for construction from March 2017 to mid October 2017, so some parts of the park, such as Landscape Arch, may not be accessible. However I would expect that the main "Windows" section of the park will remain open. Check before you go.
    https://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/upload/ARCHmap.pdf


    Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District UT:

    [​IMG]

    The Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands is accessed from US 191 north of Moab. The drive into the park is quite scenic. This district is the best for touring by car and checking out the overlooks. The Needles District is the best for serious hiking. One big caveat: the vistas are long distance and air pollution from California, Arizona, and Nevada usually causes a haze that makes the distant views less impressive. If you happen to hit a clear day Island in the Sky is very impressive. The same is true for Grand Canyon. (If we can just get rid of all ICE cars and coal power that would help clear the air in my neighborhood! I expect that I'm too old to ever see it.)
    https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/upload/tripmap.pdf


    Dead Horse Point State Park (Utah):

    [​IMG]

    ^ Colorado River from Dead Horse Point (see what I mean about the haze I mentioned above?)

    Dead Horse Point State Park is located adjacent to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands. It has the best view of the Colorado River from 2000 feet above. Good for easy hiking, bicycles, and car overlooks. The campground has 14-50 RV outlets at each campsite.
    Hiking At Dead Horse Point | Utah State Parks


    Canyonlands National Park, The Needles District UT:

    [​IMG]

    ^ Wideangle view of Elephant Canyon

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    ^ Druid Arch, an eleven mile (round trip) hike over slickrock and sandy washes.

    Notes: The Needles District is best experienced via its many hiking trails. Because the scenery is close and dramatic it doesn't suffer from the air pollution issues of Island in the Sky. The access is from US 191 between the Moab UT and Blanding UT Supercharger Stations. The access road goes by "Newspaper Rock" a good example of Native American petroglyphs.
    https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/upload/NeedlesTrailsandRoads.pdf


    Mesa Verde National Park CO:

    [​IMG]

    ^ Square Tower House

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    ^ Cliff Palace

    Mesa Verde National Park is located between the Blanding UT and Farmington NM Supercharger Stations. The access road is long so charging at the campground (TT-30) or an RV park might be helpful, depending on your car's range. There is Tesla destination charging at Far Point Lodge inside the park. The park is a great way to get a look at thousand year old ruins from early Puebloan settlements. Do check out the little museum which has authentic artifacts recovered from the ruins.
    https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/upload/mevemap2016_8x11.pdf


    Natural Bridges National Monument UT:

    [​IMG]

    ^ Sipapu Bridge, one of three bridges in Natural Bridges National Monument

    Natural Bridges National Monument is off of Utah SH 95 and is easily accessed from the Blanding UT Supercharger Station (the highway has some twisties that are fun to take at speed in a Tesla if there is no traffic in front). That highway is quite scenic and remote, from Blanding to Hanksville UT (access to Capitol Reef National Park). The Monument has several car accessed overlooks but hiking to the bridges, or between them along the wash, provides the best views.


    Other places of note in this area are Petrified Forest National Park off of I-40 near Holbrook AZ and Zion National Park accessed from I-15 near St. George UT.

    [​IMG]

    ^ Panorama of canyon walls, Zion Canyon

    [​IMG]

    ^ View of Zion Canyon from Observation Point, an eight mile hike with 2000+ feet of elevation gain.
     
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  15. abasile

    abasile Working on EVBuySell

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    Wow, seeing all of those photos from DGP makes me want to return to the Four Corners region! While we love to visit national parks, and we do so on most of our vacations, there are still so many awesome places that we haven't yet toured. And that's the challenge - you'll have to pick and choose some highlights because you won't have time for everything.
     
  16. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    You left out Brice Canyon and Kodachrome Basin (Grand Escalante) was well as Monument Valley, but great list.

    Another great one is Navajo National Monument but best done on a day horseback trip.
     
  17. ReddyLeaf

    ReddyLeaf Member

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    Awesome thread! I've been to some of these areas and concur. Too bad we can't entice you into WA for some of the best wine in the world, glaciers, volcanoes, epic biblical floods, and the like. Enjoy your trip.
     
  18. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

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    One thing I didn't mention in the list I posted is that most of the places are desert and get quite hot in summer. High season for Moab is April and October, when temperatures are moderate. If you do visit desert parks in the summer get going very early in the morning, carry lots of water when hiking and please wear a broad brim hat.

    One of the places I mentioned, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP is not desert, it is at 8000 feet (2400 m) elevation and is typically mild in summer (although July and August often have afternoon thunderstorms).

    Other places to stay high and cooler include Cedar Breaks National Monument off of I-15 near Cedar City UT. The elevation is in the 10,000 foot (3000 m) range and high season is July and August.
    Cedar Breaks National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)
    https://www.nps.gov/cebr/planyourvisit/upload/CEBRmap1.pdf
    [The downside of being at high elevation might be "altitude sickness". This is often exacerbated by dehydration due to dry air and more rapid breathing at high elevation. Stay hydrated and take it easy until you become acclimated to the elevation.]

    And of course, the Colorado mountains mentioned by others above will be cooler in summer (same issues with thunderstorms in the afternoons though). My own home mountains, the San Juan Mountains in SW Colorado, are very scenic. It is possible to drive from the Grand Junction CO Supercharger Station to the Farmington NM Supercharger Station via the "Million Dollar Highway" (US 550) over Red Mountain Pass (elevation 11,018 feet, 3358 m). There is L2 charging at Montrose CO, Ouray CO at the Hot Springs Pool, and in Durango CO, in case there are any range issues. [The charge station in Ouray is currently closed while the Hot Springs Pool area is being renovated but it should be open again in late May.]

    [​IMG]

    ^ Looking down on the City of Ouray in August, from 3000 m elevation on a hiking trail to the Chief Ouray mine. Ouray, population about 900, is located in a box canyon at ~2350 m elevation.

    [​IMG]

    ^ A view of the "Million Dollar Highway" to Red Mountain Pass, from the Bear Creek Falls overlook, taken in March when there was still some snow left.

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    ^ Another view of the Million Dollar Highway, looking in the other direction.

    It is more difficult to do without using L2 charging, but nearby Telluride is also very scenic. There is at least one hotel in Telluride with Tesla destination charging, although I would expect lodging anywhere in Telluride to be expensive. Telluride can also get very crowded with summer festivals, if you happen to hit one.

    [​IMG]

    ^ Telluride from a ski trail in August. The gondola is free to ride between Telluride and Mountain Village.
     
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