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Ever fancied hitting the open road with all the freedom in the world, music blasting, and nothing but beautiful nature ahead of you?

The landscape in the west of the USA is like nothing else in the world. The climate conditions mean the area features red rocky deserts as well as vast canyons. Exploring this area will have you in awe!!

I did this solo trip in September 2023 and it was incredible! If you’d like to see videos of my documented adventure, check out the story highlights 🇺🇸🏜 on my instagram page!

If you're inspired and would like to visit the national parks, see the deserts, camp, and party in Las Vegas, take a look at this itinerary!

Trip preparation

Taking some time to prepare for your trip will mean that everything is sorted for when you hit the ground, and you’ll spend less time researching and more time to bask in the excitement of the journey!

1. Book accommodation

If you are travelling during peak season, it’s best to book ahead. Knowing where you’ll be sleeping each night will also leave you feeling at ease!

2. Book your rental car

Booking in advance will save you time and money! I booked via and chose one of the Las Vegas hotels as a pick up point.

3. Enter the lottery to hike Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

Not for the faint hearted and places are extremely limited. If you're interested in hiking to the spot that is so high that only angels can land, click here for more information.

4. Enter the lottery to visit The Wave

Entry to The Wave is one of the most sought after, with beautiful layers of rock spread out over the land, it's a sight like no other! Apply for entrances 3 months in advance or try your lucky at the daily lottery, on day 2 or 3 of this itinerary.

5. Check park access daily

It's a good idea to check the National Park Service website before making a trip to the parks. There are updates of which areas are open/closed, and whether the park is full, and entry is being restricted.

6. Decide if you want to get an Annual Pass.

You may not be back within the year, but for $80, it'll gain you entry to all the national parks. In this itinerary, you'll visit 3 and each entry is $35 per private car. By buying the annual pass, you'll be saving yourself some money! Especially if your journey continues to other national parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone or Sequoia! You can buy an annual pass at the entrance to any of the parks.

Day 1: Las Vegas -> Moapa Valley

$15 entry fee per vehicle 51 miles (82km) / 1hr drive

Arrive in the crazy city of Las Vegas!

Pick up your rental car and hit the road!

Many big Las Vegas hotels have car rental stations and aren’t far from the airport. I used Excalibur which was seamless!

Once in your car, head out of the city and drive 57 miles (1hr 10 mins) to Moapa Valley where you’ll find Valley of Fire State Park.

of Fire gets its name from the red sandstone formations which glow in the fading sunlight.

Grab a map on the way in, you can drive to some amazing locations within the park. The map also lists hiking trails, rock features and camping information.

Drive out of Nevada, and into Utah (+1hr time change) to spend the night in St George. 87.5 miles (140km) / 1.5hr drive

Day 2: Zion National Park

Included in the Annual Pass or $35 per car 43 miles (69km) / 53mins drive

Get an early start to get to Zion Park through Springdale bearing in mind that there's a +1 hour time change between Nevada and Utah! There’s limited free parking at the visitor’s centre. If you get there a bit late and it’s busy, you can find parking on the way into the park for a fee ($15-20 for the day), and there are free shuttle buses to take you to the entrance. From the entrance it’s a short walk to the visitor’s centre where you can catch the internal shuttle buses to explore the park.

If you have entry to Angel's Landing, make sure you get there at your designated time!

For information about exploring Zion National Park, click here.

Enter the daily lottery for entrance tickets to The Wave, as you'll be inside the location requirements! It'll cost you a nonrefundable $9.

Spend the night in Kanab. 42 miles (68km) / 1hr drive I can recommend La Quinta by Wyndham Kanab. They do a decent breakfast and have a laundry room too!

Day 3: Bryce National Park

Included in Annual Pass or $35 per car

78 miles (125km) / 1.5hr drive

Get an early start, and after breakfast, drive north to Bryce National Park. Parking in the visitor's centre is free! Once inside the park there are shuttle buses to help you explore the best spots within the park, whilst the knowledgeable drivers give you interesting information.

Click here to read about the recommended sights in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Head back to spend the night in Kanab. 78 miles (125km) / 1.5hrs drive

Day 4: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend

& Monument Valley

Antelope Canyon $73.18 ($55 entry plus $10.18 tax & fees, plus $8 parking) Horsehoe Bend $8 per vehicle 80 miles (128km) / 1hr 20mins drive

If you were lucky enough to score tickets to the Wave, make sure you arrive in time for your ticketed entry time. Pack lunch, snacks and plenty of water!

If you didn’t get tickets, you’ve got time for some other amazing sights. Head to Antelope Canyon. This canyon is on private property and can only be visited by joining a tour. I highly recommend Ken’s Tours It's a pricey tour, but well worth it!

After the hour’s tour, you can visit the Horseshoe Bend. It’s $10 entry/parking and a 10 minute walk to the view point.

Then you can head to Monument Valley (138 miles) to watch the sunset. Otherwise you can head down to Tuba City where you’ll get an early night for the big finale.

75 miles (120km) / 1hr 20mins drive Navajoland Hotel was the only hotel available at the time. It's expensive and not great value! If you're able to find an alternative, I'd love to hear it!

Day 5: Grand Canyon

Incuded in the Annual Pass or $35 per car 80 miles (129km) / 1.5hr drive

Yoshi was my only company on this solo roadtrip, so he deserved to come out for the grand finale! Wake up early with enough time to arrive before sunrise. Drive down the state route 64, Desert View Drive to enter the Grand Canyon and watch the sunrise over Mather Point. Park at the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Centre and take the short walk to Mather Point.

After capturing the glow of the sunrise against the canyon's rocks, you’ve got the rest of the day to enjoy the trails and sights of the Grand Canyon! Walk from Mather Point, along the rim to the Village where you can treat yourself to a breakfast burrito and coffee.

No later than 4pm, leave (you may see some elk on the way!) and head to Wander Camp to settle in, enjoy the sunset, and spend a night among nature under the stars! Click here for more information on camping in Wander Camp, Grand Canyon.

27 miles (43km) / 40mins drive

Day 6: Route 66

Prepare of a 4 hour drive! 260 miles (418km) / 4hrs drive

Wake up early to see the sunrise and check out before 10am.

It’s time to head back to Vegas but not before checking out some highlights on Route 66! Drive south to Williams where you can grab breakfast, check out the Grand Canyon Railway, and, of course, take a photo of the Route 66 sign. The town is really cute and, although it may seem touristy but it’s the best place to pick up a souvenir if you’re looking for one or two!

Continue along Route 66 (state route 40) towards Kingman. Make a quick detour to location:

on Oatman Highway to see the Route 66 shield painted on the road.

Then get back on the highway to route 93, crank up the music, and enjoy because this will take you all the way back to Vegas to return your car!

Enjoy the night in the fabulously crazy Las Vegas to end your driving tour of the West of the USA!

Day 7: Las Vegas

If you're lucky enough to have more time, you could spend the day exploring Las Vegas, trying your luck in the casinos, or heading back home. Or even better, heading onto another destination for more adventures!!

Remember, if you'd like a visual idea of what this journey entails, head over to my profile and click on 🇺🇸🏜 highlight to watch my documented journey!


Tour or Expore (solo)

Verdict: Explore!

If you're a confident solo traveller, it worked out cheaper to do this trip solo. You could save even more money if you're a couple or a group, and you'll have flexibility of adjusting the itinerary to suit your likes and needs!

However, if you're the type of traveller who needs company, or doesn't have time to plan, there are tour companies who offer similar trips. I researched a few and found Bindlestiff and Intrepid, although they were pricey and restrictive on dates.

Have you travelled in this area, or tried this itinerary? Let me know your thoughts and experiences!


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