California · Road Trip · Trek · USA

The ultimate road trip from California to N​ew Mexico


“My favorite thing to do is to go where I’ve never been”


Diane Arbus

As the holiday session begins we want to make most of it and decided to do a road trip from San Jose, California to White Sand Desert in New Mexico. 4 of us started planning for the trip, the idea was to cover as many national parks we can and then fly back home. All of us took 2-3 days of their favorite place to plan individually and not share with others to make this more interesting :D.

Day 1-2: Death Valley

There is no reason why Death Valley should not be on your to go list and so we decided to start our trip from here. Death Valley is around 8-9 hours drive and so we decided to leave on Friday night stay at some place in between and reach Death Valley by Saturday morning. Exploring death valley for 2 days we will leave for Zion on Sunday night

Day 3-4: Zion National Park

Death Valley to Zion is another 5 hours drive and we plan to reach our hotel near Zion by Sunday night. Initially we though of doing Angels Landing but we heard that it will closed in Winters so we decided to do “The Narrows” as you can rent waterproof warm suits and the experience of hiking in water is different in itself.

Day 5: Bryce Cannon

Zion to Bryce is around 2 hours drive and we plan to spend one day in Bryce Cannon. Weather forecast shows its going to be really chilly between 0 to -10 degree Celsius. I am not sure what are we doing in Bryce as one of my friend planned it and that leaves a pleasant surprise for me.

Day 6: Driving through Antelope Canyon, Horse Shoe Bend and Grand Canyon

Day 6 and day 7 are probably the most unplanned days of our trip. We plan to start driving from Bryce Canyon, cover Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend and reach Monument Valley by evening. All of the Antelope Canyon tours are already booked so we booked a tour for Canyon-X instead which is very similar to Antelope. Our plan is to visit Canyon-X, Horseshoe-bend and drive through Grand Canyon on Day 6.

Day 7: Driving through Monument Valley, Petrified National Forest reaching Santa Fe

Its going to be a lot of driving on Day 7 again as we plan to drive though Petrified National Forest and reach Santa Fe by evening. This days itinerary will depend on how when we start and how much time we spend in each place. There is a chance we might have to skip Petrified National Forest.

Day 8: Santa Fe

We were debating if whether to visit Santa Fe or Albuquerque and ended up deciding on Santa Fe. It is going to another surprising day for me as I have no idea what we are doing in Santa Fe.

Day 9: White Sand National Monument

This was the first attraction that we decided to cover in December. It was our backup plan that if we are not able to do anything else we will do a road trip around White Sand and this ended up being the amazing road trip.

We will then just drive to El Paso as we have booked a return flight from there and reach San Jose by 31st evening.

Read about my other trips:

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