In 2018 my girlfriend and I made a roadtrip to the US West Coast, drove 4500km, experienced the beauty of seven national parks and some major US cities in just 20 days. This post is supposed to be a short summary for future reference. I created a GeoJSON with the route and some points of interest we visited.

  • Day 1 (2018-09-27) Flew from Frankfurt, Germany via Detroit to San Francisco with Delta Airlines (EUR 836.44). We got a Ford Focus from Thrifty (EUR 451.49) and drove to our first AirBnB, 3641 Cropley Ave, San Jose, CA 95132, USA (EUR 51.64).
  • Day 2 (2018-09-28) Drove to Yosemite National Park, parked in the village, got a breathtaking view over the park at Glacier Point, hiked to the Sentinel Dome for the sunset and the Half Dome view. Spent two nights at The Monarch, 5059 Highway 140, Mariposa, CA 95338 (USD 262.29).
  • Day 3 (2018-09-29) Hiked from Yosemite Valley to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall.
  • Day 4 (2018-09-30) Drove to Sequoia National Park, saw General Sherman Tree, hiked at Crescent Meadow along a gentle trail through giant sequoia trees to Tharp’s Log. Drove through Tunnel Log. Slept at Travelodge by Wyndham, 1011 Oak Street, Bakersfield, CA 93304 (USD 54.19).
  • Day 5 (2018-10-01) Drove to Death Valley National Park, stunning views at Devil’s Golf Course, Zabriskie Point and Artist’s Palette. Hiked the Golden Canyon Trail. Spent two nights Tuscany Suites & Casino, 255 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89169 (USD 163.27).
  • Day 6 (2018-10-02) Visited Hoover Dam, spent the day in Las Vegas. Gambled USD 15 and lost everything. Didn’t get married.
  • Day 7 (2018-10-03) Drove to Zion National Park, hiked the Watchman Trail, Pine Creek Canyon Overlook. Slept at Bryce Canyon Resort, 13500 Utah 12, Bryce, UT 84764 (EUR 97.51).
  • Day 8 (2018-10-04) Visited Bryce Canyon National Park, hiked the Navajo Loop Trail and Queen’s Garden Trail. Drove to Horseshoe Bend, Arizona. Stayed at LuLu’s Sleep Ezze Motel, 105 8th Avenue, Page, AZ 86040 (USD 100.55).
  • Day 9 (2018-10-05) Took a guided tour to Antelope Canyon, arrived one hour early because we didn’t knew that Navajo Nation, unlike the rest of Arizona, observes daylight saving time. Had the luck to be in the first group to enter the narrow canyon. Drove to Oljato-Monument Valley, parked at John Wayne’s Point, hiked the Wildcat Trail around the West Mitten. Slept in a recreational vehicle AirBnB, Navajo Drive, Oljato-Monument Valley, UT 84536 (EUR 76.26).
  • Day 10 (2018-10-06) Woke up early to see the sunrise from our RV. Drove to John Ford’s Point and Forrest Gump Point (Easternmost point in our journey). Drove to the Grand Canyon National Park, East Rim. Visited Desert View Point and Lipan Point. Spent one night at Berry trail lodge (AirBnB), 2664 South Berry Trail, Williams, AZ 86046 (EUR 64.44).
  • Day 11 (2018-10-07) Drove again to the Grand Canyon East Rim for a short hike. Decided against it since it was very foggy. Drove to about 500km to Tropics Motor Hotel, 82297 Indio Boulevard, Indio, CA 92201 (USD 62.14).
  • Day 12 (2018-10-08) Visited the Joshua Tree National Park, parked at Cottonwood Visitor Center and hiked to Lost Palms Oasis. Drove to the Salton Sea, visited the International Banana Museum, Bombay Beach, Salvation Mountain and Slab City. Spent three nights at Chula Vista Bayfront Inn, 699 E Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910 (USD 193.54).
  • Day 13 (2018-10-09) Visited the USS Midway Museum and La Jolla Shores Beach.
  • Day 14 (2018-10-10) Took the train to the The Mexico–United States border and visited Tijuana for a culinary street food experience.
  • Day 15 (2018-10-11) Drove to Los Angeles, visited Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier. Noticed electrical scooters (Lime, Bird) on the streets for the first time (weren’t operating in Germany at that time). Spent two nights at Park Cienega Motel, 1777 South La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035 (USD 180.00).
  • Day 16 (2018-10-12) Visited the Hollywood Boulevard and Hollywood Hills, failed to get a closer look at the Hollywood sign. Hiked to Mount Hollywood for a view over the city and the sunset. Experienced a circling police helicopter overhead, probably because we consumed alcohol. Visited the Griffith observatory.
  • Day 17 (2018-10-13) Drove on State Route 1 to Pfeiffer Beach and to San Francisco. Stayed for three nights in a shoebox room with shared toilet at Ram’s Hotel, 80 9th Street, San Francisco, CA (USD 427.47).
  • Day 18 (2018-10-14) Drove and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, Visited the Three Painted Ladies, Kirby Beach, Lombard Street (famous for hairpin turns and appearance in movies), Baker Beach. Returned the car at the airport.
  • Day 19 (2018-10-15) Visited the Museum of Modern Art to see the René Magritte exhibition. Had my first oyster at the harbor (underwhelming experience). Went to Alcatraz, drove with a cable car, dinner in Chinatown.
  • Day 20 (2018-10-16) Took the BART to SFO and flew back to Germany.

Sequoia National Park

For accommodation we spent about EUR 1800 for the two of us. We were lucky that nothing went wrong on the trip as we had a long list of places we wanted to see and a tight schedule. If we had to plan it again, we would probably spend more time in the national parks since the hikes in nature felt more recreational than the activities in the big cities.