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Trip Report

Road tripping the South-West

From San Francisco to Gran Canyon,

by gaspardAtlasGuru Contributor

North AmericaUnited States6 days / December 2019

Highs & Lows

Breathtaking view of the Gran Canyon

Heartbreaking misery in some streets of San Francisco

Itinerary Overview

As my six months exchange program in Sacramento was coming to an end, my friend and I decided to take an ultimate roadtrip from the coast of San Francisco to the lands of the Grand Canyon. While it was not my first time in SF, I was once again amazed by this city, its unique setting and the atmosphere it tranpires. Riding up and down the streets in original cable cars, we first took our time to explore the different neighborhoods, from the financial district to the Fisherman's Warph, through the twin towers and Lombard Street. On our second day, we experienced the cultural immersion of China Town, visited the impressive SFMOMA and decided to take an afternoon off from cultural attractions to shop for some souvenirs and enjoy one last time SF crazy nightlife.

After crossing the magnificient Golden State Bridge, we took the road east and started our journey toward the the Yosemite National Park. As we entered the natural reserve and drove toward our campsite, we were amazed not only by the views the road offered, but also by the gigantic size of the Yosemite Park. Hundreds of kilometers on cliff-hanging ways and hours spent in the car before reaching our breathtaking campsite, in the middle of nature. We set camp, ate lunch, and went for a first hike to reach the Yosemite Falls and their natural pools. Swimming in fresh water under a boiling sun while enjoying a view over the whole valley, what an unforgettable experience! After reaching back our campsite, we enjoyed a meal around the fire, while watching one of the most amazing nightsky I had ever seen. On a second very busy day, we went to both the half-dome and El Capitan, the two most emblematic features of landscape in the Park. While crowded with tourists, we were nonethless able to enjoy a view that is truly unique. 

As we were running out if time, we had to leave the park sooner than we would have wished. Our heads filled with the memories of these landscapes, we kept driving east and stoped in the tumultuous Las Vegas. The contrast with Yosemite was especially extreme and we were fascinated by the extravagancy of this place - in a different way - unique as well. As we were moving further and further away from the city, the wilderness of the south west slowly revealed itself. With the endless deserts of Utah and Nevada and their orange soil as only horizon, we finally reached the Grand Canyon. The feeling left by this landscape is something that cannot be described, and that can only (and must) be lived ; simply the most impressive piece nature I have ever seen. 

  • 2 Nights: San Francisco
  • 2 Nights: Yosemite Valley
  • 2 Nights: Grand Canyon Village

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    More time in Yosemite

  • How was the food?

    A club - Cat club in SF

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Just rend a car and drive