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Tips for 1 month road trip CA, AZ, UT, NV in April with 8 months baby

Original Post
James Hunt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 5

Hello everyone reading,

Me, my partner and our son will be flying from Sweden to road trip California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada for 1 month in April and are looking for tips!
We will fly to and from LA and have booked an RV for the entire trip.

Our roughly plan looks something like this (map below):
LA - Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Antelope Canyon - Horse Shoe Bend - Zion National Park - Red Rock - Death Valley - Bishop - Lake Tahoe - Yosemite - San Fransisco - Big Sur - Highway 1 - Sequoia National Park - LA

Is there anything we should add or skip?
We wish to climb, hike and explore. As long as it's possible with a baby in a jogging stroller or carrier.

Since we're traveling far, with limited luggage and our baby we will not be rope climbing this trip. We will bring one crash pad and buy one more on arrival.
Any nice bouldering areas we shouldn't miss apart from Red Rock and Bishop. Joshua Tree? Yosemite?
We both prefer climbing problems from V2 - V6 but my partner doesn't like to high boulder problems. Will that be a problem or are there plenty of lower problems in the areas I've already mentioned?

Any tips regarding RV traveling? Were to camp and how to keep the costs down?

Super grateful for all tips and recommendations! I know it's going to be an amazing trip whatever we end up doing. But I'm sure some of you have done something simular before and can send us in the right direction!


Road Trip April
Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 125

Bring your harnesses and belay devices. You can always post here for specific dates or meet folks who are doing rope climbing in the area, so you may be able to play on someone else's gear.

Plan for a wide range of weather. It may be balmy and warm the whole time, or you could hit patches of cold and/or wet weather. I have been snowed on in Josh in April, and the weather between Yosemite, Bishop, LV and Josh can be wildly different.

Check the snow pack and road conditions in the passes to get from the Eastern Sierras to the West. Tioga closes in the winter, and depending on the snow pack, you may have a long drive to get across the Sierras. If you do need to go around, Tahoe is a nice side trip.

Phil Sakievich · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 118

With your trajectory through AZ check out Priest Draw for bouldering. Low to the ground roof problems. Another potential side trip that's not too far out of the way is Sedona. Ton's of hiking, beautiful red rock formations, and bouldering (so I hear). I've never bouldered there. Sedona is mainly known for multi-pitch which is unfortunately not so baby friendly.

+1 for Lake Tahoe. Lots of cool boulders there, and really nice hiking. You can camp at the Lover's Leap camp ground in Tahoe with an RV.

James Hunt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 5

Thank you Matt and Phil for your replies!

Ted.kemble · · tower city PA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 5

if traveling in an RV to help keep costs down most wal-marts allow 24-48hr camper parking. also most flying J truck stops have an RV island where you can drop your tanks and refill propane. i think its 5.00 to drop your tanks at the truck stops. but when we travel we often park for the night at a walmart or truck stop so we dont need to pay a camping fee.

good luck on the trip our kids are 6 and 4 yrs old and we have taken them on trips all over the country as early as 4 weeks old. it gets stressful at times but looking back at the pics makes it all worth it.

Live Perched · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

In southern Arizona, you could go to Mount Lemmon where many beautiful vistas and very cool rock formations are accessible from the car or relatively easy approaches. Also the food in Tucson is very very good: Margaritas made with Mexican limes, Mother Hubbard's Vermilion Bay Biscuits and Gravy, and Penca's beef cheek tacos. Also you may check out Pappy and Harriets in Pioneertown near Joshua Tree for ribs and music. Imperial Sand Dunes is about 1.5 hours from the South Entrance to Joshua Tree; that is very cool and easy to access from the car. Flagstaff is a cool town near Grand Canyon. Have fun!!!

Sean Peter · · IL · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 80

More hiking than climbing related- but we went through about every baby carrier out there and the ERGO is by far the best (and quite compact). You can wear the kids on the front and carry a back pack on your back. So hikes into a climbing destination where one parent carries a pad and the other a pack with lunch, diapers, and the kitchen sink are still possible. Those frame backpack carriers are awful.

we used this cause it's better in case it gets wet:…

Carla R · · San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 110

Grab some atlases when you arrive, the Benchmark series is great for showing outdoor areas (hikes, historical stops, parks, etc etc). If you have a lot of big places picked out, these will really help fill in the rest of your time or provide for good alternatives if you need to change your plans on the fly. Also they do a fairly good job showing forest roads and good detail for BLM/National Forest land where you can camp for free.

Take care on the coastal highway in California, lots of tight corners and huge exposure on the cliff side, could be stressful in an RV...

There is a lot of good bouldering around San Francisco (Ring Mountain, Castle Rock, Berkeley Hills, etc etc.) etc etc. Big Sur is beautiful and shouldn't be missed. If you have time for anything north of San Francisco, Point Reyes is amazing as well.

If you have time to drive through Escalante/Capitol Reef in Utah it's amazing. Valley of Fire State Park (1 1/2 hours outside of Vegas) is rad! Tons of scrambling you can do there as there is no roped climbing allowed. Anything Eastern Sierra is breathtaking.

Honestly there is just so much! Enjoy the drive, see what you can, you won't be let down. If you need any guidance when out in California (SF Area) let me know and I can help you out or provide somewhere to park your RV. I have a similar map for this area I can forward you also.

Have fun planning!

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175
James Hunt wrote: ... and how to keep the costs down? ...
climbing friend,

stop first in colorado or the washington, and buy several gigantic knapsacks of the marijuana. Then you are selling on black market to climber and hippie, and white people with dreadlocks, as you travel other state.
climbing coastie · · Wasilla, AK · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 90

I would think it would be less room and open up more climbing options if you left the crash pad at home and brought a sport rack and rope. Plenty of single pitch stuff you can do with a baby in tow.

Phil Sakievich · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 118
climbing coastie wrote:I would think it would be less room and open up more climbing options if you left the crash pad at home and brought a sport rack and rope. Plenty of single pitch stuff you can do with a baby in tow.
Depends on the baby. Sometimes they just need to be held and often they need a response quickly due to bees, barfing, or some random thing they happen to do. You'll trade the crash pad for a pack-and-play and sun shade of some sort unless you find people to belay the climber while the other one holds/manages the baby. I've never done the crag baby thing, but I do have a 9 month old at home. At 8 months I'd still bring the crash pad and boulder unless your kid is ultra ultra chill. As stated a rope and draws aren't much more space so you could bring that too if you want to try sp options. I'm sure you could find a 3rd party to belay you at many a crag.
Pete.N · · Santa Cruz, CA · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 28

Good points above about the variable temperatures and conditions you're likely to encounter. Just because you'll see parts of the desert SW doesn't mean that it'll be hot--it might be! But then again, it could snow on you too. There's fantastic bouldering in and around Flagstaff (AZ, near the Grand Canyon), and wonderful climbing throughout much of AZ generally. Don't miss Joshua Tree in part because there's easy access to great bouldering with a kid. A collapsible 'pen' for your child would be especially useful here. We started bringing our kids to JTree when they were 3 years and 2 months old, respectively. I think you could access many of the boulders at a lot of sites with a jogging stroller--lots easier than putting the kid on your back. Sure, some spots aren't good for this, but many are... Should be a great trip! Welcome and have fun.

Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 170

Hmm, being a father of 3 kiddos, road tripping and your flight, all with an 8 month old baby sounds not very fun.

Best of luck if you choose to stick with it, though, there are lots of beautiful places on your list.

Warrior · · Rock City, GA · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 310

I concur with the crashpad idea (rent? buy/resell?) for Phil's reasons outlined. IME, all the Sturm und Drang of getting your sike up only to punt repeatedly on BPs is highly entertaining to a wee one in a stroller or pack n play.





The Catch

Have a great trip!
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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