Gas is cheap, crowds will be gone, and there’s no better way to social distance than escaping to the vast wilderness of the American Southwest.
Spending hour after hour at home during the coronavirus lockdown has provided ample time to day dream about traveling. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been killing time by planning future travel adventures.
As lockdowns ease, there’s a good chance I’m going to get out of Los Angeles and practice social distancing in the great outdoors.
With that in mind I decided to go ahead and share a couple road trip ideas. I was looking at different routes through the southwestern states and this is what I came up with. None of them are short. We’re talking at least 2,000 miles on the road taking 10 days or more.
The larger loops – one goes as far east as Big Bend National Park in Texas – add up to about 3,000 miles of driving and could easily keep you busy for a month if you had the time.
Of course each itinerary is customizable. There are endless things to see and do along these routes that are not mentioned here.
Keep in mind that Southwest Loop I includes higher elevations and is better suited for the summer months. Conversely, Southwest Loop II is too damn hot for summer travel but perfect in the spring. Loop III is in between: doable in the summer but it will be hot.
Also be sure to check on current openings/closures of all national parks and state parks, as well as local safety regulations enforced by different states and municipalities. This pandemic is causing all sorts of closures for organized activities so make sure to get up-to-date information.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARIES
SOUTHWEST LOOP I – 3,000 MILES
**Los Angeles to Southern Colorado via Lake Powell
**Southern Colorado to New Mexico
**New Mexico back to California via Arizona
—>Visit Goosenecks State Park, Glen Canyon/Lake Powell, Monument Valley, San Juan Mountains, Rio Grande National Forest, Great Dunes National Preserve, Santa Fe, Valles Caldera National Preserve, White Sands National Park
SOUTHWEST LOOP II – 3,000 MILES
**Los Angeles to Big Bend National Park via Phoenix, Tuscon, El Paso
**BBNP north to Santa Fe, New Mexico
**New Mexico back towards California via Interstate 40 through Albuquerque and Flagstaff
—>Visit Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Petrified Forest National Park, White Sands National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Sedona
SOUTHWEST LOOP III – 2,000 MILES
**Los Angeles to Sedona
**Sedona to Lake Powell
**Lake Powell to Zion/Bryce Canyon National Parks
**Utah back to Los Angeles
—>Visit Sedona, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Death Valley National Park