/ car hire red rocks

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Jenny Monkey - on 15 Jan 2013
Hey, headin over to red rocks and unsure whether its going to be necessary to hire an SUV (higher ride height) or whether a normal car will be ok. I'm a bit concerned about wrecking the underneath of the car as the US car hire places really sting you for that!! We are traveling from red rocks to either Joshua Tree or Zion then on to Flagstaff area, so any advice on what road surfaces are like will be greatly appreciated!
Mick B - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey: I did this about seven years ago in a run of the mill family rental car. There was a bit of off-roading at Red Rocks but nothing the car couldn't handle if you take your time.
When I was in Flagstaff there were certain areas we couldn't access because there'd been recent rainfall but the other areas are fine with a normal hire car.
Enty - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey:

I can't remember ever leaving a tarmac road in the car at RR, JT or Zion. Everything is in walking distance from a parking lot.

E
Andy Kassyk - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey:
All the areas you mention are drivable with a normal (compact) car. You won't need a 4WD car unless to plan to ride off into the desert.
RichardP - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey:
ok a few of things about hiring car in Nevarda. 6 years ago my sister go married in Vegas. We drove down to Sedonia walking for a week before returning to Vegas for the wedding.

1)we had heard about the rip-off rates for the insurances in the US in regards hire cars. Purchase it before you go and you'll save alot of money.
The Americans can transfer the insurance from there own car at home for use with hire cars and so they don't buyn the additional cover.
we bought the CDW insurance for Hire cars for the US on-line before we left home and saved alot of money. (we got our insurance from White Horse, but they were sold by thomas cook, and they do have a website but I don't know how good they are now, shop around on line)

2)Order and pay for your car in the UK, the only additional money you'll have to pay is for the state tax.

3)Next they will tell you that you don't want the cheap budget car. stick to your guns and say you like the heat and don't want AC. Everything in Nevarda has AC,

4)Once we got past the the Sharks at the sales desk go out side and the guy is handing out car keys. we booked a small car and were told that they had 5000 units going through that day, so if you see a vehicle you want, you can have it.

I chose a SUV about the size of my Mitsibsshi L200 but a car not a pick-up

Basically you should be able to get a SUV without acttually paying the premium, tell them your on you honeymoon and make out you

Congratulations for your forthcoming wedding and enjoy the climbing

Richard
victim of mathematics - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Enty:

I seem to remember the road to the parking lot for Black Velvet Canyon at Red Rocks being a little bit fun in our normal hire car, but we managed alright.

The guy at the hire car place in LV found it very amusing that we'd been allowed to book the tiny car we'd paid for, as he'd never had one to hire out, so we ended up in some kind of giant living room on wheels.
Enty - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics:

Can't remember the approach to BVC - I remember Prince of Darkness though. 500 of the same move one after another?

I've always had good experience hiring a car in the US. Last year at SF they told me to walk down a line of cars and choose one!! Got a nice big Chevvy instead of the compact I'd hired.

10 years ago I got a free upgrade from a compact to a 7 seater with sliding doors just because we were dropping off in California and the 7 seater had Cali plates (we were in Vegas)

E
Andy Clarke - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey: Spent a week in Red Rocks then drove down to Joshua Tree for a few days on a road trip last autumn and was fine in a normal hire car. To get to Black Velvet Canyon you do about a mile on rough dirt track, but it's passable with care. Other than that, everything was accessible from tarmac. Scariest thing on the whole trip was driving across Death Valley en route from Bishop to RR. We hadn't taken out recovery insurance and apparently there's a mega bucks call out fee if you break down. About the only road works we came across on the whole trip was slap bang in the middle of Death Valley: a lonely guy with a Stop/Go sign stood out in the sun - and it was 100 degrees F in the shade!
mikekeswick - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey: Yeah you'll be fine in a normal car. I hope I get to do that trip again - you'll have a great time.
Enty - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey:

Oh yeah. Forgot to add, the desert short-cut between Redrocks and JT is ace.

E
jon on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Jenny Monkey)
>
> Oh yeah. Forgot to add, the desert short-cut between Redrocks and JT is ace.

Yes, we took that one Christmas. We'd borrowed a VW Golf (Rabbit) and had no problems. As I remember it was dirt roads most of the way?
Offwidth - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Enty:

The short cut is seriously ace. The Mojave has glorious scenery my only regret is lacking time to call in on Hole in the Wall as yet. You come off the I15 south at the Nipton exit (where the road heads up to the mountain pass once in California) and turn right then right again heading for Kelso and Mojave Reserve (via Cima) through the Joshua tree desert (signposts are better these days!). From Kelso you head south passing huge sand dunes and over a lovely granite scenery pass heading for Amboy, crossing under the I40 and turning right on the famous Route 66. At Amboy you have salt plains (farmed) and lava scenery and a meteorite crater; turning left off Route 66 follow signs for 29 Palms and JT NP over another pass. Note there is no fuel from the edge of Nevada to Amboy but there is a nice visitor centre in Kelso (food toilets and small museum).

Back at Redrocks, if you are used to very rough dirt roads the approach to say Black Velvet Canyon is normally passable with care in a standard car but grounding damage is not unlikely to the underside edges and punctures also not unlikely and doing it in the dark if you overrun is slowww; so some punters nervous about their driving might consider parking up at the end and hitching a lift. The Windy Peak dirt road approach loop is usually even worse in my experience with almost inevitable scratching on the car sides from encroaching thorn bushes and after rain damage if you can make it its likely quicker to walk (only takes 10-15 mins anyhow to walk to the parking along a track from from roadside parking).

The booking of an ecomomy car for Vegas (keeping a straight face at the car hire arrival desk that yes you are not so worried about safety or air con or whatever in that tiny thing and dont want to pay for an upgrade) and getting given a choice of lovely comfy compact or sometimes even mid size cars is is standard fare. Thinking you can book economy and get given an SUV is a joke unless maybe you are Paul McKenna. Also remember most SUV's (like the standard cars) are not insured for off-road!
jon on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Looking at google earth it seems that the LV > JT road is all tarmac now. 1989 it was all good dirt roads... shame, but the scenery will be the same. Stunning.

To the OP, get your car insurance in the UK, look at www.insurance4carhire.com. This is much much cheaper than any rental company's rip-off rates. It covers you for a year and any number of rental contracts. Even if you only need it for a few weeks you'll be quids in.
Enty - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to jon:

Did it in 95 and again in 98 - can't remember much dirt road. The rail crossing is interesting and the salt flats are fantastic.

E
Offwidth - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to jon:

Bit of an overstatement that: it's tarmac with selective holes of various depth. Having said that the road condition this winter were the best Ive seen them. You also get the magic tarmac currently: red looking one way and black looking the other.
Martin Bennett - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey:



We just rented a small SUV (Ford Escape) as it was VERY little more than the basic - Ģ314 between two of us for 18 days hire. We found it useful for Black Velvet Canyon and essential for Windy Peak where we went to do the magnificent "Jubilant Song".
Fredt on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey:

We hired an ordinary car one year, off-roading to Whiskey Peak was fun but doable!

In Zion private traffic is restricted, we used the bus most of the time
loose overhang - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey: Five of us rented a minivan before we left home and used it to get to Windy Peak for Jubilant Song. We struggled to make it out on one uphill section but with some pushing we did it. The folks at Alamo did not bother to check it for damage. There was none though.
jimtitt - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to jon)
>
> Bit of an overstatement that: it's tarmac with selective holes of various depth. Having said that the road condition this winter were the best Ive seen them. You also get the magic tarmac currently: red looking one way and black looking the other.

It was the magic dips that got me though maybe I should drive slower! The only dirt section was if you go over to the Hole in the Wall but thatīs really smooth anyway.
The road to the Grand Canyon Skywalk is also dirt but apart from the dust from the tour buses no problem for a grotty little hire car.

Offwidth - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to jimtitt:

I was about to say that means you must have been speeding ?;-) Those wash dips caught me a few times as well as they can be hard to see at times, like the pot-holes. We got a blizzrd on the way back to Vegas airport this time just to add to the fun.

Also forgot to mention the best Joshau Tree forest in the area is on the north road from Cima to the I15 and only adds 10 minutes compared to the Nipton junction route.
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rgold - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Monkey:

The condition of the roads into Black Velvet Canyon and Windy Peak seems to vary year to year (and even season to season). During one ten-day stay, I saw a portion go from passable to impassable in an SUV that didn't have four-wheel drive. Yes, people do it all the time in normal cars, but it is not at all uncommon for someone to bottom out hard and do some serious damage underneath. Some of the maneuvering necessary to keep the wheels high may cause you to brush the sides of the car against roadside bushes, which are very capable of scratching the car.

Four-wheel drive is not necessary except perhaps in the worst years. But I think extra ground clearance is a good thing, and may not cost you that much more in rental.
rgold - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to rgold:

Addendum: Black Velvet canyon has some of the best climbs in the range (and no, Prince of Darkness is not one of them), and Windy Peak has some excellent routes that are usually not at all crowded, so there is very good reason to want to get in to those places.
rgold - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to rgold:

Addendum to the addendum: Here is a video clip of a washout a year ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auD012k-PhE .

The BLM does maintain the road, so the damage done by washouts is not permanent.

I think the best place to post about the current state of Black Velvet Canyon roads is Mountain Project. There are a number of LV locals there who might be able to respond.

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