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Road trip in Arizona/Nevada/Utah - 9 days /end of Feb 15/ 4 adults & 1 baby

Old Jan 23rd, 2015, 03:41 PM
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Road trip in Arizona/Nevada/Utah - 9 days /end of Feb 15/ 4 adults & 1 baby

Hi all,

I am planning a trip for 4 adults (me, my wife and my parents) and one baby (5 months old) for the end of February 2015 for approximately 9 to 10 days (~February 20 – March 2, 2015) for the Grand Circle Area. The timing of this trip is unfortunately not really flexible.

I did a research in the internet on the proposed trip and obviously my main concern is the weather (rain or snow) and the road conditions or closing of roads at this time of the year. Ideally, I would like to go to Moab (Canyonlands & Arches national parks), Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, but I am not sure that it’s the perfect choice for this time of the year (one of the websites actually said that the end of February is a great time to visit the Moab area).

My main focus right now is the start and end point of the trip (we will fly out of NYC), since I need to book the flights in the next few days. I feel that I can be more flexible in the days between, since it doesn’t seem like a pick season (other than Las Vegas). In general, I am very flexible with respect to the intermarry and I don’t mind changing the plans during the trip if we will really like a specific place.

Ideally, we would like to see nature and parks, stay in small towns, have a nice day trips with the car. I would also like to have a few short hikes for a couple of hours (only me and my dad will do the hikes) while my wife and mother will rest/ shop/stay in hotel/restaurant/museum (this is their preference, since they don’t like hiking). Obviously, I would like to avoid a situation in which we will not enjoy our vacation due to the weather (it’s okay if it’s cold for a few days but for the entire (as long as it's not freezing) and we don’t mind the weather during the night time since we will be in hotels/motels).

I was thinking of a few options, but I am open to other suggestions or recommendations:
1. Phoenix to Las Vegas - Scottsdale, Sedona, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas surroundings (Red Rock, Valley of fire) and Zion of time permits.
2. Salt lake City to Las Vegas – Moab (Arches/ Canyonlands), Zion -> Vegas;
3. Las Vegas to Las Vegas – using Las Vegas as an home base for day trips and going outside of Las Vegas for a few days (and maybe to Zion if the weather is good) .

The easiest and cheapest option is to buy the tickets to Las Vegas and using it as a home base (and also not paying the drop-off fees for the car). I am not sure whether it’s my prefect option, since we will only use the advantages of the main strip for a few days (we are not going to go out to events/parties/concerts and every night in Las Vegas), but I may be wrong. I am also not sure whether there are enough day trips in the Las Vegas area (other than the obvious ones, such Red Rock, Valley of fire and maybe the Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Hover Dam).

I would appreciate any ideas/comments on the intermarry for this trip in light of the main issues (weather at the end of February, road conditions, road trip with a baby, etc.).

Thank you
the_one is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2015, 04:45 PM
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We've done loops from Vegas, Albuquerque, Denver and Phoenix, and hit some or all of the parks. Once we did a Vegas - Valley of Fire - Hoover Dam - night in Kingman - Grand Canyon - night in GC - GC - night in Kanab - Bryce - Zion - night in Zion in late January early February. The roads were fine and the only place there was snow was on the trails in Bryce. That said, we also went in April and it snowed on the way into Grand Canyon. The snow was over in a couple of hours and it was very beautiful.

If it isn't actually snowing, then the roads are generally fine as they know how to clear them and the air is much dryer than on the coasts so once they seem to have less of the melt/refreeze on the road that was just plowed than in the northeast.

We have also have gone to Arches and Canyonlands a bit later in the spring from Vegas, Albuquerque and Denver.

If you worry about the weather, I would fly into Vegas and watch the weather. You can then watch the weather and decide if you want to stay there and do short trips or head out and do a loop. You can loop in either direction and I would guess you could find lodging in or near the parks pretty easily at that time of year.
emalloy is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2015, 06:20 PM
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Bryce will be cold and could have lots of snow. It is at high altitude. If you just did Zion or just did Moab, you would be fine. Also--Capital Reef is at higher elevation too.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2015, 06:32 PM
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I like the lodging situation at the Hacienda casino/hotel which is about 2 miles from Hoover dam. My DS and DIL had an adjoining room to me and my DW.
You don't have to go into the casino area to get to the rooms or the great salad bar.
Staying near Lake Meade is a good head start if you are going to the South Rim or to Valley of Fire and onward to Zion.
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 08:05 AM
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I've done this route in February (and hope to go on another trip next month) and lucked out with the weather. Lodging costs a lot less and everything is uncrowded. However I think we had about 12 days for the trip.

I agree with emalloy about flying into and out of Las Vegas and seeing what the weather is like. You could also choose to go to Death Valley if the weather to the east looked bad. A few years ago we went to Moab after Thanksgiving and had to delay our departure by one day because there was a huge windstorm and it was unsafe to drive. Not likely to happen but need to plan with the possibility that the weather may not cooperate.

That being said Arches with snow is even more gorgeous.

February photos: http://suewallace.zenfolio.com/f359231056
Shanti is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2015, 08:17 PM
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Thank you everyone.
I will buy the tickets to Las Vegas based on your recommendations.
I understand that Bryce is out of the question, so I'll try to do GC, Zion and Arches (if the weather is good), unless you think it doesn't worth the efforts of going that far for Moab. Thanks
the_one is offline  
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