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8 Day road trip out of Las Vegas in Mid to end of September

8 Day road trip out of Las Vegas in Mid to end of September

Old May 6th, 2022, 07:36 AM
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8 Day road trip out of Las Vegas in Mid to end of September

3 Outdoorsy fit 60's ish women looking for ideas for a road trip route starting and ending in Las Vegas. Have already seen Zion, Bryce, Arches & Grand Canyon looking for new destinations. Looking for Natural Wonders, Artsy, Unique places to visit. Not interested in much more than a day in Las Vegas it's self. Prefer not more than 3ish hours per drive, and a loop. Would love to hear ideas of those that know the area.

I see the temperature in Death Valley can run over 100 degrees, and as much as we enjoy hiking, that to much for us. Could it really get that hot? Joshua Tree can run in the 90's, still hot.

Thanks so much I find this forum so helpful!

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Old May 6th, 2022, 08:05 AM
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I'll let others who know Zion etc. better than I do give advice on those areas, but I do think Death Valley could be at least that hot-September can actually be one of the hottest months sometimes. If you decide to go over near there you might prefer some hikes up in the Mt. near Palm Springs-there are nice hikes to be had when you take the tram up and it will be much cooler. To be honest though I think with 8 days I would focus on the Utah area since a lot of the really spectacular canyons and vistas are further east and north. Las Vegas to Moab for instance is a 7 hour drive.

A couple of other things-we have found the areas to sleep in and around Bryce and Zion get booked up pretty early. And if you do decide to drive to or from LV to Death Valley, be careful of your traffic patterns-traffic can be brutal going to LV from CA on Friday and the reverse on Sunday-weekend LV visitors.

Here's a map you might find useful in your hike planning as a start

https://bearfoottheory.com/best-hikes-in-utah/

And a some good hike ideas for non-technical hikes as well:

https://www.visitutah.com/articles/n...anyons-roundup

Have fun-it is a beautiful area!
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Old May 6th, 2022, 08:14 AM
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The two of the "Big 5" that you may have missed are Capitol Reef and Canyonlands. There are several sections of Canyonlands. Near the Island in the Sky section is Dead Horse Point State Park.
East of Capitol Reef detour to see Goblin Valley State Park with its hoodoos.
As for Death Valley, it is uncommon for the temps to get into the hundred degree range in September. Instead of going all the way to Joshua Tree NP, you can drive through the Mojave National Preserve. There are a few Joshua Trees there too. The Preserve also has some interesting sand dunes as well.
Nearer Las Vegas, stop to see Valley of Fire State park, Red Rocks and Hoover Dam. There is a shortcut between Valley of Fire and Hoover Dam on the west side of Lake Mead. Lake Mead is very low now. I hope it improves sometime before September.
Make sure your rental car out of Las Vegas has good air conditioning.
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Old May 6th, 2022, 08:44 AM
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"I see the temperature in Death Valley can run over 100 degrees, and as much as we enjoy hiking, that to much for us. Could it really get that hot? Joshua Tree can run in the 90's, still hot."

If Vegas is 'only' 100+ and JT 'only' 90+ in September you'd be fortunate.

I love most of the SW parks but I would maybe consider something completely different -- You could cross Death Valley and head up 395 visiting places like Mono Lake, Mammoth, Bodie, Tuolumne Meadows, ending at Lake Tahoe then back south to Vegas on 95.

(or do a one way road trip, avoiding the long return drive down 95 by flying down to Vegas or back home from Reno)
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Old May 6th, 2022, 11:37 AM
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From the National Park Service website:
Death Valley is famous as the hottest place on earth and driest place in North America. The world record highest air temperature of 134F (57C) was recorded at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913. Summer temperatures often top 120F (49C) in the shade with overnight lows dipping into the 90sF (mid-30sC.) Average rainfall is less than 2 inches (5 cm), a fraction of what most deserts receive. Occasional thunderstorms, especially in late summer, can cause flash floods.
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Old May 6th, 2022, 01:34 PM
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Sedona is a little over four hours from Las Vegas. It is an artsy town and self-proclaimed "Day Hike Capital of America". It features the scenic Oak Creek Canyon and many hiking trails. Within four hours of Sedona are Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. All have remarkable geological formations. You can stay in the View Hotel near Monument Valley.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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Why only starting and ending in Las Vegas? Have you seen all of the National Park and state park beauty of California, Oregon, Idaho? Why not a one-way trip , if you must start in Las Vegas then end it in San Francisco or Portland or Boise? If you only have 8 days, and with all that you've already seen near Vegas off the table....backtracking to LV doesn't sound like a great idea. Do you have cheap tickets to Las Vegas or something?
An 8 day car rental pickup Las Vegas and return San Francisco runs about $450. With your 3-hour drive requirement you could visit Palm Springs/Joshua Tree, then Ventura on the coast of California, then up through Santa Barbara and the Central Coast of California, Big Sur and Monterey and all the state park beauty/oceanside/cliffs along the way. Or instead head to Sequoia National Park and then up to Yosemite (if you can still get reservations for Sept there).
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Old May 8th, 2022, 02:30 AM
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Is there a reason you are flying in and out of Vegas? Why not pick another airport in the west like Denver or Albuquerque given your interests.
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Old May 8th, 2022, 09:39 AM
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Assuming you are sticking with Vegas as start/end points, and don't want to repeat Zion, Bryce or Arches you could do Capital Reef NP and Canyonlands. Near Capital Reef is Goblin Valley State Park which was fun as a stopover between Capital Reef and Moab but only takes about an hour to see. Dead Horse Point is near Canyonlands and you can either just stop and see it or do longer hikes. If you are staying in Moab the Colorado River Scenic Drive (in both directions out of Moab) is a nice ride. Right near Vegas (before you get to Zion) is Valley of Fire State Park which rivals any national park for scenery. Not that big though. Going south from Moab you could go through Bluff (cute little recreated frontier town, very well done, don't know why it's not in more guidebooks), Valley of the Gods, and Monument Valley before going to Page where there is Antelope Canyon and Horsehore Bend. Antelope Canyon requires reservations but is probably the best of all the places in the region. Absolutely stunning.

Here's my photos - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/f764149109
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Old May 12th, 2022, 05:41 PM
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Yes, we will be coming off an 8 day rafting trip. The outfitter picks us up and drops us off in Las Vegas. There is one car rental location in Page, AZ but they require you pick up and drop off at their Page location.
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Old May 12th, 2022, 05:45 PM
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Beautiful photographs Isabel! This loop sounds interesting, I'll check it out further. I love getting ideas from those who know the area, it can say so much more that a website or guide book.

Thanks
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Old May 12th, 2022, 10:40 PM
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3 mandatory rules for the desert!! They could change your life!!

Originally Posted by MissyT View Post
3 Outdoorsy fit 60's ish women looking for ideas for a road trip route starting and ending in Las Vegas. Have already seen Zion, Bryce, Arches & Grand Canyon looking for new destinations. Looking for Natural Wonders, Artsy, Unique places to visit. Not interested in much more than a day in Las Vegas it's self. Prefer not more than 3ish hours per drive, and a loop. Would love to hear ideas of those that know the area.

I see the temperature in Death Valley can run over 100 degrees, and as much as we enjoy hiking, that to much for us. Could it really get that hot? Joshua Tree can run in the 90's, still hot.

Thanks so much I find this forum so helpful!
Do not be fooled by what can at times be mild weather here in the area it has been anywhere from 112 degrees to over 125 degrees fahrenheit in the summer time. What most people forget to do is take with you plenty of drinkable water 💦 if you have a Amazon prime account and are renting a vehicle do not hesitate to get at the very least 1 case of water per person and don't forget to get some snacks for your whole group. This is not optional!! Better to be giving away the extra water and you are safe than to end up in the hospital 🏥 second must do don't forget to bring a second outfit for cold to hot you never know what it will Pop up to be temperature wise and it can change very quickly. NEVER go anywhere without a backup plan and always let someone else know your plans Even if it's your grandma!!
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Old Jun 7th, 2022, 01:51 PM
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If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, (not a city AWD), suggest Kanab area. Specifically, Paria Plateau's White Pocket and Cottonwood cove.
Toss in The Wave if you win the Kanab/Internet lottery.
Or one the finest slot canyon in US (other than short colorful Antelope) is Buckskin Gulch
These areas are beyond spectacular in geological chaos and color.
Detailed data in book titled Vermilion Cliffs and North Rim Grand Canyon available on Amazon
I paid $13 - may be more by now
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Old Jun 7th, 2022, 04:55 PM
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By the end of September you will start to see temperatures moderating in DV and LV but it is still too hot for daytime hiking. However if you get an early start you should be able to visit some of the viewpoints.

Depending on where you can find lodging:

"Grand Circle" from Las Vegas to Springdale (for Zion), to Bryce (you can stay in Kanab or outside of Bryce) with a detour to Cedar Breaks, to North Rim to Marble Canyon, to Flagstaff, to Las Vegas. I'm assuming you've already been to the South Rim.

Near Flagstaff, Walnut Canyon National Monument. Near Kanab, visit Best Friends (Angel Canyon).

I would not do the 4WD suggestions above by yourselves, better to go with a guide as it can be pretty easy to get lost.
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Old Jun 7th, 2022, 05:02 PM
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Re: migb
Don't worry excessively about being alone on the route to White Pocket or Cottonwood. Kanab tour agencies travel this route daily.
Going past those sites, like Joe's Ranch, could be a problem.
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 09:34 AM
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House Rock Valley Rd to the Wire Pass trail head (for both the Wave and Buckskin Gulch) was well graded in February. 4WD wasn't necessary at the time. That doesn't mean it won't be in September. There's a BLM office in Kanab that can advise on road conditions. This particular stretch of road would be impossible to get lost on and the new parking lot is quite large. If you're hiking Buckskin Gulch, I would pay online prior to getting there as the cell signal at the trail head is weak and there's no option to pay cash. I really like the area around Kanab and it would fit your 3ish hours from Vegas. We stayed at a cottage at Best Friends last time and that was really nice. Even if you don't stay there it's a beautiful place to visit and there are some short hikes. Have you been to the North Rim?

Another possibility are the higher elevation areas of Zion if you haven't been to those like Kolob Canyons and Kolob Terrace Rd. You can also visit Cedar Breaks. You could base in St George, Hurricane, La Verkin or Virgin. St George itself has quite a bit of hiking on the northern side at Snow Canyon and Red Cliffs. It's a somewhat underrated place for hiking.

Bluff is a great little town and there's a lot to do nearby but it's 7.5 hours from Vegas. If you're willing to make the drive, I have a trip report that includes the area around Bluff A fall meander from TX to CA

Sedona has gotten extremely busy. Traffic and parking can be problematic. We still like it but it's sometimes frustrating to deal with.

I would skip Death Valley and Joshua Tree at that time of year. If you go to Valley of Fire, go early. A few trails are closed from June through September due to heat State Parks

Late September is a beautiful time to visit the Eastern Sierra (Mammoth Lakes, etc) if you're OK with the 5-6 hour distance.
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 11:11 AM
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Thanks for that information Patty, it is great when we get recent first-hand reports as opposed to decades-old or second-hand. Note that it isn't only driving when you risk getting lost, it's also hiking without a GPS signal. Undoubtedly why there are many tour groups.

White Pocket: from the BLM website

"The roads that access White Pocket Trailhead consist of deep sand and patches of sharp rock. Four-wheel-drive high-clearance vehicles are required. Every year, many groups get stuck and stranded on the way to this trailhead as a result of attempting the drive without enough experience or in inappropriate vehicles"

Cottonwood Buttes (you can't go without a permit).
Routes to Paw Hole and Cottonwood Cove are only accessible with a 4WD vehicle due to extremely sandy conditions. A map to the access point will be provided with the permit.

PS the Best Friends Cottages are lovely aren't they? We did volunteer stints the day after we stayed, but didn't have "sleepovers".
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 03:54 PM
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What I usually do is pre-download a trail map on an app like Alltrails since BLM trails aren't particularly well marked. That way I can check if we're still on the trail. You may lose the GPS signal in the slot but once in the slot there are usually limited directions you can go. If it's raining or there's rain in the forecast and even if it's not where you're hiking but nearby I wouldn't go into a slot.

We wanted to volunteer but Kanab was a last minute switch from Bryce and the only available slots were at Cat World and my husband is allergic to cats. We were lucky to score a cottage as most hotels in town were sold out due to the balloon festival which turned out to be a lot of fun. They weren't doing sleepovers that weekend which was probably a good thing! We've visited before but that was the first time we've stayed there. We really liked "coming home" to our cottage every night and watching the deer in the mornings.
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 08:42 PM
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Re: Cottonwood via Paw Hole
Was there two weeks ago. A huge sign at the Paw Hole (not the pine tree) parking lot makes the road one-way to Cottonwood
That is, going uphill is closed. That is fair as the road is narrow and very deep soft sand.
IN May we went back to CW to visit Secret Cove that we did not hike in January.
Note: That sign was not there this January when we visited CW and WP. and drove uphill.

Now have to go via road 1017 which is better. All tour operator go there on this road; some return via Paw Hole as it is downhill.
Both times, House Rock Road from 89A to Condor Viewing was miserable washboard. ,
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Old Jun 10th, 2022, 11:22 AM
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Missy T,

you could do a nice loop from Vegas, head up to Cedar Breaks NP then head over to Moab and do Canyonlands Island in the Sky, then down to Needles District then Edge of Cedars SP, then Monument Valley or Valley of the Gods, and back to Vegas perhaps with a ride through GC or a stop at Hoover Dam.

That said you could also do day trips from Vegas or someplace near. Death Valley if it is not too hot, Valley of Fire, Red Rock canyon, Hoover Dam , etc. Vegas is soulless but might be less expensive in September if you are just using for a place to sleep.
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