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Antelope Canyon, Zion, and Bryce advice needed

Antelope Canyon, Zion, and Bryce advice needed

Old Dec 11th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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Antelope Canyon, Zion, and Bryce advice needed

I am in the very preliminary stages of planning a trip from Phoenix to Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon the end of March/beginning of April. Can you tell me if this is a reasonable itinerary?

Day 1 - Drive from Phoenix to Page. If there's time, go to Antelope Canyon in the afternoon. Should we go to both upper and lower in one afternoon? It's approximately a 4-hour drive so if we get there between 1:00 and 2:00, will that work out? We will stay overnight in Page

Day 2 - If we didn't go to Antelope Canyon the previous day, do this midday and then drive to Zion National Park. Stay overnight in one of the cabins at Zion Lodge. Hike in the afternoon.

Day 3 - Hike.

Day 4 - Drive to Bryce. Stay overnight.

Day 5 - Drive to either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, whichever one we get the better deal on as far as airfare. Looks like a long drive to either one. Any way to break that up?

Day 6 - Fly home.

Does this look like a feasible plan? Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Laurie
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Old Dec 11th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Be aware that in late March/early April it'll still be winter at Bryce. The park is at 8000' elevation so it snows into May. You can still enjoy the park and hike down among the hoodoos, but you should be prepared for very cold & snowy weather.

You may also encounter snow at higher elevations in Zion, which should not be a problem if you just plan to hike in the valley and not up to some of the higher points.

If you are flying out of Vegas then I'd flip flop the order of Bryce & Zion, as the latter is closer to Vegas. Other that that it looks like a reasonable plan. I'm not familiar with the details of Antelope canyon, but I think you need to account for more time to arrange a guide to take you there.

If you can't get a room at Zion lodge then it's quite ok to stay just outside the park in the town of Springdale. There are quite a few hotels there and it's only a short drive into the park. I believe at that time of year you are still allowed to drive the main park road, or you can take the shuttle bus into the park. It's very easy.
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Old Dec 11th, 2013, 09:20 AM
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For me, The premier hikes in Zion are Angels Landing and The Narrows. The Narrows would be super cold and likely to be going to high/fast, so not sure you would be able to do it. If Angels Landing has ice/snow on it, then you wouldn't/couldn't want to do it either. There is certainly plenty of other great sights and hikes, but those are the two that will be etched in my mind. Just wanted you to be aware of that.

I don't know that Bryce Lodge is open until Mid-April(I'm not sure). I would Imagine Ruby's would be open March/April. I think you would be limited on the trails you could do. I do know they do offer some snowshoeing opportunities. How much snow they will receive is anyones guess.

If you haven't been to Arches/Canyonlands you might want to consider that route. It is likely to be better weather then than Bryce. You could see Little Wildhorse Canyon near Goblin Valley. This is a different slot canyon and not as dramatic as Antelope(I haven't been to Antelope), but some people rank it as the best non-technical slot in Utah. You wouldn't want to miss the Goblins either.
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Old Dec 11th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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We actually did Arches/Canyonlands a couple of years ago, along with Capitol Reef, and loved it. Absolutely gorgeous scenery and hiking. We just happen to be in Phoenix in March/April and was hoping to fit it all in, but it sounds like if we want to do Zion and Bryce justice, maybe we should wait and do it on a different trip when we can take advantage of all it has to offer. We've also already been to Sedona. Maybe just a quick trip to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Canyon on this trip.
Thanks for the quick replies!
Laurie
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Old Dec 11th, 2013, 11:22 AM
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Why not head south to the Tucson area? Have you been to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum? San Zavier del Bac? Organ Pipe National Monument? Hiked in Sabino Canyon? Visited Montezuma's Castle?

https://www.google.ca/#q=article+tak...memory&tbm=nws
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Old Dec 11th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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We are going to Tucson/ Saguaro ourselves the 1st week of April.
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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 05:56 AM
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Great suggestions. Thanks!
Laurie
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Old Dec 14th, 2013, 03:08 PM
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End of March/ first part of April are actually the times we used to go most often to Zion and Bryce-- Spring Break.

Sometimes it was snowy in Bryce, sometimes it rained in Zion, I loved it every time. I don't think you'd need to head somewhere else. Now if you were talking February maybe.

But since that is also prime time for some of the hotter desert areas that would make sense too.

It takes about 2 hrs for each Antelope Canyon. You can sign up ahead of time with a tour from Page for Upper if you want . Or just drive yourself to the park entrance where you can join a tour there.
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Old Dec 15th, 2013, 06:39 PM
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The only - only reason to visit Antelope Canyon is to take photographs. And, you should be very proficient in the Zone system using at LEAST 28 mm (35 mm camera) with a sturdy tripod. Large format is a wider lens. Also, the sun must be directly overhead like on summer 21 June. Look at angle of light angle on these photographs. http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=...tographs%20for

Trust me, it is very, very difficult. Antelope slot is very short. Its companion across the road is longer.

IF slot canyons are your adventure, they should only be entered late summer or fall due to flash flooding. Buckskin Gulch is the best located in northern Arizona - been only in part of it.

OK, that be done. Here is my suggestion.
Go to Page and rent a pontoon boat and cruise Lake Powell at least to Rainbow Bridge.

Save Zion to Arches when you have two weeks of vacation time.

Pontoon boat rental.
http://www7.buyerpricer.com/landing....=&param3=&vx=0

Vaga
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Old Dec 15th, 2013, 07:06 PM
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"Large format is a wider lens"

Large format has nothing to do with the lens. It is the size of the negative(and yes, even digital comes in larger format now too, general more megapixels)(example would be a Hasselblad camera that goes for $30-40k). Standard format is considered 35 mm(aka 135)or even in todays digital of 20 megapixels or so.

An example of a Large Format would be a 4X5 negative.

Perhaps what the previous poster meant, was that you needed a wide angle lens. However, I would only somewhat agree with that. That would depend on a lot of factors. The longer your shutter speed would be the main reason for a tripod(which, it would be nice).

I would also question the only reason to visit Antelope Canyon would be to take photos. That's like saying the only reason to visit the Grand Canyon is to take a picture. Sure, take pictures, but enjoy the moment and stunning beauty while your there too.
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Old Dec 16th, 2013, 02:46 AM
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I have a slightly different take on photos of Antelope canyon. We were there in the mid afternoon and had a point and shoot camera. As long as there is bright sunshine, and you turn the flash off, you will get nice pictures. You can see mine at

www.flickr.com/photos/emalloy2009/sets

The hard part is to get the other people out of the picture, but sometimes it is nice to have one or two to give you an idea of scale.

And I totally agree with spire, that taking photos is not the only reason to go. The place was very interesting and our Navajo guide gave a nice talk about the area too.
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Old Dec 16th, 2013, 02:48 AM
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I should have said the pictures are in the 2008 set
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Old Dec 16th, 2013, 03:54 AM
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As J62 suggested, switch Zion and Bryce. If you leave Zion til the end, you can easily do the 2.5 hr drive from Zion to Las Vegas on your last day. We usually spend our last night in Zion/Springdale and drive to LV to make our afternoon flight. Remember, you will gain an hour when you leave Utah and enter Nevada.
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Old Dec 16th, 2013, 04:59 AM
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Antelope Canyon was the highlight of our trip. The people with point and shoot cameras had just as much fun as the people with more expensive rigs.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Starting at Bryce is a good suggestion. I've done a winter (usually March) trip to the Utah parks (Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Bryce and Zion) each year for the last 15 years. All the parks are great and different from each other. Bryce is 8000 to 9000 feet and Zion is about 3500 in the canyon, so much warmer. Both these parks are fairly small when it comes to the touristy parts. A day in each is not too short to get a good look at them. The drive from Bryce to Zion is 90 minutes, or so, and very pretty when you get close to Zion. It's the same road going the other way, but the view is not as dramatic, IMO.

There are lots of decent places to stay outside of Zion, if you can't get into the Park Lodge. Plenty of restaurants in Springdale, too. At Bryce, there really is only Ruby's for food and lodging. I would not expect the Bryce lodge to be open in March.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:32 AM
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BTW, although the restaurant options between Zion & Bryce are pretty limited, we enjoyed Buffalo Grill at Zion Mountain Resort. It was a bit pricy, but when there are so few choices, it is hard to complain.
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Old Dec 28th, 2013, 07:23 AM
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Once again RV... displays his "vast" knowledge.

Essentially, digital cameras have two formats: Full-Frame and cropped.

Full-frame would have the sensor the size of a 35mm slide/negative.
Crop makes the sensor smaller thus less expensive.

In general, full-frame cameras (for Canon that would be something like a 6D model) produce better quality images. Especially when major cropping of the image is done.

Crop sensor camera are less expensive (for Canon a few models would be 70D, 7D, T5i, t4i, etc) but many/most commoners would not notice the difference until you get to the much less expensive point-and-shoot cameras.

A big advantage to crop cameras is how they handle the same lens.

A 100mm lens on a full frame camera would act as if it were a 160mm (this is approximate as different crop cameras have slightly different crop factors) on my crop camera.

For wildlife I use a Canon 70-300L (L is for pro level and expensive) zoom lens. My current camera is a 1.6 factor crop camera. So that lens acts like a 112mm - 480mm.

There are different approaches to camera / lens combinations. Obviously the best lens and the best camera would potentially give the best results. However, most of us make choices. Your lens will probably last longer than your camera. So many pros tell you to spend your money on the lens.

My scenery / walkaround lens is a very sharp 15-85 moderate wide moderate zoom lens. Unlike most consumer grade lenses this lens is sharp from the widest (at 15mm it's 20% wider than most lenses) to the most telephoto and from closed down (aperture) to wide open. No consumer-rated lens will be like that. In addition it has excellent Image Stabilization (IS) so even at my age I can do reasonably well in dim conditions.

You can see photos of my recent trips at www.travelwalks.com.

The last several trips are taken with a Canon T2i (cropped) and 15-85 and 70-300L lenses.

- - - - - -
In the olden days large format was the size of the negative. Consumer cameras were 35mm. Then you had 120 film that was 2 1/4 inch (if I remember correctly). The truly large format, pro-level cameras went to 4x5 or even 8x10 film. You didn't see too many of those walking around on the street.

- - - - - -
Antelope Canyon isn't visited just to get a photo (even though photos result in lasting memories). The sun bouncing off the walls of the Canyon are amazing.

When I was there I brought a consumer quality tripod and shutter release (so I wouldn't touch the camera when the photo was shot).

My camera settings were f8 (aperture) and anywhere from 1/8 sec to 8 sec depending upon the lighting in each spot.

My lens at the time was a not-so-great Sigma 17-70 so to compensate for the quality (or lack of it) I shot at f8 (fairly closed down - remember I explained that better lenses are sharper through more of the range).

Most photos there were between 25mm and 35mm focal length though this is adjusted for how far away you are from the subject.
- - - - -
About what you should include in a trip. There are different approaches. Some say if you can't do it justice then don't do it.

I believe in working with what you have. My daughter is married with a young daughter. We are both into photography. When we travel alone the debate is always about her wanting shorter and me wanting longer.

I just plan much more efficiently.

We have been to South Western Utah for 3 days plus travel.
We have been to Glacier National Park for 3/2 days together with Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada) for 1/2 a day.

Both of these trips were excellent and we did a lot in those few days.

If you have any questions about anything I wrote just ask.
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Old Dec 28th, 2013, 07:28 AM
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Forgot to mention.

In my opinion, the best time to go to Antelope Canyon is when the sun is high in the sky.

I just drove into the parking lot and waited for the next truck (guide). I had with me a plastic back to keep my camera from the dust.

While in that area, Horseshoe Bend is less than 30 minutes from Antelope Canyon. From the parking lot it's 3/4 mile and a pretty flat hike. There is no shade so bring water and a hat.

If with kids be careful as when you get there it's a 1000 ft down with no fence, barrier or screen.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 12:24 PM
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bookmarking.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 10:25 AM
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Back again. As it turns out, we aren't going to Arizona this spring so I'm planning a Sept or Oct trip to Antelope Canyon, Bryce, and Zion. I like the idea of ending in Zion, making it easier to get to the airport in Vegas on departure. Any advice on how to work the rest of the trip? Should I drive from Vegas to Bryce, then Antelope Canyon, and finish in Zion? Or should I drive from Vegas to Antelope Canyon, then onto Bryce, ending in Zion. Is flying in and out of LV the best way to do this? How far are the driving distances? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Laurie
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