Arches trip - specific planning help

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Nov 29th, 2007, 01:38 PM
  #1
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Arches trip - specific planning help

We (adult couple in 40's) fly Houston to Grand Junction on Apr. 19, 2008 (arrive early AM) departing Grand Junction Apr. 27 (late afternoon) (8-9 days). Our main focus is seeing Arches and surrounding parks and traveling in the most logical manner to see all we can to maximize our time. We enjoy photography, short hikes and scenic drives. Please advise routing you suggest for seeing Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef (can we fit anything else in)? We have already done Vegas/Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon/Page. Hotel recommendations for each place, how many nights in each, excursions recommended, etc. Thank you.
twotravelnuts is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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Hi travelnuts,

With 8-9 days, you can certainly add either Monument Valley and/or Mesa Verde OR Escalente/Boulder area.

4 days - Moab area (Arches, Canyonlands)

2 days - driving to Capitol Reef + park itself (if you want to visit Goblin Valley on the way)

2 days - Escalante/Boulder

Adding Mesa Verde would keep you closer to Grand Junction.

Search here for the national parks and areas by name, you'll get tons of recommendations and trip reports with ideas and routing.
Dayle is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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We recently enjoyed the Dreamkeeper Inn B & B in Moab --- quiet side street in town, easy walk to restaurants. Also recommend signing up for the ranger-led Fiery Furnace walk; you will need agility and a sense of adventure but was a great experience. We had a group that included 75 yr olds and fathers carrying children in backpacks.
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Nov 29th, 2007, 07:02 PM
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You could get down to Mesa Verde easily (A absolute must, for me!) And if you really like photography and ancient ancestral puebloan culture, then Chaco Canyon is just a day's drive from Mesa Verde. Do not stay in Farmington, NM after seeing Chaco--not much there at all. Cortez is a good base for Mesa Verde. The park hotel and restaurant are also very good.

I love both Best Westerns in Moab. Good value. Food--depends on what you like. There is an amazing restaurant on the way into town from Grand Junction--it is in an old "ranch house" that is now the heart of a condo development. There is also the Centre Cafe which is superb. (high end dining) Other than that, we usually hit Eddie McStiff's for pub food and beer. There are several great coffee places for breakfasts.

You are about 2 hours from Natural Bridges National Park, which is amazing. You can stay in Bluff at the Recapture Lodge which is such a great place. A really great restaurant is the (Cowboy or Coyote) Trading Post. I would not stay in Blanding or Monticello if you can help it. Lodging places are ok but food not so hot unless you like diner basics, and those are good.

THe other thing is that there are several wineries around Grand Junction. I have heard they are fun to visit. But I don't know that I would give up a day of redrocks to drink wine (and I LOVE wine!).
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Nov 29th, 2007, 07:25 PM
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We live near Mesa Verde and would strong encourage you to visit this area too. The cliff dwellings are second to none. Staying in Cortez is easy to do with lots of choices in places to stay and restaurants that are pretty easy on your pocket.

In Moab, we highly recommend Cali Cochitta B&B. It is warm, inviting and the owners - Kim and David - are terrific. Excellent breakfast too. We are spending New Year Eve there. http://www.moabdreaminn.com/

Deb
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Nov 30th, 2007, 05:12 AM
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In case you fly to/from Grand Junction, it is very easy to also include:
Black Canyon of the Gunnision NP near Montrose http://www.nps.gov/blca/
and in Grand Junction - Colorado Nat. Monument -http://www.nps.gov/colm/

Both offer hikes and scenic drives.
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Nov 30th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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Wow thank you all for your insight and feedback. This will help in planning our trip. We'll need at least 3-4 nights in Arches/Moab, correct? Are the other places just 1-day trips? I need to get a map and check drive times/mileage, etc.
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Nov 30th, 2007, 01:32 PM
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you might consider staying at Valley of the Gods if you head south. Very unique. also in Moab check out desert highlights. they offer hikes into firey furnace. You can do the hike on your own with a permit (hard to get because they only give out a few per day). You could easily get lost without a guide. I would do the canyoneering with them if at all possible.
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Nov 30th, 2007, 01:32 PM
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I meant to say stay overnight in Valley of the Gods. It is sort of like B&B but very isolated.
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Nov 30th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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The number of days in each place is always an issue.

For my trip last June (see my trip report) I was pleased with the number of days in each place.

My style is to do "easy" but I'm non-stop all day.

My trip to the Moab area for next May started as 5 days in Moab and that's it.

It's now 7 days long (fixed as plane ticket has been purchased) with hopefully 4 days in Moab and the remainder further west in Capitol Reef, Boulder/Escalante and even Bryce Canyon (was there last time) because a friend who'se joining me hasen't been.

I tend to get everything done on my list though I definitely don't rush. I just don't stop from morning 'till night.

I hope I'm not adding too much to my list this time.
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Nov 30th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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Travelnuts,

You could spend a whole week in the Moab area because there is SO much to do. Based on the interests you mentioned, 4 days will be enough to:

see all of Arches and do 2 -3 of the medium hikes (1 full days)

spend 1 day seeing viewpoints in Canyonlands Island in the Sky + Dead Horse Point, short hikes

spend another day either going down to Needles District, Canyonlands OR

1/2 day raft trip + 1/2 day jeep trip, or 1/2 day out to Fisher Towers & Castle Valley (where lots of westerns were filmed)

I don't mention my favorite B&B anymore, because it has become too difficult to get into.

April is very popular, make your res now!
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Nov 30th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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Oops, meant to make that 2 days in Arches. Lots of photo ops everywhere you look.
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Dec 1st, 2007, 05:38 PM
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Just returned from another Utah trip in Sept - this time we spent a good deal of time in Escalante/Capitol Reef area. If you click on my name & scroll down a few posts, you'll see our very long trip report w/pictures of the Capitol Reef/Escalante area and some great places to stay. Let me know if you have any questions.
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