BEST OPTION FOR HIKING WEATHER

Old Dec 27th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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BEST OPTION FOR HIKING WEATHER

We are planning a trip to Utah to visit and hike in Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches national parks. We have two options for dates, one being mid-May and the other being late July/early August.
Was wondering which one would be the best option for weather. I'm mostly concerned about the potential of lingering snow in mid-May affecting either hiking or driving.
Also, if we had time to visit a fourth park would you recommend Capitol Reef or Canyonlands?

Thanks in advance for any and all info and suggestions...
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 04:27 AM
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IMHO mid May would be the best option. July/August will probably be very HOT in Arches and except possibly, for Bryce, there will be no snow to worry about and probably Bryce will be fine too. The roads should be fine.

I would visit Canyonlands, Island in the Sky District is only a half hour or so from Arches and you can get a nice overview of it in half a day. Hiking there will take as much time as you care to spend and visiting the other areas, Needles, the Maze, Horseshoe Canyon, will add lots of time. If you visit one other area there I would choose Needles for a look from a whole other point of view.

If you plan your trip, you could also drive through Capitol Reef on your way from Arches/Canyonlands to Bryce/Zion.

There is lots of information on the areas here. If you click my name you will find a couple of trip reports from some time we've spent here.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 04:27 AM
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http://www.weather2travel.com/climat...php?admin=utah

May a tonne better temp wise too hot/dehydrating in August

Capitol Reef for me.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Capitol Reef is my least favorite. However, if you should stop there in between Bryce and Arches just for the drive if nothing else. Stop at the Gifford House(located in Cap Reef) and have some of the homemade pies(they sell out after a few hours). Eat your pie on the picnic tables, which are located in the orchard. You are almost guaranteed to see deer. You can pick all the fruit you want to and eat it for free. I think it might be cherry season in May?? If you take some with you, they charge like .50lb. You could do some hiking there. Capitol Reef isnt very crowded.

Here is a couple of other suggestions on "things to do" between Arches and Bryce. Consider hiking to Calf Creek Falls. You might consider hiking in Horseshoe Canyon to The Great Gallery. This is a remote detached section of Canyonlands. DO NOT MISS-Goblin Valley State Park. Right near Goblin Valley is Little Wildhorse Canyon(don't get confused with Wildhorse Canyon). It is an awesome slot canyon.

My all time favorite thing to do in Arches/Moab is canyoneering with www.deserthighlights.com It is fantastic!! Be sure and hike The Narrows in Zion and consider hiking Angels Landing.

May would definately be the best time to go. You can probably visit each park. Canyonlands is right near Arches, and you can simply drive thru Capitol Reef in between.

I would allow 3 days in Moab, 2 days in Zion, 1 day in Bryce and 1 day near Capitol Reef. These would be the minimums. There is plenty to do at each spot. We were there over Memorial Day weekend a couple of years ago and didn't considered it that crowded, even with the holiday crowds.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 08:28 AM
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One more thing, it will be cool in the mornings and then could be fairly hot in the afternoons. A lot of the hikes in Canyonlands, Arches, and Cap Reef offer very little shade. So you might want to consider doing your hikes early and later in the day. Utah is one of my favorite places.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 08:31 AM
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We are going again this year on Memorial Day Weekend, btw.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 05:05 PM
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We've hiked these areas extensively on many trips, but only in April or July/August. July/August can be unbearably hot for hiking in the afternoons, so we plan accordingly. We will typically set our alarm so we can begin a hike around 6AM, then return to the lodge for a late breakfast. Or we'll just spend all morning hiking, then retire for resting and reading for the afternoon. We'll have an early dinner, and then take a great hike in the evening. This works well in Zion because of the shuttle system that takes you/picks you up from the trailheads. April is fabulous for hiking because the climate is so mild but it still gets dark early, so I imagine May would be the best of all. You'd have more daylight hours.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 01:37 AM
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I've been to Utah twice in the last half of May and once in mid-September.

Had excellent weather all three times. Hike Lower Calf Creek Falls twice. For the middle of the day I think it's about a half hour too long.

Weather in bryce can be warm or cold with snow. You never know. I've had both.

In addition to the national parks mentioned, I would consider:
Goblin Valley
Devils Garden Escalante
Lower Calf Creek Falls
Willis Creek slot canyon just south of Cannonville.

All worth the effort.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 05:32 PM
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I even consider Mid May to pushing it for heat in that area for hiking. There is no way in dante's inferno that I would go in July!!!!

Check out the Moab Chamber of Commerce website to make sure you aren't trying to go on a 4 wheel drive/ATV/jeep weekend. Totally.ruins.hiking.

Just checking to make sure you realize that Moab is on one side of the state and that Bryce and Zion are on the other? And its a long drive. Expect cooler weather in Bryce--much higher altitude. I love Canyonlands for hiking--truly awesome 10 mile loop that is not to be missed. You could hike everything in Arches in 1.5 days depending on how much hiking you are used to doing. Corona ARch outside of Moab is a great hike.
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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Thanks to all for the great suggestions so far. We have decided on May 13-22 for our trip. We'll be flying into Las Vegas and out of Salt Lake City.
The plan right now is :

1 day Las Vegas
2 days Zion
1 day Bryce Canyon
1 day driving from Bryce Canyon to Canyonlands via Capitol Reef
1 day Canyonlands
2 days Arches

Still trying to decide on the best hikes to take with the alotted time but have plenty of time to decide on that.
We are very aware of the driving involved. Driving on scenic roads such as these are half the fun for us. We just did the same thing in Colorado and loved it.

Thanks again everyone...
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 10:27 AM
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Hope you can do the Fiery Furnace in Arches. Go to the ranger station as soon as you get into town and sign up for the guided hike, perhaps for the next day.
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 12:35 PM
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I think you can now sign up for the Fiery Furnace online.

I would add a bit of time to the drive between Bryce Canyon and Arches.

There are some worthwhile sights in between.

Willis Creek just south of Cannonville a few minutes east on Bryce. The dirt road drive is an adventure.

Devil's Garden in Escalente (not to be confused with Devil's Garden in Arches). Great rock formations.

Lower Calf Creek Falls. beautiful waterfall.

Goblin Valley State Park. Great rock formations. Fun place.

While near Canyonlands you could spend an hour or two in Dead Horse Pont State Park for the great views.
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Forgot to mention.

One of the highlights at Bryce is sunrise at Bryce Point.

You won't be alone. Make sure you're bundled up as is could be cold and windy there at sunrise. But very worth it.
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 12:49 PM
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For hiking-how adventurous are you? and do you like strenuous, easy, long, short, dayhikes, backpacking, what?

Zion-Angels Landing and The Narrows are not to be missed IMOP. Canyon Overlook Trail and Emerald Pools Trail are decent trails.

Bryce-I have not been to Bryce, but we are going the end of May this year. We will for sure hike Navajo Loop/Queens Garden Trail. Calf Creek Falls, located outside the park is another hike I will do then.

Capitol Reef-I hiked 25 miles there last year and I wouldn't recommend any of it. It is nice hiking and there aren't many people, but it just didn't do it for me. There are a couple of nice Arches/Bridges-but the ones in Arches are just so much better, IMOP.

I would for sure see Goblin Valley and I would for sure see Little Wildhorse Canyon. If you look on Todd's Hiking Guide website, Little Wildhorse is one of the few hikes that he has done that he rates 5 stars.

Great Gallery is a nice hike in Canyonlands, if you like pictographs/petrglyphs. This one is considered the very best in the world by most people, and you are likely to encounter only a handful of people on the trail.

There are a ton of other hikes in Canyonlands that I haven't done.

Arches-Delicate Arch Trail, The entire Devils Garden Trail. I didn't do the ranger-led Fiery Furnace, but I did do it with Desert Highlights.

Most of my hikes are moderate to strenuous. Angels Landing is considered scary to some folks as it is on a ledge part of the way. I don't see how you could fall unless you tried, but still some people see it different.

Have been to 25 national parks and have done all of the major dayhikes in them. 4 or 5 of the hikes I mentioned would all rate in my top 10 hikes that I have done.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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Due to the ridiculously expensive airfare to Las Vegas, we are now flying into and out of Phoenix. The new plan is:

1 day in Page (a few hours really as we have to drive there from Phoenix)
2 days in Zion
1 day in Bryce Canyon
1 and a half days driving from Bryce Canyon to Moab via Capitol Reef
2 and a half days in Canyonlands/Arches

On the final day we will drive back to Phoenix stopping at four corners and monument valley on the way.
We have picked the following hikes...

Zion- emerald pools trail, riverside walk, and angel's landing
Bryce- queens garden/navajo loop
Capitol Reef- none, but will stop at Gifford House for pies
Canyonlands- upheaval dome trail
Arches- delicate arch trail, fiery furnace (ranger led)

Regarding Page, we arrive at about 3pm and need to leave at about 10am the following morning. Would it be best to see antelope canyon in the late afternoon the first day or the early morning the following day. We plan on seeing the glen canyon dam, horseshoe bend, and navajo bridge as well.
I have heard and read various opinions on the Angel's Landing trail. I will be hiking with someone who is hard of hearing and because of that has poor balance. Would this trail be too dangerous for her?

Thanks to everyone for their advice and opinions so far. It has been very helpful.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 04:33 PM
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Rainbow bridge involves a boat ride and a hike, probably most of a day for that hike.

We went to Antelope Canyon in the afternoon, probably about 2:30 or so when we got there. I have a few pictures at www.flickr.com/photos/emalloy2009/sets in the 2008 set if you want to see what it looks like at that time of day. I think having a sunny day is the most important thing, clouds would not give you good contrast or color, so if it is sunny when you get there, go, if not wait until morning and hope for sunshine.

If you have time, there is a neat half day smooth water raft trip on the Colorado from Glen Canyon Dam to Lee's Ferry. You meet them in Page and they drive you down to the dam.

Have a great trip.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 04:46 PM
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We were in Arches in early November, you should include a hike out to Landscape Arch maybe after the fiery furnace.
A half day for the island in the Sky section of Canyonlands is enough. Take the short walk out around balanced rock in Arches.
After seeing Arches, I was a bit disappointed with Capitol Reef. Between Capitol Reef and Green River, make a short stop at Goblin Valley SP.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 03:46 PM
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Yeah, Don't Miss Landscape. It is a very short easy trail. It would be a shame to miss the arch with the longest span in the world. To me, Goblin Valley is a really neat place. I guess I didn't expect much, but was really shocked by it.
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