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Bryce and Zion - itinerary and timing questions

Bryce and Zion - itinerary and timing questions

Jan 14th, 2019, 12:43 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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Bryce and Zion - itinerary and timing questions

My husband and I want to plan about a one week trip to Bryce and Zion. We'd probably fly into Las Vegas, stay the night, and head to Zion the next day. Two questions:
1) We were thinking of going mid-May -is that a good time? We'd like to avoid crowds and very hot weather.
2) How much time in Zion vs Bryce? We like to hike and I like to take pictures and we don't want to rush around. (We're in our 60s). Three nights each? More in Zion than Bryce?

Other than that, I'd appreciate any good web links to help me with planning (other than this one!).

Once I get an itinerary together I will definitely run it by you guys, you're always the best resource!

Thanks so much,
Alice
Alice9 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2019, 12:58 PM
  #2  
 
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I like to hike, too, and in my opinion, Zion has far more opportunities, more variety, and you should have more time. The Narrows, through a stream, is unlike any hike I've ever taken. Not sure how cold the water would be in May, but I know you can rent shoes, hiking sticks, so probably could rent something to protect from the cold. Lots more to do in Springdale, too. Bryce is beautiful but the overlooks can be crowded. Once you get past those, you're fine. But the altitude is higher. I was huffing and puffing in Bryce but not Zion and I couldn't figure out why. Another big difference -- in Zion most trails go up (except the Narrows). In Bryce, most trails start at the rim and go down.
edjim is offline  
Jan 14th, 2019, 07:07 PM
  #3  
 
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I think that will be a perfect time to go. Perhaps do 3 nights Zion, 2 Bryce, and add in, maybe,1 night at the North Rim Grand Canyon(if the road and lodgings are open).
MichelleY is offline  
Jan 14th, 2019, 10:14 PM
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Since you have time, suggest the book Zion to Escalante, Utah on amazon
rvvagbond is offline  
Jan 15th, 2019, 04:30 PM
  #5  
J62
 
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I have spent a full week at Zion and never ran out of things to. Spent 3 nights at Bryce on the same trip & did med and long (med = 5-8mi, long = 10-15-20 mi/some with vertical) hikes in each park. As noted above, the hikes & terrain are much more varied at Zion. While at Zion I also rented a bike locally and did ~daily rides either in our outside of the park which was a great way to explore more.

I like the ratio of 3:1 Zion to Bryce.
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Jan 15th, 2019, 04:32 PM
  #6  
J62
 
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My trip was end of April/Early May and while it was chilly at Bryce (incl snow each night), and the water at Narrows was frigid (required dry suit), temps were generally perfect for being outside all day. I would think any time in May would be great.
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Jan 16th, 2019, 12:00 PM
  #7  
 
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We had snow flurries at Bryce in the middle of June.
Michael is offline  
Jan 18th, 2019, 10:40 AM
  #8  
 
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I second what J62 said. I like Bryce a lot, but Zion is my favorite national park, and late April/early May is ideal. You can get a very nice introduction to Bryce in two nights/one day. Zion cries out for a minimum of three nights, and more is better; my stays have slowly increased from three to six nights.

However, crowds are an issue. Bryce can get pretty crowded, but May is early in the season for that park. May is already high season for Zion (the third most visited national park); it will be packed! Summer is even worse, but the only quiet time is winter. Expect long lines for the shuttles, and full parking lots at the Visitor Center.
lgott is offline  
Jan 19th, 2019, 09:03 AM
  #9  
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Thanks all! I hadn't realized that Bryce might be so cold, but I really want to avoid crowds and hot weather. Sounds like there will be crowds in Zion no matter what, so I might as well go for the better weather. Also, May is before kids are out of school, so it's got to be a little less crowded than in June. We will plan 3-4 days in Zion and 2 in Bryce. The only real question is whether we want to stay a night in Las Vegas (never been there and it's the best choice to fly into).

Thanks for the book recommendation, I will check it out. Now to book airfare, so I can book accommodations - any recommendations? We like B&Bs, but hotels are okay too. I have a feeling I might be booking a little late and will have to settle for what I can get! I have GOT to start planning trips earlier.

I VERY much appreciate all the help.

Alice
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Jan 19th, 2019, 09:23 AM
  #10  
 
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I personally like Bryce better than Zion because of the red rock hoodoos, but the above posters are right, Zion has more varied hikes. We've stayed at Desert Pearl in Springdale and loved it. At Bryce, Ruby's Inn was the handiest, assuming you can't get into the park lodges.
As far as Las Vegas overnight is concerned, we fly there when visiting son in St. George, Utah (which you'll drive by/through on the way to Zion). Our go-to hotel is the Flamingo. It's easy in-easy out parking, great strip location for one night's walking around and people watching and eating dinner, reasonable rates (except for the resort fee that they're all charging now), plus we love having breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi (in front of Paris hotel and casino). About a 3 hour drive from there to Zion.
oh, and there's a great little hike off highway 12, the Mossy Cave trail, about 5 miles from Ruby's.
travlsolo2 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2019, 09:23 AM
  #11  
 
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Do look on Southwes Airlines Low Fare Calendar, it does not show up on the consolidator sites like kayak, Travelocity etc.

I like to stay in the parks if possible and if they say they are full when you call, keep calling back as people make reservations a year in advance and the n cancel last minute. Otherwise, look in Springdale for Zion and at Ruby's or the place across the street for Bryce. These are close enough that you won't be driving far on these curvy roads after dusk when the animals are roaming about if you want to see sunrise and/or sunset.
emalloy is offline  
Jan 19th, 2019, 10:24 AM
  #12  
 
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If you can stay in the parks then stay in the parks. The one in Zion is beautiful! Staying in Springdale is very close though if you can't get in. We stayed in Springdale the last week in April a few years ago. The weather in Zion was perfect. When we got to Bryce a few days later it was snowing. Pack layers and you will be fine. Both parks are gorgeous!
Sberg is online now  
Jan 19th, 2019, 02:07 PM
  #13  
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travlsolo2, thanks for the Vegas tips as well as the the off the highway hike!

Alice
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Jan 19th, 2019, 02:09 PM
  #14  
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Thanks, emalloy. I think we'll almost certainly use Southwest, they're actually having a sale right now. I don't know why the consolidator sites don't carry them but they're one of our favorite airlines - LOTS of flights out of BWI, and a few out of Dulles.
Alice9 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2019, 02:10 PM
  #15  
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Thanks, Sberg, I hadn't thought about the parks opening up, I figured I was way too late for them. And we're all about layers! Getting excited for this trip.

Alice
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Jan 19th, 2019, 05:50 PM
  #16  
 
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When we went in May, I kept checking the park sites for accommodations. The closer to our trip, the more opened up. If you can make a reservation outside of the park, but easily cancelled, do so. In fact, I made our NR Grand Canyon reservation 2 days before our stay.
MichelleY is offline  
Jan 20th, 2019, 04:46 AM
  #17  
J62
 
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At Zion my favorite place to stay is Cable Mtn lodge. It is located immediately outside the pedestrian entrance so it's a 5min walk from your room to the park shuttle bus. Next to the hotel is a small supermarket, and it's an easy drive into the town of Springdale for dinner or shopping.
J62 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2019, 08:08 AM
  #18  
 
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Alice, please be sure to post final plans, and then afterward, I would love to hear how it all turned out. Enjoy!
travlsolo2 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2019, 09:07 AM
  #19  
 
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The Kolob Canyons section of Zion in the NW corner of the park is very beautiful and much less crowded than the main section. It is not clear how much will be open in May so you could check that closer to the time of your trip
http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/kolob-canyons.htm

In Springdale I'd try to find a place to stay in easy walking distance of the shuttle that takes you to the park entrance. Quite a few hotels are also within walking distance of the park entrance itself.
https://www.springdaletown.com/320/Shuttle

If you fly into Vegas remember there is a time zone change on the way to Zion.
Vttraveler is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2019, 05:41 PM
  #20  
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Yes, I just found out about the time change, thanks vttraveler (and thanks for the links, very helpful). We hope to book airfare in the next day or so, and then I'll do lodging. Thanks for the tips about being close to the shuttle. Once we're sorted, I'll be sure to post the itinerary.

Alice
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