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Bryce or Zion?

Old Jun 24th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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Bryce or Zion?

My wife and I (active hikers) are going to spend three days in mid-september in Southern Utah. Having never been to this part of the world, which national park would you choose to hike and best experience the desert southwest?
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 10:28 AM
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Wow there is a tough question!

So different: In Zion you stay at the bottom of the canyon. At Bryce you are at the rim. Bryce is 8K feet or so and Zion is 4K. Zion IMHO has more variety of hikes and would be my preference. Plus for me the altitude matters.

All that being said, in that area I would probably opt for the Grand Canyon. In 3 days you can hike from the N. Rim to the S. Rim. Logistics of transportation may prevent this. While that is not on your list, if I had 3 days to devote to hiking...I would hike the GC from the North Rim. Narrowing it down to your specific question, I would do Zion without question.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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I visited both Bryce and Zion a few weeks ago. Bryce impressed me the most because it was so unusual, unlike anything I'd ever seen. Zion reminded me a lot of Yosemite N.P. Hiking into the Narrows was the highlight of Zion for me. Maybe you could spend one night at Bryce and two nights at Zion... they're only a couple hours apart.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for the input. We are looking to do day hikes only--does that change your mind? I had not really thought about the Grand Canyon, I guess we thought it to be more touristy than we like. Besides, I am under the impression there is more diversity of topography in an area like Bryce or Zion.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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I agree with Idnas77 - do one night in Bryce and two nights in Zion. They are so different I can't say which was nicer.
The Queen's Garden/Navaho Loop hike into Bryce Canyon is about 8 miles and will give you a good feel for Bryce. With 2 nights in Zion you could hike to Angel's Landing and walk the Narrows. The parks are close together.
I thought these were great hiking parks. I was on a hiking trip last year mid-Sept and the weather was great. If you can get a reservation at the park lodge in Byrce take it. The stars are so wonderful at night.
My trip also included the Grand Canyon North Rim which was my least favorite of the three.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 11:46 AM
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I believe the Queens Garden/Navajo Loop at Bryce is more like 3 miles. Maybe that was just a typo by detraveler. That's the one and only hike I did at Bryce and it was very memorable. Especially enjoyed the Wall Street section of the trail.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 11:53 AM
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If it were me, I'd do 2 nights at Zion, 1 at Bryce. Zion is much bigger and has a lot more trails. It's also a lot warmer and more verdant. Bryce is on the high plains, and the top is in a pine forest -it has a totally different feel. The rock formations are very otherworldly, and hiking down to the bottom and back up can be done in a few hours. The Grand Canyon is somewhat similar to Bryce, but on a much, much grander scale. Hiking down into the canyon is truly spectacular. Sure it's touristy along the rim, but it gets pretty remote once you start down. However, with only 3 days I'd save the GC for another trip.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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OK if you are able to split your time, then I agree with the other folks that 2 days at Zion and 1 at Bryce would be ideal.

I still think you could do the Rim to Rim hike in GC, spending 1 night at Phantom and being done in 2 days if that was of interest.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 08:18 PM
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I agree with the others. Two days at Zion and one at Bryce, just so you can see the difference. If you don't want to change lodging, then spend all three nights at Zion and make a day trip to Bryce, it's only 86 miles away.

September should be great weatherwise!

Utahtea
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 08:33 PM
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1 day at Bryce. 2 at Zion. For some great hiking tips, click on my name. I entered some links to good hikes at each of these parks for a non-hiker awhile back. The links will take you to the National Parks web site.

And, the thread had a good discussion of what to do at the parks, although the conversation was slanted to non-hikers.

Best hike we did at Zion was out in the sticks with a good topo map and compass. We hunted for dinosaur tracks and found them. It was quite fine. Took all day (Lots of downhill, then along a creek... and, you guessed it lots of uphill at days end.) We were away from it all and everyone else. Have a splendid time!

- Sharon
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