Driving a RV in Utah National Parks

May 7th, 2009, 07:09 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 31
Driving a RV in Utah National Parks

My husband and I will be in Utah for 6 days in late May. We plan to fly into SLC and pick up an RV which we will return in same location at the end of our trip. We are planning to visit the national parks in south Utah - Zion, Bryce Canyon, Rainbow Bridge, Hovenweep?? (not decided), Natural Bridges, Glen Canyon, Canyonlands and Arches - or as many as we can within the time. Are these national parks RV-friendly? Are there areas worth-seeing where RV is not allowed? when we visited Glacier National Park in MT, RVs were not sllowed inside the NP and hence the concern. Should we rent bicycles to use with RV or should be cancel the RV idea?

Would really appreciate your advice. Thanks!
tripaholic is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I did see RVs at Zion, camping sites were at edge of park. however there was one area involving a narrow tunnel where I saw RVs pulled over to wait their turn to go thru...
In summer Zion has a shuttle that takes you into park and has several stops..
You should check out the availability of RV site in parks..Memorial Day weekend is 23 rd &24th will be VERY crowded...
traveler24 is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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I am not aware of any restrictions on RV's in Utah parks that do not apply to other vehicles. Traveler24 mentioned the two I would have. You should be aware there is an extra charge for taking an RV through the Zion tunnel to get from one side of the park to the other. In addition, during the season, no vehicles except shuttles and lodge guests are allowed on the Zion Canyon road up toward the lodge.

If you get as far south as Hoover Dam, RV's are subject to secondary inspections by law enforcement. Because of heightened security levels since 9-11, all vehicles have to go through inspection checkpoints before they cross the dam. Large vehicles, including RV's are directed into secondary inspection lanes where they are subject to greater scrutiny because of the risk large vehicles can carry explosives in an amount sufficient to do damage to the dam.
dwooddon is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 10:34 AM
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thanks for your responses. We do not plan on visiting Hoover Dam - been there before. I had no cle about Zion tunnel, will check with NPS. I don't think we will have time to do all the parks. How would you rate the parks? which are the must-see ones of these? - Zion, Bryce Canyon, Rainbow Bridge, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, Glen Canyon, Canyonlands and Arches
tripaholic is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 12:18 PM
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6 days??? I don't think you can do all that you've mentioned unless it is just a driveby without getting out of the RV. I think you need to spend some time on Mapquest.com looking at mileage and drive times and trim your itinerary.
peterboy is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 12:20 PM
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Sorry, missed your last post. I think you should consider Arches, Islands in the Sky (Canyonlands District) then Scenic highway 12 to Bryce and Zion. Even that is pushing it in 6 days IMO.
peterboy is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 12:55 PM
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> How would you rate the parks?
> which are the must-see ones of these?

Since you are starting from SLC and have only six days, you must decide whether to go east on I-70 to Arches/Canyonlands or southwest on I-15 to Bryce/Zion. People periodically ask which pair is a better choice, and (having been to all four, twice apiece) I can only guarantee that EITHER choice will be a good one.

All four NPs are fairly RV friendly EXCEPT (as noted above) if you want to go through the Zion Tunnel to get between Zion and Bryce. Here's info on the $15 fee required for RVs to get through this:

PaulRabe is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 01:36 PM
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I was unaware that Glacier National Park no longer allowed RV's in the park. For a long time they have had a size restriction on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and one other non major road. http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisi...strictions.htm

We've been RVing in this area for the last 30 years and if you stay on the paved highways you will be able to go into all the major areas of the parks you mentioned. There are plenty of dirt roads in these parks, but you aren't really going to have time to explore these with your limited time.

With only 6 days and all 1200 miles between all these areas you will be very hard pressed to visit all of the parks you mentioned and have time to do more than just get a quick glance with or without the RV. The RV is going to make finding parking at turn outs harder. It will also be a slower drive but then you can stop and make breakfast, lunch or dinner at some of the most amazing scenic views.

The tunnel in Zion cost $15.00 for a tunnel escort. That fee is good for two escorts within a weeks time. (In and Out) http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisi...mel-tunnel.htm During the summer the Zion canyon road is closed to all traffic except those staying in the Lodge. Everyone else has to use the free shuttles. http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisi...tle-system.htm

There are two campgrounds in Zion. http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisi...ds-in-zion.htm South is first come first, serve and will fill up quickly. No hook ups there. Watchman campground takes reservations and has electrical hook ups. I highly recommend staying at Watchman and making reservations because of the heat and limited generator hours at South Campground.

Bryce also has two campgrounds. North Campground takes reservations and Sunset Campground doesn't. You will need to be there before noon to get a campsite at Sunset. There is a private campground just outside the park called Ruby's Inn and Campground with full hook ups and you can also catch the free Bryce shuttle from Ruby's campground. This is important because finding parking or an RV at the turn outs is very hard to come by.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument can only easily be seen from the 1/2 day or all day boat tour on Lake Powell from Page, AZ area. They use to do a tour from BullFrog but I don't see that being offered anymore. If you stay at Page, AZ you will want to make reservations at the Wahweap RV park with electrical hook ups because this place is HOT in the summer.

Hoovenweep has a nice first come first serve campground but watch out for the nats...they will eat you alive!

It's been a long time since we camped at Natural Bridges, but there is a campground there.

If you want to camp in Arches you will need to make reservations because this is a very small and desired campground.

The Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands has a campground but no water so go prepared. It's a small campground and can fill up fast. Nearby is Dead Horse State park with a campground, but we've never camped there.

The Needles District of Canyonlands also has a small campground and again you need to be there very early in the day to get a site. There is a campground near Newspaper Rock State park as you go in, but we've never stayed there.

utahtea is offline  
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