GC and Zion - last week of March

Nov 14th, 2008, 12:12 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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GC and Zion - last week of March

Hello,
I am planning a trip to Utah + Grand Canion trip with kids age of 15 and 8 at the very end of March ( spring break). We can fly in and out of Las Vegas or in SLC out of LV. The trip duration - ~1 week
Any opinion on theb following topics:
1. Weather: is is a good idea to go there on the last week in March? What kind of weather can we meet
2. We would like to spend a day or two in las Vegas. What would be an itinarary for the parks ( which parks and how many days. )
hiking type unfortunately.

Thanks in advance

dan
dimasmel is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 12:53 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,881
Maybe 25% chance of snow at the GC in late March, less at Zion because it's lower.

North rim of GC will be shut down at that time of yeaer (most people doing Zion and GC visit north rim), so you'll face a fairly long drive to reach the south rim, which is open year-round.
Bill_H is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 01:20 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Hi Dan---

Even if the North Rim is closed, you can make a nice trip combining Zion and the South Rim. Include an overnight stop at Page on the way, and you can do a smoothwater raft trip from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry:

http://www.raftthecanyon.com/

They start in March, although the 2009 schedule is not up yet.

Zion should be lovely then and offers great hiking. It is a 2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas. I suggest 3 nights at Zion. You could book a suite at Zion Lodge (inside the park) at www.xanterra.com, or look at lodging in the town of Springdale, just outside the park entrance.

Then drive to Page and spend a night there. There is more to see in the area, but others will have to make suggestions, as we didn't stop there.

After the raft trip, drive to Grand Canyon south rim. You can enter through the east entrance and drive the east rim drive to the main hotel area. It may be getting dark at that time of year, but if not, stop at the various viewpoints.

For lodging at the South Rim, book one of the lodges inside the park at www.grandcanyonlodges.com

Spend 2 nights there, which will give you a full day to hike and explore. The drive back to LV takes 4.5 to 5 hours; it is fun to stop at Hoover Dam for a break.

Flying into and out of LV will save you driving and probably give you a less expensive car rental.
enzian is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 06:23 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
Do you have 9 days for this trip? If so then I'd make the circle. Las Vegas, South Rim, Lake Powell, Zion, possible side trip to Bryce and back to Las Vegas.

If you only have 7 days and you want to spend a night or two in Vegas, then I think I'd be incline to just do Zion with a day trip to Bryce. We did this trip in Feb. of this year. Bryce was BEAUTIFUL covered in snow. If you spend 4 or 5 nights in Zion or just outside in Springdale, then you can watch the weather like we did and pick a sunny day to make a day trip to Bryce. The rest of the time you can hike in Zion.

On the way back to Las Vegas you can make a stop at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 07:28 PM
  #5  
 
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I would just fly in and out of Vegas. Be sure to stop at Hoover Dam and go to the bottom if you have a couple of hours. Plan this in advance to get you tickets.

Stay somewhere in Grand Canyon. My preference would be Bright Angel Cabins, but I don't think they sleep four only three, but I might be wrong. Do eat one meal at El Tovar, even if it is just breakfast or lunch. Consider a helicopter ride while at the GC, it is GREAT. You might want to do IMAX while there also. Walk a little along the rim, see the historic spots, and some of the viewing spots. Do walk a least a little ways below the rim.

On your route from GC to Zion you might want to stop at Page and do Antelope Canyon or Canyon X tour. You might also want to take a boat to Rainbow Bridge.

Then on to Zion. Two great not to strenuous hikes are Zion Overlook and Emerald Pool trails. If you are adventurous and in not terribly out of shape Do Angels Landing. Fantastic!!. Consider renting gear at Zion Adventure Company for a hike in The Narrows. This is not strenuous and is very cool thing to do. Angels Landing and The Narrows are two of the top hikes to be done in America. You can look on a lot of top 10 hikes and these two appear very often. Often a hike below the rim of GC with Bright Angel Trail or Kaibab trail would make the list as well.

Also consider Canyoneering in Zion. I haven't done it in Zion, but did in Arches and it is great as well.
Below is a link to some pictures of Zion and GC. We did Zion about in October. I have been to GC 3 times and the only pics I have online are of a raft trip. Click on view all and you'll find all the pics. there are some pics in arches of canyoneering.

If you decide to see any shows in Vegas, we find the Cirque shows to be kid friendly. any of theirs are good. We enjoy the free tour at Ethel M candy factory.

With just 7 days, I am not sure you will have time for Bryce. You may be pressed to work anything in at Page, but it is on your route and if you could fit a day in there, it would be good. Maybe cut Vegas down to just one night. I am not a Vegas person. Every time we go back, even if it is just to spend the night there, it gets more creepy to me each time. Just to much sin city for us. We do find the dining there to be good, but that is about it.

http://www.photoworks.com/members/Spirobulldog



spirobulldog is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 08:07 PM
  #6  
 
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There are many ways to do this trip. I think end of March is a good time to go; you could have some snow...or rain...or perfect hiking weather! But I'm sure you will be able to enjoy your trip no matter what the weather is like. We have gone in all types of weather and had a great time.

Definitely fly into Las Vegas!
The drive to Zion will take about 2 1/2 hours. Staying inside the park at Zion Lodge is best, but if you feel you need a tv or pool for the kids, you should stay in Springdale at one of the motels. (We always preferred the Lodge; our kids were happy there).

Our preference would be to do Zion then Bryce then Las Vegas... or Las Vegas, then Zion, then Bryce.

But if you want to include South Rim Grand Canyon (which is wonderful) keep in mind it is about a 5 hr. drive from Las Vegas in the opposite direction from Zion. You could look at one of the other itineraries suggested, but the drive from Bryce through Lake Powell then Flagstaff then So. Rim Grand Canyon is very long and kind of boring (for kids).

North Rim Grand Canyon won't open until June, so if you want to see Zion, Bryce, and North Rim Grand Canyon you would need to go in the summer months. These 3 are very easy to do together as they are not that far apart.

Spend a minimum of 2 nights in each park (we prefer 3 to 5 nights because we like to walk, hike explore) - although with Grand Canyon you may be fine with one night unless you have a major hike planned.
elnap29 is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 02:50 AM
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If you manage a night in Page, like we did I'd suggest Debbie's motel, they have 2 or 3 bedroom units and are cheap and a bit quirky. We did float trip in afternoon then lower Antelope canyon next morning. When driving from grand canyon to Vegas we enjoyed getting off the interstate to do 50 miles on historic route sixty six. Along the route are some slightly jaded towns, we stopped at Selligman which looks better in photos than reality but at least we can say we 'got our kicks' and it probably doesn't extend the journey too much. I believe the last tour of Hoover dam is 4:30 so we were too late in the day and I believe you have to book. I'd recommend at least 2 nights in most places as otherwise you spend a lot of time checking in/out and packing the car. We loved Vegas as much as the national parks in a different way - didn't have children though. In Zion we stayed in Springdale, it is so close (less than 2 miles) to the park and there was a shuttle bus to the park. In Bryce and Grand Canyon I'd recommend staying in the park as the alternative accommodation is further out and you get a great atmosphere in the parks before and after the main tourist rush.
Hilary
planning_ahead is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 08:53 AM
  #8  
 
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I was at the south rim in mid March two years ago and there was a lot of snow and ice in the parking lots and on sidewalks and trails but our rental car had no problem on the roads. We were really glad to have YakTraks to put on our boots--made traction much better than slip sliding around--especially on trails going down into the canyon. The trails were covered for about 2 miles down into the canyon. Don't let that scare you (it did me). With some sort of added traction on your boots, you will feel secure and the snow actually makes the trail easier to walk since it evens out the trail. The Yak Traks only cost around $20.

I'm sure every year is different as far as weather goes.
Connie is offline  
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