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GC, Petrified forest, Bryce canyon, Zion with small kids

GC, Petrified forest, Bryce canyon, Zion with small kids

Old Oct 6th, 2020, 04:56 PM
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GC, Petrified forest, Bryce canyon, Zion with small kids

Hi everyone!
We are planning a trip and even though my husband and I are pretty adventurous, this time we are travelling with two small kids (1.5 year old, 4 year old). Help me decide on the itinerary. We are leaving in 2 days!!

Day 1:
Drive from Barstow ->GC with a stop in Moabi regional park (kids need to stretch and run around)
Day 2:
GC
Day 3:
This is very it gets hard:
option 1: GC-> meteor crater -> horseshoe band -> Page
option 2: GC ->meteor crater -> Petrified forest NP -> horseshoe band -> Page
option 3: GC -> horseshoe band -> Page
option 4: GC -> horseshoe band -> Bryce canyon
if we end up spending a night in Page, but are too tired, we could do Horseshoe bend in the morning of the next day.
Day 4:
if we are in Page:
option 1: Page -> Bryce Canyon
or skip Bryce canyon all together?
option 2: Page -> Zion
if we are in Bryce canyon
option 3: Bryce canyon -> Zion
Day 5:
Stay in Zion another night if we are there, or drive from Bryce and stay another night
Day 6: Zion ->Vegas -> Barstow

What do you guys recommend? I don't know if it makes sense to drive to Petrified Forest, but if we go to Meteor Crater we will be so close?? Also, is it even worth visiting Meteor crater? Maybe it's better to just drive up north from GC, and if so, does it make sense to stay in Page 1 night? We could probably drive to Bryce.. We are not too pressed on time, but we have 2 things to consider:
1. Kids DO NOT LIKE CAR RIDES lol so we are preparing for crying and a lot of entertaining
2. Kids might be tired and do not do well on long hikes. So for example even though I would want to do longer hikes like Narrows, we simply can't do anything like that with small kids. We are looking to do small hikes <1.5 miles or so. Any suggestions?

Thank you for all your input! I booked 2 nights in GC, but the rest of the trip is not set in stone yet.
katerynaalkorn3536 is offline  
Old Oct 6th, 2020, 06:37 PM
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Will this be in the winter and is this a trip for you adults to take to see interesting places with the little ones along for company? Or are you planning on Meteor crrater is not really a place that would grab the interest of a little kid and petrified Forrest would be a bit disappointing too since there are no trees standing up which I would expect a 4 yo to look for. Sounds like a lot of driving with not much fun for the kids.

You might look the place in Kanab between Page and Bryce that has a name something like special friends animals that has lodging and does animal rescue that would be a fun stop.
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Old Oct 6th, 2020, 06:59 PM
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Thank you for replying oldemalloy!

This trip is mostly for me and my husband, but we would like to make it as much fun for kids as we can. We do many activities with kids at home in California, we go camping/hiking almost every week, so it is okay if they "suffer" a little bit in terms of driving. Thank you for suggestion on animal rescue, I will look into it. I was debating between Coconino National Forest and Meteor Crater for a stop on the way to Page since kids would want to stretch and walk around anyways and that seemed like a fun place. I included Petrified Forest as a potential stop since I want to visit all National Parks (personal goal) and it seemed close to Meteor crater.
So you suggest we skip Petrified forest and Meteor crater all together and drive straight to Bryce canyon (stopping at Horseshoe band)?
We are leaving this Friday!
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Old Oct 7th, 2020, 03:50 AM
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I think the place inKanab is called Best Friends Animal rescue.

If you want to do Meteor Ceator and Petrified Forest on this trip you Would need an extra day. From G C you would go East on 64, south on 89 then East on 70 for them then retrace to go north on 89 to Page. The scenery on this route is not special but from Page on 89a towards Bryce it is spectacular.




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Old Oct 7th, 2020, 10:56 AM
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64 is closed due to Covid, so we would have to go through Flagstaff to go to Page ..
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Old Oct 7th, 2020, 12:59 PM
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We've made a few trips to the Meteor Crater and to the Petrified Forest. Each time, it was a day trip from Sedona. A long day. The Petrified Forest really doesn't look like much until or unless you take the time to stop, listen to a ranger talk or two, and learn how to view what you are seeing. The Crater has some exhibits and a talk also, and honestly I find it fascinating. I fear that your children will be less than enthused about either one, though, and that long drive is exhausting. Just my two cents.
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Old Oct 7th, 2020, 01:50 PM
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The animal sanctuary is called Best Friends and is a no kill shelter. Be prepared to say NO often and firmly unless you want a new fur friend. There is also a Best Friends shelter in Mission Hills, CA which may be an option for you.
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Old Oct 7th, 2020, 02:29 PM
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I think we might skip that part all together and just drive to Bryce canyon or Page... thanks for the input!
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Old Oct 7th, 2020, 04:12 PM
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I would skip the petrified forest. All the trees are down. This is the best I could do when we drove through it:


Antelope canyon would be more interesting, but pricey:


Last edited by Michael; Oct 7th, 2020 at 04:15 PM.
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Old Oct 7th, 2020, 04:35 PM
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Unfortunately Antelope Canyon is now closed, otherwise we would have definitely done that!
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Old Oct 7th, 2020, 08:13 PM
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The GC/Bryce/Zion loop is really common. If you click on my user name, you will see my trip reports--with kids--for Page, Bryce, and Zion. (For Zion--I have reports for kids and teens.) For GC,Zion, and Bryce--check out the www.nps.gov websites. YOu will find the park newsletter for the season. Check out when there will be ranger talks. They also list hikes that are easy and give you the mileage.

For small kiddos--
1. One day on the south rim of GC is probably enough.
2. From GC to Bryce (because you want to go there first, then Zion)--drive from GC to Kanab via Marble Canyon/Jacobs Lake. Stop at the Navajo Bridge near Marble Canyon--you can see California Condors there. You drive along the Vermillion Cliffs--gorgeous!!! And then stay the night in Kanab. Eat at the Rocking V. Absolutely tour Best Friends Animal refuge--it is awesome!!! and you do it by van. My kids Looooooved it. If you click on my user name you will see a trip report for Kanab. We went to Best Friends and even Pipe Springs National Monument but that's a bit out of your way.
3. Then go to Bryce. Stay at Ruby's Inn or the Best Western there. I am hoping you have reservations at Bryce and Zion--if not, get them NOW!!!!!! Check my trip report for good, easy hikes with kids. Bristlecone Loop Trail is great.
4. For Zion--stay in Springdale. Either the Dessert Pearl Inn or the Cable Mountain Lodge. Big rooms, pools, plenty of lawn for the kids to play. Do the Emerald Pools trail and the Riverside Walk.

It will all go much better if you tailor this vacation to the kids vs. the adults. My husband and I take an adults only vacation each year. All of the other vacations, road trips, or whatever we do is focused on what the kids want to do and we have a GREAT time. Do you have a child backpack/carrier for the 1.5 year old? Bring it!! Also--bring whatever bribes you need for hiking. I have hiked many a trail with a ziploc bag of M&Ms dangling behind me--"10 more steps and another candy"! Pack a cooler with all the snacks possible in the world. Make sure you have a fridge and microwave in your hotel room. (might not have that at GC, but you can at the other places) Make sure you check out the visitors center for each park and the kids section of the stores there--really cool books!!!! And nature guides. I have gotten more use out of "Who Pooped on the Colorado Plateau" than you can imagine!! You really can make it fun!!! Good luck!!
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Old Oct 8th, 2020, 06:19 AM
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Great advice from StantonHyde. I especially endorse Best Friends. We just happened upon it, and it was amazing. The gorgeous natural rock landscape, natural hollows in the cliffs are utilized for the animals too. Stop at the gift shop; you can contribute and bring home a souvenir at the same time. I never was pressured to adopt. I think your kids will find it memorable.
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