Grand Canyon and Utah parks, from Las Vegas

Jul 31st, 2007, 11:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 307
Grand Canyon and Utah parks, from Las Vegas

We're thinking about an 8-day trip in early October, flying into and out of Las Vegas, with a circuit that includes at a minimum the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and some of the Utah national parks.

Looking at a map, and recalling all the places in that area I've wanted to see, additional stops could include Antelope Canyon (Lake Powell), Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Canyonlands NP, Arches NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, and Zion NP.

Obviously, doing all of those is too exhausting for an 8-day trip, even with no overnights in Vegas. Could any of you itinterary junkies take a stab at it? For what it's worth, we like relatively short hikes (max of 3 miles or so).

Here's what I have worked up so far... one in "frantic mode" and the other a bit more relaxed:

Day 1. Arrive Las Vegas on a 10:30 a.m. flight; drive to Grand Canyon South Rim. Overnight at the Park.

Day 2: Late afternoon drive Monument Valley (Goulding).

Day 3. Early a.m. picture-taking at Monument Valley, then drive to Canyon de Chelly, then up to Moab, arriving in the evening. (!)

Days 4 - 7. As much as possible of Canyonlands NP, Arches NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, and/or Zion NP. (Overnights up in the air.)

Day 8: Drive to Vegas for afternoon flight home.


Day 1. Overnight in Vegas, and bask in the decadence.

Days 2 and 3. Morning drive to Grand Canyon South Rim. 2 nights in the Park

Day 4. Morning drive to Lake Powell. Stay overnight.

Days 5, 6, and 7. Divided between Bryce NP and Zion NP.

Day 8: Drive to Vegas for afternoon flight home
BaltoTraveler is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 11:51 AM
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How about flying into Las Vegas and flying home from Salt Lake City?
tracys2cents is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 11:54 AM
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If you've never been to the area then I'd suggest going with the second plan so you can do some hiking/walking rather than driving/driving. Of course I'm one of those who detests Lake Powell so, I'd trade that night to have two each in Bryce and Zion. Make sure you hike into Bryce to really appreciate it otherwise a day is plenty of time to view from the rim.

If you enjoy your trip, you can plan another coming into Moab from Denver to see what you'll miss this time.
peterboy is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Hi Baltotraveler,

There are several great trip reports here with similar itineraries. Here's a recent one from a Spanish visitor:

Even though the search function is awful, you could try doing a search putting Bryce or Zion in the title.

I'll try to find more and top them for you.

lvk is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Plan one is way to much to do in 8 days. I'd vote for plan 2. I'm one of those that love Lake Powell and if you spend the night, you might be able to squeeze in a boat tour on the lake or the 1/2 day float trip on the Colorado River.

Early October is a great time to visit this area.

utahtea is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:34 PM
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For what it's worth, I"m doing a similar trip in September, but I'm definitely skipping the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and instead going to the North Rim. This cuts down your driving considerably if you will consider it. You could start in Zion, go to North Rim, then go up to one of the other parks and back through Zion on your way to LV.

I know you say that the South Rim is non-negotiable, but you'd save yourself over a full day of driving by doing the North Rim, which is open until mid-October.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:35 PM
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Sorry .. I meant on the way back you could go through Bryce on the way back to LV.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 04:10 PM
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Las Vegas, S. Rim, Lake Powell, Bryce, Zion and back to Las Vegas is 820 miles approx. 16 hours drive time.

Las Vegas, N. Rim, Bryce, Zion, Las Vegas is 675 miles but the driving time will only be about an hour less because the road in and out of the North Rim is a much slower drive and if you get stuck behind a could be just as long a drive...if not longer. Now this route did not include Lake Powell, which they also wanted to visit. If you include Lake Powell then they are looking at 730 miles 17 hours of driving time.

We were at the S. Rim the first week of October a couple of years ago. The weather was warm (not hot) and there were no crowds at all.

utahtea is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 04:13 PM
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Oh..and I forgot, if go to the N. Rim they will be doing a lot of driving on the same stretch of road where the S. Rim will have them making a circle.

utahtea is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 06:29 PM
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We just got back from Las Vegas and spend the last two days driving to 1) Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada), then to 2)North Rim of Grand Canyon, then 3) Zion Canyon National Park. Other posters here have said they liked Zion better than Grand Canyon, and our family liked Zion the best. We plan to do another trip in a few years and spend most of the time in the parks.
JoyinVirginia is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 02:57 AM
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Places like Bryce and GC could be amazing or a waste of good time. You can read my detailed report and view photos of my June 2007 visit.

I visited both and in retrospect I should have stayed in GC South Rim for 2-3 more hours and hiked down for an hour. I arrived about 5PM from the East and saw the viewpoints with the sun facing me. I saw the sunset from Hopi Point and the sunrise from right near my Bright Angel room along the rim.

My original plan was to skip GC and I only added it to break up a long day of driving. I guess I got distracted and really only viewed it from above.

Consequently, GC is rated well to the bottom of all the sights I visited. It looked like a big soup bowl with a little "stream". I'm sure the Colorado River isn't a little stream from lower down.

Conversely, I spent 2 days in Bryce Canyon and the place is amazing. I met some people from Belgium who've been there 3 times over the years.

After my trip I reviewed what I did and what I would have done differently. Of course some things you only know after.

Seeing Bryce from the viewpoints only is doing yourself a disservice. On my first day I hiked Navajo Loop (not a loop for now) and Queen's Garden. On my second day I did the same thing but put the Peek-A-Boo trail in between. I also added the closed side of navajo Loop from above and then from below.

At Zion, I skipped Angel's Landing because I only do "easy". I probably should have gone part way until I felt uneasy.

I still managed the Canyon Overlook, all 3 Emerald Pools and the Riverside walk twice; once in the late afternoon and the next morning with the sun coming from the other direction.

Visiting a place just to say you've been there may impress people but you will have missed a lot.

If you pass Page, I wouldn't even bother going into the town. You can see Horseshoe Bend (app 1 hour) and Antelope Canyon (2 hours) and they're both spectacular. You have to time it for mid-day when the sun is high in the sky.
Myer is offline  

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