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Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks Trip Report

Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks Trip Report

Jun 19th, 2006, 07:28 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 17
Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks Trip Report

My wife and I had the privilege to take our six and seven year old sons to see the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks from June 8, 2006 to June 17, 2006.

Grand Canyon
We flew into Las Vegas and drove to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We spent three nights in the Thunderbird Lodge. The room was clean and in good condition. Parking was an adventure – we didn’t see an open parking spot north of the railroad the entire time we were there. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of wildlife we saw. We had multiple sightings of ravens, squirrels, lizards, deer, and condors as well as single sightings of elk and humming birds. We were more than willing to trade the parking inconveniences for the ability to walk three minutes from our room to the rim to watch condors flying. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery on Desert View Drive, but were inundated with bugs at the Watch Tower. We went on the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh-Aah Point. We also viewed the nice scenery along the Hermit’s Rest Route. We hiked the Bright Angel Trail to the 1.5 Mile Resthouse. We enjoyed both hikes into the canyon and agreed with those that told us that you need to go into the canyon to get an appreciation for its magnitude. You’ll need to take plenty of water and be prepared to hold a hand of any young children. Two full days at the canyon allowed us to take care of the things we wanted to see and do. The deli at the general store had reasonably priced food. The ranger talk on condors was informative.

Page Arizona
We broke up the drive to Bryce Canyon by stopping in Page Arizona. We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott which had comfortable rooms and a nice pool. We really enjoyed the half-day float trip. The half-day trip was the right length for us. My wife and I could have spent some time walking around some trails and exploring Lake Powell, but the boys were ready for the pool.

Bryce Canyon
Next, we spent two nights in a cabin at the Bryce Canyon Lodge. The furnishings were very basic, but the boys loved the idea of being in a cabin. We ate quick evening meals at the Ruby’s Inn cafeteria. We hiked the Rim Trail from Inspiration Point to Sunrise Point. The Mossy Cave and Bristlecone Pine Loop hikes were easy and showed us a variety of scenery. The drive to Rainbow Point and the scenic stops are worth the trip. The Navajo Loop / Queen’s Garden hike should be a part of everyone’s itinerary. Half of the Navajo loop was closed due to a land slide. We were again pleasantly surprised with the amount of wildlife we were able to see. Based on a ranger’s recommendation, we went on a sunset drive out of the park on to 22 and turned left down a very long deserted unpaved Tom Best Spring Road. Our efforts were rewarded with three close encounters with pronghorns. We attended the ranger talk on geology, but it did not hold the boy’s attention. The ranger talk on the dark was a winner.

Zion
We spent the next two nights at the Desert Pearl Inn. It was a very nice hotel conveniently located near the park entrance and Visitor’s Center. The boy’s loved the pool. We ate one meal at the Pioneer which had some good vegetables that the adults were seeking. We started with the Pa’rus Trail hike in the middle of the day. If we had to do it again, we would have gone on the Watchman Trail. The Pa’rus Trail seems better suited for an early evening bike ride. We recommend the Canyon Overlook Trail, but you’ll need to hold on tight to your young child’s hand. The Riverside Walk was a great hike to start the morning. We saw an elk and some deer. The Weeping Rock Trail was interesting too. Signs about people dieing on the Middle Emerald Pool Trail kept us on the Lower Emerald Pool Trail. The trail was nice, but the pool was a little anticlimactic. We would highly recommend exiting along the Kayenta Trail for some wonderful views rather than doubling back on the Lower Emerald Pool Trail. The ranger talk on Coyotes was very informative and held the boy’s attention. The film at the museum is very well done. The temperatures were reasonable while we were there, but prior to our arrival they were over 100 degrees. We were glad we didn’t plan our trip after mid-June.
ncsu83 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2006, 02:45 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 949
Lucky you! We took a similar trip in '04 with our then 8 and 10 year olds and it holds special memories. Thanks for taking the time to share your trip report. Trail information will be especially helpful to other families.

We're now off to Yosemite and Sequoia in August--continuing our quest to share our children America's natural beauty.
ccrosner is offline  
Jun 20th, 2006, 05:17 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 227
NCSU - great report. My DH and I did almorst the same trip from June 9th to the 17th. We stayed at both the Thunderbird and the Desert Pearl. We were probably at the same place at the same time.

We loved it all and want to go back. The only thing that we missed was a trip to Bryce. We stayed at Lake Powell for two nights and rented a boat for the entire day instead.

Need to get back out there for Bryce and Moab.
KarenL is offline  
Jun 20th, 2006, 05:56 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,254
Hello ncsu83 - thanks for the nice report. Bryce is one of my favorite parks. It's so unusual, and the colors...well, they're breathtaking!

Interesting about the landslide at Navajo Loop. It's easy to see how that could happen. After all, those hoodoos had to be formed somehow.

What a treat for you to see all the wildlife, especially the pronghorns!

I hear ya on the veggies.
kopp is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2006, 01:56 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 16
Hi ncsu83, thanks for your report!
ncsu83 and KarenL, can you share the condition of the waterflow of the Virgin River when you were on the Riverside walk? I heard it is going a lot slower than last year. I hope I can do the Narrows.
kkclub is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 05:49 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 16
For everybody's information, I called the visitor information, and they said the water flow is low this year.
kkclub is offline  

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