Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce

Jan 12th, 2010, 05:14 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 9
Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce

We are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce the end of June beginning of July. We are flying to Las Vegas, crossing the Hoover Dam and then up to the Grand Canyon for 2 nights. We already have reservations there at Bright Angel Lodge. We need some advice about Zion and Bryce. Anybody ever stayed at Zion Ponderosa? They claim that is only 1.5 hours from Bryce and located right outside of the eastern entrance to Zion. Or should be stay in Springdale for 2 nights and head up to Bryce for 1 or 2 nights and stay in Bryce?

the5gs is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I think your idea of staying in Springdale for Zion then going to Bryce is best. There's a tunnel between the east entrance and the south (Springdale) entrance to Zion and it can become one-way if there's an RV that needs to get through. Also, if I recall correctly, that road is rather curvy so it takes longer than the distance would make you think.

I also wouldn't want to face an 1.5 drive to Bryce. Part of the Bryce experience is to be there for sunrise and sunset. It would be difficult to do them facing a drive of any time/distance either before or after or both.

We always stay inside the Park we're visiting, or as close outside as we can get, to maximize the time we get to spend inside the Park. Often that's the only easy way to see sunrise, sunset, animals, or whatever the attraction is for that particular Park. You have the added bonus of being or getting into the Park ahead of the day-trippers and tours.

I'm sure others who know that area better will offer more advice. Have a great trip.
Floridafran is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 64
I am also in the planning stages for a Grand Canyon North Rim, Bryce and Zion trip for summer 2010. We just made reservations today at the Bryce Canyon Lodge (forever resorts just opened up their 2010 reservations so should not have much trouble getting in there), this is in-park lodging. For Zion we are staying at Cable Mountain Lodge in Springdale, had a hard time deciding between it and Desert Pearl and ultimately having a separate bedroom won us over.

Good luck but I would think that it would be better to split your nights between the 2 parks...
EBZ is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 02:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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There are two things about Bryce Canyon; being at Bryce Point for sunrise (the obeservation deck kind of hangs over into the canyon so get dress warm even in mid-summer - could be windy) and at least doing a mild hike such as Navajo Loop down (starts at Sunset Point) and Queens Garden back up (unrise Point).

The in-park lodging at Bryce is all about 50 yards from the rim and midway between Sunrise and Sunset Points.

All you do is walk to the rim and turn right for a few minutes and you're at Sunset Point.

As the others have said, nothing like in-park lodging. Springdale is a very close alternative for Zion.
Myer is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Zion Ponderosa is a nice place, it's in a pretty location and they've got some fun activities for kids.

In my experience (I'm in the tourism industry), the answer to the Springdale (West) vs. Zion Ponderosa (East) question usually boils down to where Zion falls in your tour schedule: is it the first or one of the "middle" stops on your tour? Or is it the final stop on your trip before heading back to Las Vegas?

If the answer is "a", then by all means try Zion Ponderosa IF you're unable to get lodging inside the park (in-park is always best if you can manage it). If the answer is "b" (last stop), then I tend to recommend Springdale simply because it puts you closer to Las Vegas without having to go through Zion, which can get quite congested in the summertime.

A couple more things: consider including Lake Powell in your itinerary. You'll be passing through there anyway on your way from Grand Canyon South Rim (I assume you're going to the South Rim since you're crossing Hoover Dam) to Bryce and Zion, and there are a lot of fun things to do there, such as boating on the Lake, rafting on the Colorado, 4x4 tours to local slot canyons, just to name a few. It takes ~2.5 hours to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, then from Page, Bryce is another ~3 hours, Zion is ~2 hours.

Whatever you do, don't forget to get an America the Beautiful Federal Lands Access Pass. For $80, this card will get you into all the National Parks and Monuments in the country for one year's time, so on the trip you're proposing to take, it'll pay for itself. You can pre-order it online at or just purchase it at the first National Park Service entrance station you come to.

Good luck in your choices - let us know how your plans come along.
K_Bot is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 03:18 PM
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Thanks for all the great info. I am trying to get reservations inside Bryce and if we do, then we won't be staying at the Ponderosa.

I'll let you know what our final choices are. It is so hard - too many of them!!!
the5gs is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I on the other hand always think that staying either in Zion or Springdale is the best choice, even if you want to take a day trip to Bryce. Of course, staying at both locations is the best way to do it. Springdale is right at the gate of Zion and you have the most incrediable scenery from town, you can ride the free shuttle buses in Springdale to Zion and not have to worry about finding a parking spot. You don't have to worry about going though the tunnel back and forth and getting stuck waiting at the tunnel because of an RV escort thought the tunnel.

utahtea is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 212
According to the Park Service ( ):
"Major roadwork will occur on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway in the spring of 2010. Expect delays and temporary closures. Details will be posted on this website when they are available."

They don't specify an end date. If it's still going on in June, that's another reason to keep commutes between the two parks at a minimum.
lgott is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 11:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Igott, thanks for the heads up. I knew it was coming but we didn't make it to Zion this year so I forgot about it. There are several different routes between Zion and Bryce. The tunnel is only a little over 2 hour drive between Zion and Bryce. The next two routes are 3 1/2 hours. Those are going back to I-15 and cutting across on either Hwy 14 or Hwy 20. The third detour is 161 miles and over 4 hours going Hurricane and then Hwy 59 to Fredona and up Hwy 89.

utahtea is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 08:06 AM
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I read about the road work and I am hoping that it will be done by the end of June!

I think that we have finalized our plans for Zion and Bryce. We are staying at the Desert Pearl outside Zion and Ruby's Best Western for Bryce. We are staying 2 nights each. The kids are looking forward to Bryce because we are going to the Rodeo and do some horseback riding.

Thanks for all the great information! I'll let you know how it went when we get back!!
the5gs is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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I would love to hear more about the rodeo?
EBZ is offline  

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