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Help me plan a family trip to southern Utah / Grand Canyon in June '13

Help me plan a family trip to southern Utah / Grand Canyon in June '13

Jan 6th, 2013, 06:27 PM
  #21  
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Join Date: May 2006
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I've taken your feedback, we've added a day to the trip, and I've come up with the following proposed itinerary:

Day 1: Fly into Las Vegas, drive to St. George
Day 2: St. George to North Rim (We will skip Zion on this trip. I already have a reservation at the North Rim - Western Cabins)
Day 3: North Rim to Bryce via Antelope Canyon (This is probably the longest day of the trip. Is it feasible?)
Day 4: Bryce to Torrey (UT-12, Goblin Valley, Little Wildhorse)
Day 5: Torrey to Moab (UT-24, Capitol Reef, Calf Creek Falls)
Day 6: Moab (Arches)
Day 7: Moab to Monument Valley (stay in Kayenta or ?)
Day 8: Monument Valley to South Rim
Day 9: South Rim
Day 10: South Rim to Las Vegas, stop at Hoover Dam
Day 11: Fly home

We will not have a day in Bryce so I'm hoping we can see the sunset there on Day 3 and do a short hike the morning of Day 4 before heading north.

Comments and suggestions welcome!
hausfrau is offline  
Jan 6th, 2013, 09:56 PM
  #22  
 
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You really aren't going to be spending any time at Bryce.

Day 6 and Day 5 you need to reverse. Bryce to Torrey is where Calf Creek Falls are located. Do you really want to do that long of a hike? Torrey to Moab is where Little WH and GV is at.

Day 7 stay at The View(which is in MV) or Valley of the Gods B&B

What time is your plane scheduled to arrive in Vegas on Day 1?
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 03:13 AM
  #23  
 
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Might be thinking the same thing Spirob is: If you arrive early enough in Vegas - St. George is what - about two plus hours - so you might consider pushing on a bit more toward the North Rim? http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisi...ions_n_rim.htm

Perhaps to Kanab or Jacob Lake, and while I/we never stayed there - there are a number of possibilities in Kanab: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g5...ah-Hotels.html

And from Kayenta (which has the most reasonably priced lodging but Mexican Hat on the north side of MV might have some) - you could take an hour and a half "diversion" on the way to the South Rim to visit the Navajo National Monument/Cliff Dwellers (it's a 10 mile drive - north - from the main road - 160 - see pics: http://tinyurl.com/b5whmuu, )
, and once back on the main road/160 - it's about two hours on to the South Rim.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 03:19 AM
  #24  
 
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Here is one map that shows the routes: http://tinyurl.com/bkjb23h
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Jan 7th, 2013, 03:31 AM
  #25  
 
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And here is my favorite Burger King (and I am not really a regular at the King) - in Kayenta - http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2901 which has an exhibit dedicated to the very brave Navajo Code Talkers - which was made into a movie with Nicholas Cage: Wind Talkers. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245562/

These Navajos made a huge contribution to the Marines fighting in the Pacific in WWII - and yet they couldn't talk about it for almost 30 years (was "classified" ) - so nobody knew how they heroically served in the war - they couldn't get Govt jobs, etc. Just a shame.

When driving across the Navajo reservation in northern New Mexico/Arizona- (with my teen age niece in the front seat) - we listened to a local radio station - which broadcast in the native/Navajo tongue - and one can appreciate it would be a tough language to "crack".

But we "cracked up" when all of a sudden - in the middle of this broadcast - which again - we could not understand - came the term: "Parking Lot". Guess there weren't any words in the traditional Navajo language for the term - Parking Lot - where apparently - they were having some sort of gathering. .
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Jan 7th, 2013, 06:46 AM
  #26  
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spiro thanks for the corrections - I was typing this up quickly and didn't have my maps handy. That portion of the trip is the part I'm least familiar with. I listed Calf Creek Falls as a possibility but hadn't researched it yet. If it's too long we won't be doing it.

I will definitely try to get reservations at The View. It looks incredible!

We don't have plane tickets yet but we will probably get into Las Vegas in the early afternoon. We will be meeting up with my in-laws (coming from CA) and picking up our car. By that point, after traveling with the kids from Detroit, 2 more hours in the car is probably about as much as we all can handle. We also want to be able to enjoy the drive through the Zion area even though we won't be stopping there.

Tomsd, we are definitely interested in seeing the cliff dwellers, especially since we won't be getting to Mesa Verde on this trip. I know about the Navajo Code Talkers and I'm sure my family would be interested in that exhibit. Thanks for the suggestions!
hausfrau is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 07:01 AM
  #27  
 
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Goblin Valley is ENE of Torrey off Rt. 24.
The petroglyphs next to Rt. 24 are worth a stop in Capitol Reef.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 07:43 AM
  #28  
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Thanks tomfuller! Will check out the petroglyphs.

spiro - regarding not having much time in Bryce: I think we will have time to "do" Bryce on Day 4 because the drive to Torrey is not too long and I think that is mostly going to be a scenic drive, stopping for pictures. It seems like most of the hikes I've looked up along Rt. 12 in Grand Staircase-Escalante are too long or strenuous for our group, so we can spend part of the day in Bryce and drive to Torrey in the afternoon. Thoughts?
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Jan 7th, 2013, 08:14 AM
  #29  
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Or how about driving just to Boulder on Day 4? That would give us more time in Bryce. We would then have to drive Boulder to Moab on Day 4.

We are still interested in stopping at Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon. Regarding Little Wild Horse, we won't be able to make the full 6-mile out-and-back hike. Is it worth it to just walk through part of the canyon and then turn back?
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Jan 7th, 2013, 08:18 AM
  #30  
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Uh oh. I just read that it is impossible to get a backpack carrier through some of the narrowest parts, so it looks like we will not be able to do Little Wild Horse after all.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 08:53 AM
  #31  
 
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Just go in Little Wildhorse for a mile and then turn around or as far as the backpack carrier will allow you. It is pretty narrow in some places. I would think you could take the carrier off your back and just hold it to squeeze it thru. I have never done the entire thing(yet).
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Jan 7th, 2013, 09:36 AM
  #32  
 
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Little Wild horse is awesome for little people!! You can take your 17 mo out of the carrier and fold it up to get through narrow parts. And remember--with little people, it is truly the journey, not the destination that counts. They will have fun playing in the sand, looking for animal tracks etc. And there are TONS of tracks--lizards, beetles, mice. It really is fun to see them all.

You may not have time to do the Junior Ranger program everywhere you go BUT you can download the booklets from the internet and have your kids do the various activities. Which are lots of fun. Make sure you hit the www.nps.gov site for each park and check out the activities for teachers and kids--lots of neat things to see. Given that your 5 yo is into geology, I would purchase the Roadside Guide to Geology for AZ and UT. You will be driving through awesome rocks and these guidebooks are invaluable in telling you exactly what you are driving through!! YOu can also check out activity backpacks at many parks--go to the visitors station and see if they have them. We had lots of fun with the one in Capitol Reef.

Pack a snack bag so you have food with you at all times. It's not like you can drop in at a store/gas station to grab something quick--it can be a while. And my kids do better with food! Bring more water than you think you will need. They actually sell a 2 gallon container of water with a spigot at gas stations in the area. Get one and you will have a good start on your day. Adults can easily drink 3-4 quarts of water every day in the dry heat. Get your 5 yo a small Camelbak and she can sip as she goes. I recommend Camelbaks for everybody--you drink more if you are sipping vs stopping to reach for a water bottle. If you get a headache--drink more water!

Check out the nps site for easy hikes to do with the kids--great for the grandparents as well. And don't count on making it to the "end" of anything--just go have fun. It is worth it to buy kids hiking shoes that have gripping soles, they slide around a lot on slick rock in just tennis shoes. I get them on sale/cheaper at Sierra Trading Post. Always carry a simple first aid kit--it could be a while till you get to that magical band aid!!

We do books on tape during the car ride. Check them out from your library--the kids really like them and it keeps them going. I made up "bingo" cards of things they would see on the car drive and then they can check them off--works for the 5 yo. And movies galore at younger ages!! These are loooonnngggg drives and while you will think the scenery is amazing, the kids are not so impressed. I vote for reduced whining!

If you have other kid specific questions, feel free to ask. We live in Utah and spend plenty of time in the desert with our kiddos. It is a fun place.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 09:44 AM
  #33  
 
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Well, I said this before and I'll say it again: I think you should skip Moab. The premier hike in Arches is Delicate Arch, but it's not flat and it's 3 miles so according to your criteria, that's out of the question. The other great hikes are Fiery Furnace and Devils Garden, but neither is feasible based on your criteria either. It will be hot mid-day with little shade in Arches, and you've already said you won't be getting out on the trails very early due to the kids, so that's another strike against Moab.

Like I said, there's plenty enough to do without making the drive to Arches for what looks like barely more than one full day of time there. I doubt either of the kids will care if you don't make it there, and you'd find yourself with more time to relax instead of trying to squeeze in various stops. There's so much to do in Moab that you really could spend several days there, but with your limitations most of the best things are out of reach on this trip.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 02:42 PM
  #34  
 
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I am of two minds on what WhereAreWe is suggesting. Moab is out of the way. But you do have 8 days.

Delicate Arch is amazing for sunset but it is somewhat uphill going and you are in elevation. Coming back is more downhill.

But there are other very short hikes/walks that are very good. Balanced Rock is right beside the road. Double, Turret and Winds Arches all surround the parking area for those.
Myer is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 03:16 PM
  #35  
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StantonHyde, thanks for all the kid-focused suggestions. While we are all experienced travelers and hikers and our older daughter went on a trip to Scotland with us when she was 3 and is generally a great traveler, this is our first real road trip with both kids AND the grandparents in tow, so it is going to be quite an adventure. We are trying not to be overly ambitious, knowing that we won't be able to get going very quickly and won't be able to hike as far as we'd like! It's good to hear that we can make it at least part of the way into Little Wild Horse.

Regarding Moab: We are planning to use it as a base to explore both Arches and Canyonlands. We have been to Arches several times and have done the hike to Delicate Arch, so that will not be a goal on this trip because of the little ones and grandparents. The walk around Balanced Rock and the hike to Landscape Arch are probably as much as we will be able to manage on this trip. We are going the 2nd-3rd week of June so I'm hoping we won't get the worst of the summer heat, but we will definitely watch the weather and plan accordingly.

We have not spent much time in Canyonlands, however, and from my research it appears that there are many scenic spots and short hikes that will appeal to our group.

I also don't see any real way to make this trip work without passing through Moab. It completes the grand loop, we like the town, and we do want to go through Monument Valley.
hausfrau is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 03:17 PM
  #36  
 
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They actually have 9 days now as they just added an extra day, plus the 2 for travel days so a total of 11.

I agree that they 'could' do it with 9 days, I'm just questioning why.

From the initial post, I'm reading that all the adults have been t0 this area many times, they would prefer 2 night stays rather than changing locations every night, they can only do short (<2 miles) hikes and the inspiration for the trip is their 5 year old daughters obsession with the Grand Canyon (daughter wants to be a geologist or archaeologist).

The latest itinerary has 8 different hotels in 10 nights. And OP is trying to figure out how to fit in a bit more time at Bryce. It would seem the easiest way to do that is to cut out Moab. Especially since the best hikes there are the longer ones which they aren't all going to do - I doubt someone is going to volunteer to carry the 17 month old up to Delicate Arch, so somebody would have to skip it.

I guess I'm reading this as a sort of family get together with the in laws, and focusing a bit on the 5 year olds interests while also sightseeing. I would just cut back on the total number of hotel changes and take more time to relax and explore in depth in that Grand Canyon/Bryce/Capitol Reef area.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 04:54 PM
  #37  
 
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You have plenty of great suggestions, but since I spent over two years planning our much awaited for trip to the Grand Canyon, I will just tell you what we did. Since we live in Florida, and there is five in our family, airfare was a big consideration due to the expense. I also found the cheapest way to fly was into and out of Las Vegas. They also had the cheapest car rentals. We arrived into Vegas around noon, got our rental and immediately left for The Hoover Dam. We stayed there only briefly and headed to the South rim of The Grand Canyon....taking a small detour to Route 66 and eating at the famous diner there. Two nights at the south rim, then headed east to Page, AZ where we did the slot canyons, horseshoe bend and took a smooth water float trip. All of which were awesome. We also took a hummer tour there to a secret canyon....three teens kids all loved it! Spent two nights there in Page. From there it is a short drive to the north rim, but we opted out due to time. We drove from Page to Kanab, UT and did a tour of the animal sanctuary there. Then onto Bryce which was my absolute favorite (one night). Then to Zion ...this drive is beautiful and stayed there for two nights. From there, back to Vegas for two nights because my husband wanted to do that and we needed to be back to airport. I personally hated Vegas, as did my kids, but every other aspect of the trip was wonderful. I would have loved to have made it to Arches, but time wouldn't allow. Let me know, if you'd like any specifics about any area we stayed at. I know there are a lot more experienced people on this site than me.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 07:50 PM
  #38  
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WhereAreWe, you are right (on many points), and if it was totally up to me, I would probably skip Moab, but I've got two other people with strong opinions about it so we've got to try to make it work. I know that we have more one-night stays than I originally planned on (yes, 8 hotels in 10 days is a little scary) but in part that is to reduce driving distances each day. I'm going to discuss this again with my fellow travelers and see whether we can reach a compromise.

Workingonthebucket, thanks for your feedback! It sounds like you had a well-planned trip and didn't try to do too much. Fortunately none of us wants to go to Vegas! The animal sanctuary sounds interesting and I'm sure my daughters would love it. We might be able to do the Route 66 detour on our way back to Vegas. My daughter also loves the movie Cars so she would appreciate that.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 12:05 PM
  #39  
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Well, we've talked it over backwards and forwards and everyone wants to go to Moab. I was able to book rooms at the North Rim Lodge, Bryce Lodge, and The View in Monument Valley, which sounds pretty awesome. I think we will drive to Boulder on day 4, which will give us a little more time in Bryce. We may not even hike down into the canyon, since coming back up might be hard on some members of our group, so that should be plenty of time to do the park drive and then Rt. 12 to Boulder. I'm looking into a B&B called Cali Cochitta in Moab, which would be a nice change of pace from the park lodging. All that's really left is to find something at the South Rim.

I will be continuing to research hikes and sights suitable for the little ones, so any additional suggestions are welcome. Thanks again everyone for your help. It's been a long time since I planned a U.S. trip and it's great to get all this feedback.
hausfrau is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 03:02 PM
  #40  
 
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Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder good for an evening meal or breakfast(Really do think about having pie for breakfast in Cap Reef at Gifford House/picnic area/orchard area of the park). That restaurant has some sort of lodging, but I'm not familiar with it.
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