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Help with itinerary for Zion, Bryce, and GC trip

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Apr 8th, 2013, 11:28 AM
  #1
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Help with itinerary for Zion, Bryce, and GC trip

We have checked some of the older posts on the similar topic, but still have some questions, and will appreciate any advice/help with itinerary.

We are planning 8 days trip in late May to explore parks, do hiking, and sightseeing in all parks mentioned above, and may be include some more if feasible.

Our initial plan was to fly to LV, get the car, and drive to Bryce and Zion to spend 3-4 days there, then go to the GC North Rim, and do some day hike(s) there. Then drive to Flagstaff, and visit Sedona from there, and fly back from Flagstaff.

Do you think we're being too ambitious and trying to get too much done in 1 trip? Would it make more sense to do Bryce, Zion, and GC only, and fly to/from LV instead? Any recommendations for any side trips, good hikes will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 12:10 PM
  #2
 
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You'll get better hike recommendations if you let us know more about the people doing this trip: age, fitness, experience level, type of hikes desired.

I don't understand 2 things: why visit Sedona from Flagstaff? and why fly home from Flagstaff?

Just drive to Sedona and spend a couple night there, then drive to Las Vegas. Even if you can somehow find a rental car with no drop-off fee, the flights from Flagstaff will almost certainly be more expensive than a roundtrip to/from Vegas.

You'll also have far less departure time option from Flagstaff, plus a guaranteed layover somewhere which will eat up some of the time you've saved by not driving back to Vegas.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 12:26 PM
  #3
 
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Day 1 Arrive LV; head to Zion, over night at Springdale Zion

Day 2 Drive to Bryce, view overlooks from road at Bryce. Overnight Bryce...view sunset.

Day 3 View sunrise at Bryce. Do short hike into Bryce now that you're acclimated to the altitude. Exit Bryce after the hike and head to Escalante. Visit Visitor's Center in Escalante. Over night in Escalante.

Day 4 Drive scenic highway 12 possibly doing the Calf Creek Falls hike or drive out Hole -in-the-Rock Road to the Devil's Garden and wander easily among the hoodoos. Overnight in Boulder at Boulder Mountain Lodge.

Day 5 Dive to Torrey via the Burr Trail/Notom Rd. backway. Do scenic drive at Capital Reef NP. Have pie at the historic Gifford Farmhouse. Do Hickman Bridge hike if there's time. Overnight at Austin’s Torrey.

Day 6 Rewind all the way back to Zion enjoying scenic Highway 12 in reverse. Overnight Zion/Springdale.

Day 7 Explore Zion. Hike Canyon Overlook and to Scout's Landing. Continue on to Angel's Landing (if you dare). Overnight Springdale.

Day 8 Return to Vegas and fly home.

Nope...no North Rim of GC (South Rim is the better view IMO). No Sedona either but, while scenic, it is a bit of a tourist trap. Little Torrey is every bit as scenic as Sedona.

This itinerary will packs way more classic southwestern scenery into it with less less driving.

I based it on different aspects of our 4 trips.

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/utah_03

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/utah04

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/utah_tr

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/utah_2012_trip_report

Have fun!
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Apr 8th, 2013, 12:38 PM
  #4
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Thanks for the response.
We're family of 3 with 5.5 y.o. boy. All os us, including a little one, are in a good shape and have extensive experience of hiking.

Preferred distance for daily hikes with our son is under 10 miles. He seems to be very comfortable with hikes which are rated as "moderate".

We did find car rental without extra drop-off fees, and there is not outrageously priced combined one-way airfare for flying to LV and from Flagstaff.

The main reason for considering Flagstaff for departure was to minimize driving while on vacation. But as you pointed out there is a price to pay by having layover, hence we've started questioning the logistics of our itinerary.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 12:44 PM
  #5
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Peterboy,

Thanks a lot for the detailed itinerary and sharing pictures and trip reports.
Less driving and more hiking is our main goal.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 01:08 PM
  #6
 
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I would fly in/out of LV and forget Sedona and the S Rim. Stick to Zion, Bryce, and N Rim, spending 2 nights at each.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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If you're up for a longer hike or more hikes at Bryce and still make it to Escalante for the night...it isn't far. Calf Creek Falls is a classic hike on Highway 12 but longer hikes can be had nearby up or down the Escalante River though some shallow wading amy be necessary in May.

There are also slot canyon hike out Hole-in-the Rock Road beyond the Devils garden but I have no direct experience with them.

Lots of great hiking in Cap Reef too and no other people around...if you like that.

Start searching the web for "Scenic Byway 12 Utah" and you'll see that there are plenty of great hikes in the area.

A I've been known to say "Utah, everything you thought Arizona would be"...and I grew up in Arizona!
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Apr 8th, 2013, 02:33 PM
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"The main reason for considering Flagstaff for departure was to minimize driving while on vacation. But as you pointed out there is a price to pay by having layover, hence we've started questioning the logistics of our itinerary."

I didn't really think about it but if you've found a good price for a one-way rental, you could check on prices for flying out of Phoenix. It's 2 hours from Sedona. You may find a direct flight home from Phoenix which ultimately would probably save you time vs. flying from Flagstaff and dealing with a layover.

Your biggest issue is probably finding lodging at the North Rim - it's probably all booked up right now so you'd have to keep calling every day to find a room for the night(s) you plan on being there.

That one-way trip is about the same amount of drive time as the itinerary peterboy suggested, but only 4 different destinations so less time checking in/out of different hotels. Even if you skip Sedona and just do Zion/Bryce/North Rim and back to Vegas you'd only save a couple hours of driving vs. the one-way that ends in Phoenix.

Zion and Sedona will be somewhat hot at the end of May, Bryce/North Rim will be cooler.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 10:03 PM
  #9
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Thanks, everyone, for your input. Appreciate it a lot.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 04:38 AM
  #10
 
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If you decide to go all the way to Cap Reef, you might as well drive one more hour and do Goblin Valley. It would be your 5 year olds favorite(most likely).
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Apr 9th, 2013, 05:35 AM
  #11
 
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WhereWeAre is correct...the drive TIME is about the same but the distance is actually well over 100 miles longer (if you opt for a Phoenix departure). The difference is that you're going faster over longer stretches of straight, flat and some long, boring stretches.

I've never understood the "less time checking in/out of different hotels" thing. Honestly, how long does it take. Once we're all showered and ready it takes like 10 minutes to shlep the suitcases to the car. Does everybody really empty out all their clothes into all the drawers in the room?

May averages between 80° and 90° F during May.

In and out of Vegas is the way to go...generally cheaper flights and cheaper car rentals as well especially if you shop around and look for deals online.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 06:49 AM
  #12
 
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May averages between 80° and 90° F during May....in Springdale/Zion.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 01:03 PM
  #13
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Thank you! Booking flights in and out of Vegas.
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