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how many days needed in the Nat Parks?

Old Mar 3rd, 2017, 01:46 PM
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how many days needed in the Nat Parks?

Hello

I am trying to work out my itinerary for June as I want to book as much as possible in advance.
My question is: how many days do you suggest I need in each of the following parks. We don't want to rush, but enjoy the beauty of each place and we love to hike! If we skip LV, we can do:
Zion - is 3 full days enough? or to much?
Bryce - 1 1/2 day or is 1 day enough?
Antelope - 1/2 day + driving through Mon Valley on way to Moab
Canyonlands - 1 full day
Arches - 3 full days - Can make 3 1/2 days as well if necessary (depending on what time to leave for Denver the next day)
last overnight stay on the way to Denver - any suggestion?

With a full day I mean 2 nights staying there

What do you think? Any advise is welcome!

Does anybody suggest to safe one day (incl ride) in above itinerary and visit the North Rim of the Canyon (between Bryce and Antelope)?

Thank you all in advance!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2017, 02:09 PM
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Oh, I am taking 3 3/4 days to visit Yosemite (last day late afternoon drive to Sequoia)
and 2 full days to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

Would you perhaps suggest to take one day of here and use it for the above itenerary?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2017, 02:20 PM
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I also love to hike! However, that's a vague statement. Some people like to hike four or five miles a day, on relatively flat ground. Other folks think nothing of hiking 15 or 20 miles, with large elevation changes (which is even more important than distance). I'll assume you're somewhere in between.

One last thing before I get to the good stuff. You need to make hotel reservations as soon as possible. Depending on your exact dates, you may already have difficulty finding a room.

Zion: three full days is a good amount. I've been to Zion six (or maybe seven) times, and my stays have ranged from two to six days. Depending on water flow, The Narrows is a justifiably famous hike. Angels Landing is also very good, and very famous; however, I actually prefer Observation Point, as it offers views from an even higher elevation. If you're closer to the 20-mile-a-day-hike kind of people, the top down hike from Lava Point into the canyon (West Rim Trail) is a long but very rewarding hike; if you only have one car, you'll need to arrange for transportation to the trailhead.

Bryce: 1.5 days is best, but you can see an awful lot in one full day. With 1.5 days, you'll have more time to hike down into the "canyon" (technically, a series of natural amphiteaters).

Antelope Canyon: a half day is enough, but make sure to make reservations far in advance. However, if you then plan to drive to Moab, there will be no time to see much at Monument Valley. Ideally, you'll take a tour, which takes at least a few hours; sunrise and sunset are both beautiful.

Canyonlands: that's a tricky one. I spent one full day there. It was both more than enough, and not nearly enough. With that time frame, you're restricted to driving along the major viewpoints, and perhaps taking a few short hikes. My impression: it was just OK. However, I get the strong impression that if you can spend a week in the backcountry, it may be really, really nice. Hopefully someone with that experience can comment.

Arches: Three full days is plenty; even two full days is sufficient. There's a lot to see, but most hikes are relatively short.

Grand Canyon North Rim. If you can spend one afternoon/day/morning at the North Rim, it's worthwhile. The North Rim doesn't offer the iconic views offered at the South Rim, as the North Rim is further from the Colorado River, with more limited views into the bottom of the central canyon. However, the North Rim is also much less crowded than the South Rim (which feels a little like Disneyland).

Have fun!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2017, 03:37 PM
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lgott has given great advice. I too love to hike, and for me that means 15-20mi per day with large elevation changes. Or several 4-5 mile walks together in one day.

I spent a full week in Zion area and never ran out of things to do. Two full days at Bryce was plenty for me. My ideal GC North rim trip would be a full week hiking/camping IN the canyon, down near the river.

Of all the parks, I think Zion affords the most accessible variety and is worth more time than the others.
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Old Mar 4th, 2017, 04:40 AM
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Thank you Igott and J62 for you valuable reply!!! Helps me a lot
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Old Mar 4th, 2017, 04:44 AM
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I have now another question about the route (route 12 or route 163):

I have now 2 options: driving from LV to Zion, take a detour to Page (Antelope Canyon), drive back to visit Bryce Canyon and take the route 12 to Moab.
Route 12 seems to be really beautiful.

OR

Do I drive from LV to Zion, then to Bryce, continue to Page end then via route 163 to Moab (to get a glance of Monument Valley)?

Can you give your advice and experience please?
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Old Mar 4th, 2017, 07:26 AM
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Tough call! Route 12 is very scenic, with several places to pull over. The Devil's Backbone section is not for those with a fear of heights, but otherwise is very impressive. It's as close as you'll come to a knife edge ridge while driving. This is open range country; watch out for cows on the road, especially at dawn and dusk. I had some close encounters with these creatures -- and some deer as well.

While you wouldn't get a chance to really see Monument Valley, Route 163 gives you the "Forrest Gump" view made famous by that movie.
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 06:06 AM
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Your estimates look pretty reasonable. I think one day for Canyonlands is okay (although could always use more) and you probably don't need 3 full days for Arches. What I would do is take one day from Arches and switch from a drive by of Monument Valley to an overnight there. Just one night will allow you to catch a sunset and sunrise before being on your way to Moab. If you can't get a room at The View or Gouldings, I wouldn't bother staying but if you can - it is well worth it. The View is one of our favorite hotels.
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 07:44 AM
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One day is ok for Canyonlands Island in the Sky district, but if you go down to Needles district you would need at least another day.

While in Island in the Sky, do take the Mesa Arch hike very early in the day if possible and also do the Grandview area.

What Igott said about creatures on the road is not to be taken lightly. We always try to do our driving in daylight and have seen deer, elk, antelope, horses and cattle on the roads. Nice to be able to see them in time to stop before either you hit them or they hit you.
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 11:49 AM
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J62 - hiking
I too, am a lover of the N.R and adjacent Kaibab Forest.

Suggest this premier knee-buster trail: Nankoweep and/or Bass.
Been down a tad on each, but never to the river.
https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvis...weap_Trail.pdf

North Bass (can go R2R)
https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvis...Bass_Trail.pdf

Vaga
PS: River is closer to the north Rim - see map below.
Also 1,000 feet higher - longer trek down to river AND steeper.
https://www.americanrivers.org/river...-grand-canyon/
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 05:28 PM
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I recently did a similar trip. All the advice is good, and lgott is spot-on about the area in general. I would vote strongly for taking Route 12 to get to Arches. You go past an extraordinary mix of scenery, from the aspens to the otherworldly landscapes of eastern Utah. And Capitol Reef is certainly worth a stop en route.
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 07:09 AM
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Thank you Edjim,
Do you suggest to take route 12 and visit Capitol Reef (like 1/2 day) over driving route 163 and see from the road or visit Monument Valley? We European know Monument Valley from lots of Western Movies
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 07:57 AM
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Actually, you will be able to visit the scenes from many movies on your trip. We did this trip in the fall of 2015 and had a blast.

Coming from Bryce, stop in Kanab. Many westerns were filmed there and you can find both a movie museum as well as a number of sets.

Links:

http://www.visitsouthernutah.com/Gunsmoke-Movie-Set
http://www.movielocationsplus.com/JOHNSON.HTM
http://www.littlehollywoodmuseum.org/museum.html

Then, in Arches and Canyonlands areas, you will recognize so many landmarks in old western movies. If you can, visit the Red Cliffs Lodge, where they have a (free) museum downstairs. This was the old White Ranch, home base to those old John Ford movies.

Links:

https://redcliffslodge.com/property/...tern-heritage/
http://www.thefencepost.com/news/red...-in-moab-utah/
http://www.locationshub.com/blog/201...ations-in-utah

If you have time, stop for an hour at Goblin Valley state park between Capitol Reef and Moab. That's where Galaxy Quest was filmed.
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 04:58 PM
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"Do you suggest to take route 12 and visit Capitol Reef (like 1/2 day) over driving route 163 and see from the road or visit Monument Valley?"

That's a tough one -- I can tell you how I handled it, somewhat as db mentioned, but without the overnight stay. When I stayed in Moab for three days, I took one day to round-trip to Monument Valley. It's a long day's drive and it wouldn't be for everyone, and I didn't see the sunrise. One way around it would be to stay overnight in Monument Valley at the View or Gouldings. Then you would have to figure out where to put Antelope Canyon into the trip and from where you would want to stay before heading to Denver.

It's a good dilemma to have, though, since the landscapes you'll see in the area are incredible. You can't go wrong.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 03:07 AM
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I would strongly suggest taking Route 12 - it is spectacular. You will also have a chance to visit Capitol Reef NP which has incredibly colorful and unique scenery.
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