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DReece Feb 16th, 2016 01:51 PM

itinerary help for Grand Canyon and souther Utah
My wife and I are headed to Vegas for a friend's wedding in June, so decided to add onto the trip to check out some of the canyons as neither of us have ever been there. We'd of course love to visit the Grand Canyon and all the Mighty Five, but have a limited timeframe. We're also coming from Canada, so our dollar definitely doesn't spread around like it used to... Rough itinerary so far, but would love thoughts, suggestions on hikes, places to camp, etc. We love hiking, photography and the occasional thrill (never done any canyoneering... and will have to price out a heli ride over the grand canyon).

June 9 - pick up RV (drove across Canada in a U-Haul, so how hard will this be ;) ) and head out to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Overnight at Mather campground

June 10 - spend the day exploring the canyon and would welcome any suggested hikes / activities.
Overnight at Mather

June 11 - hit the road and head out to Bryce Canyon. Don't have a place to park/camp yet, so would welcome ideas. maybe a mule ride, and hike the rim trail around magic hour. Are there some good places to stop off between the Grand Canyon and Bryce for a couple of hours?

June 12 - unsure whether to hit the road to explore another area, head over to the Grand Staircase, or simply stay at Bryce for some more hiking and another night...

June 13 - head down to Zion to hike Angel's Landing and the Narrows. Likely one on the 13th, and another the next day. Overnight at Zion (again - don't have a site yet, so would love recommendations!)

June 14 - Zion

June 15 - head back to Vegas

Was looking at Canyonlands and the Arches which looks awesome, but thinking it's biting off way more than we should, and we'd be stuck in the bloody RV... we normally cram way too much into our trips, so hoping I'm on the right path here.

Thanks in advance for any tips/recommendations on good hikes / sites / photo spots / activities / routes to drive and even good ol greasy spoon diners along the way!

janisj Feb 16th, 2016 01:59 PM

Just one quick question -- and RV? Any reason you are using an RV? Just using a rental car and motels will be easier and very likely cheaper.

DReece Feb 16th, 2016 02:27 PM

actually tossing up the idea of an RV vs a Camper Van. Van might be the better way to go, and we're used to sleeping in the back of our truck on camping trips back home. Figure the RV would be cheaper than car/motel as car is approx $200 for the rental, and would figure motels are likely about $150/night on avg on the low end so approx $1100. Bit of a wash for the RV, as that's about $900, but worse gas mileage and campsites would make up the difference. Difference being we can get out and stay out in the parks rather than always have to drive out to our motel for the night with a mobile sleeper. Camper Van could do for about $750 with unlimited mileage, so likely the better option as it's easier to drive and cheaper on gas. Just a little less space.

longhorn55 Feb 16th, 2016 02:45 PM

I'm planning a trip in the same area for late May and I agree that trying to do more than GC, Zion and Bryce would be rushing it.

I think you'll find that accommodations are quite close to both Zion National Park (Springdale) and Bryce Canyon National Park (Bryce Canyon City or Tropic). So you aren't actually spending much time getting from the park to your accommodations each evening.

We are staying in B&Bs, which include a full, hot breakfast each morning, for around $150 per night and you can probably find basic motels for less than that.

So, maybe you can afford to just rent a small sedan and stay in comfort in a hotel or B&B each night.

Dayle Feb 16th, 2016 07:06 PM

If you do decide to camp, you will definitely need advance reservations for the Natl Park campgrounds.

Also, I've never found an RV rental with unlimited mileage! Is that common in Canada? I priced a camper van out of Calgary for a 2 week trip to Banf and Jasper parks and came up with a price tag of around $3,000. Mileage definitely wasn't unlimited.

Be sure to allow time to hike down among the hoodoos at Bryce. It's a magical experience that should not be missed.

emalloy Feb 17th, 2016 03:28 AM

I'd suggest that you look at the cost and availability of lodging and RV/camper van rental before you make a final decision on which way you will go. There is a camper van company that does rent out of Vegas that when I priced it out a year ago was comparable to the hotel/motel/b&b and car option but we decided to stay in the former. It had a funny name like Juicy or something and you did pay a premium for extra mileage.

If the lodging in the parks is what you want and they say that they are full, do call frequently as people reserve rooms a year ahead and then find they can't make the trip when time gets close.

June 11-12: Do be aware that places are far apart and mostly you will NOT be on interstates. It takes 5 or 6 hours to get from the south rim to Bryce without stopping to gaze at the wonderful views. You could stop in Page to see Antelope Canyon or Boulder Dam or Lake Powell or stop in Kanab for some film history. So if you want to see much of Bryce, you will need to spend June 12 there.

If you just want to see the major viewpoints and then move on you could stop in at Valley of Fire between Zion and Vegas.

Another thing to consider is since this is a loop it might work out better for pace and or lodging to do it in the other direction. Vegas to Zion to Bryce to south rim GC to Vegas. So do check out the dates both ways when you go to look for camper sites or hotels/motels.

DReece Feb 19th, 2016 11:16 AM

thanks for the replies. Booked a couple campgrounds already, but see quite a few are first come first serve. We chose to go with Escape Campervans for something a little different. $750 for the week, with 200 miles / day which I think will cover us plenty. Thanks Dayle and emalloy for the suggestions to stop off at, and with the time between the south rim and Bryce will definitely spend the full day there on the 12th to get our hiking on!

Dayle Feb 19th, 2016 05:05 PM


I don't know how your Canadian Natl Parks had been over the last couple of years,but the U.S. Parks saw record breaking visitor numbers last year.

The first come first served campgrounds usually fill well before noon. If you want a chance at a spot you should arrive No later than 9 am and hope to snag one as someone pulls out.

I would recommend getting a res at the nearest commercial campground as a backup if it's a res than can be cancelled last minute.

Just outside Bryce, Rubys has a huge commercial campground. I don't care for it at all , but it would do if necessary.

There is an RV resort a few miles outside of Zion. Again, I would never choose to stay there as motor homes are lined up in rows next to the highway.

You might investigate some of the National Forest campgrounds near the parks. Even these will need reservations over weekends. The UT outdoors is very very popular!

RVvagabond Feb 24th, 2016 09:39 AM

South Rim Grand Canyon
National Forest improved campground slightly south of entry. These are improved campground having pad, but no electricity/water. Chemical toilet nearby

Free BLM camping about 1 miles east of Zion's east entry,. then south. This is on dirt.

Free camping of National Forest land about 1 mile east of Red Canyon. This is on dirt


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