Itinerary Help Needed – Utah National Parks

Old Aug 27th, 2007, 06:35 AM
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Itinerary Help Needed – Utah National Parks

We are thinking about a week of family vacation to Utah NP in late June 2008. We have two girls age 12 and 15. We like scenic drive and some easy hiking (1-2 miles). We have not been to any NP in Southwest except the Grand Canyon South Rim.

I need some help for a suitable itinerary for the trip. Here is our tentative itinerary:

•Fly to Las Vegas
•Drive from Las Vegas to Zion
•Drive from Zion to Bryce
•Drive from Bryce via Utah 12 to Capital Reef
•Drive back to Las Vegas

Here are my questions:

•Is this a reasonable itinerary giving the time and interests? Our time is also flexible. We can stay a little longer or shorter.
•Is there any other place(s) I should add to the itinerary or remove from it? Is there any place that is on the way worth stopping?
•How much time should we spend in each park?
•Where should we stay (inside the park or outside the park)? Any hotel/motel recommendation for each place?
•What is the best route driving back from Capital Reef to Las Vegas?

Thanks very much for your help!
wangy26 is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2007, 06:42 AM
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Hi Wangy,

This is a very common itinerary and is discussed in detail here often. Start out simply by sorting for "Utah" and most of the posts will answer your questions.

A week is a good length of time for this trip if you are not long distance hikers. The earlier you can go in June, the better. Make reservations now.
Dayle is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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A week would be GREAT for your itinerary. Like the previous poster I would encourage you to start searching trip reports and tips from previous threads (maybe not just Utah but also the Arizona and Nevada forums since those states are combined for many trips) the past few years--I printed out a lot of them for our similar trip last June (look up my trip report!) and it was SO helpful, well worth the time. I believe there is a very recent family trip report from somone with a similar trip in the forums here.

Also check out for lodging reviews in the parks and nearby towns to get a feel for your lodging options.
Definitely begin booking lodging and horse trips soon.
We spent more time around Capitol Reef than a lot of people but loved it. Didn't get quite enough time at Bryce and Zion and hope to go back during a Spring Break some time (yes I know there might be snow at Bryce, sounds gorgeous!)
All three parks were incredible but much more rewarding if you do a lot of research before going.
Have fun trip planning!
maw is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2007, 06:52 PM
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I would suggest making Bryce your first stop by going by Zion if you want, then take scenic Hwy 12 to Captiol Reef. Then return to Zion for the end of the trip so you don't have the last leg of the trip being the long boring drive back. Spend at least two nights at each park so you have one full day at each. If you have the time, spend 3 at each!

I wouldn't add any more parks unless you have a lot more time.

utahtea is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2007, 07:19 PM
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I was faced with a similar issue in terms of order of parks to visit, and decided to see Zion first for two reasons:
(1) Reduced chance for altitude sickness. If you live at a low elevation, altitude sickness may be a problem. At about 4,000 feet, Zion is low enough that sickness is unlikely, and high enough to give you a chance to acclimate just a wee bit before heading to Bryce (at over 8,000 feet).
(2) The vagaries of airline travel. Zion is only around 2 and 1/2 hours from the Las Vegas airport. I schedule an early flight, but there's no telling what will actually happen.
lgott is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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I wouldn't be too concerned with altitude sickness in Bryce. At a bit over 8,000 you may very well feel shortness of breath hiking but not sickness. That doesn't start for another couple of thousand feet.

I was in bryce at the start of June and didn't see anybody suffering too much. You jst get tired quicker.

Stop, rest and drink lots of water.

Now both utahtea and lgott have points about their proposed sequence of visits.

A short first leg is good in the event of airline issues.

A short last leg is good to avoid the return drive boredom.

I drove from LV to Bryce immediately after landing in mid-afternoon. My plane was on time. However, what surprised me was how long it took to get my luggage and auto rental. About an hour and a half.

Also, the drive from Zion to Bryce took longer than I thought.
Myer is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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On the contrary, altitude sickness can start well below 8,000 feet for a few unlucky souls, and at 8,000 feet a significant number of people will suffer symptoms - not just shortness of breath, but headache, dizzyness and nausea.

Wikipedia isn't a primary source, but it provides a good introduction, and links to primary sources.
lgott is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2007, 01:37 PM
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Hi Wangy,
We just got back from a similar trip last week with our 15 year old twins. Below is our trip report link - but for some reason, it does not come up when you do a search. I also don't know if I posted the link correctly.

You will love those parks and I highly recommend the park accommodations - book now! You can always cancel without a fee, but you may not be able to get a cabin later.

If you can't pull up my trip report, try scrolling down to 8/25/07 (10:06am). I don't know why I can't pull it up.

I can't say enough for this trip - it was one of our best family vacations!

To answer your other question, there are beautiful hikes for every hiking ability.

Link: > Travel Talk > United States > Trip Report: Height-phobic parents with Teens: LV, North Rim, Lake Powell, Bryce & Zion
carolv is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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Check out my Southern Utah trip report. I just got back and did pretty much the same plan you are thinking, plus more.
jedivader is offline  
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