National Park trip from Las Vegas

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Aug 14th, 2013, 01:25 PM
  #1
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National Park trip from Las Vegas

We would like to spend 8 days leaving out of and returning to to Las Vegas sometime next spring-summer to the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion and whatever else we can fit. My husband & I & our adult children will be going and we like to do moderate hiking. What time of year do you recommend we go and what would you recommend for our itinerary?
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Aug 14th, 2013, 04:34 PM
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I would go in spring, from late April to late May. Bryce may still have some snow which might limit hiking a bit, , but it will be starting to get hot at lower elevations. You will have fewer crowds than in summer.

Check on lodging first and try for in the park, then decide on which place to visit first.

I prefer the south rim of GC but the north rim is much closer to Zion and Bryce and the north rim doesn't open til mid/late May depending on snow cover.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 05:00 PM
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Fall is also a great time to go - mid-Sept thru October. Lower temps, fall foliage. Very nice. How long will your trip be?
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Aug 15th, 2013, 06:14 AM
  #4
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I probably only have one week if I'm taking my family, so I figure 8 days or possibly 9. I'd like to add another location besides GC, Bryce & Zion. Would you recommend Lake Powell
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Aug 15th, 2013, 06:29 AM
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I haven't looked into lodging yet, and that might be my decision maker, but I'm looking into going May 10-18, May 17-25 or Sept. 13-21. I also found an itinerary leaving out of Phoenix to Sedona, South Rim of GC, Lake Powell, maybe Monument Valley, Bryce/Zion and out through Las Vegas. Would that be better than in and out of Las Vegas? Again, I have only 8 nights max. and I'll have to look at flight times as well since I am on Eastern time.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 09:44 AM
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You'll need to consider one-way rental car rates if you fly into Phoenix and out of Las Vegas. I'd just do a loop from Vegas, myself.

May 10-18 or September 13-21 would be a good time to go. It will be getting warmer in May, but not horribly hot then.

Lee Ann
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Aug 15th, 2013, 03:18 PM
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You mentioned Lake Powell, so I'll recommend a half day raft trip out of Page, AZ, from the base of Glen Canyon Dam through Glen Canyon before the beginning of The Grand Canyon. It's all flatwater, and the scenery is wonderful. Navajo Sandstone cliffs tower 1500 feet above you as you wind your way down. Well worth the trip! http://raftthecanyon.com/raft-the-ri...ay-raft-trips/
My only other thought is that I'd stay in the lodge at Zions. The rooms are fine, the food at the restaurant is very good and the surroundings are unforgettable.
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Aug 16th, 2013, 09:49 AM
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I think we'll go the week of May 10th. I'm not sure if we can arrive early enough into Las Vegas, so I'm not sure if we should just stay in a cheap hotel by the airport and then leave first thing in the morning for Zion or just get there late in the day so we'll have an early start in the park. I'm figuring 2 (or 3) nights in Zion, 1 in Bryce, 1 at Lake Powell area (I like the idea of the raft trip to break up all of the hiking!), 2 in north rim of GC and 1 in Las Vegas. Any comments?
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Aug 16th, 2013, 10:12 AM
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The North Rim may not be open yet. Check www.nps.gov/grca for more information.

Lee Ann
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Aug 16th, 2013, 10:38 AM
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We did a similar trips eventual years ago the last week in May. Zion, Bryce, and North Rim GC. It worked out great!
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Aug 16th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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I say go right to Springdale (Zion) on arrival. It is only a 2.5 hour easy drive. Even if you arrive after dark, it is amazing waking up in Springdale which is in the mouth of the canyon and surrounded by huge cliffs. We did that on our first trip and I still remember my jaw dropping when I opened the curtains of our room in the morning.

I ran into a fellow at Cafe Soliel on our last trip who had just arrived the night before in the dark...he was euphoric...I had to chuckle and agree with his every adjective.
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Aug 16th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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North Rim visitor services and lodging open on May 15th. The road in may open earlier but lodging won't open until the 15th, so that should work based on your dates.

You could also just go to the South Rim - since you'll be in Page (presumably) for rafting on Lake Powell. The drive from Page to the South Rim and back to Vegas is about the same amount of time as Page - North Rim - Vegas.
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Aug 16th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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Do also look at flying into Vegas and out of Phoenix if you decide to do a loop and compare the cost of the car rental and drop off fees both ways. Airfare should be about the same in either case.

If you decide to do Vegas first and need to spend the first night there, look for lodging north of town to avoid traffic in the city in the morning. If you are heading to the south rim, then look south of town, maybe Henderson.
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Aug 16th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Thanks. I think we'll drive straight to Zion. Not sure about doing north or south rim of GC at the end. I know we won't be able to decide at the last minute due to weather, because we'll need to book a room in advance. Can anyone comment on the drive from south rim to Phoenix. I heard it is pretty scary!
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Aug 16th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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Why would you go to Phoenix if you're flying in/out of Las Vegas?

The drive from Grand Canyon south rim to either Phoenix or Las Vegas is very boring. I have no idea why anyone would try to tell you it's pretty scary.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 07:58 AM
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We did a very similar trip last year, into Vegas, then Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Moab (Arches), Monument Valley,Flagstaff and then Scottsdale. If you would like a link to a personal blog i did on the trip, let me know
Great trip, i would say my favorite was Zion. Springdale had a fantastic restaurant, a little mexican esc place, i would recommend. Oscars Cafe i think it was called.
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Sep 10th, 2013, 10:54 AM
  #17
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Our date has changed to October-same itinerary leaving Las Vegas to Zion, Bryce, maybe rafting in Page and then to the north rim of the Grand Canyon before returning to Las Vegas. If we go Oct. 11-19, will we be ok weather-wise?
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Sep 10th, 2013, 11:15 AM
  #18
 
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I have never been in Oct, so I'll let others comment on the weather, but if this is your family's first trip to the GC I'd suggest visiting the South Rim if you can make it work. The North Rim is lovely but primarily offers a view of one section of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim has multiple viewpoints with sweeping views, that are like the pictures you typically see of the canyon. A reason many people like to avoid the South Rim is because it can get quite crowded in summer, but you should be there at a time when crowds will not be an issue.
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Sep 10th, 2013, 12:02 PM
  #19
 
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The weather should be fine. If you plan to do the north rim , make sure it is open. The south rim is open year round and I prefer the views from there.
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Sep 10th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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As I mentioned previously, you'll need to check and see if the North Rim will be open during your visit: http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hours.htm

If not, you can drive from Page to Cameron, enter via the east entrance, see the South Rim, and head back to Vegas from there.

October should be lovely for all three parks.

Lee Ann
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