national parks in utah

Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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national parks in utah

love bryce and zion - planning to go back in a few months and would like to add some additional sites. Flying into Las Vegas - planning on spending a week and would like some advice on what other parks are worth visiting in this great part of the country. Is Capitol Reef park a good bet? How about Escalante? I have read about the slot canyons there. Would like to see Arches but feel that it's too far north. Any suggestions?
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:58 PM
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Shhhh....Capitol Reef is really the undiscovered jewel in Utah. The drive up there on Hwy 12 is one of the most scenic drives. The drive out the paved section of the Burr Trail out of Boulder, Utah is also a scenic drive. The Anzsazi Indian State Park is also in Boulder, Utah. Lower Calf Creek Falls State Park is within the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument. It's a pretty area but we haven't done the hike to the falls yet. Escalante State Park outside of the town of Escalante has petrified wood.

Arches and Canyonlands are really to far if you want to really get to see the parks. Have you considered flying into Salt Lake City instead to do Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef.

Were you planning on going back to Bryce and Zion in this week?

Utahtea
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 03:55 AM
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Agree with utahtea.

We have gone to Arches and Canyonlands from Vegas, but it is a long trip and you won't be able to spend significant time in Zion and Bryce if you do. Capitol Reef is very neat and another place that has spectacular scenery is Cedar Breaks, not far from Bryce. If you go before the middle of October you also might hit the north rim of the Grand Canyon. If you go after that do keep an eye on the weather as when you get up in elevation (Bryce or Cedar Breaks) snow is a possibility and the road to the north rim will be closed. We have also been to Arches and Canyonlands from Denver and Albuquerque, and Salt Lake City is closer but some people have said that flying into Grand Junction,CO is about the same price as some of the other options and it is much closer than the others.
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 04:10 AM
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You might be interested in our trip report from our Sept '07 trip which we planned so we could spend more time seeing Bryce, Capitol Reef and do the hike into Horseshoe Canyon's Great Gallery. We had already spent considerable time in many of these parks on past trips but wanted to more completely explore some places in greater depth. This trip took a little more than a week so you might be able to adjust it for your interests. Let me know if you have any questions.

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/utah_tr
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 04:16 AM
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Oh, forgot to mention, Capitol Reef is extraordinary with incredible scenery, excellent hiking, interesting historical and cultural features and no crowds. And the town of Torrey is a great little western town - we love it. We always take the time to spend a night at Boulder Mtn Lodge in Boulder, Utah so we can have a meal at Hell's Backbone Grill. Plus, we enjoy driving on the backroads including the Burr Trail and other scenic drives outside of Escalante (Hole in the Rock Road and Hells Backbone). Wish I was going!
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 04:46 AM
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The drive from Bryce to Torrey on Highway 12 is one of the most beautiful I know, and 24 from Torrey to Hanksville is also spectacular. This is truly God's Country.

Arches is worth the effort it takes to get there. Zion, Bryce, and Arches are justifiably the most visited parks in Utah.

HTTY
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 06:40 AM
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Sharondi
Beautiful pictures! Thanks.
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 06:43 PM
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thanks so much for your suggestions. I would also like to know what part of escalante you would recommend.
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 06:44 PM
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Thanks for the great photo tour and story, Sharon!
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 07:43 PM
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I would recommend a raft or float trip out of Moab, UT. Moab is the center for all things rafting in Utah. Go for the whitewater unless you have very young children. There are age requirements for the more adventurous trips. I like my whitewater to be fun but not life threatening, but I always sample it if it is available wherever I go.

Utah is a gorgeous state and there is much more to it than Salt Lake City and the Mormon history (which was only mildly interesting to me when I went). I want to return because there was so much I did not see.
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 04:13 AM
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mareye,
Grand Staircase Escalante NM is so huge - I would suggest that you spend your time checking out the area between Bryce and Torrey along Rte 12 which (as others have mentioned) is an incredibly scenic road with lots to see and do. There are some great backroads to explore - we really enjoyed checking out the Devil's Garden on Hole in the Rock Rd just outside the town of Escalante. The hike into Calf Creek Falls is really fun and you can look for the ruins in the canyon walls as you wind your way on the dirt trail through the canyon.

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/image/34819891

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/image/34819900

The small Anasazi Village in Boulder is worth a stop and there are lots of other great spots but I'm not sure what you like to do so its hard to make suggestions. We love driving on the backroads and finding little known features or hikes to explore although we are very prepared with maps, tons of water and a 4WD vehicle as well as lots of current information on local weather conditions. There is so much to see and do - you won't have any trouble keeping yourselves busy.
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Old Jun 25th, 2009, 01:21 PM
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Another suggestion to your upcoming week in UT, if you're up for an adventure and are a lake person, is a 3-4 day houseboat rental on Lake Powell. It's easily accessible from Las Vegas on Int. 15, through Zion, on Alt. 89.

It's a truly incredible, one of a kind, body of water. If you're comfortable boating (houseboat experience not a pre-requisite) it's an option that you might want to think about. The houseboats are completely equipped, needing only personal gear and food that can be bought in Page, good orientation & operating advice by the marina & a radio to call for any problems.

I experienced camping on Powell for the first time in 1969, when the lake was just finished being filled. I knew that I had to return, even though I lived far away. I now live in southern UT, love all of the parks, visit them often and won't live long enough to scratch the surface, but nothing affects me like Powell....clear blue sky, reflective blue water, tall red canyons and the incredible night skies.....camping in a quiet canyon....as my mother says: "Not room for one more star in that sky."
There are lots of hiking trails out of Lake Powell, depending on where you moor. It's magic to start the day with a swim.....after ending the previous day of hiking that way.
Wahweap marina also rents kayaks that you can take on the houseboat which are a wonderful way to investigate the more narrow canyons.
Just a little something else to Google.
Can't go wrong in UT, no matter where you go.
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