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Need help with itinerary for trips to parks in Arizona and Utah

Need help with itinerary for trips to parks in Arizona and Utah

Old Sep 1st, 2011, 04:29 AM
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Need help with itinerary for trips to parks in Arizona and Utah

We are two adults (late 30's) with plans to travel to the Grand Canyon for the first time and also visit surrounding areas in October for nine days. I have a rough outline of our itinerary but am somewhat lost as to how best to fill two of the days. I was thinking Grand Staircase but yet also would love to do The Narrows hike in Zion. We don't want to spend our vacation in the car, so I have tried to limit the driving as much as possible. I have previously visited Arches and Canyonlands.
Day 1: land in Phoenix in evening, drive immediately to Sedona
Day 2: Sedona
Day 3: leave Sedona for Monument Valley
Day 4: Monument Valley
Day 5: leave Monument Valley for ???
Day 6: ????
Day 7: drive from ??? to South Rim
Day 8: South Rim
Day 9: drive from South Rim to Phoenix
I would appreciate any and all ideas as to where to spend our open days, suggestions on hotels, hikes, routes to follow, etc. We have hotels in Sedona (Enchantment), Monument Valley (Valley View) and GC (Maswik) booked. Thanks for your help!!
KC1210 is offline  
Old Sep 1st, 2011, 04:51 AM
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Drive through Capitol Reef to Zion most scenic for me...

Then backtrack round the North Rim or shoot over to

St George Vegas down to South Rim for better roads not as scenic

www.classic.mapquest.com directions gorp.com hiking tips

get best deals bidding priceline usually hotwire.com sometimes

Happy Travels,
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Old Sep 1st, 2011, 08:17 AM
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This seems like a lot of driving but I did something similar several years ago and it seemed a lot straighter (maybe wasn't) and not bad driving.

I've never been to Monument Valley so I can't comment on it.

But if you're temped to visit Zion then I would definitely add Page, AZ to the list.

Antelope Canyon (2 hours when the sun is high)
Horseshoe Bend (1.5 hours)
The Best Dam View (15 minutes)

This is about a 3 hour stop. All of these are within 15-20 minutes from each other.

And the most bang for your buck (time and driving) you'll ever get.

Phoenix to Sedona (2:10)
to Monument Valley (2:50)
to Page (2:25)
to Zion (2:20)
to Grand Canyon South Rim (4:50)
to Phoenix (4:00)

I just took my itunerary from 5 years ago dropped Bryce Canyon (which I went to) and added Monument Valley (because it's on your list) and total driving would be 15 hours instead of 19 hours.

I started in LAS and ended in Phoenix. Of course, drop of charge for the car.

I spent more time in/around Sedona as the hiking there is beautiful.

You have more days than me so it should fit.
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Old Sep 1st, 2011, 11:29 AM
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I do not think that Monument Valley is worth more than half a day. One either take a car into it (there's a toll), which is what we did, or there may be a tour available. When we did it a long time ago, the road at the beginning of the circuit was really rough, and might not be recommended for what I presume is a rental.

Actually, the way you are describing your existing trip, it might be best to concentrate on "Indian Country" and consider Canyon de Chelly, the Hopi mesas, Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antelope_Canyon ) with a stop at the south rim on your return.
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Old Sep 1st, 2011, 12:06 PM
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Have been to Bryce, Cap Reef, Grand Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon -- 2 or 3 times each. Monument Valley is by far my least favorite. I agree with Michael-we spent the night there and then spent 1/2 day there and it was plenty for us. We did take a tour led by a guide, which was just ok. I haven't been to Canyon De Chelly-I plan on doing that sometime. I have rafted the Grand Canyon and your first view from the rim is truly amazing. However, I enjoyed Zion so much much more. The Narrows and Angels Landing are two very good hikes!!!! I would be tempted to see the GC from both the North and South rims if you had an extra day. I would hike down into the canyon a bit, just to get a good feel for it. I do like the GC for that initial shock, awe, and wow factor. But you can do it in a day. Catch a sunrise or sunset there.

I didn't mean to imply that Monument Valley is not good, because we did enjoy it, but I just like the other places much better.
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Old Sep 1st, 2011, 03:39 PM
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I don't know if your starting and ending points are fixed yet, but given the comments of those who've been to Monument Valley I would start or end in Las Vegas / Phoenix and include the following (assuming starting in LAS but you could reverse it).

Also, I don't know your style. For instance, spiro is more adventurous (read that to be younger and more agile) than me. I only do "easy" but I can go all day.

Zion 2 days (select from Emerald Pools, Angel's Landing, Riverside Walk / The Narrows and Canyon Overlook on the way out the east Entrance/exit)

Bryce Canyon (1 day - sleep here to get up early for a Bryce Point sunrise as well as a good hike into the Canyon)

Page ( (1 day) part of a day between Bryce and Grand Canyon - The Best Dam View, Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend)

Grand canyon (sleep over 1 or 2 nights - sunset at Hopi Point, walk along the Rim and watch the sun come up, hike down into the Canyon at least an hour or so and back)

Sedona (at least 2 days - sunset at Cresent Moon Picnic Area to see Cathedral Rock across Oak Creek, Boynton Canyon Vista (not the full Boynton canyon), around Bell Rock, Broken Arrow hike or if you want to take it easy and be terrorized take the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, there are more).

Back to Phoenix.

That's about 7 or 8 days.
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Old Sep 1st, 2011, 11:37 PM
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If you find time while in Monument Valley you can also do Valley of the Gods, Moki Dugway and Gooseneck State Park. I personally love Monument Valley.

With your extra time I'd suggest either Canyon de Chelly and do one of the canyon tours. You can do one hike into the canyon otherwise you have to be on some kind of guided tour.

The other choice would be Lake Powell at Page, AZ. There are lots of choices of things to do? Boat tour to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Float trip on Colorado River to Marble Canyon, Upper Antelope Slot Canyon and the 3/4 mile hike to Horseshoe Bend.

I know someone mentioned the N. Rim of the Grand Canyon. I know you mentioned October but not when in October. Many services at the North Rim start closing mid-October. I always like to recommend that first time visitors do the S. Rim first. It's "grander" IMHO. Also by October the crowds have left.

If you don't have your heart set on Phoenix as the start and end, then if you want to do Zion, I'd start and end in Las Vegas.

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Old Sep 2nd, 2011, 05:55 AM
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I just returned from a trip to that region and will be posting a trip report shortly. We did Vegas - Bryce - Grand Canyon NR - Page Az - Zion - Vegas. The longest drive was 4.5 hours (Vegas to Bryce) and much of that was beautiful. Hard to pick a favorite but if I had to it would probably have been Bryce.

I don't know how 'busy' these places get in October but they were not bad at all in late August. Other than Ruby's at Bryce, and Zion and GC Lodges, there were vacancy signs in motels all over and roads were never busy. However - Antelope Canyon was the exception. We would have had to wait almost three hours for a tour (so sadly, we skipped it). It might be better in October but locals were telling us that September anyway is busier than August. Probably by October things will slow down. That would also be a good time to do Horse Shoe Bend, the heat in August there almost killed us. But the pictures are awesome.

On the other hand, the Narrows in Zion will probably be cold by then. In August you really didn't need the special shoes or any equipment (other than a bag to protect the cameras, which I did not have) other than a walking stick. But there are two places on the main street in Zion to rent the stuff. I only did a short part of Narrows and it was incredible.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2011, 07:07 PM
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There are so many options it is hard to pick just one more. But with what you have already- and even though the Narrows is a fantastic place and hike- it is more driving and you would be driving right past Page and there are fun things there too. So if you want to limit the driving go from MV to Page and then to the South Rim.

I might recommend another day in Sedona lots of hikes, and definitely no more than one overnight at Monument Valley.

So try this:
day 1 Phx to Sedona
Day 2 Sedona
day 3 Sedona
Day 4 Sedona to MV, afternoon tour there
Day 5 MV to Page (antelope canyons, Horseshoe bend, Rainbow bridge, rafting the colorado)
day 6 Page If you do all the rest the day before you could try the Wahweap hoodoos
day 7 Page to South Rim
day 8 South Rim
Day 9 South Rim to Phx
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Old Sep 4th, 2011, 06:07 AM
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Many thanks for the reponses. We have already booked our tickets so travel in and out of Phoenix is already set. The flights into Las Vegas didn't work for this trip and we decided to save Vegas and the North Rim for another trip, particularly since we are travelling the third week of October and worried about things being closed. While I am not overly enthusiastic about Monument Valley, my travelling companion is enthralled with John Wayne movies and is really looking forward to this part. We plan to only really have one day there-- arriving late on Day 3 and leaving early on Day 5 but perhaps we may be able to leave on Day 4 and free up a day. What are the roads like between MV and Page/Zion and how long is the drive? Is it possible to see enough of MV in one day and still make the drive to Page?
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Old Sep 4th, 2011, 10:53 AM
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You can do a tour of Monument Valley, spend time in Gouldings to see John Wayne memorabilia, and still make it to Page, AZ that evening if you decide to do that. It's only 125 miles taking Hwy 160 & 98 into Page. The roads are fine but it's a little isolated out there.

Highway 89 is the more scenic route but you will be driving that on your way to the S. Rim. Give your self time to stop at the different overlooks at the S. Rim when driving from Page, AZ to the S. Rim.

You might choose to also leave the S. Rim via Cameron and make a detour to Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater.

Also a quick on hour stop between Flagstaff and Phoenix is Montezuma's Castle National Monument.

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