Need help with Utah itinerary

Old May 30th, 2006, 05:11 AM
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Need help with Utah itinerary

We have one week to explore the Utah national parks and have been wanting to do this for 20 years! We really don't want to miss anything but know one week is really not enough time to do it justice. This is our tentative plan but we'd would really like some pointers as to whether we are missing any of the best places. Does this route make sense? Are some of these areas too hot this time of year to really do much hiking? Any tips on where to stay? We could camp or stay in hotels. Thanks for any advice!

July 30 arrive Salt Lake City

July 31 drive to Moab

Aug 1 Spend day in Arches National Park

Aug 2 drive to Tropic (is this a good place to stop?)

Aug 3 - spend day at Bryce Canyon, maybe see Grand Staircase

Aug 4 Drive to Springdale

Aug 5 Spend day at Zion

Aug 6 drive to Las Vegas
frogsinthecreek is offline  
Old May 30th, 2006, 02:30 PM
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ttt
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Old May 30th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Hi Frogs (love the name by the way!)

What time to you get into SLC? If at least by afternoon, you can drive to Moab that night. It's 4 1/2 hours.

Days 2 & 3 - Moab
Day 4 - drive Hwy 12 to Bryce (stay in Tropic if you must, Bryce Lodge will be hard to get at this late date, or try Ruby's)
Day 5 - Bryce
Day 6 - drive to Zion - only 1 1/2 hours
Day 7 - Zion

Depending on when your flight leaves LV, you may have another 1/2 day in Zion. If so, you could stay 1 night in Capitol Reef before driving to Bryce.

You will only have time to do 1 or 2 hikes in each location. Too bad you can't come out for 2 weeks!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 04:00 AM
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I wish we could come for two weeks as well. I haven't booked accomodations yet other than one day in Zion Lodge. We may have time to drive to Moab on day 1 if flights are on time. Would it be possible to fit Canyonlands into this itinerary or is that pushing it? Tahnks!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 08:53 AM
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If we get into Moab by early afternoon, will there be enough time to go to Arches or Canyonlands that day? If we can only go to one, which would be the better choice?
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Old May 31st, 2006, 08:56 AM
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Definatley Arches...much more scenic. Canyonlands is one of my least favorite parks in the country. But if you like off-roading, you can rent a jeep there.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:50 AM
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Just a general suggestion to save time between Parks -- is it possible for you to drive to the next Park at night & check into the hotel? You will then wake up at your destination! Looks like you have built in alot of driving time that will not take a full day.

July 30 arrive Salt Lake City [DRIVE TO MOAB & you will have time for Arches & C'lands -- 2 days]

July 31 drive to Moab [ARCHES]

Aug 1 Spend day in Arches National Park [C'LANDS]

Aug 2 drive to Tropic (is this a good place to stop?) [DRIVE THRU Capitol Reef NP & GS. You will wind up at Bryce.]

Aug 3 - spend day at Bryce Canyon [DRIVE TO SPRINGDALE AT NIGHT]

Aug 4 Drive to Springdale [SPEND DAY AT ZION]

Aug 5 Spend day at Zion [DRIVE TO LV]

Aug 6 drive to Las Vegas [SPEND DAY IN LV]
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Old May 31st, 2006, 11:51 AM
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Would we miss a lot of scenery by driving at night to the next destination?
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Old May 31st, 2006, 01:45 PM
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Driving at night you certainly would miss scenery - but more importantly, many of these are not roads I would like to drive at night. Think winding roads, no street lights, creepy drop-offs at side of road sometimes without guardrails, many miles between service stations. Probably poisonous snakes and other scraey creatures too.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 07:19 PM
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Definitely do not do the driving at night. The scenery is spectacular and you would miss much of it. Try to get to Moab the first day, even if you have to drive some at night. Then you can do 7/31 & 8/1 in Moab. 8/2 will be spent driving Moab to Bryce on Rte 12 - that will take all day with many stops. 8/3 at Bryce. 8/4 & 8/5 at Zion. That would work out and not be too hectic. It will be wicked hot in Moab and probably Zion. You should have time for a drive through look at the Islands section of Canyonlands and Dead Horse. In Moab, we stayed at River Canyon Lodge (Microtel) in a Jr Suite for $80/night. It was a new motel and a great value, right in the center of town. We've also stayed at the Best Inn for only $50/night - the hotel was fine but more at the edge of town. We couldn't walk to dinner, etc. There are loads of choices in Springdale - I'm sure most are just fine. You'll love Utah and will be planning a return trip anyway!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 08:33 PM
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When you get to Moab, check out Tag-a-Long Adventures. They are the only tour company with a permit to go into Canyonlands. The highlight of our last trip was their combo boat/jeep tour of Canyonlands. It is an all-day adventure and worth every dollar! You go by boat about 38 miles into the Park, view petroglyphs, petrified palm trees, fossils... Stops along the way....then on land for picnic lunch, get in the air conditioned jeeps and take an amazing tour of natural history. The guides were fantastic. We stayed at Red Cliffs Lodge, beautiful scenery right on the Colorado River. You can visit Arches easily in a day or less depending on your hiking interests.

Be sure you walk a few of the easy trails in Zion to fully appreciate the beauty of the place. We loved it so much on our first trip, we have returned every year since for 5 days of hiking. Have fun!
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 05:44 AM
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Thanks so much to everone for their tips. Do you think its better to spend two days at Bryce and one at Zion? Does anyone have a favorite park?
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 06:38 AM
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Sorry -- I didn't mean to say you should drive in the DARK. But in summer it is light out until around 8:30. We drove from one place to the next around 6. We even went to Cedar breaks on the way to Bryce & visibility was great.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 06:55 AM
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Hi again Frogs,

It's kind of a toss up on how to allot your time between Bryce and Zion. Bryce is much higher altitude (at the top of the canyon) and the temps will be pleasant, probably in the 80's. Hotter down in the canyon.

Zion will be HOT, definitely 100+ degrees but you can tube in the Virgin River outside the park and so shady hikes in the afternoon.

I like hiking at both so it's hard to say....

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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 10:10 AM
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We spent 2 days at Zion, one at Bryce, and felt that was the right call. Zion has many short hikes which all are worth taking (weeping rock, emerald pools) and also some longer hikes (narrows and angel's landing) which are not to be missed. Its nice to have two days to do all this.

Zion has its main road plus a whole northern section that you can visit if you finish with the main part.

Bryce has some nice hikes too, but for the most part, we stuck to the short to mid length ones and we were able to see most of the park.

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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 11:33 AM
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elnap 29-which part of canyonlands did the jeep take you to? How many hours was a full day trip?
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 09:38 PM
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bayridge, the jetboat glided down the Colorado River about 38 miles; then the air conditioned jeep took us upward to the rim in the Island in the Sky District, with fabulous stops and walks along the way. The guides were knowledgable and I learned so much about geologic history! It was about an 8-hour excursion, a true highlight of our many desert explorations. (Can we post photos on this site? I'll look for one). Another couple had hired this company to take them on a private hiking tour of the Needles District. Tag-a-long offers a number of adventures. We felt our boat/jeep tour (with lunch included) was reasonably priced.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:13 AM
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Did you think the tour of the Islands in the Sky section was sufficient that you covered what you would have seen had you driven your car to that part of the park? or did you return also on your own. The trip you took sounds really good.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 09:09 AM
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bayridge - we could not have driven our car. You would have to be an experienced driver with 4-wheel drive, and even then it could be easy to get lost, or you could have dificulty navigating the roads. Tne boat trip provided a unique perspective and Canyonlands itself is quite remote. With the guides, you are well taken care of, and so much natural history is provided. The 4-wheel drive vehicle travels a steep set of switchbacks from the river to the rim of the canyon. We appreciated the skillfulness of the drivers. Really the best way for a first exploration of Canyonlands!
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