Need help with Utah trip in October

Aug 21st, 2008, 06:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 38
Need help with Utah trip in October

We are going to some of the smaller parks in Utah. We are flying into Salt Lake, spending a couple of days there . We will travel to Torrey for Capitol Reef and to Moab for Arches. We have 2-3 days extra and can't decide between: 1) Grand Staircase(Out of the way?) 2) Valley of the Gods 3) Monument Valley 4) Canyonlands. What's best?
We are about 60 and in good shape.
Barney18 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2008, 07:16 PM
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For one thing, Canyonlands is right across the street from Arches (kind of!), so it would make sense to visit it when you're in Moab. It's absolutely spectacular, very different from Arches and well worth the time. There's also Dead Horse State Park right there that has the best scenic viewpoint in the area. Spend at least one more day in Moab to include that in your itinerary.
tekwriter is offline  
Aug 21st, 2008, 10:50 PM
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Another vote for Canyonlands - a great overall experience, because it is not crowded and un-touristy, as well as spectacular. Going back for the third time , from Australia, soon. Moab is a good base - you could do a day trip to Valley of the Gods easily from here.
We are also going to Torrey - and along Highway 12, from Bryce. This is a wonderful drive. There's a special website for it
Carrabella is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 06:49 AM
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Be sure to drive Utah 12 which runs from Torrey south to its intersection on US89 outside of Panguitch. Some call it the most beautiful drive in the country. Will travel through Red Canyon which is a beautiful red rock area with hoodoos. Then pass turn off to Bryce Canyon. About 5 miles past Escalante is turnoff to the Hole in the Rock Road established by the Mormon settlers. 17 miles down this road is turnoff to Devils Garden a land of spires, hoodoos and arches. Back on UT12 pass turnoff to Calf Creek Recreation Area (15 miles past Escalante) a 5.5m trail leads to wonderful waterfall in the desert along with petroglyphs. A wonderful hike is where UT12 crosses the Escalante River. There is a trailhead on the left just past the bridge for Escalante Natural Bridge. The "trail" follows the river (alot of times in the river itself. Is usually only calf deep)for about 3 miles to a natural arch surrounded by cottonwood trees which in late October are in full color. Another trail across road from this trailhead follows the river on the other side passing an Indian ruin high on the cliff face. Another ruin is on same side of road as the trailhead but on Escalante side of the bridge.

If you take the Valley of the Gods road do it early or late in the day so the relief of the mountains is set off to its best. At the one terminus you can climb the Moqui Dugway to a high viewpoint overlooking the valley with Monument Valley in the distance. At the top is turn off to Muley Point.

At Monument Valley you are allowed only on the 17 mile unpaved and in places very rough road through the valley floor. If you want to see the ruins, sand dunes or rock art you will have to arrange trip through guide either there in the parking lot or through Gouldings Lodge nearby.
Photodog is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 12:54 PM
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I would recommend stopping to see Goblin Valley on your way to Torrey (plan on 2-3 hours hiking around the interesting rock formations).

I think you would enjoy Canyonlands with a stop at Dead Horse Point. Monument Valley at sunset is an experience of a lifetime, but is a long way from nowhere.

Stop by the museum in the small town of Greenriver to see the history of John Wesley Powell's trip through this part of the country. While there, eat a hamburger at Ray's Tavern (voted one of the best burgers in Utah).

Good luck with your trip.
Bird is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 01:11 PM
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Post should have read "small town of Green River" Sorry.
Bird is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 04:53 PM
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You don't say how many days you have total or how many you have planned for Moab and Torrey to start with...
Dayle is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 04:55 PM
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Oh, and October is a fabulous time to visit. You should still have nice, warm days and good weather with fall colors up high. Good choice!
Dayle is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for all the info. How does this sound time wise?
SLC - 3 nights
Torrey -2 nights (Capitol reef, 3 Bridges)
Mexican Hat- 2 nights(valley of Gods, Monument Valley)
Moab - 4 nights(Arches, Canyonlands)
Grand Junction -1 night. Fly home.

We are going to skip Rte 12 from Torrey to Grand Escalante as it seems out of the way and the road near Boulder is very difficult.
Barney18 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 07:13 PM
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This is a pretty good plan for the area you want to visit.

I don't think I would spend 3 days in SLC unless you plan to drive in the mountains to see the fall colors. Or you want to do some hiking or biking in the Wasatch.

Otherwise, I would take 2 days to add Mesa Verde to your trip. Not out of the way and well worth visiting.

I hope you plan to do another trip in the future to see Zion, Bryce and Hwy 12. The road isn't "difficult", just maybe a little different from what you are used to?
Dayle is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 07:46 AM
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I'm not sure where you're getting your info on Rt. 12 but, it is no more "difficult" than the entrance road into Arches NP for instance.

Rt, 12 is a regular road that happens to go through an incredibly scenic area. Here's a shot of the the spot that most agree is the scariest...the Hogsback near Boulder. In the meantime you should ask yourself this question:

"How often to I accidentally just drive off the side of the road?"

Here's the Hogsback and it is just this quick section that is like this. Pretty tame really:
peterboy is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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Second on not staying in SLC that long. Maybe one day for the city--more if you want to bike the canyons. But the real scenery is down south (and I live in SLC!)
StantonHyde is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 05:47 PM
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I've not done this yet...but the next time I fly into SLC I want to detour over to Robert Redford's Sundance before moving on.

Consider going to the free rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle choir when you go to SLC.

Have a great trip. Arches and Monument Valley are two of my favs.
starrs is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Don't skip HWY 12.
spirobulldog is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 07:30 PM
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We just got back yesterday from a trip that went from Grand Junction to Arches/Canyonland, to Monument Valley, to Mesa Verde,(through the 4 Corners), to Durango, up Highway 550 (Million Dollar Highway -some parts are not easy to drive) to Ouray and back to Grand Junction. It was a great trip.
If you need to go to SLC and you don't want to do Colorado, I would suggest the following,

SLC - 2 days (day trip to Park City)
Moab (Arches/Canyonland) - 3 days
Capitol Reef - 1 day
Take Highway 12 to Bryce -2 days
Zion (Springdale) - 2 days
Fly home from Las Vegas, which is about 2 1/2 hours from Springdale.
mikec54321 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2008, 08:47 AM
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My son and I just flew into Salt Lake City in August and did almost your same trip. We spent a day touring Salt Lake City and we also were able to get to Park City the day we arrived to see the Olympic Park. Capitol Reef in Torrey was fabulous. Lots of wonderful, mostly short hikes. Be sure to stop and get the homemade ice cream and hike in Capitol Gorge. Canyonlands was a reall favorite with us. Island in the Sky entrance is only 37 miles outside of Moab. I think it was just as wonderful as the Grand Canyon. The views were spectacular. We spent a day there and then the next day we drove around the 67 miles to the Needles entrance of Canyonlands. When we arrived at the visitor's center, we were the only ones there! We walked right down in the canyons and had several short hikes. We also saw Newspaper Rock with all the petroglyphs. There were lots of hikes in both places that were long and short, all with wonderful views. Arches was also great, very different from Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. We used the Fodors Utah book as our guide and it was great. Even the two resturants in Moab we chose from Fodors we were not disappointed in the food or service. Have a wonderful time.
studiosbg is offline  
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