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Planning a grand canyon, zion, and Bryce vacation. Where else in addition to these areas should we visit?

Planning a grand canyon, zion, and Bryce vacation. Where else in addition to these areas should we visit?

Old Jan 4th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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Planning a grand canyon, zion, and Bryce vacation. Where else in addition to these areas should we visit?

Hello,
We have three days in Grand Canyon, Two days in Bryce reserved in July. I also, want to visit Zion but, I have six extra days and I'm thinking I could spend two days somewhere else because six days may be too long in Zion. I have read several postings concerning these areas and many people have mention Capital Reef, Lake Powell, and Sedona as great places to visit. I have never been to Utah or Arizona so, I'm wondering what would be the best place I could add to my itinerary.Is there another place that I should consider? I know its a matter of opinion which is best but, it may still help me in my decision making. Thankyou so much!
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 11:58 AM
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Lake Powell or Capitol Reef would be excellent choices. I'm not a big fan of Sedona because it's more commercialized but that might be more of what you are looking for.

If you already have resevations for GC and then Bryce right after then you would have to either change reservations or back track to Lake Powell because you will pass it on the way to Bryce.

To do the Lake Powell area you really need to do a float trip on the Colorado River and/or a boat tour on the Lake and/or Antelope Slots Canyon. If this isn't something your interested in the do Capitol Reef.

To get to Capitol Reef from Bryce you would drive Scenic Hwy 12 to Torrey, Utah. This in itself is worth it and even if you don't go to Capitiol Reef I would suggest an extra day at Bryce just to drive Hwy 12 to Boulder, Utah and back. Capitol Reef is really an undiscovered jewel of National Parks.

Other people might suggest going over to Moab area to see Arches and Canyonlands but if you do that you will be spending a lot of time driving.

My favorite website for information on the area:

http://www.so-utah.com/

Utahtea
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 02:19 PM
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Ditto. Utah 12 is a top notch scenic drive.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 03:15 PM
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I would say either Lake Powell area or Sedona, based on your vacation-ing style. We love the southwest and we loved both these areas. Sedona might appeal b/c is it is a bit more commercialized and you might feel you are once again entering civilization. We hiked to a very remote corner of the Grand Canyon last May, and after being so far away from everything, it was nice to have a little shopping to do, and to eat in a nice restaurant. But you are going in July and it is going to be very hot where you are - renting a boat or taking a float trip near Lake Powell can help you cool off! (I know people will tell you "it's a dry heat", but it can be brutal. Plan to hike early or late in the day. And Bryce will be cooler than Zion and the Grand Canyon.)
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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Thankyou for all of your suggestions. I think I have a plan now. This is based on when I could get reservations, other postings, and your suggestions. I have Grand Canyon 3 nights, Mesa Verde 2 nights, over to Arches National Park 1 night, Capital Reef 1 night, Zion (via route 12) 2 nights , and then 2 nights in Bryce . I know that's alot of hopping around but, it's not driving over 6 hours at least in a day. I think that way I will get the highlights of everything. I got a Western Cabin at the Bright Angel lodge and a Western Cabin in Bryce. I was hoping to get a Rim cabin in at the Bright Angel but, they are all booked and I hope this cabin is just as good. Bryce is pretty booked up for July already . Driving alot is okay with me as long as it's interesting driving (and I'm not doing the driving). Any other suggestions will be appreciated. Thankyou
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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That IS a lot of driving, but it will probably be so darned hot that you'll be happy to view scenery from an air-conditioned vehicle rather than go out and hike in the heat, lol.

Don't know what kind of physical shape you and your partner are in, but one way to beat the heat at Zion is to hike the Narrows. Try the GORP (Great Outdoor Recreation Pages) site and the NPS site for more info about this, if you are interested. You actually hike IN the river gorge between narrow, fabulous sandstone walls. Water height can be anything from stepping stones to armpit high, and flash floods are a danger. Just check the storm warnings at the ranger site.

If you are in great shape, you can attempt it in one day, but it will be a predawn to post sunset experience. Or you can camp in the Narrows overnight and finish up on the second day. Have fun, and be ready for some heat.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Trisha,

I am curious where you are flying in and out of? As you said, the drives in Arizona and Utah are beautiful if you have never been there. My daughter and I have visited the areas you are planning to visit and have enjoyed the drives as well as the destinations.
I'm not sure I would plan for 3 nights at Grand Canyon. Depending on what time you will arrive the first day, you may find 2 nights will be sufficient. I guess it just depends on how much hiking you plan to do. Upon leaving Grand Canyon I would suggest a stop at Monument Valley. We toured in our own vehicle that was air conditioned (it was 4-wheel drive). The road is very rough, but I'm sure it is passable in a car as long as there are no thunderstorms. I'm sure the tours that are operated by the Navajo are very interesting, but I don't think I could stand the July heat in the open-air vehicles I saw them using.
We arrived at Mesa Verde early in the day and was able to do everything we wanted in one day (however we were there just before Memorial Day) and crowds weren't bad. We spent the night in Cortez. We took the tour of the dwelling that required climbing a couple of ladders. I was a little worried, but it was okay. We didn't take the tour that required crawling on our knees - I didn't think I could handle that. We then drove to Moab and spent 2 days. We really like Moab. Lots of shopping and dining choices. From there we visited Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point State Park.
We enjoyed both Bryce and Zion, but I thought Zion was the most beautiful of the two. I would think 2 nights at each place would give you time to enjoy them.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Thanks again for you replies. I'm flying into Las Vegas and will spend maybe a few nights there. I may cut back on Grand Canyon but, am waiting on scheduling a mule tour down into the canyon. Right now, they aren't taking reservations until they clear up the dates of when they will open up the Bright Angel trail . Hopefully, I will snag a reservation and if not, I will cut one night there. I think I will need three nights,if I'm going to do that. I did consider Monument Valley and may add that but, I have to realize I can't do everything.
The suggestion of doing the Narrows at Zion was a good one which sounds challenging and I enjoy doing challenging events on my trips.
I missed being able to do Mesa Verde two years ago because of the fire. They closed it the day before we were supposed to stay there so, I'm glad to try for another opportunity to see that. I'm open to making changes since, it's still so early.
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Old Jan 5th, 2004, 04:41 AM
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Regarding Bright Angel cabin. They are all very near the rim - 50-100 feet or so. You would not really gain much by being closer - in fact, some of the cabins we saw in the first line from the rim we thought might be quite noisy - they are right along a paved path with lots of viewers to rim - would be noisy with windows open and you would probably want curtains pulled most of the time.

Don't know your hiking preferences or tolerances, but husband and teenage son did a short hike from Bright Angel last August - they were fortunate in that it was a cooler and overcast morning, but still left at 6 AM. There are some nice hikes at Bryce as well - for all levels of hikedness. Be sure to see both sunrise and sunset at Bryce (we liked Bryce better than GC)

If you can't find a parking space right at Bright Angel, just drive across tracks to larger lot (?Maswik Lodge?) - there is usually space there and the lot by El Tovar and Bright Angel is like finding a space at the mall at Christmas.

Pick up the book "Death in the Grand Canyon - Over the Edge" - it is actually interesting reading cataloguing stupid things people have died doing at GC over a century. Or, wait until after you visit if it will give you the creeps.
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Old Jan 6th, 2004, 07:21 PM
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You are just 22miles from Monument Valley as you go from the Gr. Canyon to Mesa Verde. You can do the Valley in half a day and it will break up the drive from Gr. Canyon to Mesa Verde. Total mileage for this trip is around 1000 miles - not so much driving in 11 days.
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Old Jan 7th, 2004, 04:14 AM
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Thanks, what route would I take to go to Monument Valley and then on to Mesa Verde? I was trying to figure it out on my Streets and Trips software but,it showed me backtracking some. Streets and Trips (I have noticed at times) doesn't always show you the best or scenic ways to go. Thanks again.
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Old Jan 7th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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Trisha,

There are two different ways I can suggest to go from Monument Valley to Mesa Verde.

One you can back track the 25 miles from Monument Valley to Kayenta and then take Hwy 160 to Cortez. This route will be about 335 miles.

The second route would be to continue up to Bluff and then Montezuma Creek on Hwy 163. From Aneth take Hwy 262 (also known as Hwy 41) back over to Hwy 160. This route might be just a little slower driving and is about 320 miles. There won't be any services between Bluff and Cortez. (There also won't be many services between Kayenta and Cortez for that matter!) It is scenic between Monument Valley and Bluff but then the two roads will be similar after that.

Now my Micrsoft Streets and Trips suggested another way. It says to take BIA-5066, BIA-5069, BIA-5068, & CR-G from Aneth to Hwy 160 but I believe that is a dirt road for the most part. I would ask before taking off on those roads. This route is 309 miles.

While you are in the area look to the south east and you will be able to see Ship Rock off in the distance. Ship Rock is in New Mexico but can be seen while you are in the area.

http://geoinfo.nmt.edu/tour/shiprock.html

Utahtea
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