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Pls Critique Itinary: National Parks in Southwest US

Pls Critique Itinary: National Parks in Southwest US

Old Nov 11th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Pls Critique Itinary: National Parks in Southwest US

Hi,

Appreciate it if you think the following itinerary of the national parks in southern Utah is do-able.

Planning to go for the week of Thanksgiving (1 week). Please recommend alternate routes if the weather conditions turn bad in high elevation. Anything that shouldn't be missed?

Other than hiking, any other activities are do-able in late Nov? Horseback riding? Rafting? Snowshoeing?

Thanks much for sharing your experience and advice!

We've been to Grand Canyon south rim and Zion before, so those are eliminated this time.

Day 1 (Sat) -- Drive from CA to Hurricane, UT. Long drive. Stay over in Hurricane.

Day 2 (Sun) -- May do a short hike in Zion. Or just head out to Bryce Canyon NP. Hike. Stay in Bryce.

Day 3 (Mon) -- More hiking in Bryce. Stay in Bryce.

Day 4(Tues) -- Drive Hwy 12 from Bryce to Torrey. Stop along way to see sceneries, hike. How to do Grand Staircase-Escalante along this route? Overnight in Torrey.

Day 5 (Wed) -- Capitol Reef NP. Hike. Drive to Moab and stay there.

Day 6 (Thurs/TG) -- Arches NP. Stay in Moab.

Day 7 (Fri) --Drive from Moab to Vegas on Hwy 70. Possible to see Canyonland NP (Island in the Sky) that morning before heading out to Vegas?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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Hi JC,

Hiking in Bryce might be limited by snow. You may want to be open to x country skiing/snowshoeing instead. I don't think the park service actually closes the trails, but they will tell you hiking is not recommended due to snow and ice on the trails. I think given the high probability that you won't be hiking down into the canyon and will be limited to driving to the viewpoints, one night in Bryce would be enough.

Driving Hwy 12 from Bryce to Torrey could present a problem once past Boulder - up and over Boulder Mtn is very high altitude and there will be snow. If it's been a day or so since a storm, do it. Don't do it during a storm. Check road conditions before going.

Activities such as horseback riding and rafting will be on hold until late spring.

I would not drive all the way to Moab for less than a day! I think you would do better to limit your short trip to just Bryce and Capitol Reef. Or, just Moab.

Remember, you are going to have to be flexible and unrushed during this time of year. You may have to drive part way on Hwy 12, return and drive an alternate route to Torrey. You may have a really bad weather day when you won't want to hike and won't see much.

Going during the winter is a great time to slow down and relax (like Mother Nature).
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 02:09 PM
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I agree with Dayle. I would spend more time in just Cap Reef or just Moab. Two days isn't enough and you have only alloted one. Since you mentioned rafting, snowshoeing, etc. it sounds like you are adventurous. Try Canyoneering. A handful of companies offer guided canyoneering trips throughout southern Utah. The only one I have used is www.deserthighlights.com We were very impressed with them. They are the only concession designated within Arches NP. It ranks right up there with rafting the Grand Canyon for me. Grand Canyon rafting was over $1500. Canyoneering was less than 100. Zion Adventure Company in Zion does this, there are a couple of companies Escalante area also. You will not see another soul except for the 6 or 7 people in your group on this type of tour. If your just going to Canyonland to say you have seen it you might consider seeing it from Dead Horse Point. It is similar view as that of Grand Canyon, but very dramatic. If you don't have your plane tickets yet, I would think about just doing Cap Reef, Escalante, and Arches. Fly into Salt Lake or Grand Junction, CO. Bryce may be a little iffy depending on the weather. There is a ton to do in each area. I am afraid you are trying to just hit each park (and that is sometimes fun), although you won't really be experiencing them. I usually try to allow 3 to 4 days as a minimum in most national park visits. Maybe you should save Bryce for summer. Wish I was going with you. Turkey under an arch would be nice TG picnic.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 03:55 PM
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I would spend your time in Capitol Reef. It is Utah's hidden gem. Moab is eastern utah. That would be good for another trip that you could also include Colorado. I would just stick with Torrey and capitol reef. You could also take a side trip and visit Goblin Valley, which is very neat.
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Old Nov 12th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Thanks, all, for your detailed replies.

Thanks for warning about the weather conditions in Bryce and Boulder Mnt. The current weather forecast calls for sunny days during the time we're there, so hopefully it'll stay that way.

Is there a # to call while on the road to get updated weather info?

spirobulldog, thanks for pointing out canyoneering. I hadn't thought of it. Looks very interesting. Which one did you take? Is it worth it to skip Canyonland NP and do canyoneering?

Also, why is everyone highly recommending Capitol Reef? It's better than Bryce?

Thanks
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Old Nov 12th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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JC,

Capitol Reef is not better than Bryce. Each park is special for unique reasons. We are recommending Capitol Reef instead of Bryce (or at least more than 1 day at Bryce) because of the high possibility of snow at Bryce.
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 03:33 AM
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We did Krill Canyon which is the toughest one. We did it because it has plenty of shade in the middle of the day. We were there over Memorial Day weekend. If you could do Medieval it looks awesome. If you were really adventurous you could even do the "traverse" on medieval. I would have been afraid to to the traverse, but I would try it now. Medieval just looks awesome. The rappels are fantastic. After you do one, it really isn't scary at all. It was just myself, my daughter and another family along with the guide. Desert Highlights is great. I think they do some tours near Canyonlands as well. I hate to tell you to skip Canyonlands, but for me the Canyoneering was truly "one for the record". Moab Adventure Company offers Canyoneering around the area as well. Desert Highlights is allowed in Arches NP. A lot of the tours that Desert Highlights do are in The Firey Furnace. So that saves part of a day seeing that, as you get to see it this way. Plus it can be hard to get reservations to see that part. Since you have been to Zion before, skip hiking there and head straight for the new places. The "can't miss" things to see in Arches are Landscape Arch, Delicate Arch (at sunrise or sunset), Balanced Rock, and Double Arch. Double isn't high on everyones list, but it is mine. To see all of those takes the better part of a day. I don't think you could see all of those and do a canyoneering trip in a single day. Bryce, Cap Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, are unique. They do start to look alike, however. I still think you should save parts of this for later. I think trying to see 4 areas in 6 days isn't enough time. There is just so much to see in each one. Especially since you are the adventourous type. Tons of great hiking in each place. Be sure a tell us how your trip was when you get back. I love southern Utah.
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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Thanks, all, for the really good info. I'm excited.

What do you think of the following alternative itinerary in case the weather turns bad?

* Skip Zion, Bryce, Hwy 12

* Go to Kanab, Page, Monument Valley instead. The temperatures here are almost 10 degrees higher. Haven't done research here, so any suggestions on must-do's/see's would be appreciated.

* And up to Moab for Arches and Canyonland and possibly to Torrey for Capitol Reef.

Thanks.
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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Your latest plan, if you include Torrey, has you ending up right at the top of Hwy. 12. At that point, you might as well drive down it and, if the weathe ris OK, take a peak ay Bryce...it must be beuatiful is there's snow on the hoodoos. If the weather is bad then you can just cut over to I-15 and home.

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Old Nov 15th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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Oh no, the weather has changed dramatically for the worse. Snow is coming in by Tues. What should our plan B be? Maybe we can do Bryce full Sun and possibly go to Torrey on Mon. But by Tues we might be trapped there in the snow.

The alternative is after Bryce, move south to Page, etc.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 15th, 2007, 09:42 AM
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I researched the weather a little and it doesn't look like a major snow event, just the chance of snow. Boulder Mountain will be the biggest concern.

Bear in mind that this forcast is too far in the future to be reliable. You may want to plan on the southern insertion route and play it by ear depending on the weather for the Torrey/Hwy 12/Bryce section.
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Old Nov 15th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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Probably to late for Valley of the Gods B&B but you should five them a call if you are going to be near monument valley. you could always do other things, along the way. try your luck at being one of the daily ten people allowed to hike the wave near vermillion cliffs. or Natural Bridges, goblin valley, goosenecks, four courner, mesa verde. Utah has tons of places to see if you end up in the four corners area. Make reservations several places that allow cancellations and then be sure and cancel within the timeframe allowed.
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Old Nov 15th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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You still might hold out for Bryce. It would be really nice sight to see Hoodoos dusted with snow.
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Old Nov 15th, 2007, 11:31 PM
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You don't say where in CA you will be driving from. Be aware that the traffic between Barstow and Las Vegas might be pretty heavy coming and even going home on a Saturday after Thanksgiving! If you are driving home from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, allow yourself ALL day!

One year we went to Zion and were traveling from Barstow to Zion on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It was bumper to bumper traffic all the way to Las Vegas. We heard on the news that night that it was bumper to bumper all the way from Las Vegas to Los Angeles...we were so glad we were going the other direction!

Utahtea

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