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Questions about March trip--Phoenix, Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, Las Vegas.

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Jan 31st, 2008, 10:12 AM
  #1
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Questions about March trip--Phoenix, Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, Las Vegas.

Were traveling to Arizona and Utah for 11 nights beginning March 14 with our two boys, ages 13 and 15. I have a lot of questions, and a tentative itinerary. We like hiking, history and NO shopping. Weve never been to this area and would appreciate any suggestions or recommendations on changes.

Day 1) Arrive around 11:30 AM Phoenix.
We definitely want to go to Taliesen West.
Should we spend one night in Phoenix or Scottsdale area and also go to the Desert Botanical Garden, and then stop at Montezuma Castle the next day on the way to Sedona?
Or should we head to Sedona right away the first day after the tour at Taliesen West?

Day 2 and 3) Sedona: Sky Ranch Lodge. Plan to do some hiking. Any suggestions on moderate non-touristy restaurants?

On the way to Grand Canyon, should we stop at the museum in Flagstaff or should we go to Sunset Crater etc and enter by the east entrance?

Day 4, 5, 6) Grand Canyon (still trying to get better rooms than Yavapai)

I cant decide whether to keep trying for a cancellation for the second night at Phantom Ranch. The boys are really up for it but Im not sure whether my husband and I are ready for the hike back up. If we cant do that, or decide not to, we would spend one day hiking into the canyon and one day hiking on the rim.

Day 7) Page or Monument Valley
We could either drive from GC to Monument Valley, spend the night and drive the next day to Page for an overnight, or we could skip MV (and all the extra driving) and stay one night in Page and one night near Bryce before ending up in Zion.

Which would be better, considering the time of year and weather?

At Page we want to see Antelope Canyon, tour the dam, Horseshoe Bend. The boys would have loved a white water raft trip into the GC but that wont happen. Do you think the float trip would be too calm (or too cold) for them as an alternative?

Day 8) Page or Bryce
Would you chose Bryce over Monument Valley? Will we be able to hike at all in Bryce?
Should we be prepared for hiking in snow, just in case?

Day 9, 10, 11) Zion Lodge.

Fly out from Las Vegas at noon, March 25.

Thanks for your advice!
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Jan 31st, 2008, 10:28 AM
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Hi sms,

Regarding rafting, I don't think the river companies start until April, but you can check. March will be freezing on the water.

March will still have snow at Bryce. It is at 8,000 ft. If there is snow, hiking will NOT be recommended due to icy trails. You could still spend an enjoyable day driving to the accessible view points and walking out to those.

Weather will still be cool even at Zion in March. Bring jackets, even gloves and hats because it can be cold in the shade. Zion may or may not be spring green by mid March. Maybe some early grasses. Too early for any wildflowers.

The shuttles in Zion will not be running that early. Get up early to get a parking place at the various points of interest in the park.

Have fun!
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Jan 31st, 2008, 11:05 AM
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March even at the GC can mean snow and cold temperatures so hats, gloves and warm jackets are a great idea there too. Have been there in March when it was 75 or 35 and a snow storm so watch the weather prediction before you leave on your trip. Even on the 75 degree days, the evenings are cool because of the elevation. Your itinerary gives you many opportunities for history and hiking. Have a great trip!
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Jan 31st, 2008, 07:08 PM
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We did the 3 day raft trip and loved it. My parents did the float trip and loved it. No, they wouldn't get see any white water rafting, but seeing the Canyon from the bottom and the helicopter down is a really awesome experience. I think the float is usually about 30 minutes. I am wondering if they offer the float trips in March. I know that the rafting wouldn't be offered then. I am thinking Bryce may be really risky in March. Actually, the GC may be somewhat of a weather risk then as well.

Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Bryce. You really can't go wrong.

If you go to Monument Valley. Check out Valley of the Gods for Lodging. We are staying there in May. We are doing a hot air balloon over Monument Valley.

Let your boys try Canyoneering in Zion or Grand Staircase area. I did it with my 12 year old daughter in Arches and we both loved it. I can let you know more about that if you like. It is fairly inexpensive.

I have a friend (age 38) who hiked down from the North Rim spent the night @ Phantom, then hiked back up the Bright Angel. She is in very good shape, and said it was pretty difficult. But I am sure it would be worth it. Again, weather could play a role here. You'll have a blast, and look forward to a trip report.

You might consider not doing the hike all the way to the bottom of GC. Let the boys hike Angels Landing in Zion, if they are wanting something to really "hang their hats on". That is one heck of a feat also.
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Feb 1st, 2008, 05:21 AM
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Would you send teenagers on Angel's landing trail in Zion by themselves? They have less fear of heights than their parents.

Canyoneering is a great idea in Zion. I'll look into that for the boys.

In my research I think I found that the float trips go in March but I guess we'll wait to see how the weather is.

I'm still not sure about choosing Bryce or Monument Valley.
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Feb 1st, 2008, 06:35 PM
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You might want to go part of the way up Angels Landing and stop at Scout Lookout (i believe i am thinking right on this). You could wait for them there. If your kids are level headed they would most likely be fine. Its similar to the age-old question (are they old enough to drive a car or motorcycle). Its hard to let go as a parent, but they would most likely be fine. I have a daughter who is very level headed. However, for some reason, boys just seem to have better thinking skills about things like this IMOP. At the same time, boys seem like better drivers to me, but statistically they are not. I think it would be to cold for the narrows.



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Feb 1st, 2008, 08:54 PM
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In March, I don't think fear of heights is the thing to worry about. It's very possible there will be snow/ice on the trail to Angel's Landing, and they'd have to be very careful on the last part.
 
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Feb 2nd, 2008, 04:56 AM
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Here's a resource for canyoneering near Zion: Zion Adventure Company. We did a family adventure day back in August 04 (kids were 8 and 10) and it was quite the experience. Not sure that they would do trips in March as it will probably be cold.

We did much of the trip you are doing and it was the best one we've ever taken as a family (and we travel quite a bit). If you search on my name and "trip report", you can probably find some good info on dining, hiking, etc. But realize that the timing and ages are different and that 4 years have past.

Have fun!
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Feb 2nd, 2008, 05:33 AM
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You asked about stopping at "the museum" in Flagstaff--do you mean Museum of northern ARizona? I thought that had a great collection. The Lowell observatory is also an interesting stop--has tours during the day

If you the GC via the eastern entrance, you should leave plenty of time for this drive. There are spectacular views and fewer people than at GC Village area. At least plan to stop at the Desert View watch tower. There is also a short trail at the Tusayan Museum which you might enjoy with your interest in history
The historic buildings in the GC village including El Tovar and the Kolb studio are also well worth visiting
There are many ranger tours and talks which give information about a wide range of topics.
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Feb 2nd, 2008, 06:00 AM
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While I've never been to Monument Valley (although I hope to go one day), my vote would be for Bryce. It is a magical place, so incredibly beautiful in all lights. If you go there, definitely get up and watch the sunrise. We stayed in the cabins in the park and ate at the lodge restaurant, which was fine...this was in June 2004. Hiking there is excellent, lots of trails for lots of different levels of skill. It was perfect as far as weeather in June, I imagine it could be a bit cool in March.
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Feb 3rd, 2008, 06:36 PM
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I looked into canyoneering in Zion and there are trips in March; Zion Adventures says they lead trips all year. But I read ccrosner's description of their family trip canyoneering and that terrified me! However, I was able to face my height fears ziplining in Costa Rica, so maybe I could do it. Does canyoneering require being in great physical shape?

Yes, I was wondering about the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. I think we'll have to miss the Heard Museum in Phoenix, so I was interested in the one in Flagstaff. How long a stop should we plan there? Would we have enough time driving from Sedona to go to that, and to the Lowell Observatory, before heading on to the Grand Canyon? Or should we plan to go to Sunset Crater instead? I love volcanoes. If we did that, would it be faster to go back to Flagstaff and then go to the southern entrance of GC or on to the east entrance? We'll be going back out the east entrance to go to Page later.
Thanks everyone!
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Feb 4th, 2008, 03:52 AM
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Sorry that my trip report terrified you....but it had its scary moments! If you could avoid the "downhiking" part, it would have been fine. The canyoneering part was great fun.

I think you need to be in decent shape (all relative) to do it. The hardest part, physically, was hiking one to two miles up the canyon with somewhat heavy packs on your back. I would say my crew was in moderately good shape.
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Feb 4th, 2008, 04:25 AM
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About the trip from Sedona to the GC, it is not far to Flagstaff so if you get going early you should be able to do at least 2 of the things on the list of possibles before heading to the Grand Canyon.
I would say maybe 2 hours at Museum of Northern Arizona?
We did not go to Sunset Crater on our trip in 2006 because it and many of national monuments nearby sites were closed due to danger of forest fire. It looks really impressive and altho the Lowell Observatory is interesting, I would probably do Sunset Crater (and Wupatki National monument?)

I am not sure which entrance of the GC would work best for you after that in terms of time. The southern route is really pretty boring so I would probably opt for the eastern entrance on the theory you could see different spots on the way in and out. The first views of the Canyon from Desert View Watch Tower are spectacular.
The Cameron Trading Post just north of the turn off toward the eastern entrance is also interesting if you have time, and you will go past some small tourist stops on Rte 64 in the Navajo reservation
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Feb 6th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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Thanks everyone! This is helpful.
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