Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Rocky Mtn. National Park, then Utah National Parks, then where?

Rocky Mtn. National Park, then Utah National Parks, then where?

Old Feb 13th, 2002, 04:47 PM
  #1  
lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Rocky Mtn. National Park, then Utah National Parks, then where?

I'm attending a wedding that's being held in Rocky Mtn. National Park, flying into Denver and staying in Estes Park (wouldn't be my first choice, but that's where all the other guests are staying, so...).

After the wedding I have 8 days and thought I'd do a road trip. I am using frequent flier miles, flying into Denver, plan on renting a car and can fly back out of pretty much anywhere in the west. I've always wanted to see some of the national parks in Utah (Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion), so I thought I'd spend about 3-4 days doing that. (I know it would be a long drive from Rocky Mountain National Park, but I like to drive. Has anyone done this?) After that, I'm open for suggestions on where I should spend my last 4-5 days. I like hiking, horseback riding, taking photos, that sort of thing. I went to the Grand Canyon and Sedona a little over a year ago, and just got back from New Mexico, and loved those but would rather go someplace I haven't been. No particular desire to go to Las Vegas. Previously went to Yellowstone and loved that. Have been up and down the California coast but have never been to Yosemite and am dying to go there. But I'm wondering how long it would take to drive from southern Utah to Yosemite (I could fly home out of Fresno). Thoughts? Is this unreasonable to consider doing in a 4-5 day timeframe? I could really use some suggestions from experienced Fodorites. Thanks!
 
Old Feb 13th, 2002, 04:52 PM
  #2  
lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
P.S. I once drove solo from Charlotte, NC to El Paso, Texas, so yes, I really do enjoy driving long distances on vacation! I just don't want anyone to give me one of those "have you ever looked at a map" responses. Thanks.
 
Old Feb 13th, 2002, 05:10 PM
  #3  
Paul Rabe
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I have been to all of the national parks you mentioned, each more than once; and I can't emphasize enough that one week for the Utah NPS sites is about right -- probably not ENOUGH. We're talking five of them, so you will NOT be able to see all of them in three to four days. Slow down a bit, take some hikes in each one, REALLY get a feel for the area. Go to Monument Valley or Colorado Nat Mon or Escalante Nat Mon or some of the beauty still not protected if you have an extra time, but don't drive just for the sake of seeing one more sight 1000 miles away.

I like your style of travel; I've done it myself on many occasions. But the Utah NP's are NOT designed to be seen in three to four days starting from Estes Park.
 
Old Feb 13th, 2002, 06:33 PM
  #4  
rqf
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The parks you mention are certainly worth seeing. But you will be covering lots of ground in four days and you won't get to spend much time in any one place.
You might consider the following. Arches followed by Monument Valley in Utah and then Mesa Verde NP in Colorado. From there back to Denver - lots less mileage to drive
 
Old Feb 13th, 2002, 07:34 PM
  #5  
Connie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You didn't mention ever spending any time in Colorado. People come from all over the country to see Colorado. You are already going to be there and there is so much to see and do.

 
Old Feb 14th, 2002, 04:28 AM
  #6  
xx
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
If you fly out of LV you could do, in this order, Arches, Capitol Reef ( only drive through), Bryce and Zion. In four days you would get to spend the better part of the day in in the three parks.
 
Old Feb 14th, 2002, 06:39 AM
  #7  
lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks Paul, Connie, rqf, & xx for your suggestions so far. Connie, I should have also mentioned that I've been to Colorado before and will be spending several days there this time during the wedding & am looking forward to that -- I love Colorado. Paul -- I hadn't really thought about spending all of that time in Utah, but I'll do some more reading about the Utah national parks and consider doing just that. I appreciate your insights. I'll also think about flying out of Las Vegas.

Anyone else?
 
Old Feb 14th, 2002, 06:48 AM
  #8  
cg
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've done a couple of similar trips (I love, love, love southern Utah), and I'd recommend just spending the entire 8 days there. Spend a couple days in Moab (Arches one day, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park the next), then head around the bottom of the state to hit the others - Capitol Reef, Zion, Bryce, Natural Bridges. Then head back up the freeway to Salt Lake City. It's a nice easy pretty drive, or you can whip out the atlas and take some back routes if you're feeling a little more adventurous. Hit Timpanogos Cave (south of SLC) if you like Caves at all, then head to SLC and check out the lake, the canyons, Park City, etc. etc. etc. SLC is gorgeous and definitely worth a day or two if you've never been there. After watching the Olympics all week, my husband and I are itching to plan a trip out there!

It's such a beautiful part of the country, you'll have a blast no matter what you end up doing. Have a great trip!
 
Old Feb 14th, 2002, 06:52 AM
  #9  
lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Forgot to mention that I've been to Salt Lake City & northern Utah before and enjoyed it very much (yes, I'm enjoying the scenery during the Olympics too!), but would probably want to see some new stuff this time around.

Thanks CG -- sounds like Moab would be a good base for at least a couple of days.
 
Old Feb 14th, 2002, 07:29 AM
  #10  
rob
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
if you've seen the grand canyon you might want to skip canyonlands...it's OK...just a "lesser" version of the GC. arches is probably my favorite nat. park....spent 6 days in moab last year..i could have spent 6 months. theres lots 'o stuff to do besides arches...rafting; biking; SUV'ing the back roads etc....
 
Old Feb 14th, 2002, 11:04 AM
  #11  
travellyn
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Just reading your title for the post made me think of Yosemite, then I saw how long your trip was going to last. I agree that hanging out around Utah sounds good.

It also depends on what time of year this will be - I'm assuming summer. You could add a raft trip in the Utah or Arizona area for 3 or 4 days to round out the trip without having to drive too far. If it's winter or early spring, Death Valley would be a good stop.

I have to disagree with the comment about Canyonlands being like a lesser Grand Canyon. What I like about it is the chance to hike around relatively flat places and climb over slickrock without having so much elevation loss and gain.
 
Old Feb 14th, 2002, 11:14 AM
  #12  
travellyn
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Okay, I just read my post above and see that I described a lesser Grand Canyon. If you're just going for scenery, the lesser isn't as good. If you want to do some moderate hiking and playing on rocks, the lesser is better.
 
Old Feb 15th, 2002, 07:06 AM
  #13  
lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks Rob & Travellyn. Travellyn -- yes, this would be in late June-early July.

Anyone else?
 
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 05:26 PM
  #14  
Sandy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Moab rules. If it's a warm night, take the little boat trip up the river. Eat at the Sunset Grill with a view overlooking Moab and great food and service.
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO