So. Utah parks itin. comments/suggestions?

Old Dec 13th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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So. Utah parks itin. comments/suggestions?

Hi everyone! I have found such a wealth of information on this site but reading through eveyone's advice has been a little overwhelming so I'm hoping to get some feedback on my own trip!

This will be my first trip to visit some of the N.P.'s of Utah this spring, at the end of March (probably 18th-27th). I will be going to Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef. The idea is to see these beautiful parks, go hiking (8 miles per day is fine), take photographs. Here is the proposed itin:

Day 1- fly into Vegas, stay that night
Day 2- rent car, drive to Zion
Day 3- Zion
Day 4- drive to Bryce, stay overnight
Day 5- Bryce
Day 6- drive up Hwy 12, stopping along the way to visit various sites, stay in Boulder that night
Day 7- drive to Capitol Reef
Day 8- Capitol Reef
Day 9- drive to SLC
Day 10- fly out of SLC

I have a few questions about this proposal. First, how is the weather going to be at the end of March? I've read that Bryce will be cold and could have enough snow to prevent a pleasurable hiking experience down the canyon. Should I bring clothes/boots that will prepare me for this scenario? Also, has anyone driven up Hwy 12 and stopped at Calf Creek Falls, the Petrified Forest, Anasazi S.P., Hole in the Rock Road, etc.? I am thinking that if I try to do this all in one day, it will probably take longer than I think, which is why I included an overnight stop in Boulder. And finally, does anyone have lodging suggestions for Capitol Reef area and Salt Lake City? Nothing too fancy, just a clean room and a comfortable bed.

Thanks for any helpful suggestions!
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Old Dec 13th, 2004, 01:32 PM
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Hi Carlyshells,

Sounds like a pretty good plan to me. On the day you drive to Bryce you might want to spend most of morning and early afternoon in Zion hiking since you will probably find better hiking conditions there. I've been to Zion in late March and it was pretty cold and damp. You might luck into better weather. Bryce will be colder and maybe even get snow.

I've never done the Calf Creek Falls trail. It's about 5 1/2 miles round trip with very little elevation change but the trail is sandy.

Petrified Forest is in Escalante State park. It's about a mile hike but you climb 250 feet, not much petrified wood, but a nice hike. Probably take an hour.

Anasazi S.P. is pretty small and will take an hour or maybe a little longer depending on your interests.

I've never done the Hole in the Rock Road but I've read about it. It's a 4 wheel drive road and it takes 7 or 8 hours to do it.

http://www.off-road.com/4x4web/trave...e_in_rock.html

An alternative might be to do the paved part of the Burr Trail from Boulder. It is paved to the switchbacks. It's a really scenic drive. You can go as far as time permits and turn around to come back.

Capitol Reef is at about 6,000 ft elevation, so it might be cool to cold there too.

Since we camp, I'm no help in the lodging department.

Utahtea




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Old Dec 13th, 2004, 01:38 PM
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P. S.

On the day you leave Capitol Reef National Park, if you don't mind driving an extra 100 miles you could exit the park driving east on Hwy 24 to Hanksville. North of Hanksville is Goblin Valley State Park which is a fun stop for an hour. Then take Hwy 24 to Interstate 70 and head west to Hwy 50. You will travel thought the San Rafael Swell. They have been trying to make this our next National Monument and it's scenic enought to fit the bill.

Utahtea
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Old Dec 13th, 2004, 02:55 PM
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We drove from the Bryce area and stayed at the Days Inn in Torrey in October. It is a relatively new hotel, clean, a good sized room, indoor pool, and a nice CB. It is located at the intersection of rte 12 and 24, and is about 10 miles from Capitol Reef. Our senior rate was $49.95, probably the best hotel value we had during our twenty five nights spent on the road.
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Old Dec 14th, 2004, 07:30 AM
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Thanks for the feedback! I am considering changing my travel plans to April instead of March. If I do this, I would only be able to go either at the very beginning or at the very end of April. Do the crowds start coming in by then? Which time of the month would be better? Also, is Anasazi and Petrified Forest worthwhile? Does Anasazi showcase any interesting Native American history?
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Old Dec 14th, 2004, 08:42 AM
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The later in April you can make it, the better the weather will be. I wouldn't worry about crowds to much at this time of the year unless you hit spring break.

Utahtea

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Old Dec 14th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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I'll throw one kink into the planning.

Depending upon how much you enjoy or hate moving around, you might want to drive to Moab at the end of Day 8. It's about a 2-hour drive. That would allow you to spend at least until the middle of the afternoon of Day 9 at Arches National Park. You could then drive to Salt Lake City (about 4 hours).

I realize that there's always something just one day away, but Arches really is wonderful for many reasons beyond the arches themselves. And it's the kind of park that allows really easy access to some beautiful spots by simply strolling ten minutes from your car. Whether you use that day at Arches to determine that you want to come back, visit it more and explore nearby Canyonlands, or whether you know it will be a long time before you get back to that part of Utah, either reason is a good one to spend most of the day at Arches. The only reason I would suggest not going to Arches on this trip is if you have definite plans to visit it in the next few years.
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Old Dec 14th, 2004, 09:24 AM
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Is the Petrified Forest worth it, IMHO there is so much more to see in this area that is worth it than the little pieced of petrified wood you will see. If you had a month to spend in the area or if you had been to the area several times and looking for something new, then I'd say it was worth it.

I was ill when we visted Anasazi so I don't remember much. It's on your way and will take maybe an hour of your time. These dwellings do NOT compare to Mesa Verde National Park, CO or even those you would see in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ.

Utahtea



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Old Dec 14th, 2004, 03:27 PM
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Hi Carly,

Your trip sounds great, but I would also highly recommend going in late April. You will miss the Easter week crowds and the weather should be quite good.

However, this is peak demand time for Boulder, so make your reservations NOW for the Boulder Mtn Lodge. If you stay in Escalante there are a couple more lodging & restaurant options since it's actually a town. Boulder hardly qualifies as a town. It's literally a "bend" in the road.

Calf Creek Falls hike is definitely worth the time and the hike!

Whatever you do, don't go out on a 4 x 4 road without checking current road and weather conditions with the nearest locals/rangers! Go fully prepared to save yourself if you have to.

We want you to come back again!
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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carlyshells,
It sounds like a wonderful trip! We did the Calf Creek hike this past Sept and absolutely loved it. It is an easy hike; you are walking on a beautiful sandy path alongside this amazing opalescent creek filled with rainbow trout the whole way. The hike is through a red rock canyon so there is a nice mix of sunny and shady parts. The falls at the end are beautiful. You can see pictures of our recent fall trip at www.pbase.com/peterb. Just click on the utah04 gallery. There are several pictures of the Calf Creek hike. We flew into Las Vegas and immediately headed to Zion (we do not enjoy LV at all). We skipped Bryce this year but I strongly suggest that you don't. It is spectacular! We spent 2 nights each in Zion, Boulder, Torrey, 3 nights in Moab, 2 nights at the North Rim. If you stay in Boulder, be sure to have a meal at Hells Backbone Grill which is located at the Boulder Mtn Lodge. The lodge is also nice but the restaurant is truly a special place. Also, be sure to spend some time in Capitol Reef. Just breathtaking. Southern Utah is so amazing that no matter where you go or what you see, you'll have a great trip. We just posted our terribly long trip report on this forum. You can probably get some good info out of it if you can handle all the minute details. We are hopelessly in love with southern Utah so please excuse all the gushing in the report. Any questions are highly welcomed. Sharon and Peter
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 07:25 AM
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Jist a quick question from England. When is Spring Break in 2005? We've booked a 16 night tour in Southern Utah from April 5 and would like to be warned having seen the film 'Shag'!
Thanks, Adam C
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Old Dec 20th, 2004, 12:26 PM
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Sharondi: Those photos are amazing! Truly inspiring! I only hope that I can get such great shots on my trip.

After doing some more research on Arches NP, now I want to do the Delicate Arch hike! How long does that take? Full day, half day? I'm wondering if I could spend one night in Moab before heading to SLC to fly out. If I did this, I would probably not stay the night in Boulder as my time is somewhat limited. Would this really be worth it, as MikeBuckley claims?

Thanks!
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Old Dec 20th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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carly: My wife and I took four hours to hike to and from Delicate Arch. That included staying there for about an hour. A lot of people will do the hike in two, no more than three hours.

Bear in mind that it will take 20 - 30 minutes to get to the trailhead from the entrance to the park.

If you take the hike ...

Once you get to the ledge (it will be obvious to you) on the trail, look up and to the right. You'll see a small arch called Frame Arch. Climb the very short distance up to it. You'll stand inside Frame Arch and see a rewarding view of Delicate Arch, especially if it's your first view of Delicate Arch. Most people appear not to see Frame Arch, much less stand in it.

Keep in mind that the proces of getting to the arch is not a particularly spectacular hike. It's the arch and the setting of the arch that really are spectacular. I mention it because I didn't get the total gist of your last post. If you're planning on visiting Arches for the sole purpose of the Delicate Arch hike, that's understandable. However, if you want to see a lot of arches, walk among the fins and on top of one, consider hiking all or part of the Devil's Garden trail instead. We took our time (lots of picture taking) and used most of the day. If you're a fast hiker, you can easily do the entire hike in a half day. Regardless, you could allow yourself a certain amount of time and turn around once you've used your alloted time. It really is a fabulous hike in the sense that the entire hike really is beautiful, as opposed to the Delicate Arch hike which is beautiful only at the end.

My pictures taken from hikes at the national parks near Moab including the two mentioned above might help you make up your mind. http://www.pbase.com/mike_buckley/utah
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 04:09 AM
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I totally agree with MikeBuckley. We did the Devil Garden Loop on last year's trip and it was spectacular! We included the primitive trail and essentially saw no one on that part of the hike. It took the good part of a day but we are slow hikers in that we take tons and tons of pictures and stop to look at everything in detail. Delicate Arch is lovely and we only did this hike this year because my husband had never seen it up close and it was a rainy afternoon, perfect for this exposed hike. But the Devils Garden is much more interesting and scenic. You might consider skipping the overnight at Bryce on Day 5 and heading to Boulder. In Torrey, we stayed at the Capitol Reef Inn. Very cheap and clean with very loud musical plumbing in our room. We didn't mind it at all although we like funky little inns and rarely choose chain hotels. There are other options in Torrey including a new Days Inn. I would try to work in a night or two in Moab if possible.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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Hmmm...I have been reconsidering going to Arches now. On past vacations I have done a lot of driving and I always tell myself that next time I will 'stop and smell the roses' more. It seems like adding Arches onto the end might be a bit too much. I understand that it is a spectacular place and if I had a few more days I would definitely do it. But I don't think that I want to sacrifice a night anywhere else for 360 extra miles of driving (Cap Reef to Moab to SLC). I love hiking and photography and I tend to be a slow hiker as well, exploring every nook and cranny that I can, so I have a feeling that I will utilize my time well in the other parks. If anyone thinks I'm making a big mistake, please let me know, but I have a feeling that I will be back to Utah again!
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 06:27 PM
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Adding Arches would really be to much for this trip if you want to take the time to smell the roses (or in this case the sandstone...LOL!).

Besides the Moab area needs 2 to 4 full days to see just the main things this area has to offer and do just a few of the great hikes. I'll bet you will be back and when you do, plan on a good 4 days in the Moab area!

Utahtea
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 07:52 AM
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Thanks, Utahtea! I would definitely rather be able to spend some time in the Moab area rather than feel rushed. I really appreciate everyone's help and I am SOOO looking forward to this trip!
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