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Southern Utah and GC Trip Cont.- Itinerary Help

Southern Utah and GC Trip Cont.- Itinerary Help

Old May 4th, 2013, 06:06 PM
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Southern Utah and GC Trip Cont.- Itinerary Help

I have come up with a rough draft itinerary for our early Sept. trip. My husband and I welcome any and all suggestions. Just a reminder...we are in our early 50's and like the outdoors, driving in beautiful scenery, hikes that are not too terribly long, neat eateries.

Day 1: Arrive 12:10pm in LV from East coast
Rent car and drive to Springdale/Zion(hope to stay in park or close to entrance)
May have time to do a short hike this day

Day 2: Explore Zion(Riverside Walk, maybe Angel's Landing)

Day 3: Drive to Bryce
Navajo Loop to Queens Garden
Spend night in park lodge or near( any suggestions?)

Day4: Would like to drive Scenic hwy 12 a ways, but would need to make our way to
Page through Kanab.
While in Page we will do float trip and Glen Canyon Dam tour since we are
probably not going to get to see the Hoover Dam
Need other suggestions for that area
Spend night in Page(any suggestions where?)

Day 5: Make our way to Monument Valley (either morning or afternoon,depending on
what else we may do in Page)
Stay overnight in MV

Day6: Take guided tour with Navajo guide
Drive to GC south rim
Stay overnight in park or near(if we can't stay in park..where else?)

Day7: Explore GC
Start back towards Zion(will go hwy. 89)
Stop at Cameron's for visit,
Don't know whether to stay overnight somewhere in between GC and Zion

Day 8: Arrive Zion , spend time in park and overnight there.

Day 9: Leave Zion and head back to LV for 11am flight departure.

Like I said, this is rough draft itinerary. Thought the route from GC back to Zion would be more scenic than going back toward LV the other way. Thought it would be better to spend last night in Zion.
Need lots of help with this.
Thanks!
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Old May 4th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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At Page, definitely go to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope is more accessible and is where the photos of sunlight streaming into the canyon are taken.

Rather than backtrack, I would suggest going to Flagstaff and exploring around there - Wupatki / Sunset Crater and Walnut Canyon. Then head to Sedona, so much to see around there -- not the town, but the surrounding area. The scenery doesn't get much better. From there, it is maybe 5 hours back to LV.
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Old May 4th, 2013, 06:43 PM
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Since you mentioned that you weren't up for long hikes. I LOVE LOVE Angels Landing, but it isn't a cakewalk hike. As a matter of fact, pretty demanding-about half the people find it mentally demanding too-some find it very very scary. I don't think its that bad, but my daughter literally scooted on her backside for 1/2 mile at the chains section.
I would suggest renting drysuit and shoes from Zion Adventure Company in Springdale and doing a bit of The Narrows(past the riverside walk). It is in water, but is a spectacular hike. A bit unusual and probably isn't for everyone.
I like The Whiptail Grill in Springdale(get the spaghtetti squash enchiladas). I also like Zion Lodge Dining Room and do eat lunch at the cafe in Zion Lodge--eat your meal out front under the big tree--many people do this every day. Some just have ice cream there.

I would try to stay "in park" at both Zion and Bryce. The horse ride at Bryce is nice too, for sure do your Queens Garden/Navajo Loop hike.

I don't think you have time for HWY 12 and Page both. Your going to have to choose.

I think you are more likely to find Lodging in park at GC than Zion or Bryce. I would for sure try to stay there. Sunrise and Sunset is good there(good at Bryce and Zion too).

I don't know why you are doing Zion twice. I would just stay there at the beginning or end of the trip. Less packing and unpacking and less time in the car.

Be sure and look at the stars. Any of the parks would be good for that, but Bryce is probably the best. The stars are just incredible. If you look close you can even see satellites flying by with the naked eye. I would take some binoculars. Also Bryce has an outstanding Ranger-Led Night Sky Program.
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Old May 4th, 2013, 08:26 PM
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I would never skip Route 12 and Capitol Reef for the scenery between the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Even going to Scout's Rest is considered "demanding". For the Narrows, do you want to walk through water over slippery submerged rocks?

I wouldn't have picked either of those hikes, nor even the Navajo/Queens Garden loop for someone who professes to want hikes that aren't too long.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 05:09 AM
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mlgb is right, Navajo/Queens is certainly at least a moderate hike. You will find it easy going down, just remember you have to come back up. Bryce is also at a somewhat higher elevation, so that is a slight factor too.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 05:16 AM
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While in Page, do the short hike up to the Horseshoe Bend overlook. We did that the evening before we did our float trip and it gives a special perspective of Horseshoe Bend than it would have if we had just rafted around Horseshoe Bend. Great sunset.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 05:23 AM
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We did a very similar trip but in reverse and from Page to Zion, we stopped at the Utah visitors center where my kids enjoyed seeing the dinosaur bones escavated from the area (there was a paleontologist there who had actually discovered a new dino) and then we stopped at Grand Staircase Escalante and took the little dirt road to Paria, Utah. This was an unplanned part of our trip and ended up being on of the highlights. The colors were amazing!! We then proceeded to Zion. We loved this area of the country and can't wait to go back next year.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 06:48 AM
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There's a difference between difficulty and strenuous.

In Bryce. Definitely get up in time for sunrise at Bryce Point.

Navajo Loop down and Queens Garden back up are not difficult. But due to 8,000 ft elevation it is strenuouse. Definitely do it if you are in reasonable shape. Wlak slowly, rest often, drink lots of water. It's worth it. The trail is wide and smooth.

Zion. This park is 4,000 ft lower so elevation is less of a problem. Definitely do the underrated Riverside Walk. Probably Emerald Pools.

Angels Landing as far as Scouts Lookout is more strenuous though nowhere near the elevation of Bryce. If you want an adventure without any danger do it. Same things apply as above. Walk slowly, rest often, drink water.

In all cases where a wide-brimmed hat and use lots of suntan lotion.

Page.
Definitely Antelope Canyon. An easy walk in the park. Go when the sun is high in the sky. Amazing sun views bouncing off the walls.
Horseshoe Bend. Free. 3/4 mile flat walk with no shade. Sun precautions as above. When sun is high in the sky so it lights up the bottom. Before it start to go in your face.

At the end of the hike there's no screen, fence or barrier. Just 1,000 ft down with a fantastic view. With kids be careful.

Lodging.
I always try for inpark lodging. The bad is that people book a year ahead. The good is that they book a year ahead before they know that they can't go.

Call, call, call!!!! There will always be cancellations. Just make sure you get them.

Zion may be the least important as Springdale is right at the entrance.

In Bryce Ruby's is just outside the entrance but if you want to see the sunrise you'll be driving a few miles in the dark. You don't want to hit any animals. Unless you're with kids and want a pool try for inpark.

You can see my photos of several trips to this area at:
www.travelwalks.com
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Old May 5th, 2013, 07:11 AM
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If you have an 11 am flight leaving Las Vegas, you probably will want to either spend the last night in Vegas or somewhere close by. Not Zion, that's too far to drive unless you want to get up really early.

Also, as has been suggested, don't drive all the way back to Zion from the Grand Canyon. Just go to Sedona. The drive from Zion to Vegas isn't 'that' scenic that you'd want to make such a big detour to do it twice.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 07:25 AM
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"The drive from Zion to Vegas isn't 'that' scenic that you'd want to make such a big detour to do it twice."

In my opinion it isn't scenic at all.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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Really, you don't think the Virgin River canyon and the Valley of Fire SP are scenic?

I went through Valley of Fire for the first time on my recent trip and think it's right up there with the National Parks for red rock scenery and wildlife. Plus the easily accessible petroglyphs at Mouse Tank and Atlatl Rock.

Recent visit to VOF.
https://picasaweb.google.com/kiwifann/ValleyOfFire2013

Didn't even notice the chuckwalla on top of the rock til now!
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Old May 5th, 2013, 08:49 AM
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I was being charitable Myer. It's slightly more scenic than the drive from Grand Canyon to Vegas but not enough to make me want to drive 5 hours to do it again.

Valley of Fire is not directly on the route, you have to go off the main highway to get there. And with an 11am flight, I highly doubt they are going to make that side trip.

Do you really recommend someone drive from the Grand Canyon south rim all the way back to Zion just so they can drive through the Virgin River canyon again? How many hours of extra driving just for a few minutes of scenery?? Makes no sense.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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mlgb,
First. Wwe weren't talking about making stops or detours.
Second. As WAW wrote, that's a lot of driving to see Valley of Fire.
Third. You don't have to drive from Zion to LV to see the Virgin River Canyon.
Fourth. If Valley of Fire is of interest (we stopped there on the way from LV to UT) why not stop on the way from LV.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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You do realize that even taking a one-hour detour through VoF that it takes less time to get from LV to Zion than from LV to Grand Canyon?

Did you notice that they plan to spend another night along the way?

The drive from GC to LV is nothing but pinyon scrub and desert.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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I don't like either drive. The shorter the better.

If they have an extra night let them put it somewhere useful.

Also, as somebody commented. If they want to leave Zion in the morning in time for an 11AM flight they better leave very early.

And if they're going to stop in VoF on the way they have to leave very, very early.

I think the end part of the trip needs some work.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 11:04 AM
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I thought that with the time change from Zion to LV, we would be o.k. leaving from Zion. Would still have to leave early, but we are early risers anyway. Really didn't want to have to spend a night in LV

Myer--Great pictures...Can't wait to see some of those sites.

Right now, the only in park lodge availability for GC-south is for our arrival night. That would just be a long drive from LV to GC after flying from East Coast.

I am so undecided about our route. If I could just get that pinned down, I could start working on the lodging situation.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 11:36 AM
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littlelamb.

You could leave early the day of the flight. Or get to LV late the evening before. I would go for evening before in the event you have auto trouble, etc.

Glad you enjoyed the photos.

As to lodging. The bad is that people book a year in advance. The good is that people book a year in advance when they have no idea if they can go on the trip.

Call, call, call!!

Make sure that when the cancellations start you get yours.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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On my recent circle, although I don't particularly like Las Vegas, I came back in the afternoon. Left Springdale around 1 pm, stopped for lunch in Mesquite, and took the loop through Valley of Fire (really too hot to do hiking, just in and out of the car for looks at the various stops). Late afternoon was when the bighorn sheep and other critters were coming out. Got to Las Vegas just around dusk where I found a $32 room downtown (Plaza). There is something to be said for getting to LV the night before a flight in case of car trouble.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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As to GC south rim lodging, I just kept checking the Xanterra website and rooms were popping up every day or so.

There are some very nice lodgings in Springdale (which have views of the Watchman and an assortment of restaurants not limited to the park lodge). You don't want to wind up in Hurricane or St. George if you can help it.

I'd book something refundable and not count on last minute rooms. September is very busy since the weather is starting to ease off by then.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 04:46 PM
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I think we may leave off Monument Valley and see it along with Moab area on another trip.

Also will probably head back to LV from the GC and see Hoover Dam, stay in that area(Boulder City), and then depart LV the next day.
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