Southwest Grand Circle Tour

Old Jan 21st, 2008, 08:00 AM
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Southwest Grand Circle Tour

I'm beginning to plan a trip to the southwest in June for 14 days. We will fly in and out of Las Vegas. We had hoped to rent a truck and camper so we could travel at a leisurely pace, but haven't located anything but motor homes.

Our goal is to see as much as we can and enjoy the scenery. My husband is a photographer. We are in our mid 50's and enjoy light hiking.

Here's a list of places I'm thinking of staying and using as a base to explore from, any suggestions on lodgings and itinerary would be appreciated:
-Springdale at Desert Pearl Inn
-Kayenta
-Durango or Cortez
-Moab
-Escalante or Torrey
We live North of San Francisco and are use to curvy roads with drop offs like Hwy 1! Prefer to drive about 6 hours a day with stops in between on travel days.



CLynnWeg is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:13 AM
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Hi CLynn,

I'm confused as to what you are hoping to rent. Do you want a pickup truck with a camper mounted in the bed? I've never seen those for rent.

Some companies rent tent trailers, but those are harder because your towing vehicle would need to be outfitted with the proper hitch, anti-sway, and brake hook ups.

Motorhomes and camper vans are what you will usually find.

Now, do you want to camp or hotel? Why take a camper if you are already planning to stay at the Desert Pearl?

You don't list Bryce Natl Park, which most people include on this circle. Have you already been there?

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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:41 AM
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We wanted to rent a truck and camper. I talked with a rental company in Vegas who said he rents them, I asked for info by mail and that was the end of that! So at this point I'm switching gears and planning hotels. We have been to Bryce and Zion over 20 years ago with a 2 year old, but hope to return on the last night before we drive back to Las Vegas.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 11:07 AM
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Before getting into this deeper, why Cortez or Durango? If you're planning on seeing Mesa Verde then I'd highly recommend staying in the park since the drive into MV isn't quick and there's plenty of driving once there.

We last did a version of the Grand Circle in '04 but included the north rim of Grand Canyon.

Here's some images from that trip:

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/utah04


In '03 we did it differently and included Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/utah_03

And last Sept, we went only halfway around the circle only as far as Torrey to spend more time in places we thought deserved a closer look. We wrote a trip report on that one:

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/utah_tr

Our next trip will probably bring us in through Denver and to Moab so we can devote more time to the Needles District of Canyonlands and Arches of course. You could easily spend your entire 2 weeks the Moab area.

I know 14 days sounds like a lot of time but is actually only just enought time to do the Grand Circle properly; especially if you're into photography since you'll be in a seriously "target rich environment" as they say.

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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 06:19 PM
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Hey Peterboy,

What did you think about Valley of the Gods B&B. We have reservations there for one night on Memorial Day. We are going to be in Mesa Verde and Durango for 4 days before, and thought we would see Monument Valley and stay in Valley of the Gods. I can't really find a whole lot of info on it anywhere. At Natural Bridges did you hike the entire 8 miles or did you just go to each bridge by car? I didn't realize there were cliff dwellings there as shown in your pics.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 08:43 PM
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Thanks all for the help in beginning to plan, I just had a call from a cousin and we'll be traveling to a Dude Ranch near Cody, Wyoming called the 7d Ranch for a family reunion. I'll return to my Southwest trip in 09!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 03:59 AM
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The Valley of the Gods B&B was wonderful and we hope to return there someday. It is right at the bottom of the Moki Dugway. The day we arrived there was a huge storm that washed out the dugway and it was impassable for weeks afterward.

This meant that we had to take the long way around to Natural Bridges so we only had time to view from the rim. With the dugway open, it is a much quicker drive to Natural Bridges.

The B&B is solar powered and they have to bring water in by truck. Even still, there's plenty for showers and the only compromise is that they ask that you get all your camera & phone batteries charged before you go to sleep so their solar electric system can conserve energy (sleep) overnight. There are battery operated bedside lamps for nighttime trips to the head...all well thought out and what a place to stay up late and rise early!

Wonderful hosts and a filling breakfast too.

Make sure to do the 17 mile drive through the Valley of the Gods...even a car could make it...kind of a miniature and private version of Monument Valley.
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