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Southwest in April :D route questions

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Mar 24th, 2012, 01:05 PM
  #1
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Southwest in April :D route questions

So a last minute opportunity means we can fit in a Southwest trip next month, yay!

I've just booked flights in and out of Denver in April and now need help with route/ logistics!

Plan so far
Wed Arrive DEN and drive to Grand Junction overnight
Thurs/Fri Moab 2nights

Sat ? Would like to see Monument Valley and/or Mesa Verde Four corners?. Where to stay? Kayenta? Farmington? Durango?
Sun? Durango overnight
Mon Need to drive to DEN for overnight flight (11pm)

So far have booked accommodation for first 3 nights and trying to work out the best plan for last two nights.

Any suggestions for best route (to see the most) from Moab back to DEN appreciated. We are able/keen hikers but with time restraints!

Thanks!
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Mar 24th, 2012, 01:10 PM
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With your schedule, I would opt for Mesa Verde and if Far View lodge is open (it was last April when we went there) I would plan to spend the night there. If you click my name you can find a couple of TRs that we took in the area with links to pictures if you are interested.

Have a fantastic trip.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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Went from Moab to Durango a couple of years ago. Used US 190 out of Moab to UT 46 to CO 90 tio CO 141 into Cortez abd then US 160 to Durango. This is not the most direct route, which would be US 191 to US 666 into Cortez, but we enjoyed the drive.
Several years before that we did Durango to DEN via 160 to I 25 and really enjoyed the 160 portion. I-25 was interstate, but prettier than most.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 05:54 PM
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Thanks emalloy, I enjoyed looking at your photos.
Far View is open for our dates but I also like the look of the The View in Monument Valley.

boom_boom, thanks for your input but the route via Durango just seemed too long!

I think we will stay Saturday night in Monument Valley and return to Moab on Sunday. Although this means back tracking we'll have a little extra time for Arches NP and a shorter drive back to DEN on Monday.

So now
WED. DEN > Grand junction
THURS/FRI Moab
SAT Monument Valley
SUN Moab
MON Moab> DEN

Any advice for hiking? We will include Delicate Arch
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Mar 24th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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FYI - RT 666 no longer exists. It is 491 now.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 06:24 PM
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sassy cat,

Here's something to think about. My opinion is MV is nice, but not that nice. Moab is awesome! With you short time, I would spend it all in/around Moab. Castle Valley, just east of Moab, is a little like MV with the sandstone towers and was another filming location for John Ford/John Wayne westerns. Check it out....
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Mar 24th, 2012, 07:10 PM
  #7
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Dayle,

Thanks for your input, I didn't know about Castle Valley so I will check it out online.

I'm torn about MV but I'm skipping Mesa Verde in favor of more time in Moab and booking this late it's hard to find accommodation so we have 3 nights in Moab in 3 different hotels!

5 nights, 5 different hotels but it's not really about where we'll sleep; it's all about the National Parks

This is a 'last minute' trip that's just 3 weeks away and I booked the flights and hotels today (it took me ALL day! )
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Mar 24th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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I was going to say that Monument Valley could be done as a long day trip from Moab, but since you have to change motels anyways you might as well have enough time to really see Monument Valley and maybe even Garden of the Gods. You can also drive into the Needles District of Canyonlands either on the way there or on the way back. Stop at Newspaper Rock.

I see you have already decided against Mesa Verde this trip. I think it's a wise choice because both Moab and Mesa Verde really deserve a lot of time.

Utahtea
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Mar 25th, 2012, 07:56 AM
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Thanks utahtea! We were planning to drive into the Needles on the way down.

I am a little leery of the amount of drive time and I've never been on quite such an intensive road trip before.
Google maps total drive time for just the basic hotel to hotel section comes out to 1000 miles for 6 days.
Last time we were in Utah the trip was 5 separate hotel nights but about 600 miles (las Vegas to SLC via Zion, Bryce, Boulder and Capitol Reef).

We could still drop Monument Valley and book an extra night in Moab so I will ponder this.
Will I be disappointed by Castle Valley as a substitute?
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Mar 25th, 2012, 10:05 AM
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It is only about 3 hrs from Moab to MV, much shorter than your travel to/from Denver.

Besides MV there are several things worthwhile to see along the way, Edge of the Cedars SP, Needles, Bluff historic fort, Mexican Hat and the San Juan Trading Post. I think it would be a nice overnight trip from Moab.

Castle Valley and Fisher Towers are also both similar, but you actually could still see them on your way to/from Grand Junction to Moab. Take hwy 128 south from I-70 and enjoy that great Colorado scenic byway on your drive in.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 10:08 AM
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If you wanted a little bit longer drive on the way back from MV you could take rt 261 and visit Goosenecks SP, head up Moki dugway - stop at the top for a great view- and see Butler Wash ruins along the 95 back.

As far as hikes besides Delicate Arch in Arches you have Devil's Garden. Mesa Arch in Canyonlands. Corona Arch on BLM land. Negro Bill Canyon and Fisher Towers along 128.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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sassy cat,

I do like InSandy's suggestion for the other sites to/from MV if you feel you have the time. It's a great area and far less visited. A couple years ago I stayed 3 nts at Valley of the Gods B&B and explored the area - almost the only place in Utah I had not been. Loved it and hope to go back.

Have fun!
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Mar 25th, 2012, 12:04 PM
  #13
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InSandy, Ha, ha, you're encouraging me to increase the drive time!

I know the longest drives will be to and from Denver but taking that into account I was trying to reduce the drive time once we got 'there'. My husband will do all the driving so it would be more of a break for him.

I'm leaning towards keeping the overnight stay in MV.
My DD would rather endure more car time than more hiking LOL. Will check into visiting Castle Valley on the way back to DEN.

We have a full day to drive back from Moab to Denver as we fly home on the red eye @11pm BUT I do want to relax, stretch our legs and have some downtime / nice meals on this leg before the flight home.

Thanks again Dayle, always good to get advice from someone who knows the whole area well.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 04:47 PM
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Arches
Booked the ranger led Fiery Furnace hike @ 2pm as there were no morning slots left.

Any sunrise versus sunset advice for Delicate Arch? Fewer people would probably be a bonus. We will be up early as we're coming from the East coast but this wanes after a couple of days (true night owls).

Any dinner suggestions in Moab?
We're not foodies but like to eat fairly healthy food (salads/ vegetables/ chicken and fish. Thai/Indian/ethnic cuisine preferred but we also like pizza!)
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