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Suggested Itinerary for Grand Canyon and Utah National Parks in two weeks

Suggested Itinerary for Grand Canyon and Utah National Parks in two weeks

Old Aug 21st, 2014, 08:42 AM
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Suggested Itinerary for Grand Canyon and Utah National Parks in two weeks

We are planning for a Fall 2015 trip to the Grand Canyon and Utah's national parks. We will have two weeks once we arrive to see as much as possible. We would welcome a suggested itinerary to make the most of our time, however, we have no interest in moving at break-neck speed, to be able to do this. Thank you for your input. Hotels and dining suggestions along the way would also be most welcome.
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 08:58 AM
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I assume you mean "for 2 weeks" - not "in 2 weeks" - as in 2 weeks from now. Not sure if the 2015 is a typo or the "in two weeks". If you are going this September I fear you will have a lot of trouble finding places to stay.
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 09:11 AM
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We plan to be there in late September, 2015. We will have two weeks to travel once we arrive.
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 10:55 AM
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Here's what I'd do...

3-4 nights Zion, more if you are mtn bikers or avid hikers and want to explore more both inside and outside the park. I spent 6 nights there last year and could have stayed far longer.

At Zion, my preference is to stay just outside the park in the town of Springdale. Last time there I stayed at Cable mtn lodge, which is literally just across the bridge from the park at the pedestrian entrance.

2 nights Bryce, 1.5 full days. Stay in the park at Bryce Lodge if you can. Need not be the main lodge - one of the out buildings would be just fine.

2 nights GC, more if you are avid hikers. If you are up for it and can get reservations, hike to Phantom Ranch and stay overnight there. Something like 99% of all visitors to the GC only visit the rim, or at most a short hike down, and in my experience the beauty and grandeur of the GC is best lived from river level. Definitely stay in-park at GC. ANy of the 6 hotels at the south rim are ok. Four are directly on the rim, and 2 are no more than 1/2 mi back in the forest. All are ok for a few nights.

With 2 weeks you have plenty of time to visit other parts of Southern Utah - i'm sure others will chime in with reco.s
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 04:10 AM
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Are you starting your trip in Las Vegas? If so, I'd suggest driving to the Grand Canyon first and spend 2 nights at one of the motels in the park. I've stayed in a cabin close to the rim and really loved the quick access to the incredible views. Hike down into the canyon a mile or so to experience this natural wonder.

From GC, drive up to Zion for a few nights. Staying in the town of Springdale provides very easy access to Zion NP. There are lots of lodging options and most are very good. The Desert Pearl is a favorite. We enjoy dining at Oscar's, the Whiptail Grill and Café Soleil for breakfast and lunch options.

Head to Bryce for a night or two. Bryce is a great hiking park - Queens Garden/Navajo Loop is a fantastic trail as is the Fairyland Loop. Lodging in the park is limited but I'd suggest calling daily to find a cancellation. Dining in the park restaurant is pretty decent at Bryce but we did not enjoy the food dining in the park at Zion. Bryce Canyon Pines outside the park has simple but very good food and homemade pies - a good option.

From Bryce, head east on Scenic Route 12 through Grand Staircase Escalante into the Town of Escalante. Stop in at Escalante OUtfitters for a snack and information on some of the local sites to visit like Devils Garden which is out on the Hole in the Rock Rd. Continue on Scenic Route 12 to many incredible scenic overlooks, Calf Creek falls, the Escalante River, to Boulder Utah. The Boulder Mountain Lodge is lovely and the onsite restaurant (Hells Backbone Grill) is

Travel up over Boulder Mountain and head to Capitol Reef National Park. Stay in the cute little town of Torrey at Austins Chuckwagon or one of the other lodging options. Café Diablo offers some great dining. Hike the Cohab Canyon trail, Hickman Bridge or any of the other trails. This is a quiet beautiful national park where you will avoid the crowds and experience some incredible geologic features. Spend a night or two. From Capitol Reef head to Moab for at least 3 nights to see Arches and Canyonlands NP's. Great hiking in Arches. Lots of lodging in Moab. Dining is hit or miss but plenty of options.

From Moab head south to Blanding Utah and visit the Edge of Cedars museum - a fantastic small museum with an incredible collection of ancestral puebloan artifacts and a restored kiva on site. Definitely worth an hour or two. You can continue south to Monument Valley or east to Mesa Verde, if you have time. You can wander the 17 mile road through Valley of the Gods in Mexican Hat and head up the Moki Dugway on Route 95 past Natural Bridge Nat'l Monument - a beautiful and remote park worth seeing. We really love the drive up route 95 which brings us back to Hanksville and then retracing our drive on Route 12. Others would probably suggest taking the southern route back past Monument Valley and Lake Powell but we don't find that route interesting or scenic. Just a matter of opinion.

We always end our trips in Springdale because we don't like Las Vegas and it is only a few hour drive back to LV to fly home plus you gain an hour traveling from Utah to Nevada!

Take some time to digest this info and ask questions.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 04:49 AM
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shatondi's loop is fine, and you couod do it in either direction. I prefer the south rim of Grand Canyon esp. for people who have never been there and if you are too late in the fall, the north rim may be closed.

Depending on how early you get to Vegas, you could head for GC south (about 5 hrs) then proceed to Moab and take sharondi's loop backwards ending in Zion before returning to Vegas.

In any case,

if you want in park lodging (I would in GC and Bryce) get it as soon as you have your plan arranged.
Pick up a cheep cooler in Vegas and fill it with drinks, snacks, sandwiich fillllings, fruit, etc.
Any time your gas tank shows less than half, fill it up.
Get a national park pass at the first park you go to ($10 if you are from the US good all parks forever and over 62, $80 if you are not and good for all parks for a year
If you really want wine or beer, get that in Vegas as some areas of Utah and AZ are dry.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2014, 11:59 AM
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Some great ideas! Thanks to all who replied.
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Old Dec 19th, 2016, 05:48 PM
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Thank you
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