things to do near Arches National Park

Old Dec 29th, 2013, 06:53 AM
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things to do near Arches National Park

We are from NY. We are planning a 7 - 10 day trip out west in May. We love to hike (6 miles at most at one time) and to see beautiful scenery. We would like to visit Arches National Park and Bryce National Park. Can you offer suggestions as to hotels/inns to stay in and sites to visit while we are in those areas? Is 10 days too long for those two parks? If so, where else should we go during our stay? Thanks for your help!
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 07:39 AM
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Toured 7 National Parks this past July with a tour group. Bryce was my favorite. We stayed at the lodge inside the park. It was wonderful. There are motels/hotels right outside the park and I believe they run buses into the park. We did a mule ride down to the floor of Bryce. We made reservations the same day at the main lodge. It was a wonderful! If you like to hike Zion Park may be within travelling distance. It is picturesque and a marked contrast to Bryce and Arches. I think you will enjoy hiking there.
May I suggest looking online at tour groups itineraries of National Parks trip to get further ideas. I am sure your family will love this trip!
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 07:42 AM
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Different people travel in different ways. While I do not rush, I plan efficiently to get in what I want.

May is a good time and there are many places to visit.

I would fly into and out of Salt Lake City. Very good drive to Moab (Arches) and then loop all the way across Utah to Zion. Then back up to Salt Lake.

The Salt lake airport is very close to downtown so you don't have to stay at those airport dumps overnight. We stayed at Little America and it was excellent. Beside the main hotel are motel style rooms. You can drive right up and go inside those rooms. Very good for getaway to the airport.

Back to the sights.

In the Moab area you have Rte 128 just above and going east. You can hike around Fisher Towers and maybe see rock climbers (see Citibank commercial) at the top.

Right near Arches you can go to Canyonlands NP. Right beside Canyonlands is Dead Horse Point State Park. The very short hike to Mesa Arch provides excellent scenery.

As you move west definitely spend a few hours in Goblin Valley State Park.

Then you come to Capitol Reef N.P. Not one of my favorites but a few good hikes there. Chimney Rock and Hickman Bridge are my favorites.

Then you come to the hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls. About 2 miles, fairly flat but somewhat sandy. I think that's one of the most beautiful waterfalls I've seen.

Moving west towards Bryce Canyon. I would go about 10 miles down Hole-in-the-Rock Road to Devils Garden (Escalante as opposed to Arches). The rock structures are amazing. Kind of like a grown up Goblin Valley.

Then moving west past the town of Escalante you get to the town on Cannonville. They have a visitors center there. You can get instructions for the 10 mile dirt road drive to Willis Creek Slot Canyon. This is a very easy walk thru 5-6 slots. The further you go the higher they are. The drive there is a bit of an adventure.

Then you come to Bryce Canyon. This is a small park. The signature hike is Navajo Loop going down and connecting to Queens Garden coming back up. You're in 8,000ft of elevation in Bryce so sunscreen, plenty of water and frequent stops may be in order. For a truly spectacular sunrise go to Bryce Point before sunrise. There a protruding deck there.

From Bryce the drive to Zion is about 90 minutes. You can hike Canyon Overlook on the way in. You will get different opinions about the hikes here. The more adventurous can hike in the water in The Narrows at the end of Riverside Walk and Angels Landing. For the less adventurous you can take the Angels Landing hike to Scouts Lookout, Emerald Pools and many more you can read about on their web site.

The drive from Salt Lake is about 4 hours and slightly longer from Zion back to Salt Lake.

I'm sure you'll get many more responses.
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Forgot to mention.

You should be able to do what I've described within 10 days pretty easily. This route also avoids car drop off charges.

I'd spend about 4 days in the Moab area. You can also take a half or full day ride down the rapids.

For Bryce I'd spend about a day but broken into afternoon, night and morning. That way you can be there for the spectacular sunrise.

Zion is good for a couple of days depending upon the amount of hiking you do.

For Arches area stay in Moab as there is no lodging in Arches.

For Bryce first choice by far is inpark. Second choice is Ruby's right at the entrance.

For Zion first choice is inpark and a close second choice is Springdale just outside.
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 08:03 AM
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Wow! Your input is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you SO much!! Are there any suggestions for restaurants? (We are 58 years old and are traveling alone. We enjoy fine dining or a restaurant with live music and a local flair.)
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 12:13 PM
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Food isn't important to me so others may be able to help.

In Boulder, UT Hell's Backbone Grill.
Several ok in Moab and Springdale.
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 12:13 PM
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Search the Utah forums--LOTS of info on exactly what you are looking for.
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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Myer's advice is spot on. For food in Moab, there are plenty of choices depending on your personal tastes. For Bryce all I recall are the restaurant or snack bar in the park and Ruby's just outside. For Zion there is a restaurant in the park also and several places in Springdale, just outside.
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 11:49 PM
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I agree Myer's did an excellent job. I'll add a little more.

In the Moab Area also take the paved part of the Potash Road Hwy 279 just north of Moab after you cross the Colorado River for a beautiful drive along the Colorado River, to petroglyphs dinosaur track and jug handle arch.

At Canyonlands, Island of the Sky District Mesa Arch has been mentioned and it's worth the short hike. I also like Grand View hike and make sure you stop at the Green River Overlook...It's my FAVORITE.

I'm a big fan of Capitol Reef. The Pioneer Register hike at Capitol Gorge and Grand Wash are my favorite hikes. When we were there in October Hickman Bridge is also a nice hike.

Meyers didn't mention it but they have you taking scenic highway 12 between Torrey and Bryce Canyon. It's a very scenic drive! Lower Calf Creek Falls is on Hwy 12 but it's a 5 1/2 mile round trip hike and I know everyone says it's fairly flat but there is some rocks to climb up and down or maybe my age is showing...LOL.

10 days will just scratch the surface of this area! You could easily spend a week in the Moab area.

We camp so I can't help with lodging other than to say if you can...stay in Bryce and Zion.

Utahtea
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 04:43 AM
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You have some good advice here.

I would add--My very favorite adventure I've done in a National Park is with www.deserthighlights.com It's called Canyoneering and is a fairly new sport. It is safe and the guides are great. The only gripe I might have about them, is that they don't always answer the phone and may be a day or two before they get back with you. I've been with them twice and hope to go again sometime. It is somewhat adventurous.

I would not recommend the hummer or jeep tours in Moab. Frankly, I found them very very dangersous and I don't see how they don't turn over(perhaps they do).

I don't think anyone has mentioned Dead Horse Point, but it is worth a look too. It is similar to looking at the Grand Canyon, but perhaps even prettier.

If you do have 10 days for just Moab area, you could also do Horseshoe Canyon/Great Gallery. This is considered the best pictograph/petroglyphs in the world by most.

Little Wild Horse Canyon(not to be confused with Wildhorse Canyon) is right near Goblin Valley. It is a really good slot canyon. You can do the entire 8 mile loop or hike in about an hour and turn around(that's what I've done twice). The first couple of mile is what most people consider the best. Think of it as a cave without a top. Do not do this hike if rain is a threat(flash flooding). DO NOT MISS GOBLIN VALLEY.

I like to get homemade pie in Capitol Reef National Park at the Gifford House. Get your pie early morning, as they run out. The pies are made from the fruit that the orchards produce. You might be there at the right time to even pick some fruit(not sure what they harvest in May). Orchards are pretty impressive.

For lunch try the Love Muffin and the Quesadillia truck in Moab.
I like the Jailhouse Cafe(only open for breakfast)too.

If you go to Capitol Reef, I would suggest staying at Austin's Chuckwagon. Check out Cafe Diablo for a dinner.

Hell's Backbone has been mentioned, but is likely the best spot in southern Utah.

Slackers is a local burger joint(I think they have a few locations). They have good burgers and shakes. Be sure and try the pink Fry Sauce somewhere. It's a Utah thing. I think it is mmustard/mayo/ketchup, but they may add hot sauce, sugar, or vinegar. Each place has their own version.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 03:09 PM
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utahtea, spiro,
I'm glad some people balance my view of Capitol Reef.

I did mention Dead Horse Point right outside of Canyonlands N.P.

I knew you'd add Little Wild Horse. I would have if I'd have been there or if I could remember the name.

Yes, utahtea is correct. Everything I mentioned between Moab and Zion is along scenic routes 24 & 12.

I've been to Lower Calf Creek Falls twice. It is 2 - 2.5 miles each way. I don't remember any climbing. There are always a few small rocks on a trail. Maybe the memory goes with age.

utahtea. Don't talk to me about age. The aches and pains are piling up. I turned 69 last May. I had my left knee scoped 8-9 years ago and a hip replacement 5 years ago. And I just spent a week (Aug 2013) hiking in Glacier N.P. in Montana and a couple of days in Banff and Jasper in Alberta to see if I wanted a trip there with a few more days (yes!!).

You can see photos of all these trips at:
www.travelwalks.com
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 03:45 PM
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I don't remember any climbing at Calf Creek either. Now the upper falls(which nobody goes to-certainly might have some climbing. I do remember some of the hike being in sand and slowing me down just a bit.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 05:40 PM
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spiro,

Yes, the two issues with the hike are a sandy trail that causes you to have to lift your feet and the lack of any shade along the way. But that beautiful waterfall is worth the time and effort.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 06:36 PM
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Myer you win the age war...LOL! I just remember my DH's knee was bothering him so I noticed EVERY time he had to go up a few stair rocks and back down. It just wan't as LEVEL as I thought it was going to be. The Lower Calf Creek waterfall at the end is worth it. I also liked the petroglyphs off in the distance which were an added bonus. Next time I bring binoculars and my higher power lens!

Utahtea
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 07:09 AM
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Maybe I amuse easily being a 60 yr. old gal from Ohio(!), but I think Capitol Reef is one of the most gorgeous places I've laid eyes on! On our last visit after ten years, my husband and I drove down its scenic road on a gorgeous, sunny late afternoon and it still took my breath away. Another spot I found jaw dropping was driving east to west on Route 12 and dropping down into Cannonville. Another site that left me speechless! Not that there aren't countless wonders to see, especially along Rt. 12. Can't wait to make a 3rd return to Utah in the future!
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 07:22 AM
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Along the Colorado River are two fantastic resorts, Red Cliffs Lodge and Sorrel River Ranch, for your stay in Moab. In town, you have Adobe Abode and Sunflower Hill and Cali Cochitta B&Bs for your accommodations for Arches (and you can visit Canyonlands too!) DiscoverMoab.com has full listings.
For dining, MoabHappenings.com publishes a Menu Guide. The 2014 guide is not yet posted. You can get a paper copy in the lobby of hotels and the foyers of the grocery shops and other shops.
You should get on the Colorado River. There are 2-4 hour dry-come-as-you-are jetboat tours or rafting.
You will probably purchase the $80 one year pass to all of the national parks. In case you are not, this is top of the news today: Up-coming fee free days are set for 2014. Those will be Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 20), Presidents’ Day Weekend (February 15-17), First Weekend of National Park Week (April 19-20), National Park Service Birthday (August 25), National Public Lands Day (September 27), and Veterans Day (November 11).
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 09:28 AM
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Reference Great Gallery Pictographs.
There are two such panels in that area - Canyonlands - Maze District. The Great Gallery and Harvest Scene. Of those, we consider the latter is superior. Harvest Scene requires very rough 4-wheel drive access and moderate to strenuous canyon hiking depending on selected route. Great Gallery is accessible with high clearance (normal car on a good road day) and a 7 mile R/T sandy trail hike. Gallery is 48 miles south of Green River on a high clearance vehicle road. Harvest Scene is about 70 miles.

Suggestion - if you want an easier option to see very good picto/petro near Moab, visit Sego. It is only a 2 minute walk from their parking lot and its free.
http://scienceviews.com/indian/segocanyon.html
Food In Moab - Sunset Restaurant AT-AT-AT sunset for an excellent view of Moab and very good food. It was once the home of Uranium tycoon Steen.

Vaga
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 04:13 PM
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http://www.toddshikingguide.com/index.htm

I've hiked many hikes using the website above as a guide. I am always in agreement with him. Out of all the hikes he lists, he only gives two or three of them 5 Stars.

He rates Great Gallery/Horseshoe Canyon as 5 Stars
He rates Harvest Scene as 3 Stars

To be fair, I haven't seen Harvest Scene.

Here is link to Great Gallery
http://www.toddshikingguide.com/Hike...nyonlands4.htm

Here is a link to Harvest Scene
http://www.toddshikingguide.com/Hike...nyonlands2.htm
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 04:42 PM
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Little Wildhorse Canyone he ranks as 4.5, btw

Here is his complete http://www.toddshikingguide.com/Hikes/Hikes.htmhike list link.
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 08:17 PM
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Fantastic information here. Thank you. Bookmarking to look at again later.
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