Notices

Utah and Arizona national parks

Reply

Jul 17th, 2013, 10:15 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 23
Utah and Arizona national parks

My husband and I are planning a 10-14 day trip out west the middle of May 2014. Thinking about flying into Phoenix, heading to Grand Canyon then making our way to Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce and Zion end up in Vegas for a couple of days then fly home. Is this do-able? Are there any other spots we should see or skip? Is it better to stay inside the parks or outside? Any advice you can give would be extremely helpful. I realize may be getting a late start in making all this happen
jcmrbm1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 10:37 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
Stay In Park, in my opinion. North Rim of Grand Canyon doesn't open until Mid-May. Are you staying there? Get all lodging reservations NOW ASAP!!

There is a lot to do along HWY 12 between Bryce and Moab
Escalante, Calf Creek Falls, Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley(a must see, in my opinion)Little Wildhorse Canyon.

Deadhorse Point near Moab.

Page, AZ might be something to add, perhaps even Monument Valley. If you add Monument Valley you might as well see Natural Bridges National Monument too along with Moki Dugway.

Another possibility would be Mesa Verde and Durango. It would be pushing it to add those unless you went the full 14 days.

What type of activities do you like? Hiking, rafting, horseback riding, adventure?

I would actually start out in Moab and work my way south as weather would cooperate better(most likely). North Rim of GC and Bryce might be cool, but the rest would be warm. So, if you could do those last would be best. South rim of GC would be warmer. South rim is where 90% of the visitors see. North Rim is far less crowded. South rim is probably best for a first time visitor. I have rafted the GC, but I have not been to south rim, so I may not be qualified to actually talk about the north rim. The rest of the places I mentioned I have been to multiple times(have not been to Page).
spirobulldog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 10:40 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,346
I'm not saying "don't go to Phoenix" but you would be better off flying to and renting in Las Vegas. The car rental rates are cheaper and you won't have to worry about a drop fee.
The South Rim is just as easy to get to from LV as it is from PHX.
You'll stay in Moab when you visit Arches and Canyonlands.
Include Goblin Valley SP and Utah Rt. 12 in your plan.
Make a stop for a couple of hours at Hoover Dam on the way out of or coming back to Las Vegas. There is a walkway on the north side of the new bridge overlooking Hoover Dam.
tomfuller is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 11:53 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 44
Last September, my husband and I flew into Vegas, rented a red mustang convertible with satellite radio, spent one night in Vegas and saw the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage, and then embarked on a wonderful 8 day road trip that was somewhat of a whirlwind, but we loved almost every minute. First we drove to Grand Canyon and stayed at the Red Feather Lodge outside of the park. One night for us was fine as we visited the South Rim when we arrived and in the morning, before leaving. Grand Canyon is spectacular, but the other places we visited were even better. The next day we drove to Sedona Arizona and stayed at a bed and breakfast called Canyon Wren for one night. It was like Shangri la, a little piece of heaven. We went to the Red Rock State Park and to the Church in the side of a mountain. Next morning we drove to Page Arizona to visit Antelope Canyon. If I could change on thing, I would have stayed at Canyon Wren for 2 nights and skipped Page, even though the slot Canyon was amazing, but that would have change the rest of the trip somewhat and I wouldn't want that either. From Page, we drove all the way to Bluff. I didn't have reservations for that one night, but we lucked out and got a room at the Recapture Lodge which was basically a bed in a room, but we were thrilled to get the room and we met a great German couple that convinced us to backtrack visit Valley of the Gods and also convinced us to take a different route from Moab to Bryce that was not the most direct route, but was well worth the extra time. It was spectacular! In Moab, we stayed 3 nights. 1 night at the Inca Inn and 2 nights at Stella Ruby Cottage in the basement apartment. We went to Arches National Park and even though it was in the 90s, I still enjoyed every minute, except when my husband had to push my butt up this rock I was climbing on. I got stuck and couldn't go up or down. We visited the Red Cliffs movie museum that was free and worth the hour spent. We also went to Dead Horse State Park. On the way to Bryce, we went through Capitol Reef and Canyonlands. Bryce was awesome and the drive from there to Zion was thrilling and scary! I felt like I was on another planet for a lot of the trip. I live in Fl. and it doesn't get that much more different than that. All in all the trip was incredible!! I hope this helps and I apologize about going on and on and on... Oh yeah, we stayed one night in Bryce at the Best Western Plus, which was just OK and then when we got to Zion, we stay at the Best Western Zion Park Inn,which I highly recommend. The view from the back porch of the fabulous lobby is amazing! The price range of the places we stayed, were $75.00(Recapture Lodge) to 185.00(Canyon Wren)Happy trip planning!
bucketlister2012 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 12:27 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,072
I agree on flying in/out of Vegas. You'll need to check flight/car prices for your specific dates, but it's usually cheaper to do go roundtrip from Vegas. Occasionally there are car rentals with no dropoff from Phoenix to Vegas that are cheaper than a roundtrip rental, but it's rare. And as already pointed out, it's just as easy to get to the South Rim from Vegas...it's only another hour of driving compared to Phoenix.

One night at the Grand Canyon, 3-4 nights in Moab, a night in Bryce and 2-3 nights in Zion plus 2 nights in Vegas is 9-11 nights total, so if you can push it out to the full 14 days you'd have time to see a couple more places.

Book whatever lodging you can get once you have your dates and itinerary figured out. I wouldn't stress about the lodging if you can't find availability, there are always cancellations. Stay in park at the Grand Canyon for sure. The only dates I would stress about even a little are over Memorial Day weekend and a night at the North Rim if you choose to go there - since there's limited lodging there it tends to book up fast and not as many people cancel as at the South Rim.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 12:28 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
Grand Canyon South--Bright Angel Cabins or El Tovar-any of them would be fine though

North Rim-Grand Canyon Lodge

Bryce--Bryce Lodge Ruby's would be my 2nd Choice

Zion-Zion Lodge--There are a host of other spots in Springdale

Arches/Canyonlands-no spot in the national parks-so Moab

Capitol Reef-Stay in Torrey at Austin's-other places there too
spirobulldog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 12:47 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,072
Just to follow up on my post: the South Rim has lodging available any time in May, even over Memorial Day weekend. It looks like Thunderbird Lodge is the only one that is sold out as of now. The North Rim, however, only has rooms available on the 27th, 30th and 31st. I'm sure you could find a room at the North Rim with some effort but it just illustrates how much more difficult it is to get lodging over there compared to the South Rim.

Also, for any of the in park lodging, do NOT use usparklodging.com. They are a 3rd party vendor and charge an extra 10% non-refundable reservation fee...which is completely unnecessary. Just book through either Xanterra or Forever Resorts - they are the official park concessionaires and don't charge that extra reservation fee. Plus, if there are any issues it is much easier to deal directly with Xanterra or Forever Resorts rather than going through a 3rd party vendor.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 01:38 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
Buy a National Park Pass on your entrance to first Park. This is good for a year at most National Parks, Monuments, Seashore, Rivers, Battlefields, etc.
spirobulldog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 01:41 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 23
Thanks for your help. Was going to fly into Phoenix and drive and stay a night or two in Sedona but, may reconsider and fly in and out of Vegas. Would like to do some rafting, is it better to at the grand canyon or at Moab?
jcmrbm1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 02:00 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16,121
It's easier to get on a float trip in Moab, and cheaper, but it isn't "white water". At the GC it books up well in advance.

In my opinion for lodgings it's best to stay inside the park at the Grand Canyon. I think Tusuyan is supremely unattractive and overpriced. If I couldn't get lodging inside the Park I would stay in Williams (but this far ahead you shouldn't have a problem.)

I don't think in park lodging is necessary at the others. I prefer Springdale for Zion (there are some new hotels there such as La Quinta Inn and Hampton Inn that are challenging the old favorites).

Kanab is an option if you are traveling between the Grand Canyon and Bryce. It's a cute little town with lots of lodging and about 90 minutes away. I prefer to go to Bryce before the shuttle starts running if you have that choice (this year it started on May 10).

Torrey is a good spot for Capitol Reef.
mlgb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 02:05 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16,121
PS the website for the South Rim is http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/

I don't see any problem with availability at Bright Angel. Try to the historic private cabin(there is only one bed in there!).
mlgb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 04:52 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
There is whitewater at Moab. Several outfitters run Cateract Canyon. Some consider it every bit as good at GC. I've rafted GC, but not Cateract, so can't say for certain. Water is far more powerful in cateract earlier in than season than late. While that is not so with the GC.
spirobulldog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 05:03 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16,121
I didn't know that spiro, thanks, I just did the float trip down from the main road.
mlgb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 06:21 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
mlgb,

They have several different places/option they do mild to wild in Moab and in between.
Depends on which section of the Colorado River. They also run the Green River. There is an entire spectrum of rafting, even Pack Rafting options in Moab. Even Flyout rafting landing on a dirt airstrip. I have done that there while Canyoneering(AMAZING)!
spirobulldog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 07:30 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,072
I believe the only rafting at the Grand Canyon is either a half-day float trip from Page that doesn't actually enter the canyon, or a multi-day trip through the canyon which is probably more than the OP is looking for. Moab would have better options.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 17th, 2013, 07:45 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,055
Although others have recommended only one night at the South rim, if you want to hike, I would strongly recommend at least two nights. Hiking even part of the Bright Angel trail down into the canyon is spectacular. You also will want time to soak in all the various viewpoints, and observe how the canyon changes in the different light of morning, noon, and evening. Spectacular.
msteacher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 18th, 2013, 04:27 AM
  #17
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,648
Be aware that in early May you will get cold temperatures at Bryce. The park is at 8000-9000' elevation. I was there the 1st week in May this year and it snowed each night, and snow squalls during the day chased many unprepared hikers off the trails. As long as you are prepared for cold temps it's a great time to visit though - no crowds!
J62 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 18th, 2013, 07:39 AM
  #18
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 23
Planning to go May 14-28, starting south and heading north. We have one day where we plan to drive from the Grand Canyon to Moab. Is that too much for one day? Should we break it up? If not what stops should we make along the way? From Moab we plan on driving to Bryce, mapquest sends us to rt 70. Would rather take route 12. How much longer would that take? Should we break it up in order to see more? Thanks
jcmrbm1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 18th, 2013, 07:47 AM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 23
Planning to go May 14-28, starting south and heading north. We have one day where we plan to drive from the Grand Canyon to Moab. Is that too much for one day? Should we break it up? If not what stops should we make along the way? From Moab we plan on driving to Bryce, mapquest sends us to rt 70. Would rather take route 12. How much longer would that take? Should we break it up in order to see more? Thanks
jcmrbm1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 18th, 2013, 07:55 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 21
There are some guest houses, condos and B&B besides hotels in Moab. http://www.discovermoab.com/brochures.htm for a free vacation planner and ask for the Oh Ranger! utah national parks and Monuments for the other Utah parks for that part of your trip. There is also a calm water, dry, come-as-you-are, bring your camera along scenic jetboat tour on the Colorado River in Moab,k beside the rafting of scenic splash and whitewater (in cataract canyon and westwater canyons).
Lone Ranger and After Earth movies showed this summer in theaters. John Carter last summer, next summer there is a new transformer movie coming out. Each of these have scenes shot around the Moab area, so check out Moab's Film Museum at Red Cliffs Lodge to learn about the history of films. Find a pamphlet on movie locations using http://www.discovermoab.com/pdfbrochures.htm and another region specific highlight is the self guided auto rock art tour. after your trip, you can rent the movies and reminisce about your western sojourn.
UtahMentor is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:34 PM.