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Utah experts: need help planning 9 nights visiting the NPs

Utah experts: need help planning 9 nights visiting the NPs

Aug 11th, 2009, 08:05 AM
  #1  
dcd
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Utah experts: need help planning 9 nights visiting the NPs

My DW and I are interested in visiting some of the parks in Utah and are planning a trip for May 2010. It looks like we'd have 9 nights. We could fly into one city and out another. Grand Junction, Salt Lake and Vegas look to be the possible airports. We have little or no interest in spending any time in Vegas other than to possibly fly in or out.

We've never been to that area before. I've done some research here, but haven't seen any trips of that duration (although I may have missed them). So I'm looking for help with an itinerary. We enjoy moderate hikes and great scenery. The more parks, the merrier so long as we're not overdoing it. Maybe 2 days max in some of them. We'd like to include the North Rim, too.

Any thoughts on which airport(s), which parks and for how long, and the best scenic drives to the various parks?
dcd is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 09:06 AM
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Las Vegas is probably the best fly in/fly out option if you're including Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon -- and am thinking you should, as all three parks are a must.

For thoughts on overall itineraries and specific things to do in each park, would suggest a board search, as there's a lot of info in this forum on your questions.
bachslunch is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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Hi dcd,

If you could arrange an open-jaw flight (fly into Salt Lake, out of Vegas) that might offer some advantages. If not, then Salt Lake is slightly more advantageous. (I'm not a fan of Vegas, too schmaltzy.)

This would be one possible itinerary:

Fly Salt Lake - drive to Moab for three nights.
Drive to Torrey and spend the night.
Drive to Zion's and visit Bryce Canyon for the Day.
Spend three nights in Zion's
Drive to North Rim of GC for two nights
Fly out of Vegas
Bird is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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I don't think it makes any difference if you fly in/out of Salt Lake or Las Vegas - chances are you will be in and out of either city so fast it isn't important. I would spend less time in Moab and at least 1 night at Bryce. Bryce is my favorite of Utah's parks. It is a long day drive from Moab to Bryce with some lovely scenery en route. The north rim of the Grand Canyon is also fabulous but be sure to check that it is open. Usually opens mid to late May depending on snowfall. The altitude at Bryce bothered my husband a bit, so just be aware that it bothers some people.
charli is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 02:51 PM
  #5  
dcd
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Thanks for the input. Bird, your plan sounds great. Charli, I guess we could pick either Bryce or Zion as a base and visit the one we don't stay in.
dcd is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 02:36 AM
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I wouldn't use one as a base for both (Zion & Bryce).

You probably want one day in Bryce that includes a sunrise at Bryce Point.

It's a good 90 minute drive between the two assuming you don't get stuck at the tunnel entering Zion.

Remember there's the Canyon Overlook hike at the East Entrance to Zion.
Myer is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 03:39 AM
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I agree with Myer, you need to stay at both Zion and Bryce for at least one night. Coming from Massachusetts, I am always amazed at the long distances in the West. Too long a drive between what you want to see to run back and forth and spend all that time in a car. Canyonlands & Arches were the leasting interesting NPs for me - once I saw a couple of arches that was enough. We did enjoy the cruise down the Colorado River into Canyonlands. We did North rim GC, Zion, and Bryce in 1 trip, and Canyonlands, Arches,and Bryce again, etc. in another. So much to see and so little time. You won't get everything done on this one trip - something I think you realize anyway.
charli is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 05:04 AM
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If you like to hike a little, there is lots to do in this area, go to www.nps.gov and click on the parks. Canyonlands is huge and there is lots to see/do in it for someone willing to do a little hiking or even looking from the car. Do check out Needles district for a short hike to an old cowboy camp. For Native American history this area has lots to offer in the way of ruins and rock art, some of it on BLM land. Don't miss Capitol reef and if you haven't been to the south rim of Grand Canyon, I would suggest you include that in your trip too. We've done trips in the area on loops from Vegas, Albuquerque, and from Denver (with stops at NP's in CO or AZ or NM), though into Grand Junction and out of Vegas or Salt Lake City would make for less driving. If you do a search of Utah here you will get lots of information on other ideas.

Have a great trip.
emalloy is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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I Made the same trip in 2007. We flew to Las Vegas and stayed ther 2 nights, then rented a car and made the route 66. first Grand Canyon (3 nights), then Bryce (2 nights, and finally Zion, I loved this park, and stayed there 2 nights. These 3 parks are the most beautiful ones. Some friends of mine went last month to Utah and they visiste the Canyonlands, they said it was sublime.
belica is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 02:33 PM
  #10  
dcd
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Thanks again for all the words of wisdom. We've been to the south rim (many times) and love it. The north rim is supposed to be gorgeous, too, but in a different way.
dcd is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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The north rim closes until late May, usually around the 15th depending on snow, so check for that before you trek down there. I have a few pictures of the out of the way areas on my flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/emalloy2009/sets if you want to check them out.

Have fun both planning and taking your trip.
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Aug 13th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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dcd,

If you don't like long hikes and only want a taste of each park Bird's plan is good. Personally, I would take 1 nt away from Zion in order to stay overnight at Bryce. You must see the sunrise! Two full days doing the short/moderate walks and hikes in Zion is enough.
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Aug 14th, 2009, 05:01 AM
  #13  
dcd
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emalloy, nice shots!! Dayle, your modification sounds good. Thanks to all.
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