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marjjohn May 8th, 2013 05:16 AM

Utah/GC Questions
I'm planning a trip for early September. I have all of the lodging reservations (plane tickets haven't been bought yet) but am beginning to reconsider the last leg of our trip & wanted some input.

Fly into Vegas.
night 1: zion
night 2: bryce
night 3: bryce
night 4: GC
night 5: GC
night 6: mesa verde
night 7: mesa verde
Fly out of Durango

I am traveling with a 10 year old....very adventurous boy. Neither of us having been out west & its hard to pick what to see & what to skip.

I will be renting a car. The cost to rent the car in Vegas & return in Durango is about $300 more than if I'd return to a larger city. Not to mention, I'm wondering if our time could be better spent in Arizona/GC/Flagstaff/Sedona instead of the 5 hour drive to Mesa Verde.


Thank you!!!

DebitNM May 8th, 2013 05:24 AM

Having lived near Mesa Verde NP, I strongly suggest you stick to your plans to visit MVNP. It is unlike Grand Canyon and I think both of you will be glad you did. I don't think a 10 yr old will get much out of Sedona or Flagstaff. Be sure to check out flights from Durango ,they are pretty limited.

marjjohn May 8th, 2013 05:35 AM

I kind of wondered if he'd have much interest in Sedona/Flagstaff which is why I originally went with Mesa Verde instead. Just wanted to verify before I booked flights. & yes, flights out of Durango are somewhat limited...(which doesn't necessarily work with my natural ways of procrastination :)

happytrailstoyou May 8th, 2013 06:32 AM

I would begin and end in Las Vegas.

For a 10-year-old boy, I would include Sedona with Jerome (rather than Flagstaff) and I would show him Williams' AZ Route 66 main street, and the stretch of Route 66 between Kingsman and Oatman AZ.


Shanti May 8th, 2013 07:22 AM

I'd also fly in and out of Vegas. I would drop Mesa Verde to have more time for your other lications. Are you going to the North or South Rim?

WhereAreWe May 8th, 2013 07:24 AM

2 nights at Zion, 1 at Bryce instead of 1 and 2. More variety of hikes at Zion than Bryce.

Drop a night at the Grand Canyon, unless you do significant hiking down into the canyon there really isn't enough to occupy 2 nights.

If timing works out, you could add that extra day to Durango and do something fun in the mountains.

Myer May 8th, 2013 09:54 AM

I totally agree with WhereAreWe.

emalloy May 8th, 2013 11:07 AM

If you do decide to drop Mesa Verde, and do a loop from Vegas then consider visiting the south rim for a night instead of north rim and exiting through the east on 64 and south on 98 with a visit at Wupatki for ruins and then just a little east on I-40 is Walnut Canyon, for cliff dwellings that you can climb up in to. Neither is as extensive as Mesa Verde, but would give you a taste.

On the way back to Vegas you could visit Hoover Dam.

The loop could be done in either direction Vegas, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon or Grand Canyon, then Bryce and Zion.

Myer May 8th, 2013 01:10 PM

Not being a fan of GC I might either skip it or stop by the north rim. Also, if you drop Mesa Verde I would consider:

Fly into and out of Salt Lake. Go to Moab for a couple of days for Arches and Canyonlands.

10 year old would love a stop in Gobblin Valley State Park and also Devil's Garden Escalante 10 miles down Hole-in-the-Rock Road.

Quick stop in Capitol Reef then onto Bryc and Zion.

It's a bit tight in 7 days but if you could add a day or two it would be great.

spirobulldog May 8th, 2013 01:13 PM

You probably need 2 full days at Zion and 1 full day @ Bryce. I suspect you are staying 2 nights @ Bryce, but really spending the day at Zion? I also suspect that you are allowing for driving and that's why you are spending 2 nights in Mesa Verde.

I can almost guarantee you will be coming back to Utah(probably when your child is 11). I took my daughter there the first time when she was 11 and we've been just about every year.

Since you mention adventurous let me suggest a couple of things. In Durango Very expensive and worth every cent.

In Zion. Hike Angels Landing and The Narrows. You can rent your gear for The Narrows @ Zion Adventure Company. Also consider going Canyoneering with them. I haven't been with them, but I would recommend if you ever go to Moab/Arches. I'm sure ZAC does a fine job at Zion with their version of canyoneering.

I think 1 full day @ Grand Canyon is plenty, unless your doing some serious hiking or plan on rafting it for several days.

If I had 7 days, I would just spend the entire time at GC, Bryce and Zion. You will have more than enough at those 3 spots to keep you busy and you won't feel like you missed anything. Plus, you won't be cooped up in the car. You could always include Page for a day on that trip too. Perhaps even hike The Wave(which is difficult to get a permit).

You could fly in/out of Durango and do Mesa Verde, Durango, and then head to Moab.

I think your original plan is doable, but really is pretty rushed. You are likely to want 2 full days @ Mesa Verde, IMOP. I regret only spending 1.5 days there. We didn't make it to Wetherill section and I would have liked to have seen that.

StantonHyde May 8th, 2013 02:14 PM

I would stay on the east or west side of Utah, but not both. So--Bryce (1 day), Zion--2 days, GC-2 days. You could add a day in Page--and see Antelope Canyon and the dam there if you wanted.

Come back another time and do Durango, Mesa Verde, Moab etc.

spirobulldog May 8th, 2013 06:31 PM

Stanton--I would stay on the East or West side of Utah??? I don't understand

StantonHyde May 8th, 2013 07:40 PM

e.g. do either moab/durango/mesa verde OR do Bryce/Zion.--east and west side of the state.

InSandy May 8th, 2013 08:27 PM

THere is alot to see and with your first plan you will only be touching the surface.

I personally would not take my 10 year old to Angel's Landing.

I love Mesa Verde. Not sure it would be worth the extra drop off fees.

I'd tend to do as StantonHyde suggests and stay on one side of the area or the other in that shorter amount of time.

As mentioned there are ancient ruins elsewhere in the area, you don't need to go to Mesa Verde to see them (although they are the most impressive) . There are some in Grand Canyon, in Sedona, (where he would love the Pink Jeep trip), along with wupatki

peterboy May 9th, 2013 02:53 AM

I think Mesa Verde will be a highlight for you 10 year old. Exploring ancient ruins...what kid wouldn't love that! I sure did way back when....

Myer May 9th, 2013 04:40 AM

I agree with InSandy about not doing Angel's Landing with a 10 year old.

Unless your plan is to stop at Scout's Lookout.

mlgb May 9th, 2013 11:23 AM

Wupatki is good for Indian ruins and near the GC south rim.
There are some good petroglyph panels at Valley of Fire State park, an easy detour off of 15 between Las Vegas and Zion. It can be too hot for hiking but the Atlatl panel is just at the parking lot. Saw two bighorn sheep right by the road on the way out.

I would skip Sedona and Flagstaff as well. I think Sedona in particular appeals to the older more sedentary set. Spend more time in Zion.

Pick up and drop off at Las Vegas.

MikePinTucson May 9th, 2013 12:51 PM

Actually, Sedona has some of the best hiking in Arizona. So it is hardly for the "older more sedentary set".

If you do head down to Flag and Sedona, also visit Walnut Canyon for a different type of Indian ruins.

mlgb May 9th, 2013 01:11 PM

Re Grand Canyon, I like the geology museum at Yavapai Point. I think it's a good first stop since you can drive there and park, and the views are so great (plus the museum is interesting).

A GC day hike with better payoff than Bright Angel is the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh-Ahh Point. If you are up early and have good weather and fitness you can go on to Cedar Ridge. I had two nights at GC Bright Angel. On the second morning, I got up early for sunrise (too early) and then afterwards hiked to Ooh Aah. You have to take the shuttle from the GC Visitor Center to the South Kaibab Trail. If you have a car, you can park at the VC, otherwise it involves a change of shuttle. I was lucky to catch the hiker's express. Having hiking poles really helps, I think.

After my second night at GC south rim, I drove out via the east exit, making all the stops along the way including the small Tusuyan museum and Desert View Tower (which has a good selection of small souvenirs at better prices than Cameron btw). I also stopped at Navajo Bridge, Paria Riffle at Glen Canyon NRA, and Cliff dwellers. There was a little horned lizard at the beach at Paria Riffle, but also lots of mosquitos.

mlgb May 9th, 2013 01:20 PM

Meant to post the photos from GC (first part is Ooh Aah)

And Vermillion Cliffs

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