Utah National Parks - 1 day

Old Jan 13th, 2015, 09:28 AM
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Utah National Parks - 1 day

I'll be in Spanish Fork, UT on business. We have 24 hours off before we need to be back.. We've been to Arches and Canyonland NPs and are looking into possibly another National Park to spend the day, light hiking and a nice drive.
We've spent time everywhere from Antelope Island, Park City and Provo Canyon to Sanaquin Canyon. Is it too ambitious to try and spend the day at another National Park. We would be leaving Spanish Fork no later than 5pm Saturday 1/24 and do not need to return until 8pm Sunday. Of course BAD weather will be a consideration but we're looking for suggestions for that 24 hours off. Cold doesn't bother us.
Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 13th, 2015, 09:43 AM
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If you are willing to do the 3 hour drive, you could go to Zion or Bryce.
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Old Jan 13th, 2015, 03:11 PM
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It will more likely take 4 hrs to Zion or Bryce but both are incredibly beautiful. Weather can be a problem at Bryce with its elevation at 8-9,000 ft. Zion will be warmer - it was 70 degrees there just the other day. Capitol Reef Nat'l Park in Torrey, Utah is less than 3 hrs drive from Spanish Fork. It's a beautiful and always uncrowded national park that my husband and I love visiting. Incredible colors and unique geology as well as some interesting historic and cultural features in the park (petroglyphs, historic buildings and orchards). Would certainly be worth the drive. Torrey is a pretty little western town with some decent places to stay and dine.
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Old Jan 13th, 2015, 03:52 PM
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Any of those three would be a good visit. I plan to be in Zion myself on the 24th.
It is a 4 hr drive from SLC to any of the parks, so you'll be about 3 hrs drive. Definitely feasible even this time of year as long as the roads are good.

Can't say that one is better than another, but you might have more chance of a short hike at Zion than either of the other two.
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Old Jan 13th, 2015, 05:27 PM
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Here are the parks in the area and their distances from Spanish Fork

Dinosaur National Monument 162 miles
Capitol Reef National Park 170 miles.
Bryce 210
Zion is 255 miles

Dinosaur National Monument wasn't mentioned before. There isn't a lot of hiking but it in a scenic location and the quarry is great.

I personally love Capitol Reef. We just spent two weeks there last fall and we go almost every year. There are plenty of hikes but I don't know if the high elevation gain ones would be open due to ice/snow.

Bryce is beautiful but at a high elevation so there is bound to be snow and you would probably have to snow shoe if you wanted to go on any hikes.

Zion is another of our favorite but a lot longer drive for you with such a short time. Lots of hiking in Zion but again the high elevation gain ones could be closed due to ice and snow. We've been in February and the Riverside Walk which is an easy 2 mile level hike was closed for a good portion of the way due to snow and ice. You couldn't get to Lower Emerald Pools because of icy conditions.

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Old Jan 13th, 2015, 05:40 PM
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Of the ones Utahtea mentioned, I would take Zion at the time of year in a heart beat!!! Capitol Reef is higher in elevation than you think. (were there in Easter one year--very cold) Bryce--cold, cold (great in summer/fall). Dino National Park--unless you REALLY love fossils, the others are better. Zion is lovely. ahhh, relaxing, good food, great lodging outside the park.
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Old Jan 13th, 2015, 06:27 PM
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I love all our parks, but the Capitol Reef area in the winter can have significant snow! Plus, Cafe Diablo, Slacker's and most others will be closed so dinner options will be very limited.

I would choose Zion too. Just go prepared for warm pleasant weather or snow. Could go either way!
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Old Jan 14th, 2015, 07:12 AM
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I would spend a day in Park City skiing.
Excellent snow with a variety of slopes.

I've skied most of those hills and PC is the best overall.
Deer Park is smaller but more 'upscale'
Alta is secluded.
Snowbird is a challenge

And it would be relaxing

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Old Jan 14th, 2015, 07:19 AM
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If skiing and/or winter activities are options, I'd go to Sundance Resort -

Mainly because I REALLY want to go to Sundance. Even if I didn't ski, I'd want to check out Sundance.
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Old Jan 14th, 2015, 08:34 AM
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If the weather is bad, stop in Price to see the dinosaur museum.
If the weather is OK continue on through Price and spend the night in Green River. DW and I spent several nights at the Robbers Roost motel. It is a bit cheaper than some of the other choices. Leave Green River early and head to Goblin Valley State Park off Rt. 24. from there head through Capitol Reef NP. There are some petroglyphs right near the highway.
Past Capitol Reef, turn off on Rt. 12 which is one of the most scenic routes in Utah IMO.
If you have some time, spend some time in Bryce Canyon before heading back to Spanish Fork.
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