UTAH National Parks- Best Routes from SLC

Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 09:26 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 183
UTAH National Parks- Best Routes from SLC

Ok, now we're flying INTO Salt Lake City... what is the best route.. we want to spend a day at each...

SLC (1day)
Zion (1 day)
Bryce (1day)
and combine MOAB-Arches-Dead Horse Pt, Canyonland (2 days)
back to SLC

What is best route to take?? Which one first?


Hotel Recommendations in each is also appreciated. What is a good price range we will be looking at?
CaribbeanChick is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,145
We arrived in SLC and immediately drove south on 15.
Took Rte 6 diagonally south east starting at Spanish Fork.
Then east on Rte 70 starting near Green River.
south on 191 past the entrance to Canyonlands and Arches and into Moab.

It took us less than 4 1/2 hours.
In Moab we stayed at the BW Canyonlands. Right in the middle of town. It had recently been redone. Good place, good location and breakfast.

We spend 4 days in Moab.
Did a lot of hiking.
Arches. Delicate Arch an hour before sunset. Fiery Furnace range-led hike. Double Arch area. and more.

Spend part of a day in Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point.

Then drove to Capitol Reef and on the way stopped at Goblin Valley state park for a couple of hours. Capitol Reef was not one of my favorites.

Stayed in Torrey one night and then south to Bouldet, UT and stayed at the Boulder Mountain Lodge.

Hiked Lower Calf Creek Falls. Great waterfalls at the end of the hot hike.

Then drove towards Bryce but stopped just south of Canonville and did a short slot canyon hike at Willis Creek. Then on to Bryce for a few hours. I had been there for two days the year before but my friend had not. So one hike down Navajo Loop and from there we drove back to SLC.

I imagine you will spend a bit less time in Moab (lot's to do) and from Bryce continue on to Zion.

Bryce is at the top of the canyon and Zion is at the bottom.

In Bryce get up early for sunrise at Bryce Pt. Hike Navajo Loop down and Queen's Garden back up for a good taste of Bryce. The only viewpoint that different from what you will have seen above is Natural Bridge.

In Zion many will give you opinions about hikes. I think it's a matter of your conditioning, bravery and time.

I'm not sure why you have a day for SLC. We left as soon as we got there and arrived back from Bryce in the evening of the last day.

We had a few hours the next morning so toured the downtown area before heading to the airport (very close to the sights) to leave.
Myer is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 10:50 AM
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Oh. You can see my photos at:

Myer is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 12:24 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 183
Thanks for the info.. My husband wanted to see the Salt Lake.. I guess that can be done quickly, maybe then take off right away??

I am pregnant so won't be hiking TOO much, I do want to do some.. plus we're going to be there first-second week in May... hoping it won't be too snowy we can still enjoy the scenery...

Will check out your pics! Thanks!

I also looked at flying out of Grand Junction from MOAB, but then the rental rate goes from $150-250 to $650 for the week... so we nixed that idea..

ALSO, I see on Google Earth that it takes 3.5 hours from Zion to Bryce, but they look very close.. is that an accurate time??
CaribbeanChick is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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That's incorrect.

They're about 80 miles apart. It takes about 1 1/2 hours max. Depedning upon the time of day there could be line getting into the east entrance of Zion.

Also, when you drive from Bryce to Zion you're going downhill all the way. From 8,500ft to 4,500ft.

It could be cool/cold in Bryce and very hot in Zion.

I was there the end of May and had snow showers in the morning as bryce and the next day in Zion it was 90 degrees.

In 2008 it was cool and as we entered Bryce the thermometer was 37 degrees and snow flurries. The day before at Lower Calf Creek Falls it was in the mid-nineties.

As far as hiking, Lower Calf Creek Falls will probably be too long for you.

In Bryce Navajo Loop and Queens Garden should be fine.

There are a couple in Zion that are very scenic and easy. Riverside Walk is very easy and very scenic. It's actually the start of the Narrows where you hike in water.

In mid-May the only place you may see snow might be Bryce with its elevation.
Myer is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2010, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Torrey is nice, but Boulder, Utah is more centrally located adjacent to Grand Staircase National Monument, Dixie National Forest and the Burr Trail. It's also close to the south side of Capitol Reef National Monument and only 90 minutes from Bryce Canyon. It's too bad you can't spend many days there. The Boulder Mountain Lodge is fabulous, so is their restaurant - Hell's Backbone Grill (make reservations if possible!). Boulder is just 20 minutes from the trailhead to Lower Calf Creek Falls - an easy 3 hour roundtrip walk to a 126 foot waterfall. Also, don't miss Long Canyon (on the Burr Trail, which is a chip sealed road, so you don't need a 4 wheel drive). There's a beautiful slot canyon just a few minutes walk from the road. Ask for directions at the Boulder Mountain Lodge or the Burr Trail Outpost.
sarahjosh is offline  
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