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Utah National Parks -- Changes in our itinerary - how's this look?

Utah National Parks -- Changes in our itinerary - how's this look?

Aug 1st, 2007, 04:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 47
Utah National Parks -- Changes in our itinerary - how's this look?

We have made some changes using advice from this forum (thanks!). We will be leaving Oct 1 driving from Seattle to Boise, Idaho and then Boise to Moab.

---Spend 3 nights at Moab (Dream Keeper Inn sounds really nice?.
--- Drive to Boulder and spend one night - check out Anasazi State Park, Lower Calf Creek Falls, and the Burr Trail road. (is this a good stopping place or do we even need to spend the night here?)
-- One night at Bryce Canyon Lodge
-- 2 or 3 nights at Zion
-- Start our drive back to Seattle (2 or 3 nights)

Realize there are many sights to see in each place and we won't be able to see it all. But using the recommendations from this site we will try and hit all the highlights.

jandb is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I think I'd be more incline to spend the night in Torrey, Utah instead of Boulder, Utah. On the day you leave Moab you would have some time to visit Capitol Reef National Park. Then the next day you would have enough time to drive scenic Hwy 12, visit Anasazi, drive the paved part of the Burr Trail and stop at Lower Calf Creek. You do realize that to see Lower Calf Creek falls there is a 5 1/2 mile round trip hike.

utahtea is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 05:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 15
Bryce is beautiful--be sure to have enough time to hike the trails and to see it at different times of day. Our family hiked the Narrows at Zion and it was fabulous. For both parks, get out early because the crowds are huge. Getting an early start makes a big difference in your enjoyment. Another suggestion was Capitol Reef--that is a less visited but gorgeous, haunting park. Try to get there!
daisy07 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:02 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Just got back from Bryce/Zion & I have to say that I'm with utahtea on spending the night @ Torey, Utah. It turned out to be a great choice & put us in position to start the drive down Hwy. 12 (not to be missed ! ! ! ) to Bryce.
utahtea & daisy07 also mentioned Capitol Reef N.P. We hadn't really even considered it until we ended up in Torrey, but we found it a fun place to spend the morning in before we started down Hwy. 12. We even found a beautiful little waterfall with a wading pool just a couple of miles from the Capitol Reef rangers station that is literally beside on the side of the road. Refreshing fun on a hot day
One more suggestion . . . try to budget time to spend in Zion & especially Bryce after the sun goes down.
The temps are down & the crowds are gone & I, at least, finally understood why the features @ Bryce are called "hoodoos". It's a little eerie, but really FUN. + Bryce is one of the best places in N.A. to stargaze from.
nomad211 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 10:57 AM
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Another question: we want to drive from Moab to Bryce with one stop overnight along the way. Where is the best place to stay and see the following: Burr Trail, Anasazi State Park, Lower Calf Creek Falls (Utahtea, thanks for the information on how long this hike is), Kodachrome State Park, and Grosvenor Arch. Are these too many sights to try to fit in a day and a half? What should we cut out or add?
jandb is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 11:49 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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We stayed in Torrey after Moab for one night, then stayed in Boulder for 2 nights, doing Bryce as a day trip. Route 12 was worth driving more than once. Loved Capital Reef. If you stay in Torrey, make sure you have dinner at Cafe Diablo, best meal we had on our trip and blew away the food at the Boulder Mtn. Lodge (which was good too).
owlwoman is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 12:31 PM
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We were just in the area and stayed two nights at Boulder, one night too many. Nothing much here other than highway 12 and in proximity to the Burr Trail and Calf Creek Recreation Area. Unless you actually plan to hike to the falls, you probably won't need an overnight. We missed Torrey on this trip and I am kind of sorry about it, but our planning would have left us driving Torrey to LV on departure day, then flying the red eye home to the east coast.
As it were, we stayed two nights at the Boulder Mt. Lodge and dined at Hell's Backbone Grille both nights (only three restaurants right at that intersection in Boulder and no other hotels that I noticed). Owlwoman: I am really sorry for missing Torrey if Cafe Diablo was better than Hell's Backbone! Both nights' the service by the owners at Hell's and food quality was exceptional for us, so looks like we missed out on another great place!
We arrived in Boulder mid-afternoon and hiked the next morning at Calf Creek to the falls, it is about 6 miles RT. Was worth the hike to the falls. Terrain is very sandy, be prepared to end with a shoeful of sand!
The Burr Trail for us was a little disappointing--not that it wasn't pretty and scenic, but in our opinion it wasn't comparable to Highway 12--we turned around after driving out 8 miles.
hugglynn is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 12:06 AM
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huggylynn, Sounds like you turned around before the good part of the Burr Trail!

Since we haven't done the hike to Calf Creek Falls (never could find a place to park with our motorhome) and haven't been to Grosvenor Arch (road was closed due to flooding last time we visited), I really can't advise what to cut out. I will tell you that the road to Kodachrome State Park is marked at 30 MPH...so it takes about 30 minutes to reach the state park. IMHO, it's an OK state park, but there are much more scenic areas of Utah...

utahtea is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 04:04 AM
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The trip out to Grosvenor Arch is very long and slow and, although its a neat arch, it's not worth all the driving with so little time on this trip.

We've stayed in Boulder and Torrey on our trips because the area around both towns is so incredibly scenic and filled with amazing places to discover. I guess I'd advise you to stay in Torrey to see some of Capitol Reef, although Anasazi SP and the Burr Trail are in Boulder. We loved driving the Burr Trail - after you leave Boulder, you'll find a cool little slot canyon on the left side of the road that you can check out. Not too far from Boulder. The lovely gals at Hells Backbone Grill told us about it. The Long Canyon area of the Burr Trail is gorgeous and well worth seeing. Of course, we love back roads and discovering out of the way places. We appreciate all the small details of the landscape. So we are never disappointed no matter where we are in Southern Utah.

I'd drop Kodachrome and Grosvenor and do the rest of the things on your list. We haven't stopped at the Anasazi SP yet, but will do so on our upcoming fall trip. If there is anyway to spend a night in Torrey and a night in Boulder, do it. Otherwise, you'll most likely be back on a future trip seeing more of the area like us. We're kind of "addicted" to southern Utah now.
sharondi is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 06:07 AM
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utahtea, that's too bad if we did, I guess I didn't have enough info on what to expect driving out there....and since I thought it only went (the paved part) 10-12 miles and the first 8 weren't anything "over the top" as compared to Highway 12, DH decided to turn around. Hmmm, maybe we'll get back there sometime!
hugglynn is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 06:43 AM
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I was just at Bryce Canyon in June.

My plan was to hike in Bryce, then visit some of the viewpoints and then drive over to Grosvenor Arch and stop in Kodachrome park on the way back and return in time for some pre-dusk Bryce hiking.

Everything went exactly as planned.

Ok. Now the drive.

The drive to Kodachrome park took about 40 minutes from Bryce. The dirt road from Kodachrome to Grosvenor Arch was dry and I was able to drive about 20-25 mph most of the 10 miles.

There were only a few spots that concerned me somewhat; moderate hilly curves, etc.

After driving 10 miles on a dirt road there's a small sign indicating the Arch. There's a picnic table and parking for about 3 cars (not a problem as you could use the road if you had to). As I pulled in another car came in behind me.

There's a concrete sidewalk from the parking area for about a 100 yards towards the arch. I was amused by that after driving 10 miles on a dirt road.

While the Arch is impressive, it wasn't any more impressive than the Natural Bridge in Bryce. Of course the view angle is very different.

I haven't been to Arches NP yet (planning this) but the photos I've seen of arches there appear to be more interesting.

The trip probably would have been more worth it if I was more impressed with Kodachrome park. After spending a good part of the day in Bryce, this park was not much.

For those who've been to Sedona and drove to the Devil's Bridge trailhead, the dirt road to Grosvenor Arch is like a paved freeway compared to that road.

I hope some of this helps.
Myer is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 08:21 AM
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I agree with sarondi, if you can possibly spend a night in both Torrey (for Capitol Reef) and Boulder, for Burr Trail, etc., that would be the best plan.

If not, no you don't have time to include Grosvenor Arch and Kodachrome. Kodachrome is best at sunrise and sunset for photography purposes.

huggylynn, you have no idea what you missed. "Nothing much there" - there is SO much, but it takes seeking out and hiking. Some of the world's greatest hikes and most amazing slot canyons are the reward. They are all right there, waiting to be discovered. Not for the casual or inexperienced visitor. Go with a guide and have fun!
Dayle is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Our family LOVED Capitol Reef..the rainbow of colors (first trip in was around sunset-beautiful!)and the lack of crowds. I agree with what someone said about it being a 'gorgeous,haunting park'! Of course morning, late afternoon and early evening are SO special in all these parks, much better than the midday experience..well, maybe except that there's nothing like the cooling off in the Narrows when it's around 100 degrees . Of course you are going in the fall so probably temps will be pretty comfy.
maw is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 01:32 PM
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Hi Dayle
I agree there IS alot there, what I meant by not much there in Boulder is in the way of services (hotels/restaurants) as the OP was asking about whether to stay there. But I sure would have liked to have had more time to explore the Escalante, it's obviously really hard when as the casual tourist you only have so many days with so many attractions begging for that limited amount of time.
hugglynn is offline  

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