Utah National Parks Itinerary help please

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Aug 30th, 2017, 06:01 PM
  #1
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Utah National Parks Itinerary help please

I am trying to plan an October trip with my husband to see Zion, Bryce and Canyonlands Parks for 10 days, if that isn't too ambitious. Where is the best place to fly into/out of ( we are coming from Boston)? What's the best way to divide up our time? am I missing any other great spots to see? I think I read an interesting thread about this earlier, but I didn't bookmark it and can't find it now. If anyone has suggestions or can redirect me to a previous thread on this topic, I would appreciate it. thank you!
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Aug 30th, 2017, 08:07 PM
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If you click on Utah in the search bar above, you will pull up lots of threads about the parks with some excellent information.

Many people choose to fly in to Vegas, some in to Salt Lake City.

You could give Zion 3 or 4 days easily. Bryce a day or two. I love Bryce but it is smaller so you don't need as much time. Canyon lands has several different areas so it depends on what you most want to do. Arches National Park in nearby Moab is fabulous and Capitol Reef National Park is interesting as well. Utah has an embarrassment of riches, as Goblin Valley, Dead Horse Point and grand Staircase Escalante are all worthy stops. With 10 days, I would research all of them and then limit yourself to just 3 or so to really enjoy what they have to offer.
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Aug 31st, 2017, 02:01 AM
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Good information from livetoroam. We look at total cost of flights and car rental and what we want to see most to decide on where to fly in to. We've used Vegas, Albuquerque, Denver, and Phoenix.

If you are thinking of this October, you are a little late in looking for lodging, but if you want in the parks, you might be lucky and get a cancellation.

How to stay at any park depends what you want to do there. Hike (long ones, lots of short ones), take ranger programs or tours, look for historic sites, spend hours setting up the perfect photo shot, etc. You could stop in and look at Grand Canyon while you are so close.

Here is a map/time/distance that was posted long ago by another fodorite:

http://ohiohickstraveltips.weebly.co...-utah-map.html

Click my name and scroll down for some TRs for the area.
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Aug 31st, 2017, 05:16 PM
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Whatever you do, do not do your trip October 19-22. That is fall break for all Utah schools and all of the parks will be MOBBED. (as a mom who takes her kids to Utah parks, I actually avoid this time of year or focus on less visited parts of Utah)

Definitely search the Utah threads--there are TONS of queries and trip reports on the very trip you want to take.

You won't find lodging in Bryce and Zion at this date, but I don't like staying in those parks anyway. Stay at Rubys Inn at Bryce and in Springdale in Zion. I love Desert Pearl Inn and Cable Mountain Lodge outside of zion. In Moab, we have been staying at the Springfield Suites property just north of town. I have stayed in apartments/cabins/etc in Moab for many years previously. You really can't go wrong. I do prefer to stay closer to the main street so I can walk for coffee but driving there isn't the end of the world.

If you click on my user name you will find trip reports for all Utah Natl Parks. If you are strong hikers, I recommend the Chessler Park Region in Canyonlands. Truly freaking amazing views.
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Aug 31st, 2017, 05:58 PM
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Thanks so much for your guidance and suggestions, I really appreciate them. Flights are a good price and direct to SLC from Boston, so now I need to check and compare with LV. I really want to go to the Grand Canyon, but feel I need to research it and plan ahead more and will combine it with visits to Tucson and Sedona, since I've never been to Arizona. Thanks, StantonHyde for the vacation tip. We were going to fly out on 10/21, maybe we'll leave on 10/20 instead. Our timing is lucky to miss the Utah School break, good to know!
I will check out the other threads you all noted.
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Sep 1st, 2017, 05:30 AM
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If you're going to Canyonlands and haven't been to Arches, would strongly recommend including it. Two days here actually wouldn't be unreasonable.
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Sep 1st, 2017, 06:51 AM
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Doing your trip out of SLC isn't the end of the world--that's my base. It's a straight easy shot down I-15 to Zion (approx 5 hours), then backroads (gorgeous) to Bryce and over to Moab. From Moab, it's about 4 hours to SLC on decent roads. Just get your hotel reservations NOW!!!!
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Sep 1st, 2017, 11:43 AM
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Since you don't have an itinerary to comment upon, these are travel books that I recommend (deleted serious hiking books)

There are several books that truly address the Maze, Moab and other area that I use:


1. Hiking (family): Wow Utah Canyon Country -
2.Fodor's Utah: with Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef & Canyonlands National Parks (Travel Guide)
3. Touring guide book series: a) Zion to Escalante, Utah b) Escalante to Moab. c) North Rim Grand Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs. Available in Kindle and paper back format. This book gives a time-saving mile-by-mile driving guide.
4 Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West (Full-color Travel Guide) Paperback – May 10, 2016
8 Death Valley: The Explorers Guide Death Valley National Park
9. Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch –A Hiking Guide to Cedar Mesa Peter Francis Tassoni.

All above on Amazon that can be purchased for less than the price of one nights lodging in Moab.
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Sep 1st, 2017, 12:01 PM
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The computer decided that the above message should be sent and it did.

However, delete 8 and 9 as both are out of the area of your interest.

Canyonlands. There are three of them: Maze (BEST), Island in the Sky and Needles (exceptional scenic) going there in a couple of weeks for the third time) Maze requires 4-WD or mountain bikes. In Needles don't need either, but the hikes are a few miles longer. Again, permits and reservation. Beef Basin, that borders Needles, requires high clearance and slowly becoming a 4-WD road.

However, I assume you are going to Island In the Sky. IF you have 4 wheel with reasonable clearance drive (or mountain bikes),the best tour for that area is the >> White Rim Trail:

Google: Youtube White Rim trail

It can be done in one day, but in October the day light time is limited; therefore camp overnight. Need permits and reservations.
If possible, drive clockwise on that loop road.

Vaga
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Sep 5th, 2017, 06:00 PM
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Thanks to all who replied with advice. We have flights booked and rooms rented, except not yet in Moab. We'll go from Las Vegas to Zion for 2 nights, Bryce 2 nights then Moab for 3 nights. Is it too much to go from Capitol Reef ( really, starting from Bryce) to Moab and include National Monument on the way? Is there anything to stop and see en route from Moab to SLC?
Thanks again to all who respond/ed.
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Sep 5th, 2017, 07:56 PM
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>>Whatever you do, do not do your trip October 19-22. That is fall break for all Utah schools and all of the parks will be MOBBED.<<

Canyonlands too? We're planning a quick trip to Canyon de Chelly, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef October 18-22. We have our lodging reserved and are looking forward to a break between my class blocks.

Lee Ann
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Sep 6th, 2017, 03:31 PM
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Elendil--Where are you staying when you visit Canyonlands? It won't be as bad, but it will be busy. Torrey and Capitol Reef will also be very busy but not as bad as Moab or Bryce or Zion. Moab will be a mob scene.
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Sep 6th, 2017, 03:35 PM
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From Moab to SLC, you can stop in Price (half way) and see the Museum at the College of Eastern Idaho. It's a small museum but its interesting. If you have a whole day and time to kill, you could even drive down some of 9 Mile Canyon, which is amazing. But if you have just 5 hours, then stop at the museum and get moving. There are better museums in Lehi and SLC--but they aren't half way and I like getting out to stretch my legs.

In Moab, we like the Spring Hill suites or we stay in one of the properties at www.moabutahlodging.com Be sure to stay in town vs. at the golf course. Make reservations ASAP.
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Sep 6th, 2017, 05:44 PM
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Thanks StantonHyde. I now have reservations everywhere we need, I appreciate all the tips!
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Sep 7th, 2017, 07:46 PM
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Day 1 - we're driving to Blanding the first night via Canyon de Chelly. Day 2 - going to the Needles and spending that night at the Lazy Lizard Hostel in Moab. Day 3 - going to Island in the Sky and staying in Moab. Day 4 - going to Capitol Reef and spending the night in Caineville. Day 5 - heading home.

Lee Ann
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Sep 8th, 2017, 06:21 AM
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Elendil--I suggest that you get take out or go to restaurants that take reservations in Moab. (there aren't many that do--which is why I recommend takeout) Or eat at 5:00. (this applies only to October 19, 20, 21, otherwise you are fine)

In Blanding, I highly recommend that you see the Museum in that town. They have AMAZING Anasazi artifacts there that you do not see anywhere else. Absolutely stunning. Note that there is no alcohol in Blanding.

I have never stayed in Cainville so can't comment on that.
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Sep 8th, 2017, 12:34 PM
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There doesn't appear to be much of anything in Caineville except a Rodeway Inn. We're taking advantage of Choice Hotels' "stay two times, get a free night" promotion, which is why we chose to stay there.

We'll stop at the museum in Blanding if we have time; Mr. Pickle gets out of class mid-morning, so we can't leave until then.

Lee Ann
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Oct 9th, 2017, 03:13 PM
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Go to Milt's in Moab for burgers and shakes!
We flew in to Grand Junction, CO., from Boston last year at this time.
We had a great time hitting the Mighty Five, and flying out of Vegas.
Can't wait to go back and spend more time in Utah.

OTD
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 04:29 PM
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We are back from our trip and it was amazing!!! Flying into Vegas worked for access to Zion, which we loved! We were there for 2 nights, and stayed at the Deert Pearl which has a great location close to the shuttle bus and even within walking distance to Zion. The hotel staff recommended walking up to the Cafe Soleil for breakfast -- one of the best!-- and ordering lunch to go at the same time. It was a super tip and saved us time and thinking both mornings there. We carried our lunch and picnicked when we got hungry. We ate at the Red rock Grill at the Zion lodge one night for dinner and that was fun, and we got to do some amazing stargazing by stopping on the road on the way out. We loved the hikes and the ease of getting around with the shuttle. The ride to Bryce was easy and beautiful and we departed early enough to do the hike at the entrance to the tunnel at Zion, and got to Bryce with enough time to do some good hiking and exploring there. Since we were staying at the park lodge there, we were able to do the sunrise and sunset photo shoots easily. It was so cold for the sunrise, our idea and tip to others is to bring those disposable hand warmers to use for your camera fingers! We picked up Subway sandwiches for our in-park picnic just outside Bryce when we went on the second day to Escalante-Grand Staircase. The visitor center in Escalante was very helpful in planning for the fairly short time we had to explore; they suggested Devil's Garden which was accessible with our 4 WD car and such fun to explore and hike around! The ride was lovely and we stopped at the Petrified Forest on the return back to Bryce, it could easily be skipped. The following day we drove to Moab, with a stop at Capitol Reef, which we loved also, and were so happy we squeezed in a ride through part of it and a short hike. The rte 12 was a spectacular ride over there. In hindsight, it would have been nice to spend the night in Torrey, see more of the park and break up that VERY long ride to Moab. We got to Moab toe the BW Canyonlands, which was a great place to stay. Got an early start in Arches; a couple of the areas ere closed for construction purposes, and the Visitor Center opened ridiculously late, we visited Windows, then retraced our drive to the Center to get maps etc and then reprove the same 5 miles, so it wasted a bit of time. We didn't realize you can pick up the maps at the empty booth driving through! We hiked lots and saw lots of spots since we knew it was school vacation the following days. The next day we went to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Park. Canyonlands was spectacular! Early our final day we got out to see Delicate Arch and although there were lots of folks, it was less busy than a short time later. They had re-opened Park Ave and so we hiked through there and it was not busy at all. Then a very long drive to SLC, and we were happy to explore the city. Overall a great visit, and would have made a few tweaks . I also wished we had one more day in Moab to have been able to rent bikes and explore a bit more, it is a lovely area.
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