Utah NP's 4/2009

Old Dec 23rd, 2008, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Alright, I'm bored at work so I figured out some driving times for you to illustrate my point that Dinosaur isn't really that far out of the way.

If you do the Salt Lake City to Dinosaur to Moab, then back to Salt Lake City trip, you'll have ~ 11 hours of driving between destinations.

Salt Lake City to Moab and back is 8 hours round-trip.

Salt Lake City to Moab, then to Torrey and back to Salt Lake City is 10 to 10.5 hours.

Replace Torrey with Zion in the above example and travel time is 13.5 hours.

If you fly into Las Vegas instead, a trip to Moab and back is 13 hours round-trip.

Skip Moab entirely and instead go to Zion and Page from Las Vegas, and it's 9 hours round-trip. Add 2 hours if you instead go to the Grand Canyon south rim and then head back to Las Vegas for a total of 11 hours.

None of those examples include driving time once you're at your destination (lodging to and from the parks) because I assume it'll be fairly similar for each possibility.

Out of all those examples, the trip to Dinosaur stacks up pretty well if you're using the Salt Lake City airport.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2008, 02:35 PM
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Thanks WhereWeAre...I'm not enjoying work either, LOL. That's why I keep checking in here.

You make a very valid point about Dinosaur. The unique thing about UTAH that is throwing me for such a loop is the driving timesÖand there really isnít any ďgoodĒ reason for not returning to Utah.

I had to look back on your other posts and saw the itinerary you suggested a few days ago. I know my son (if asked) would prefer Dinosaur. Thereís no reason we couldnít return to Utah to see all the things we missed our first time round. I had not mentioned in previous posts how good Lake Powell sounds to me too. That will have to wait for another adventure.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2008, 08:17 PM
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With 8 days, the best combinations would be:

Dinosaur & Moab

Moab & Capitol Reef

Moab & Mesa Verde (if you are interested in that)

If you have never gone whitewater rafting, I would not recommend Cataract Canyon for a first trip, especially in April/May when runoff starts. We're talking Class IV & V rapids, serious stuff. Not unless you are VERY adventureous!

There are other rafting trips that would be great for a first time - just ask the rafting companies or google it. There are many options. Labyringth Canyon near Moab is a tame first trip.

I live in UT and visit two or more of the parks, etc. every year. I never get tired of it and am no where near finishing my list!

Happy trails
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Old Dec 23rd, 2008, 10:24 PM
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Just want to suggest that there is a great Dinosaur Museum in Blanding which is in the "circle loop" of SE Utah. Not too far from Moab. Of course 60 miles away is not considered "far" in the west. Here is the link

Someone suggested you might want to think about Mesa Verde. I prefer the short hikes to the ancient Anasazi ruins near Blanding. Check out my site about this area. You will find more info to digest before you make your trip out here.

There is also a museum in Blanding called
"Edge of the Cedars" dealing with the ancient Indians ( Anasazi) that lived in the area more than 700 years ago.
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Old Dec 24th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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Thanks you all so much for your help. Iíve been convinced! Dinosaur/Moab!
Day 1-fly into Salt Lake City, drive to Vernal. Holiday Inn Express
Day 2 Dinosaur
Day 3-8 on to Moab. Currently have a reservation at the Best Western Canyonlands
Day 9-drive back to Salt Lake City-fly home.
Are there any other lodgings for the Moab portion of the trip I should look into? Iím not against something like the Sorrel River Ranch if the price for it is worth it. My son and I have stayed at B&Bs before, but only if itís appropriate for a 12 year old. Should we stay in Moab the remainder of the time, or should I book another place?
In answer to some of your questions, we have done white water rafting in both Alberta Canada and the Rogue River in Oregon. Both were great fun and I will defiantly look into it in Utah.
Once I get the lodging down, I will start to plug in activities into the itinerary.
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Old Dec 24th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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Check out:


for some other places of interest in Utah for dinosaurs.

You mention white water rafting. If you ever get the chance, Oars (www.oars.com) has some great trips through the Dinosaur Monument on the Yampa and Green Rivers. In fact, they have special geology trips in May and June. We've done this trip and the scenery through Dinosaur is fantastic and you will also see Anasazi ruins, bighorn sheep, and plenty of pictographs and petroglyphs. What you won't see though, with the quarry being closed, is much to do with dinosaurs.

You mention Alberta. If you ever get back up that way check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It's about a 2 hour drive from Calgary out in the oil fields but it is the best dinosaur museum I have ever visited.

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Old Dec 24th, 2008, 11:58 AM
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We loved the Royal Tyrrell Museum! Talk about out of the way, but still very much worth it.
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Old Dec 25th, 2008, 03:35 AM
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I stayed at the BW Canyonlands in May of this year (2008).

It's right in the center of town, has recently been redone so it has the look and feel of a new motel, breakfast is included and it has a pool and hot tub.

I would definitely recommend it and stay there again.
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Old Dec 27th, 2008, 11:40 AM
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You might look into the Red Cliffs Lodge just outside Moab. Not as convenient as being right in town but the setting is beautiful. I think your son would love it. The rooms are set up a with a small kitchenette, refrigerator, microwave etc. and a patio. I also though their restaurant was very good (and the refrigerator is handy for the leftovers).

Check Tripadvisor, they're #1 ranked.
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Old Dec 27th, 2008, 02:43 PM
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I actually did make a reservation at the Red Cliff, but they only had 4 nights open. I took those 4 nights just in cast the other 2 nights open up. Or, we could stay there and move to another place. I am to check back after the holidays. I'm glad the 2 places I was checking into have a thumb's up!
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Old Dec 27th, 2008, 06:37 PM
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When I stayed at Red Cliffs I had to switch rooms because they were so full, but it wasn't a problem. They offered to move the bags for me.
It wouldn't be that bad to stay in town two nights, it is more convenient.

I liked Walker's General Store/Drug Store on the main street in Moab. It's an old fashioned 5 and 10 variety store. They have a self-serve CD burner if you run out of room on your digital camera memory, plus they have a good range of memory cards. (Better yet stock up before you go!)
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Old Jan 26th, 2009, 09:22 AM
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Hi just4 me - my vote would be for Moab + Cap Reef or Zion. We've been to all the places mentioned as my husband's a geologist and over the years we've made many trips to SU w/ kids at spring break.

We drove to Dinosaur from SU one year and we were disappointed. It's a long drive and it just wasn't that interesting to my son or husband. Our kids had found hiking in Goblin Valley, a rock shop in Hanksville and the many wonderful canyon hikes in Cap Reef to be more to their liking.

The thing we love about Cap Reef is how incredibly visible the geology is. From one of the view points the swell w/ the river cutting through makes sense. It was on a Spring Break trip there in college that my husband decided to be a geologist!

For traveling w/ kids there are so many great hikes in CR that are just the right length and with no possibility of getting lost. I like the hikes in the washes as they're 2 or 3 miles and super easy w/ lots to see. The hikes up on the hills above give great views and were easy with 10 year olds.

6 years ago we were hiking above the river with our son and his friend (age 10)and they spotted a strange pattern in the rock above their heads: dinosaur tracks! You could even see the tail dragging, the prints, the works. Totally cool!
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