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Utah parks and Grand Canyon itinerary opinions needed please!


Mar 2nd, 2017, 06:53 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2017
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Utah parks and Grand Canyon itinerary opinions needed please!

Husband and I (early 60's, good health) are planning a trip to the Utah Nat. parks and the Grand Canyon, arriving from Ohio via Las Vegas, possibly in early September, for at least 10 days, but can add a day if needed. As we have never been to this part of the country, we don't want to under or overplan. Have always looked to these boards for excellent advice and ideas, so this is where I turned first! These are what our rough plans look like; would sincerely appreciate any suggestions, revisions or input:

day 1 arrive early in Vegas, rent car, drive to Springdale,hike in Zion, hotel in Springdale

day 2 hike in Zion, end of day drive to Bryce, hotel in or around Bryce

day 3 sunrise in Bryce Canyon, hike, drive highway 12, possible Escalante visit, hotel in Torrey

day 4 drive to Capital Reef, visit Goblin Valley, head to Arches, possible time to hike, hotel in Moab or Green River

day 5 hikes in Arches whole day, same hotel as day 4(Moab or Green River)

day 6 drive from Moab to Page, if time visit Antelope Canyon and/or Horsehoe Bend, hotel in Page

day 7 drive to Lake Powell, hikes and kayaking, Navajo Bridge, Page hotel in same as day 6

day 8 Drive to Grand Canyon, sightsee, hike, drive to and stay on south rim at Maswick Lodge

day 9 South rim of Grand Canyon, drive back to Vegas, overnight in Vegas

day 10 fly home

Thanks sooooo much!
soluv2travel is offline  
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Mar 2nd, 2017, 08:30 AM
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If you take the time to hike in Goblin Valley, you won't have time to hike in Arches that day.
If the reasonably priced rooms in Moab are all booked, I found the Robbers Roost in Green River to be satisfactory.
North of Moab east of 191 is a place called Copper Ridge where I saw dinosaur tracks in rocks.
On day 9 stop to see Hoover Dam and walk out on the walkway on the bridge above the dam. You could spend the night at the Hoover Dam Lodge about 3 miles from the dam and then go into LV the next day.
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Mar 2nd, 2017, 09:45 AM
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This is very, very rushed. Far too rushed in my opinion. What time do you arrive in Vegas on Day 1? By time you land (hopefully without any delays), collect your bags, wait in line at the rental car counter, find the car, get situated, drive to Zion - I think it is a stretch to think there will be any time for hiking this day. That means you only have a partial day for Zion the next day as you are leaving for Bryce that day. You have very, very short time in Bryce - really only time for a sunrise. Admittedly, sunrise is my favorite time in Bryce but sunset is fantastic as well and so are all the various viewpoints you won't have time for. Driving Highway 12 is incredible and you won't want to rush through it. Day 4 looks like you will only have time for the quickest of drive by's for Capital Reef. Goblin's Valley is a favorite of ours and you will want to allow a couple of hours there at least. Hard to imagine any time for hiking that night in Arches. Having all the next day for Arches is good but you have allowed no time for Canyonlands or Dead Horse Point state park which is a real shame given how close you are.

Here is what I would do - I think you need to either eliminate a location or 2 or add a couple more nights (if flights not yet booked). It is difficult to leave things off the itinerary as ALL these locations are beautiful and worthy. I would skip page/Lake Powell. There's never time on any one trip to see everything.

Last points are about lodging: Lodging in/near the national parks books up very early - up to a year in advance. I would try to get a room at the Bryce Canyon Lodge or at Ruby's. I would take any room in Moab over any place in Green River (just to be close "to the action" and not to have to factor in any extra driving which takes away valuable time from the sights you are there to see and enjoy. Springdale is great for Zion and anything inside the park at the South Rim is just fine.
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Mar 2nd, 2017, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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When are you planning this trip?? Season of the year makes a huge difference in where to go and what you can do in the area.

I've essentially done your trip on a couple of occasions in one direction or the other, never during peak season. As mentioned, day 4 is rushed. Google times are typically lower than real time to drive in this area.

Do plan your driving during daylight hours. The scenery is beautiful, the roads are curvy with limited sight lines and large animals use them too. Hitting an elk, deer, antelope, or even a horse or cow in the "open range" areas would spoil the trip.

If you don't have reservations in/near the parks you need to get that asap. You can click my name for some TRs for the area which might help in locating lodging.
emalloy is online now  
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Mar 3rd, 2017, 04:28 AM
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If you could add a couple of days that would be great. September is a great time to visit. We have done versions of this trip and perhaps our trip reports might be of help. You're gonna love this trip...


This one is from '07
peterboy is offline  
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Mar 3rd, 2017, 11:39 AM
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Eliminate Lake Powell/Page.
Tour North Rim rather than crowded south Rim - it is shorter route back to LV. Make hotel reservations ASAP - now. Lodge in the park, very rustic Kaibab lodge near the park, Jacobs Lake motels or at town of Kanab.

Then use those days for the Zion to Arches trip - especially highway 12.

Navajo Bridge ??? That is located across the Colorado River near Lees Ferry. Actually there are two of them: old 1928 and new 1995.

Do you mean Rainbow Bridge? That is a full day $$ boat ride. Hopefully, Lake Powell is higher now reducing a steep climb up to it. Anyway, you will be 'arched' out after Arches Park. So eliminate it.

Agree with many above - you need more days.

This May I'm going to tour parks (again) from Moab to Navajo National Monument. I'm allowing four to five weeks much of it at Canyonlands Needles district in the backcountry.

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Mar 13th, 2017, 01:13 PM
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Thank you, thank you to all the helpful replies and opinions! Unfortunately, a family situation has come up, and we will need to postpone our trip this year. I have printed and am saving all the advice so generously given.
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