Utah: Zion for sure, Arches or Bryce?

Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 04:13 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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Utah: Zion for sure, Arches or Bryce?

I'm going on a business trip slated for Tuesday 26, through the 29. I'm going to stretch it out to include the weekends to do some personal adventuring.

Plan is this:
Fly into SLC Friday night and sleep by the airport. Wake up supremely early in the morning (I'm from the east coast, so my body clock will work in my favor) and drive to Zion for the Memorial Day weekend, then drive back to SLC Tuesday morning for my meetings. I already have lodging for the holiday weekend, so I'm set there.

I'm done with my meetings Friday morning, so the idea is to drive to either Bryce or Arches that afternoon, spend the night, then explore the park on Saturday, and possibly some Sunday morning, and then drive back to SLC to catch a late flight back to the east coast.

So my questions are:
1)Given that they're both about an equal drive, and I'll only have a single full day to do hiking/exploring, should I do Arches or Bryce? I really wanted to do the Fiery Furnace tour at Arches, but I can't get tickets unfortunately. Bryce looks stunning, and I hear its a small-ish park, and a lot can be done in a day. I'm leaning towards Bryce, but wanted to get some opinions.

2)I'll have 3 full days at Zion (Sat, Sun, Mon). One day I want to do the Narrows, another day Angels Landing, and the third day is still undetermined. Is there any specific order I should do them in? I'd guess that I should do the Narrows first, just in case it rains later on and they shut that down. Next I'd imagine would be Angel's Landing (again, another place that would probably be closed off if it rains, as well as dangerous), and then save the third day for everything else. I'm open to suggestions here.

Thanks in advance!
motorhead9999 is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 05:14 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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I'm confused.

However, if I had to choose between Bryce and Arches, I would choose Arches.

And, if I had to choose among Arches, Bryce and Zion, I would choose Zion.

HTtY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 06:38 PM
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I don't believe Angel's Landing is closed when it rains. It is just not recommended.

Memorial Day weekend in insanely busy in Zion. You won't get there early enough Saturday to avoid crowds on the trail.

You may want to stop at the Kolob Canyons section and hike there on Saturday, it is closer to SLC than the main part of Zion so you will get there earlier and since it is less visited you will avoid more of the crowds.

If the forecast is favorable, do the Narrows on Sunday morning. If you want to rent boots or a walking stick you may be able to pick them up Saturday evening so you won't waste time waiting in the morning. Save Angel's Landing for Monday. Or throw all that out the window if there's rain in the forecast and do whatever makes sense at the time.

I would choose Bryce over Arches because Bryce lends itself to a short visit better than Arches/Moab. OR if you really don't have a strong preference for what to do with your extra day at Zion....just go to Bryce Monday, do some hiking and stay overnight so you can see the sunrise in the am, then do Arches on the other weekend. Angel's Landing and the Narrows are half day hikes so you will have time both of those days to do more things in the main part of Zion.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 07:45 PM
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Having been to all three for only short weekends, I would also recommend Bryce over Arches. I loved them both, but Arches is more spread out than Bryce is, and it is one that I wish I had had more time at.

At Bryce, I would recommend doing the Navajo Loop combined with Queen's Garden in the morning before it gets too busy. The overlooks are also great, hiking down into the hoodoos and formations is cool, but for me personally I really enjoyed the expansive vistas that took in all these formations.

In Zion, you might want to check out Canyon Overlook in the evening and Hidden Canyon anytime. Hidden Canyon is nice because it is shaded for the most part. I've never done Observation Point, but this is on the top of my list for when I come back! I also don't recommend doing either the Narrows or Angel's Landing after the drive on Saturday, but if you must I would go with the Narrows, depending on how far you want to hike. With Angel's Landing, try to get an early start as it is exposed and hot, and it may help avoid some of the crowd. Walking along the spine of that rock is no fun when you are trying to pass people. Also, just in case you didn't know there is a shuttle that you will have to ride into the main canyon at Zion to get to the trailheads (assuming you aren't staying at the lodge). Just so you can plan for that as well, as it may affect some timing and what you decide to take with you (i.e. we packed lunch to take into the park so we didn't have to come back out for food in between hikes).

If you decide on Arches, you could always check out the Devil's Garden that is at the end of the park. I personally loved doing this hike, especially when we went in the evening because it wasn't crowded and the setting sun made for some great views. Obviously the Delicate Arch hike is also a great one, but is crowded and exposed to sun. I also enjoyed Park Avenue, but again would do early in the morning as it is also exposed to sun.
Virginia1990 is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 09:26 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Bryce Canyon is a little over an hour from Zion, while Arches is closer to five hours, since it's in southeast Utah. With limited time, I'd visit Bryce Canyon.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2015, 03:53 AM
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For your 3rd day at Zion, I would head for Bryce and do a hike before heading back to SLC. I would go to Arches on the last day, it is not as long a trip from SLC, and I really love Arches.

You could do some of the short hikes (windows, sand dune arch) when you arrive then do Delicate Arch before sunset on Saturday. On Sunday morning do Devil's garden to Landscape arch before heading back to SLC.
emalloy is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2015, 03:53 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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I'm with those who say to include a visit to Bryce on your first weekend. While three days in Zion is fantastic you could easily include a visit to Bryce on your way north. It wouldn't be an extended visit, but would give you a taste. Spend most of Monday morning in Zion doing any of the many options you have left, but head to Bryce early afternoon. Visit the main amphitheater and see Sunrise, Sunset and Inspiration Points. Walk down the Navajo Trail just far enough to get that different perspective of the hoodoos, (or if you are fast do the full Navajo to Queen's garden loop). Get up early for the sunrise, and then drive to SLC.


That will give you the opportunity to spend then next weekend in Arches. While Moab can certainly use more time, a full day at Arches is just about perfect. You could do all the major hikes except Fiery Furnace and see all the major arches.

On Sunday on your way back drive first to Dead Horse Point and/ or Canyonlands for the fantastic views. (you should be able to do both in a half day.)
InSandy is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2015, 08:20 PM
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While I prefer Arches, with your schedule Bryce makes a lot more sense.
Shanti is offline  
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