Zion/Bryce/Capital Reef/Arches in November

Sep 19th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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Zion/Bryce/Capital Reef/Arches in November

I have been planning my trip for a while now, and thought I had all the details worked out.....then I started reading posts on this site, and start rethinking my original plan. Here's what I've got...

Day 1,2,3 - Fly into SLC - drive to Zion, stay 3 nights at Majestic View Lodge

Day 4,5 - Drive to Bryce, stay 2 nights at Ruby's

Day 6 - Drive to Torrey, stay 1 night at BestWestern, hike Capital Reef the next day

Day 7,8 - Drive to Moab, stay 2 nights at Sleep Inn, hike Arches

Day 9 - Drive back to SLC to fly out the next morning.

I was trying to be frugal, but don't want to be disappointed with my choices, so any insite on these lodging choices would be appreciated.

Also, should I cut Zion down to 2 nights and add an extra night for Capital Reef?

I've read so much good advice on this site, I'm sure there is someone out there that can help.

janddstone is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 02:04 PM
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Hi janddstone...sounds like a wonderful trip! I can only help with Bryce and Zion...your other destinations are still on our "to do" list.

First we love to hike and plan different hikes at each destination, a couple a day in Zion. We've been back to Zion again and again, really love that place.

We have stayed at Ruby's, also in November, (Thanksgiving) and it was fine. We actually were in a very pretty location, overlooking a little lake on the property. It was gorgeous at sunset. We would have stayed in the park itself if we'd made our plans in time to get the Lodge, but we were out of luck. Although you may have read a lot of posts about generic Ruby's, we had no complaints at all. If you can get the Lodge however, I'd try for it. Our experience with Nat'l Park lodges has been nothing but wonderful, and they are very reasonable. Being in the park adds to the experience IMHO. You definitely need a full day and one night in Bryce, but I don't think I'd stay two nights.

I would not cut Zion down to 2 nights if you are hiking fans too. There is such a wide wide variety of hikes, all with different scenery and it would be nice to do as many as possible. We have stayed both outside the park at Rosecliff (not familiar with yours) and inside the park at the Lodge. Staying in this park is marvelous. Again, we've been too late for the cabins, so have stayed in the lodge there, but the thing is (for us) to be in the park. To see those walls rising from the canyon floor in the moonlight is truly a sight to behold. We loved getting up early and out before others...it was so quiet and peaceful then. The cabins look wonderful, with front porches for sitting and enjoying the scenery. The lodge is just plain basic no frills accommodations.

You can get into town easily enough for dinners, then drive back into the park after, having it all to yourselves.

Can't comment on the extra day at Capital Reef but am sure you'll get lots of good advice here on that aspect of your trip. Have fun! Take a hike for me!!
OO is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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I would only caution that Utah is bigger than it looks and driving can take longer than you think especially in the mountains. Also an early snowfall can really disrupt your schedule. Utah is so beautiful that you will be pulling off the roadway a lot so I think your plan may be a little ambitious. Slow down and enjoy, you can always return. FYI for southern Utah, flying into Vegas can be faster and cheaper and then driving to St George. Also if the roads are not closed, Grand Canyon North Rim is worth it.
newsbear is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 03:27 PM
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Thanks for your replies. Now I am really rethinking my plan.

We're flying into SLC because we had frequent flyer miles and I couldn't get a flight to Vegas.

I have a habit of wanting to get the biggest bang from my vacation, so I sometimes try to pack in too much.

I routed out the trip and came up with just over 1000 miles, not including side trips. We packed in more than that on our trip to Yellowstone last year and had a great time, but we didn't have the weather to contend with in August.

Is 9 days to long for just Zion and Bryce??
janddstone is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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Given the time of year you are traveling, you could run into a variety of weather. Probably snow at Bryce which could limit your hiking. Zion will be the warmest at that time, but it's very popular during Thanksgiving, if that's when you are going. Better have reservations already!

It would be nice if you could fly into Vegas and out of SLC. But not too big of a differnce if you do SLC both ways. It's a 5 hour drive from SLC to Zion. Moab to SLC is 4.5 as long was the weather is ok going through Spanish Fork Canyon (high elevation and dangerous, 2 lane highway requiring caution).

If I were you, I would do this:

Zion 3 nts
Bryce 1 nt
Capitol Reef 1 nt
Moab 3 nts

Instead of the Sleep Inn, try for the Kiva Room at the Dreamkeeper Inn B&B in Moab. I find it really hard to sleep at the inexpensive chain motels in Moab, too noisy.

Also, our weather in UT can change in a moment. Listen to the weather reports so you can be prepared to dress and drive accordingly.

Take layers, layers, layers. Hat and gloves for hiking. Drink lots of water even though it's cold. It's still a very dry climate, hot or cold. Don't forget the sunscreen and sunglasses too.

Have fun

Dayle is online now  
Sep 19th, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Dayle can help you more with the weather that time of year as I've been there in early June and mid-May.

In Zion it depends what you want to do that determines the amount of time.

I was there a day and went non-stop. I hike the Canyon Overlook at the east entracne as I arrived from Bryce. Then I hiked all of the Emerald Pools. Finally I walked the Riverside walk.

I didn't do Angel's Landing or The Narrows.

For Bryce, if you get there mid-afternoon and see the sun set at Sunset Point, then get up for sunrise at Bryce Point and finally hike Navajo Loop & Queen's Garden you'll get a good taste of the park.

I would try to add a night at Boulder and hike Lower Calf Creek Falls. It's spectacular.

Just my own opinion but of all the things I saw, Capitol Reef is a bit below.

Hickman Bridge was a good hike and Chimney Rock prooved I was in reasonable shape given the elevation change.

Moab requires a few days since you have Arches and Canyonlands. They are both very different.

Arches has several areas. Try to get in the Fiery Furnace ranger hike and Delicate Arch. Double Arch in the Windows section is amazing as well.

Outside of those two, hiking at Fisher Towers was also a highlight.
Myer is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for the insite. We are traveling from Nov 1 - 10. Do you have an suggestions for the stay in Boulder??

I looked at the Dreamkeeper Inn, and the Kiva Room was booked for our travel time.
janddstone is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 06:29 PM
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I like Dayle's suggestion. You could stay longer in Bryce, but the weather could be iffy. My daughter and I spent 4 days in Moab and that really wasn't enough. One good thing about it, you will not be hiking in warm weather and it will not be crowded. I had rather hike in the cold than the hot. Hike the entire Devils Garden trail in arches, and of course, Delicate Arch. You might want to see the overlook at Dead Horse Point State Park. This is overlooking Canyonlands. It is very pretty view similar to Grand Canyon. Goblin Valley might also be of interest, if you have a couple of hours extra going to SLC. I know what you mean about trying to pack it in. I still do that, but I haved learned I like my trips much better if I take my time and see everything. Better to really experience it than just fly thru something.

you can click on my name, Dayle, or Meyer and find photos on Utah.

one of the best things we have ever done at a national park was with


canyoneering, not overally expensive, and very interesting, slightly adventurous and FANTASTIC.
spirobulldog is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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we are going to zion in October for 3 days. We plan on hiking the Narrows and Angels Landing. Can't wait.
spirobulldog is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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be sure and get a park pass for all the parks $80 for a year. otherwise it is $20 or so at each place. the pass also gets you in any national monuments,naitonal seashores, national rivers, etc. you will still have to pay for state parks.
spirobulldog is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 06:37 PM
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Sorry I keep posting, but I get to thinking. Maybe you should just spend your entire time @ Bryce,Zion, Cap Reef. Or just Moab. There is a lot to do at either place. Enough to keep you busy for a week. Maybe you should hit Bryce first, before the weather has a chance to hit in November. You will have a great time anyway you decide to do it. Utah is pretty cool place to drive in lots of areas. So even the driving is really not a waste of time.
spirobulldog is offline  
Sep 20th, 2008, 04:26 AM
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spirobulldog, please don't be sorry about your posts, I appreciate any and all input. In fact, if you have any other thoughts don't hesitate to run them past me. I'm a constant moving target on this trip.

Originally, I was just planning on Zion and Bryce, then the brochures started coming....

We don't mind the driving, in fact, last year when we did the Yellowstone trip, we drover over 1000 in 9 days, and had a blast. The thing that worries me on this trip is the weather.
janddstone is offline  
Sep 20th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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If you want to get an idea what you can see in each place, you can view the photos of my two trips to Utah at:


Myer is offline  
Sep 20th, 2008, 09:35 AM
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myer, I just viewed your photos. OMG....All I can say is "I want that trip".

how long were you there???
janddstone is offline  
Sep 20th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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There were two trips that included Utah.

The first (2007) was Bryce, Zion, GC and with Page on the way Sedona. It was a week long.

The second (2008) was Moab, Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Capitol Reef, Lower Calf Creek Falls, Willis Creek and a pit stop at Bryce because the friend who came with me hadn't been there.

That trip was also a week long.

I do not do anything difficult.

**I definitely do not rush**.

I do a lot of planning and am non-stop all day.

Myer is offline  
Sep 20th, 2008, 09:43 AM
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I just want to make sure you noticed that each trip to Utah is grouped on its own on the web site. One is 2007 and the other is 2008.
Myer is offline  
Sep 20th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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myer, I saw that you had 2 trips..."you lucky dog", and I love that website.

Your 2008 trips looks exactly like I envision my trip. Where did you stay in Boulder?? The reviews of the Boulder Mountain Lodge don't seem very positive.
janddstone is offline  
Sep 20th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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Stayed at Boulder Mountain Lodge.

It was fine and the rooms are large. When I was there the hot tub was not working but that's not a big deal for me.

I restaurant was ok. I think it's over-rated.

The location was good.

To give you an idea, on the second to last day we left Torrey after breakfast, dropped luggage at the Lodge and continued on to Lower Calf Creek Falls.

After that we went partway down the Hole in the Rock Road and spent a few hours at Devil's Garden Escalante. A lot of great rock formations there. Kind of like a grown up Goblin Valley SP.

The next morning after breakfast we drove towards Bryce and went to Willis Creek. It's a real slot canyon. Then in the afternoon we stopped in at Bryce and hiked Navajo Loop. At 4PM we left for SLC and the return home the next morning.

If you search my name you can find my very, very detailed report of exactly what we did.

In November you will have colder temperatures which may be good but much shorter days.
Myer is offline  
Sep 21st, 2008, 04:55 AM
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Click on Arches. you may find Mesa Verde interesting as well as it has some of Utah on it. You will see us canyoneering in Arches
spirobulldog is offline  
Sep 21st, 2008, 12:33 PM
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spiro. your pictures were awesome. It's looks like you have had some fantastic trips.

We went to Yellowstone last August and loved every minute of it.
janddstone is offline  

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