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Zion, Bryce, Mt Rushmore, Arches National Park

Zion, Bryce, Mt Rushmore, Arches National Park

Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 02:39 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Zion, Bryce, Mt Rushmore, Arches National Park

Our family includes two boys age 11& 13 are planning a road trip this summer from August 10 - August 24. Based on the informations gathered from the Fodor's Travel Forum, I have plan an itinerary and would welcome any comments and suggestions.

August 10 - Drive to Zion (6.5 hrs), check in at La Quinta Inn in Springdale.
August 11 - Canyon Overlook Trail, Emerald Pools, Riverwalk trail hike
August 12 - Angel Landing hike, then drive to Bryce (2 hrs), check in at Knight Inn in Panguitch
August 13 - Queen/Navajo Combination Loop, Inspiration Point hike
August 14 - Drive to Rock Springs, check in at Homewood Suite by Hilton (6 hrs)
August 15 - Drive to Custer, check in at Holiday Inn Express (7 hrs)
August 16 - Drive to Custer State Park, Sylvan Lake, Needles Hwy, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Memorial
August 17 - tour Wind cave, Mammoth Hotspring sites
August 18 - tour Jewel cave,
August 19 - Drive to Denver (5.5 hrs), check in at Magnolia Hotel
August 20 - Drive to Moabs (5.5 hrs), check in at Best Western Canyonlands Inn
August 21 - Delicates Arch, Windows Section, Lanscape Arch
August 22 - Drive to Vegas (6.5 hrs), check in at Bellagio
August 23 - Tour Hoover Dam, relax at hotel
August 24 - Desert Valley (2hrs), then drive home (2.5 hrs)
capri1267 is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 03:59 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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The Zion/Bryce part sounds generally ok. Depending on what time you arrive on 8/10 you may have plenty of time to do some exploring at Zion that day.

Canyon overlook trail is no more than a 15-20min walk from the parking area, or you can just ride the shuttle bus up the valley & stop off at a few of the view points.

When you do the Riverwalk trail (paved), I recommend you venture at least a little way up the river. In a very short distance you will quickly get away from the crowds and around a bend or two, and can experience some of the hiking towards the narrows. In August the water level will be low, and while you'll get your feet & shoes wet you wont need any special gear for a short walk.

You can pack a picnic lunch at the small market right at the entrance to the park, where you change from the Springdale shuttle to the Park shuttle. The lawn in front of the Zion Lodge is a great place to stretch out for a picnic under the large cottonwood trees.

Upon arrival at Bryce you may also have some time to take walk partway down the trail to Queens. No need to head straight to your hotel - the evening/sunset hours are quite interesting due to the shadows the hoodoos cast. Be sure to check out evening star gazing programs as well. The night sky at Bryce is great for star gazing and they will have large telescopes out some nights.
J62 is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 09:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 258
Your kids are so lucky to have you taking them to some of the most amazing natural sights in the world!

But I do think it sounds like an even better trip if you eliminate Mt. Rushmore this time. That is a huge outlier and means 4 days of extra driving in your itinerary. Is there another destination that interests you? You could hike slot canyons in Escalante National Monument, check out Canyonlands National Park, try mountain biking in Moab, or go to the Grand Canyon - all of which require much less driving.

Also, where does your trip originate from? Is it possible to actually spend your day in Vegas relaxing at the hotel, and then just swinging by the Hoover Dam on the way home? By seeing it during your Vegas stay, your day loses a lot of relaxation time. I bet by that point in the trip your boys will really just want to hang by the pool...and I bet you will too! Or if you eliminate Mt. Rushmore, you could spend an extra day in Vegas - one for Hoover Dam and one for truly relaxing.

But you know your family best, and if you are fine with that much driving, then I'm sure you will enjoy it. Have a great trip!
caze17 is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:09 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Thank you for your advice. We will be driving from Orange County. We have been to Grand Canyon a few years ago. The reason for this trip was my sons want to visit Mount Rushmore so I decided to plan a two weeks road trip visiting several famous national parks. We probably will skip Death Valley for another time and just relax at the hotel then head home.

The suggestion of hiking up the Narrows for a couple of miles and a picnic lunch sounds like a great idea. We will definitely do that and also the evening star gazing as well.
capri1267 is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 06:19 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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I would highly recommend www.deserthighlights.com for something "extra" to do in Moab. I've been with them twice and they are very safe and fantastic.

I would also not miss Goblin Valley State Park while in that area of Utah.

I think you will have a lot of extra time on Aug 18. Jewel want take that long to do.

On the 19th I would be tempted to just drive all the way on to Moab and that way you would have full extra day there.

You can buy a National Park Pass (which is good to all National Parks for 1 year)for $80. Buy that at your first entrance point to national park(it will not be good for Crazy Horse or Custer State) This will save you some $$$
spirobulldog is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,598
I don't think you will enjoy staying in Panguitch. Why did you choose it? No openings at Bryce? If you stay at Bryce you can enjoy the park in the evening, see the stars at night (the rangers do a good telescope viewing) and see the canyon at dawn.

If you stay in Panguitch, it's about a hour's drive up to Bryce. It's a really small rural Utah town and I think you will be bored out of your mind even if you are only there overnight.

Keep calling, calling, twice a day for a cancellation at Bryce - either the Natl Park Lodge, Ruby's, or the new hotel there I don't know the name....
Dayle is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2013, 07:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 441
I was glad to read Mt Rushmore is the focus of the trip since that is such a long drive to get there. I bet you'll wish you had another day there. But three days is not bad.

When driving to Moab get off at the Danish Flat exit (#114) from I-70 rather than going all the way to 191. This will take you down the scenic hwy 128 which will be a nice into to the area, past Fisher Towers and along the Colorado river gorge.
InSandy is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 12:08 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Thank you all for your suggestions.

Spirobulldog - we will follow your great idea on the National Park Pass and purchase one.
Beside visiting Jewel cave, we are planning to add a visit to the Wild Horse Sanctuary on August 18.

Dayle - Bryce is completely book up. I did some research and Panguitch is about 25 miles from Bryce. I think the 30 minutes drive is durable for us. However, I will check to see if there is any cancellation at both the Best Western Hotel/Inn.

InSandy - Thanks for the tip on the scenic hwy 128. We love taking the scenic route when traveling.
capri1267 is offline  
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