Zion/Bryce or Moab/Canyonlands?

Jun 3rd, 2003, 05:06 AM
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Zion/Bryce or Moab/Canyonlands?

We have 6 or 7 days to visit Utah for first time. What would be best, Zion/ Bryce/Grand Canyon or Moab/Arches/Canyonlands? Is it possible to see both? They all sound spectacular! Also, we can visit in August or early September - any difference in weather?Thanks
wintersquash is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 06:03 AM
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All are wonderful, but personally I would pick Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon. Zion & Bryce are like none other - absolutely spectacular.
Syv is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 07:19 AM
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Let me throw a variation into the equation.
Zion and Bryce rank slightly first on my list, but I am not trying to reduce the appeal of the other two by saying that. You are dealing with 4 winners. The problem is time, distance, and heat.
Zion is going to be hot that time of year, perhaps over 100. Bryce is cooler because it is about 4,000 feet higher.
I think what would make a good trip would be to start at Zion, look at what you can for a day or so, then drive to Bryce via Cedar Breaks NM. Drive from Cedar Break up to Brian Head and take the "back" route to Panguitch. From Panguitch drive to Bryce for two days.
From Bryce drive route Utah 12 to Capitol Reef NP. In my opinion, Capitol Reef is a marvel. That would use up most of your 6 days.
I think you will find Cedar Breaks delightful and cool because the rim of the plateau is about 9,000 feet in elevation, which should make it about 16 degrees cooler than Zion because of atmospheric expansion. (figure 3.1 degrees per 1,000 feet of elevation change.)
Utah 12 is spectacular. The road crosses outcrops of the Navajo Sandstone, that huge formation that reaches from Zion to Capitol Reefs and beyond. There is also a small, but well laid out state park with ancestral native American ruins along the way.

As much as I like Bryce, I think 2 days is sufficient to see it unless you want to take 2 or 3 hikes below the rim into the formations themselves. The evening Ranger programs are often very interestings.
For Capaitol Reef, there are several motels in the town of Torrey.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 09:03 AM
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I agree with Bob; choose the parks at the highest elevations for the most tolerable conditions in August. Early September is better- cooler temperatures and less chance of thunderstorms. The Moab area is comfortable by October. I haven't been there in September.
travellyn is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 09:32 AM
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I also agree with bob_brown but instead of Cedar Breaks I would suggest the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

We've been to Zion in Late August and the weather was really nice in the high 80's. You just don't want to be in the area on Labor Day Weekend. After that would be my first choice of travel.

utahtea is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 05:53 PM
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What great suggestions! We do absolutely intend to go to the N. Rim and had wondered about Hwy 12. It sounds beautiful but is it a slow road as it sounds very mountaneous?
wintersquash is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 06:18 PM
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Southern Utah was my favorite US vacation ever. In a 7 day period my wife and I saw them all sites mentioned except canyonlands. At the time however we were young, w/o kids, with lots of energy. (get up, drive to the next destination, visit, sleep, get up again on the following day...)

If you must decide on one versus the other I would say the Moab visit is better if you are into mountain biking and a somewhat commercial center. Arches and Canyonlands are huge expanses of land that are not always car accessible and Moab has lots of resteraunts - a college town feel.

If you are more of a drive-by tourist who is open to brief hikes then the Bryce/Zion/GC trip is better. Personally I fall into this category.

Also, I'm a big fan of Capital Reef. Its a great escape from the crowds.
Upper_Caper is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 06:40 PM
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For the nifty NY Times article on Highway 12, go to the Times home page. Down the left-hand column, under FEATURES, click on TRAVEL. On the TRAVEL page, there's a small search box at the top. Type in "highway 12", and click the tiny arrow to the right. (You must use the quotation marks.) The search will return some articles. The second is Daisann McLane's excellent article on traveling in Utah, and the third article is devoted to traveling Utah's Highway 12. You do have to register with the Times to use their site, but it's free, painless and permanent.

Got some pictures from our foray into that country at http://community.webshots.com/user/bookhall .
bookhall is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 06:53 PM
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Utah 12 is so spectacular that the ups and downs are secondary. It is paved all the way, and paved roads rarely bother me. I had absolutely no trouble with it; neither did my wife who did some of the driving.
It is not an Interstate, but one does not expect that in the backcountry of Utah.

bob_brown is offline  
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