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Zion Nat'l Park / Bryce Canyon - a couple of questions before we leave

Zion Nat'l Park / Bryce Canyon - a couple of questions before we leave

Jul 10th, 2009, 11:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 238
Thank you again everyone. Will add Springdale in on Day 7. Also, please don't feel too badly for us - we planned this knowing it would be hot, but there aren't really any times of the year when we could take this trip except for summer. I think the biggest error I made was thinking of Escalante as a base for Bryce Canyon. Should have tried to get into the NP lodge earlier in the game.

Because our nonstop RT airfare is just $289 pp into Las Vegas, this is a trip we are affording. It is going to be less expensive than renting a house in the Cape for a week so it is all good.

In Springdale we are staying at the Cable Mountain Lodge which has a pool so we will be all set there.

Love the suggestion of bike riding and picnics in Springdale. We'll all love that.

Any other suggestions would be gladly welcomed...again, thank you all.
mamadadapaige is offline  
Jul 10th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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As Dayle mentioned. Keep calling your lodging options. Things open up more often than anybody will want to admit.

Whether Xanterra or ruby's. Call, call, call.

If you're at Bryce a bit longer you can walk on the rim or go horseback riding in the park. It's an in-park activity.
Myer is offline  
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Late suggestion, but an Option for Day 7 is driving from Springdale North on 89 and then picking up 14 for a very scenice drive to Cedar Breaks National Monument. It is a mini Bryce Canyon and the drive en route is very nice. Then, you could spend that night in Cedar City before driving down to St. George, which by the way, while highway driving Route 15 South, is another very pretty, scenic and picturesque drive!!

I agree with Myer about not taking the kids on the hike to Calf Creek Falls. Too much deep sand and too far of a hike for the kids. I didn't see a whole lot of people swimming in the pool beneath the falls, either. Some people dipped in, but as for swimming, I didn't see it.
hugglynn is offline  
Jul 10th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Just an FYI from one who is planning a similar trip only with a larger group more children, 7 is the youngest age for whom horseback riding is allowed. To the sorrow of our 5 year olds.
Grandmommy is offline  
Jul 10th, 2009, 11:10 PM
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Hikes my kids did when they were between 3 & 3 1/2 were the Queens Garden in Bryce. The walk along the rim will be easy, just keep a good eye on the edge. In Zion they could do the Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock and the Riverside Walk.

The Virgin River in Zion is a fun place to let the kids play. If you walk south along the river down along side the Watchman campground you can find some really wide shallow places to let them play in the river. Tubing is fun, but the younger one would have to ride with someone and from experience, I wouldn't want to do some of the rough areas that you will go though holding a child.

Just outside of St. George is Snow Canyon State park and they have a neat sand dune the kids will enjoy playing in and scenic red rock areas.

On Day 4 you will want to drive up Hwy 12 to at least Boulder, Utah. This is some of the most beautiful scenery! Capitol Reef is a great place to visit, but might be hard to make a day trip out of it. The paved part of the Burr Trail out of Boulder is another great scenic drive. In Boulder is also the Anasazi Indian State Park.

Just outside of Escalante is the Escalante-Petrified Forest State Park and there's a lake to cool off in there. The is some petrified wood in the parking lot but the hike up to see the wood might be to much for the kids.

Have fun and enjoy. We took our boys to the national parks over and over and they loved it.

utahtea is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 06:17 AM
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We did a similar trip last summer with our kids- 10,13,16- so they were older than yours, but they LOVED Vegas. Most of it isn't for kids, but we had a great time at Gameworks. It is on the south end of the strip by the M & M store. For 35$ we got unlimited game play for the whole day- we all shared the one card! We also went to one of the shows, it may have been the V show??- many kid fun show options though- great time.
Booklover44 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 07:15 AM
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If you find you are in Vegas with time on your hands, take the kids to Hoover Dam and do the dam tour. It is less than an hour away ( depending on traffic) and is very impressive.

The rest of your trip sounds like fun, the National parks are fantastic.
emalloy is online now  
Jul 11th, 2009, 05:59 PM
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many many thanks to you all AND many many UPDATES to my itinerary:

I have restructured the trip quite a lot. We will still spend the first two nights in Vegas because it was a two night suite package with the cabana etc.

Anyway the new itinerary is as follows:

nights 1 and 2 - Las Vegas

nights 3 and 4 - Lake Powell - thinking of staying at the Days Inn and Suites - not too much $$ and gets decent reviews on Tripadvisor (Courtyard by marriott booked - Lake Powell Resort seemed a little pricey but if someone tells me it would be markedly better, I'd do that). While here we would like to take a tour of Antelope Canyon (Lower, I guess since that seems to get better press for less crowds). We'd also like to rent a boat and tour the lake (DH is an avid boater and would be thrilled to be out on the lake exploring). Read some nice things about Antelope Point Marina so will probably try to rent something from them for a half day boat ride. Any other suggestions for our Lake Powell stay?

nights 5 and 6 - Zion Nat'l Park

night 7 - staying at a cute little place in Panguitch with a river running through and fly fishing oriented which will make DH very happy.

night 8 - managed to get a cabin in Bryce Canyon NP - could only get this one night (also managed to get queen motel room for Day 3 and Day 5 but think it might work better to do the cabin on day 8).

night 9 and 10 - St. George - Annie tickets at Tuacahn available on night 9 which I think would be really fun (and they are 40% off!! and reasonable to start with). DD is somewhat theatrical and loves live performances.

We will drive straight to LV airport from St. George. Our flight isn't until 3:30 in the afternoon so I am thinking it should work out fine although I'll have to figure out the time change thing.

None of this is set in stone, but I think I've made some pretty exciting changes to the itinerary (most notably cancelling the last two nights in Vegas and adding two nights earlier in Lake Powell) and would love feedback.
mamadadapaige is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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okay... just spotted pictures of HorseShoe Bend and I MUST see this!!

Is this accessible by boat (since we are planning to rent a boat for the day), by land, by both?

If anyone can tell me the not to miss sites of Lake Powell / Page, AZ, that would be great and particularly cool things to see by boat.

mamadadapaige is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 08:12 PM
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I'm so glad you'll be able to enjoy Annie. I have wanted to catch a play at Tuacahn. It is suppose to be a beautiful setting.

Beautiful Rainbow Bridge http://www.utah.com/nationalsites/rainbow_bridge.htm is probably the most well known site on Lake Powell.

You'll gain an hour going from St. George to Las Vegas. Las Vegas is doing construction on their freeways and traffic can be a nightmare. Definitely plan on getting to Vegas with hours to spare.
BarbaraS is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 01:25 AM
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Upper Antelope Canyon is the place where they take all the beautiful shots of the canyon with light streaming down. The Lower canyon involves ladders the Upper Canyon is an easy walk. We didn't do Lower because my BIL had bad knees and couldn't do the ladders.

Horseshoe bend is an easy 3/4 mile hike located just a few miles south of Page, AZ, but be warned, there are no guard rails and you are high on a cliff so watch the kids closely!!!! If you take the 1/2 day float trip on the Colorado River out of Page, AZ then you pass though Horseshoe Bend. This is not accessed from the Lake.

If the Castle Rock Cut is closed (and from what I've read it is closed right now) then I would NOT recommend taking a boat out on Lake Powell because the Antelope Canyon (water way) is a very rough 12 miles (one way) to get to the main part of the lake. My BIL took us out on his boat when the cut off was closed and we were gone all day and didn't have time to do the Rainbow Bridge hike because we had to get back before it got to late. I'd recommend taking the Boat Tour to Rainbow Bridge if you really want to see the lake. If you want to just play in an area you can see from the shore line, then rent a boat.

My favorite things to do at Lake Powell are the 1/2 day float trip on the Colorado Rive, the all day boat trip on Lake Powell to Rainbow Bridge, the short hike to Horseshoe Bend and Upper Antelope Slot canyon. You really need at least two full days to do them all.

utahtea is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 02:02 AM
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About Horseshoe Bend.

It must be accessible by boat since you can see the little dots from above. I just don't know anything about it.

If you take the hike, as Utahtea mentioned it's a 3/4 mile hike on sand with no shade. It's pretty flat though.

BE CAREFUL with the kids. When you get to the end there are no fences, rails or anything that would stop a thousand foot drop.

When I was there I was afraid to walk to the edge but had to see and photograph it. I lied down on my stomach and crawled to the edge.

Myer is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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Thank you all... I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about that thousand foot drop and the kids - woke up again in the morning thinking of one of those dog harness things that I hate to see kids wearing.

Will have to think through the boat rental for Lake Powell and possibly do the float trip instead.

Some of the accomodations I had read decent reviews of for Page, AZ are booked - still haven't made these accomodations but we'll get something.
mamadadapaige is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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utahtea... found this:

seems lake levels are high enough for Castle Rock cut off to be open (as of July 10th). Given this and given my DH's love of navigating the waters, which marina would you suggest for us to rent a boat from, if that is the way we decide to go?

I think he would be happier driving the boat vs. being on a tour, but since I don't know what it entails, I'm going in blind - we are somewhat used to choppy water - we take our boat out on the ocean often (Boston area) - kids are usually fine too. I guess I just like the idea of being able to explore on our own but don't know where to pick up the boat from (or where to stay). If we stay at The Lake Powell Resort which is right by the marina will that be more efficient for us? vs. staying at Days Inn or Quality Inn and renting boat from Antelope Point Marina -- hard to get a lay of the land from looking at maps on the internet.
mamadadapaige is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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Have just read some of your posts so am jumping in a bit late, but have advice for Powell. I'm a water person and think this lake is one of the most magnificent in the country so am glad you're including it. We houseboat two weeks a year there (Aug. & Oct.) in addition to powerboat day trips & never tire of it. The Days Inn is very decent, with good location, gives you an opportunity to drive over the dam & is near Wahweap Marina.
The Castle Creek cut-off opened in May so best strategy is to rent the boat at Wahweap (not Antelope) to avoid the long, narrow horseshoe canyon between Antelop & main body of water. The big wakes from 50-75 ft. houseboats can be intimidating in a small runabout in that canyon. Be sure to have good binoculars to read the channel & canyon markers from a distance. We houseboat on Powell so have a good map, but family that rented a powerboat last year, weren't given one, which made it difficult. Powell is huge, with many canyons & bays. It's well marked, but a map is a must. I would either insist on one from the marina or purchase one if it's not provided. Buy one of those cheap styrofoam coolers in Page, for ice & cold drinks.
Rainbow Bridge is a huge attraction, but is 50 miles up the lake so requires time & gas. Dangling Rope marina is near Rainbow so a good place to refuel and buy ice cream bars if you decide to go that far. It's fun to talk to the nice Jamaican kids who fly in each year to work there...quite a change from the Caribbean tropics!
It will be HOT so take lots of water, sunscreen & shade hats. I would almost suggest forgoing the boat rental and taking the 1/2 day boat tour to Rainbow. You get all the lake experience & leave the navigating to someone else. They allow an hour at the dock so plenty of time for the short walk to Rainbow. The price is $130 for adults & $70 for kids. You'll spend that much on boat rental & gas. The advantage of your own boat is being able to swim along the way & investigate some side canyons. If you rent, be sure the marina includes a boarding ladder.

I live in Cedar City, just north of St. George. We're at 6,000 ft. so much cooler. It was 108 in St. George yesterday. Tuachan is a lovely outdoor theater in a beautiful area, but will be hot for Annie.....again, lots of water.
There are two small state park lakes in the St. George area (Quail Creek and Sand Hollow) that have day use areas (not much shade though) for swimming.
Snow Canyon is beautiful, but do your hiking as early as possible.
Utah is an incredible state. You can't go wrong and there will always be much more to see on future trips.

Oh, I also am not a LV fan, but the Mystere, Cirque de Soleil show at Treasure Bay is a wonderful family experience. Even your little one should love it.
RandiRA is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 09:53 AM
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If Castle Creek cut-off is open (I'd check JUST before you rented), then I agree with RandiRA and use Wahweap marina and BUY A MAP of the Lake!

utahtea is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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RandiRA and Utahtea... thanks so much!

Went over all the boat info with DH. We both think a structured longer boat tour won't work with our little one - we won't know what his napping needs will be and don't want to beholden to a strict schedule. I think we will roll the dice and rent a boat once we are there. We can only book ahead of time for a full day rental and are thinking that as much as we'd like to see Rainbow Bridge Monument that x # of hours on the water might not be up the kids alley. We'll play things by ear once we are there and probably do a half day trip and putt around / swim off the boat, etc.

Are there any areas we're you can pull up to shore and have a little picnic?

what are your #1 favorite things to see once on Lake Powell - generally just the beauty or something more specific?

Thanks again to you both and all of the other posters - I think your comments really saved us from making some mistakes on this trip and we REALLY appreciate it.
mamadadapaige is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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I'll agree with Utahtea and suggest you visit Upper Antelope Canyon. It might be busier, but the light coming through the slots is really incredible.

We stayed at the Quality Inn in Page; it has a pool and a good full breakfast included in the price.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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oh and by the way... I read your comments to DH about being careful at Horseshoe Bend and now he doesn't want to go - I am usually the cautious one, so this is an unusual situation for us. I really get a little nervous with my little one though as he has a lot of energy and moves a lot. Probably better safe than sorry is the way to go. And I truly believe this will not be the only trip we make to this area.
mamadadapaige is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 04:17 AM
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I have mixed feelings about Horseshoe Bend and kids.

Yes, you have to be very careful at the edge.

However, you have to be very careful walking along the rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, the Bryce hikes and many of the Zion hikes.

You always have to be careful with kids!!!
Myer is offline  

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