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Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

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Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

We (DH, 19 & 22 yr old sons and I) are taking a trip 5/16 (Sun) - 5/22 (Sat). We visited the GC when they were 6 & 9 but they don't remember. The oldest son will graduate on 5/16 so we can't leave on Sat. The youngest may be taking a college summer class that would start 5/24. We are pretty set on dates. We didn't hike at GC because they were to young, now DH has knee issues (2 prior surgeries) so our hiking/walking (as least for him and I) will depend on his knee. Here is my itinerary.

Day 1 (Sun.)

1:00 flight arrives at Las Vegas.

30 min. to get bags and car??

1:30 on the road to GCNP South Rim

6:30- 7:00 arrive in time for sunset

Maswik for 2 nights

Day 2 (Mon.)

Explore all day at GCNP look outs in both directions. Try to get DH down a couple of trails to at least get a feel for "below the rim". I'm sure the boys will want to do some short hikes on their own.

Day 3 (Tues)

Get up early and check out sunrise. Yes, laughing to myself regarding boys getting up that early... they can do it. I'm sure they will be excited. They were blown away by the Xanterra GC home page picture. Check out anything we did not get to on Monday.

Today we drive to Page. No hurry, its the journey.

Stop at Navajo Bridges, Lees Ferry, Cliff Dwellers Lodge in Marble Canyon for lunch or dinner depending on time. Walk out to Horseshoe bend.

Page. Drive out to the NP Lake Powell Lodge for sunset & dinner or dessert. This seems like the closest place to see the lake.

Days Inn for 2 nights

Day 4 (Wed)

GC Dam tour in morning

1:00 Colorado River Discovery Tour 1/2 day

Grab a pizza and chill at the hotel pool or whatever.

(note: not planning on the Antelope canyon at this point)

Day 5 (Thurs)

Up early drive 3 hours to Bryce Canyon (by noon?)

Will we see any of the Grand Staircase on Rt 89 on our way to Bryce? I was looking at the "back road"up but we will have a full size car not an SUV.

Explore Bryce the remainder of the day.

It sounds like food options are not that great. We could grill at a picinic area in the park. (we are campers, leaving camper at home :(

1 night at Best Western Grand (not yet reserved)

Day 6(Fri)

Morning at Bryce until around noon.

May look in to the mule trail ride in the park. Still checking the forum for reviews. Is it worth $200 for the 4 of us?

Drive to Zion (2hrs)

Explore Zion the remainder of the day.

1 night at Quality Inn at Zion.

Day 7(Sat)

Explore Zion until noon. They have a 1 hour horse ride in the park for $160 for the 4 of us. Seems short not sure if it would be worth the $)

Drive to Las Vegas (by 3:30) for our 5:30 flight.

Just a note: We visited Sedona on the other trip and missed South Utah because it was dark. We went to Salt Lake City.

I appreciate your input. I've been reading trip reports, posts, etc. for a month! (not kidding)

I wish we had time to spend 2 nights in Bryce and Zion but we don't and we would really like to see what we can see in the time we have.


Moab, Utah
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1. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

Day 5,

By back road we're guessing you mean the Cottonwood Canyon road past Kodachrome. If so, it's not recommended for tourists and certainly not for just a full size car. You could be lucky but a search of the Utah forums for "Cottonwood Canyon" should bring up enough forum results to turn you off. Although the scenery can be spectacular the route won't save a lot of time versus travelling through Kanab etc.

Ohio, USA
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2. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

Sounds like you have done your homework and developed a very good itinerary to fit the time your have available. I do have a few comments.

Plan on an hour from the time you land until you are in your rental car after arriving in LV. Our last trip we made what I though was very good time from the time we got off the plane to the time we were driving out of the rental car garage, and it took us exactly an hour.

We (DW and I) did the horse/mule rides in Bryce Canyon and Zion, and both were very nice. However, we did a half-day ride at Zion. I'm nost sure where you will go for the 1-hour ride; that may not be worth the time and $. However, the mule ride at Bryce Canyon that goes down into the main amphitheatre is really worth the effort.

If you have the time, you should visiti Antelope Canyon. It is an very beautiful place.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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3. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

A couple of things.

Wonder what the question about Antelope canyon is,,,whether money or the hiking, or the time? Considering that you have a tentative mule/horse ride at Zions I assume it isn't the money....if it is skip the mule trip at Zions and spend it at Antelope canyon. If it is the bad knees then realize that the walk through upper antelope canyon is flat and short and very easy to manage (unlike the Horseshoe bend which requires a climb back.) So maybe it is time and yes that is a consideration.

At Lake Powell you might consider Antelope Point Marina for your dinner/lunch. The lake is a narrow channel there, but a very nice facility.

Another place to enjoy the lake is the Wahweap overlook just north of Wahweap on 89- nothing to eat there, but you could bring your own.

The drive to Bryce is 3 hrs if you stay on the paved roads. You will be skirting the GSENM and can visit the visitors centers,,,the one is Big Water is wonderful. They have maps to the Wahweep toadstools which is worth a stop. I would not recommend the Cottonwood road in a rental car. And it certainly wouldn't be faster.

I'd do the mule trip at Bryce if you want to do one. It might be the best way for your hubby to see the bottom of the canyon.

Sounds fun.

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4. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

Noel-Donna- Cottonwood road, that's it. I had thought that it would make a good way to get to Bryce however it sounds like we would be much better off on the paved roads. Thanks for your comments.

Ohio Hick- I should have figured more time at the airport. lol We will have checked bags this time. I'll keep the mule ride in Bryce in mind. That is one way to get down in there without walking. I have done alot of homework. Probably too much. Some of the best things that we have done on past vacations I learned about on TA. I would hate to get home and find out we missed something cool like Horseshoe Bend overlook. Thanks for your comments.

Kbecjeans- I'll look in to the upper Antelope. Time, money are both issues. I'm sure the boys and I will walk out to Horseshoe Bend. DH may not. We'll see.

I had just noticed today that they did mule rides in Bryce. They are expensive. Just something to keep in mind.

I don't want to plan too much. It is a vacation. We want to see the parks and do the river trip. Would have liked to rent a boat at Powell but wow it is expensive.

Thanks again and if anyone has any more suggestions, secret spots or best hikes keep me posted. :)

Oregon Coast
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5. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

The river trip is great fun! I'll give another vote here to Antelope Canyon. It is really awesome and well worth the visit, in my opinion. May should not be too jammed up with people. Bryce is a fascinating place and I wish we had done the mule ride but DH is not a rider.

Don't miss the Watchtower at GC. Also Cameron Trading Post on your way to Page. There is an old bridge you can visit from the parking lot and a plaque explaining some of its' history. The Indian tacos are huge.

At Lee's Ferry, take time to walk upriver a bit. You'll find a map of the trail. It's very easy walking and you can see an old sunken steamboat under the water.

I've not been to Zion but a one hour horse ride seems mighty short - remember the horses will most likely be walking so you won't get far in an hour.

It's refreshing to have a poster that has already done some good research and planning :-)

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary


Great advices already been given.

Between Las Vegas and GC count on delays at Hoover Dam so I hope you'll be in time for sunset.

Don't miss Antelope Canyon!

Between Bryce and Zion just before Zion Tunnel is Canyon Overlook Trail, app. takes one hour. Recommended.

If you leave Zion by 3.30 for your 5.30 flight, you'll miss your flight. It's a 3 hours drive and you'll gain one hour but you'll have to deliver the car, take the shuttle etc. I'd leave Zion earlier.

You'll loose one hour between Page and Bryce because Az doesnot observ daylight saving time. Although Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Land (The Navajo Nation does observe daylight saving time), Page and Antelope Canyon have same time.


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7. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

Half-Brit- Thanks for your tip. I'm sure we skipped the Cameron Trading Post in '97. May stop for a look and a taco if we are hungry. That walk up the river sounds interesting. I read that they just wisk you away on the bus after the river float so I thought that it would be good to check it out on our way to Page.

Tet14- Time changes noted. I had not looked in to that yet. Very important! We were going to try to be in LV by 3:30 but I guess with the time change it will be 2:30. That's good. We only need to be concerned about the airport and the river as far as being on time. Maybe I'll discuss getting an earlier flight in to Vegas.

Thanks for the reminder of the Canyon overlook trail. I saw that somewhere but did not write it down. Are you saying to allow an hour for the stop? I didn't think it was a hike.

Great information everyone! Thank you!

Sedona, AZ
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8. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

Everyone else has covered most of what I would advise, but here's a few points to remember.

It will take longer at LV so you'll miss sunset. But it's OK because you'll be there the next night.

Your boys will have no problem waking up early. Their body clocks will still be in IL. So getting up to see the canyon for sunrise will be a good plan. Hiking at the GCNP can be along the rim too, and less of a strain on knees and other body parts than going down and up. Views are equally rewarding.

Marble canyon, Lees Ferry and Navajo Bridge are a slight detour from 89 on your way up to Page. Once you get back to the main road, it's still almost an hour to Page. Horseshoe Bend Overlook will be on that last leg, so you'll need to allow a couple of hours if you intend to include that. It will be much tougher on DH's knees than anything you will have done at GCNP because of the sandy trail. It is still worth it, but if you eat dinner at Cliffdwellers, you probably won't have enough time for HBO.


Attempting to drive Cottonwood Road from Page to Bryce could take all day or longer, and your car will probably not do well on the road. It could spoil your vacation. Stay on the highway. If you choose to stop along the way to enjoy Grand Staircase etc along the way, add a few hours to the drive.

If you want to do a ride on a beast at Bryce or Zion, choose Bryce.

Don't worry about food at Bryce or any place else on this trip. You will eat what you need to and it will be fine. These destinations aren't known for gourmet dining. Your soul will be nourished by the scenery and nature's bounty.

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9. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

just another vote for Antelope Canyon :) Best thing in the area--

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10. Re: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Page, Bryce & Zion --itinerary

Red Rox & Wings1980-

Ok I get the idea on Antelope Canyon :)

I'm discussing the idea of taking an earlier flight so we arrive in Vegas at 8:30 am. We should be at GC by later afternoon which would be much better than after sunset!

I thought I read that Horseshoe Bend is about 5 miles out of Page. That would be close enough to fit in while we are in Page if we don't do on the way to Page.

Thank you for your input, much appreciated!