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Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

Liverpool, UK
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Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

I am in the final stages of planning a 14 day vacation which comprises a total of 6 days in Las Vegas and an 8 day road trip covering part of the Grand Circle and would welcome any comments. The trip is planned for September 2014 (after Labor Day) with precise dates subject to flight prices from the UK and due to caring responsibilities in the UK we are limited to a maximum of 14 nights and are looking for some quality R + R time in Las Vegas alongside the road trip.

About Us - We are a couple in our mid 50s who prefer a relaxed schedule and try to avoid long driving days in excess of 300 miles and consecutive driving days wherever possible. We are past the stage of serious hiking but enjoy visiting National Parks as well as scenic drives and gentle walks. The draft plan is as follows:

Las Vegas - 3 nights in LV following flights from UK

Drive Las Vegas to Page - approx 275 miles

Question - I noticed it would not significantly increase the mileage to go via Zion NP and whilst we have visited Zion NP previously would it be worthwhile making an earlier start from Las Vegas to stop off in the park for a couple of hours or is there any other point between Las Vegas and Page that warrants a stop.

Page - 2 nights with a full day set aside to visit Horseshoe Bend and Upper Antelope Canyon

Drive Page to Mesa Verde via Four Corners - approx 225 miles

Basically a driving day with a photo stop visit to Four Corners arriving at Mesa Verde late afternoon.

Mesa Verde - 1 night

Spend the morning/early afternoon visiting Mesa Verde.

Drive Mesa Verde to Moab - approx 125 miles

Moab - 3 nights with 2 full days set aside to visit Arches & Canyonlands National Parks

Question - Should we set aside 1 day for each park or concentrate on one over the other.

Drive Moab to Torrey - approx 150 miles with a visit to Capitol Reef National Park en route

Torrey - 1 night

Drive Torrey to Bryce Canyon - approx 125 miles via Scenic Byway 12 with stops en route.

Question - Any suggestions on the must see stops on the Byway.

Bryce Canyon - 1 night

Drive Bryce Canyon to Las Vegas - approx 265 miles

Spend the morning/early afternoon visiting Bryce Canyon before returning to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas - 3 nights in LV followed by flights back to UK.

The GCNP and Monument Valley are missing because we have visited both of these previously and I realise we are spending very little time in Zion/Bryce Canyon but we have also been there before and the main focus of the road trip is the section from Page to Bryce Canyon via Mesa Verde/Moab/Torrey as these are areas that we have not previously visited.

Any and all comments/suggestions welcomed.

Wednesbury, UK
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1. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

Hi Tom.

Nice Trip : ).

I'd always take a drive through Zion if I had time, and a brief look at Coral Pink Sand Dunes as you head towards Kanab.

I'd allocate a day for each in Moab and if you have had enough of Canyonlands, you can always pop back into Arches as you come back though to town. Don't forget sunset hike to Delicate Arch.

Between Moab and Torrey, there is Goblin Valley SP.

Along Ut12 you have locations like Escalante town and its Petrified Forest SP, Kodachrome Basin SP, and locations like Devils Garden off Hole in the Wall Road into GS Escalante NM (gravel surface).

Edited: 11 February 2014, 13:57
Liverpool, UK
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2. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

Valiantsontour

Thanks for the reply - has given me a few ideas to consider further.

Liverpool, UK
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3. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

Bump - in case any of the Forum D/E missed the post and were able to offer any comments or suggestions before I finalise my plans.

Thanks in advance

Ohio
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4. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

your plan looks good and Valiant has added the details. :)

Wednesbury, UK
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5. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

Also, this place, Little Wild Horse Canyon, if you go to Goblin Valley.

Again, its a dirt road access.

http://www.utahredrocks.com/lwh.htm

Edited: 13 February 2014, 08:45
Marcellus, New York
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6. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

I was just going to throw in another +1 for Goblin Valley when you are on your way from Moab to Torrey - it was one of the highlights of our trip. It really is otherworldly! In Moab, we also enjoyed Dead Horse Point State Park quite a bit. It was a few-hour thing, but we felt it was well worth the time.

For us, Capitol Reef was the big surprise on our trip. We expected it to be dull compared to the other amazing parks, but it was among our favorite places! We enjoyed picking fruit in the valley, and found the drive along the Capitol Gorge spur road to be just amazing (low clearance dirt road, be careful if you are in a rental car - check your contract and see if you are willing to chance it. We found we had to go slow and choose our path wisely, but the drive was SO worth it. We only saw 2 other cars the whole time, and the views were stunning). If you are willing to do that drive and have time, I highly recommend it. It is amazing.

Lewes, United...
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7. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

Hi Tom

I'm a bit surprised and slightly amused you are seeking advice for your own trip, and I know you are a long, long time follower and watcher of this forum and are happy to add your opinions to newbies from your own previous road trips i these parts.

The trip is indeed gentle and very much paced the way we enjoy trips of that kind, which meets my approval always! :-)

I was going to mentioon Goblin Valley, but have been beaten to it already.

A general comment on the dirt roads. You will well know you're not really allowed to use them. That said, it seems that several in Utah are well graded and sometimes relatively frequently graded, especially after a storm. To learn if you should dare drive them, I'd suggest you post on the Utah forum just before you travel to find out what the current situation is on those roads before you drive them. We've done a few where the distances are pretty short and had no problem. There are lots of others that I'd never dare drive in a rental car - but we tend to rent mid size sedans, if you're in any type of SUV with a bit higher clearance, then you may be willing to take a greater risk. Perhaps Valiant may wish to comment on this too as I have a deep suspicion he's braver than we are so will know more about some of the roads we've never dared to attempt.

Moab has a lot to offer by way of sightseeing. As well as the 2 magnificent NPs, there's Dead Horse SP as already said. There are also minor but still interesting attractions on semi paved routes that are very driveable such as Corona Arch.

You commented that you aren't into serious hiking, but as long as you are reasonably fit and active, then there are loads of roughly half hour hikes in Arches that are very rewarding. The sunset hike to delicate arch perhaps is a bit longer, and it's uphill all the way there, but it's actually easy on smooth and grippy slickrock. It will be crowded with tons of folk with their tripods getting in the way of a good photo unless you get there early and bag a good spot yourself, but it's still a nice finish to a fine weather day. Take something in the backpack for your and the Mrs to toast the achievement, too!!!

There's a guy who lives in Torrey called Killer Bob, once a Brit. I can't remember if he's a DE or not, but he lurks on a few of the Utah forums, and can help with what to see and do in Capitol Reefs, etc. We visited there and Bryce and Zion so long ago, I can't remember the names of the easy and lesser known hikes that you may wish to seek out as you've probably done the 'classic' ones.

Have you posted in the Utah forums as well? I expect so, not noticed you there, though!

Have a great trip, undoubtedly well earned.

SWT

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8. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

SussexWorldtraveller

"I'm a bit surprised and slightly amused you are seeking advice for your own trip" - but I'm always happy to learn from others, as I'll have a rental car I might need to give some of the dirt roads a miss just in case the worst was to happen and I broke the terms of the rental agreement.

I've spent some time lurking on the Utah forums picking up ideas for accommodation etc.

Wednesbury, UK
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9. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

I think SWT means stupider rather than braver!

The two gravel/ dirt roads I mentioned above my usual SUV coped easily with and so would a standard car driven carefully if they were still in that condition. I've done the one in Capitol Reef mentioned too, it had a few pot holes and rough patches, so I'd ask the Rangers ( that was all in 2007 mind).

Also drove some of the Burr Trail to Bullfrog and Shafer Trail that trip, out of Canyonlands. That was a whole different matter, great fun descending down the side of the Mesa but a little scary too, just like it should be : ).

Edited: 13 February 2014, 19:48
Lewes, United...
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10. Re: Draft Las Vegas and Grand Circle Plan - Comments Please

I'll not comment on correct adjectives - braver/stupider ;-) - but folk have broken the terms of their rental agreements having much less fun!

SWT