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22 day trip , National Parks -

London, United...
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22 day trip , National Parks -

Hello Trip Advisor. Planning next years vacation (Aug 2015) (my 40th) so planning a big National Park field trip with the family from the UK. Next Aug I'll have a 11 yr old ,9yr, 1.5 yr old. Experienced US driver and I've been to LV , Yosemite and GC before (but never with the family!).

I've read some of the previous forum posts on trips like these (great advice!) and trying to create an optimal trip. There's three main legs to the journey so I've tried to break them into manageable chunks. A couple of days for swimming here and there etc. I've also tried to allocate enough time for the 'big kahunas' of GC and Yellowstone

Does this look reasonable? Any better routes (I did look at SF-Yosemite-GC,Yellowstone-SF) but seemed like a lot of driving on the way back so I flipped the route.

Day 1 SF - Land

Dat 2 SF AM leave for Tahoe (incline Village) (3.30 drive) 1/2 Day at Sandy Shore

Day 3 Tahoe - Twin Falls - Idaho - Hotel

Day 4 Twin Falls - Grand Teton - Camp (cascade canyon half day hike)

Day 5 Grand Teton - Yellowstone - Camp

Day 6 Yellowstone - Camp

Day 7 Yellowstone Camp

Day 8 YellowStone - Provo (6 hr) Hotel

Day 9 Provo- Zion - Narrows - Camp

Day 10 Zion - Angels/Scout landing - Camp

Day 11 Zion- Grand Canyon South Rim Hotel

Day 12 Grand Canyon South Kaibab Trail - Phantom Lodge

Day 13 Bright Angel Grand Canyon Rim . Rest.

Day 14 Grand Canyon - Las Vegas

Day 15 Las Vegas - Rest day

Day 16 Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley (8hr) Camp/hotel.

Day 17 Yosemite Camp

Day 18 Yosemite PM - Montery 4hr

Day 19 Montery Beach

Day 20 Montery Beach / Aquarium

Day 21 SF

Day 22 SF - Flight

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1. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

You might find that flying in and out of different airports gives you more flexibility. There is no longer a penalty domestically for doing so - not sure about international flights.

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

Yellowstone is huge and there are over 300 miles of paved roads there so for sure need more than your 2 full days. You only have really two half days in the Grand Tetons and that is a bare minimum for that park. So possibly a little time on your first day then a little time on your last day to spend in Yellowstone. I would add a day if possible to Yellowstone.

Here is a link to some of the most popular sights in the park-


Seems like a lot of time in the Grand Canyon compared to the size and diversity of Yellowstone. Also Day 16 will be a super long day and not just an 8 hour day imo.

Let us know if you have other questions!!

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3. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

Sounds like a magnificent family saga!

Are you planning on backpacking down into the Grand Canyon to Phantom ranch with the baby in a backpack?!! It will be a *very hot* backpack in August. We backpack it in May & it is even hot then. The amount of water needed to backpack down & back is huge & crucial. We've only camped in the campgrounds at the bottom, but I do know that Phantom ranch is highly competitive. Here are the average temps in the canyon:


103F/40C highs in August!

Yellowstone campground reservations open this May 1 for 2015. Canyon Campground is the most centrally located, has showers, flush toilets & sinks with running water, wonderful ranger presentations in the amphitheater at dusk, and takes reservations. If tent camping, one can request in the request box online for a tent-only loop to be away from noisy RV generators.

Have fun planning!

Edited: 06 April 2014, 15:37
London, United...
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4. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

Yes. I've read a ton of Trip Advisor posts (and other camping blogs) on that. I have a Poco Premium so baby will be carried by me (he has a sunshade built in ) . I figure we can't carry a tent down so will book for Phantom Lodge. I figure if we start at 5.30am we can get down to Bright angel point before noon/1pm. I'm already taking the kids on longer hikes to build up their stamina for that one. I guess I'm more concerned about the walk up but then if we start at 5/6 am on the way up we could probably do it by early evening if we stop at Indian gardens to avoid the midday sun. This is probably the main part I need to think about . But I am a relentless planner :).

I have a Big Zip XL 3l water resovoir for my backpack and will get a second for my wife to carry down in our other backpack so hopefully that will let us get water.

I've read that thought South Kaibab is steeper and has no water you can clear it more quickly hence me thinking it of the downward trail and Bright Angel on the way up so we can get water and stop in the shade for the longer walk up again.

Edited: 06 April 2014, 16:31
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5. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

Looks to me as if you have a nice trip planned.

Did you consider going to the North Rim instead of the South Rim of Grand Canyon?

It is a quick trip to the North Rim from Zion and about 6 (?) hours to Vegas from North Rim instead of 8 from the South Rim. It is a lot cooler at the North Rim and everything is less congested, thus providing a true national park experience as compared to almost a *city* vibe that the South Rim has because of all of the people, traffic, multiple hotels, busses/shuttles, train, etc.

Just saying . . .

Have fun!

London, United...
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6. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

Great suggestion! Never thought of that. Objective is to get to phantom ranch (and back again!). So north rim could be better. Will check out the trail map so thanks again.

San Diego...
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7. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

We traveled from Zion to Bryce National Park (AMAZING!!!) to North Rim Grand Canyon and it was a great option for us.

Saint Paul...
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8. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

If your objective is to hike to Phantom Ranch and back, you're probably better off with the SK trail down and BA trail up. On the North Rim, the North Kaibab trail is the only route down to Phantom Ranch (and back), and that one is much longer. Instead of 16.5 miles round trip, you will need to hike 14 miles each way. I think your original plan is the sensible one, especially with kids, who can have much more adverse reactions to the extreme heat you'll encounter. If you haven't already, take a look at the Corridor Trail brochure. (nps.gov/grca/…Corridor_Brochure.pdf) It will give you all the key info and important tips you'll need if you decide to make this very ambitious hike. If you're well prepared, it will be a memorable family adventure. But please don't underestimate the rigor and the danger of the heat. You'll definitely need a lot more than 6L of water for your family of 5.

Would you consider doing the North Rim (for all the great reasons Copper mentions) and doing a long day hike instead? You could hike down to Roaring Springs or the Pumphouse early in the morning, rest awhile, and return to the rim for the night. It will still be breathtaking, adventurous, and like nothing your family has seen or done before. Then save the hike to the bottom for when the kids are old enough to carry their own packs and water supply. :)

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9. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

Yeah, after I posted about considering the North Rim I thought about the elevation being higher at the North Rim which makes it a cooler rim at the top (heavily forested) as compared to the rim at the South (which I would say is almost semi-arid), but it also adds about 1,500 feet in elevation going down the trail and coming back up as compared to the South Rim. Personally, we prefer the North Rim, but then we do not hike down into the canyon with children. Hmmm . . . decisions!

London, United...
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10. Re: 22 day trip , National Parks -

Thanks. I definatly don't want to rush into something we're not prepared for. Obviously the wellbeing of my family is foremost.

My 10 yr old is wearing 13yr old cloths and my current 8yr is wearing 10yo so both tall kids for their age. They'll be able to carry backpacks with at least snacks and water in etc. I've not tried uphill walking with the Pocoplus + kid + water but in South of france this summer and it's going to hot and some steep hills so I will to practice .

I think the north rim is probably too far for a day hike to the bottom with the kids at 14 miles. I thought the South rim 'doable' at least in terms of distance. Thinking if we stayed at bright angel lodge we could get going at 4.30 /5 with head flashlights etc.

I like the idea of staying in the bottom of the grand canyon looking up at the stars. However I'm not willing to risk injury to my kids doing it so needless to say I'm researching the heck out of it!!

This from the NPS website seems like sensible advice.

'Hikers should plan on reaching

either their destination or a place where they might take a shaded siesta before 10 in the morning

(average descent time from rim to river is between 4 and 6 hours). Similarly, when ascending from Bright

Angel Campground during hot weather it is important to reach Indian Garden before 8 in the morning. It is

best to hike during the fall or spring hiking seasons. '