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Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Seattle, WA
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Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Hello,

We are considering a trip with two kids (ages 8 and 12) in mid-July. We'd leave Salt Lake City early on Day 1 and arrive in Las Vegas late on Day 9. I had not realized how many amazing parks were packed into drivable range until reading through these forums. Now I want to see them all (Arches, Canyonland, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce) but realize it isn't reasonable for the time we have. Any thoughts on the must-sees and what we should cut? What itinerary would you recommend?

Salt Lake City, Utah
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1. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

1- SlC to Moab- stop in Canyonlands Island in the sky on the way, stay Moab

2- Moab/arches, Stay Moab

3- drive to Mesa verde, enjoy what you can in the afternoon, stay Far View Lodge (due it its proximity to the park and your limited time)

4- go back see more at Mesa Verde, drive to MV, stay either at The View or Gouldings

5- Drive to Page, see Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, maybe take a river raft. Stay Page

6- maybe do the rafting this morning, drive to Bryce, stay Bryce

7- visit more of Bryce, drive to Zions, stay Springdale

8- Zions, Stay Springdale

9- Drive to Vegas

There is a little wiggle room in there for some adjustments. I think I might try to have more time in Moab, but couldn't figure out otherwise how to give you a whole day in Zions.

Its a starting point though.

New Boston, New...
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2. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Here's another Idea -

Day 1 - drive to Capitol Reef - Stay Torrey

Day 2 - Enjoy Capitol Reef - picnic amongst the Cottonwoods

Day 3 - Head to Bryce - Enjoy Route 12 Along the way - stop at Kiva Koffeehouse

Day 4 - Bryce - Do 1/2 Day Mule ride

Day 5 - Head to Grand Canyon - North Rim

Day 6 - Travel/hike Rim

Day 7 - Head to Zion - Making a stop at the Best Friends Sanctuary - I bet the kids will love this.

Day 8 - Zion

Day 9 - Head to Vegas

Happy Travels.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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3. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Oh, I did forget the Grand Canyon ooops

So on Day 6 drive early morning from Page to GC North Rim spend the night (limited accommodations get those now.

Day 7 early morning drive to Bryce, stay Bryce

Day 8 early morning drive to Zions stay Springdale

Day 9 Zions and drive to LV

Now that is seeing everything you mentioned. And gives you a good part of each day in the parks. It will be much too fast to go in depth, but sometimes we do that.

But of course there is even more like Capitol Reef and Hwy 12.

You can go with the see it all itinerary

or like Irgardener gave you the relaxed itinerary.

North Carolina
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4. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Sorry this is LONG!

I haven't been to Mesa Verde, but this is my advice.

I would drop Mesa Verde and concentrate on the other places. It is a really long drive from Zion and Bryce Canyon around to Moab (where the Arches are). If you travel on down to Monument Valley and then the south rim of the Grand Canyon, you can circle back around to Vegas going west.

We did this trip 3 years ago over 10 nights leaving Vegas and driving to south rim of Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Moab, Bryce, Zion, and back to Vegas. It was a wonderful, but a very tiring trip.

I think if you try to add Mesa Verde to the circle, you will be stretching it.

Don't miss Deadhorse Point. We also added Goblin Valley (look at this place, it took only about an hour to see, had a nice picnic shelter and I think your kids would find it very interesting)and we added Pink Sand Dunes ( your kids would find this neat too ( They can explore the dunes/it is like you are in a real desert, but much smaller) .

Possible itenerary:

Start in Zion (spend 1 or 2 nights here)

Bryce (spend 1 or 2 nights here)

*choose only one either Zion or Bryce to do the 2 nights

then Moab (Arches/Canyonlands) 2 nights

Monument Valley at Gouldings Lodge 1 night (set the clock and watch the sunrise)

Grand Canyon south rim 2 nights

then home to Vegas on 9th day!

Zion was very hot in August for me and that combined with the elevation made me feel a bit sick (this was also toward the end of our trip)

Don't miss the dinosaur tracks in Moab (Copper Ridge) you can google the map to it and get information (this was the highlight of my trip)

**Moab is a great stopping point. You will not be disappointed even if you stay 3 nights here. The Arches could easily take more than a day to see, and this would give your kids a break. I have also read here about other things to do like rafting trips.

Also, schedule the individual tour at Monument Valley with the Gouldings Lodge. It was about $40.00 per person, but was a great value. It last about 3 hours and gives you opportunities to get out and take some great pictures. You can only drive to certain areas if you travel alone here. Our guide was a true Indian and she gave us great history and info. we would not have gotten otherwise. Taking the tour allows you to walk off road which you can not do if you drive your own car here (it is against the Reservation).

This is a very "do"able trip in the days you have. My other advice is plan early, rooms around the rim book fast as well as Gouldings Lodge. Decide how many days you are going to spend in each place and then immediately book your canyon rim night/s and Monument Valley (Gouldings Lodge). Then you will have more time to search other rooms at your other places and not feel so rushed with those bookings.

We stayed in a cabin near buffalos around Zion or Bryce (forgot the name, but your kids would love that too....the buffalo roam free but come right up to the fence) The cabins were also very very reasonable (cheaper than the hotel we passed before we got there). Also small expensive cafe on premises food was very good.

Other suggestion: I always take a collapsable cooler and a few items from home like a few plastic knives and wet wipes. Pack the cooler daily with ice from your hotel. Stop at the local grocery and buy picnic items. Ther are so many wonderful picnic spots at these National Parks and while everyone around you is hungry, you are spreading out sandwiches with all the trimmings. We make subs. (This bread travels easier) We ate sandwiches every day and ate out at night. It not only saves money, but you always have food to eat when you are hungry and you are rarely lacking a place to sit with a view of a lifetime. There is great grocery store in Moab you can even fix a salad and fresh fruit from. It packed nicely as well.

Do this trip! You will be surprised how reasonable the cost will be.

Seattle, WA
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5. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Thanks to all of you for the truly excellent advice! I will present these three options to my family after doing a bit more research on each location. My guess is 3 hrs in the car on many days may be fine if timed to the hottest parts of the day. A simple map showing drive-times between the parks would be really useful if anyone knows of a link.

New Boston, New...
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6. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Please keep us posted on your itinerary - I look forward to hearing about your trip also upon your return.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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7. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Mapquest or Google maps are very helpful for planning travel distance and time.

I use http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

One thing I like is the option to change a route by dragging it so that I can check alternate routes.

You can't absolutely rely on them but they have proven to be consistently accurate.

Seattle, WA
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8. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

Hello,

After some more research and consultation, we are now thinking about this itinerary:

Day 1: Salt Lake City to Moab (option I70/128 side trip, Canyonlands in the Sky)

Day 2: Arches (hike Delicate Arch in morning, rafting in afternoon, picnic at Deadhorse State Park)

Day 3: Moab (dinosaur track a must for my wife), drive to Monument Valley, stay at The View (Gouldings Lodge was full)

Day 4: Monument Valley in morning (Gouldings tour), drive to North Rim Grand Canyon (we have reservation)

Day 5: Hike North Rim Grand Canyon (no room at the lodge this night yet, but I will keep trying)

Day 6: Grand Canyon, drive to Bryce (Best Friends Sanctuary tour, Inspiration Point). I would love to know the cabin with the buffalos…will research this.

Day 7: Bryce in morning (Navajo’s Queen Loop), drive to Zion (stay in Springdale)

Day 8: Zion (hike The Narrows, option for afternoon Canyon Overlook)

Day 9: Zion in morning, drive to Las Vegas

We agreed to cut out Mesa Verde as it felt too rushed.

Lgardener: I wanted to thank you for your great, detailed trip report - it made clear the reason for your strong recommendation of Hwy12. Really wish we could work it in this time and still keep the drive time down.

Any further thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated!

North Carolina
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9. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

I found the site with the buffalos where we stayed on our trip.

www.zionmountainresort.com/history.html

We loved it.

The buffalos are free roaming. They come up to the fence here because these people feed and water them. If you have never been around a herd before, this was amazing.

Since then, we have had the opportunity to see more herds,but I can always say.... I saw it here first!

We ate at the cafe here. It was excellent, although expensive. If I recall they only had like steak choices ranging from about $26 and up. This was in 2006. My boyfriend had the buffalo. Like I said the food was really good.

They also have a small convenience type store on premises.

New Boston, New...
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10. Re: Itinerary Assistance Needed for 9-day trip

"Lgardener: I wanted to thank you for your great, detailed trip report - it made clear the reason for your strong recommendation of Hwy12. Really wish we could work it in this time and still keep the drive time down."

You are entirely welcome. This was one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken right up there with having the opportunity to go to Paris with just my daughter.