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How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

Chicago
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How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

Hello fellow adventure and trip seekers,

I plan on flying to Las Vegas from Chicago either on the 23rd or 24th of November and return back to Chicago December 3rd through 6th ( haven't nailed down a concrete date yet ). I'm not interested in Vegas itself, I only plan to spend there the day of the arrival and day of the departure. I'd like to visit the following places:

-Hoover Dam

-Death Valley

-Joshua Tree National Park

-Grand Canyon ( would like to spend 3-4 days here )

-Bryce, Zion and Arches National Parks in Utah.

-Four Corners

With a maximum time of 14 days and a minimum time of 10 days, is my trip "plan" feasible? I'd probably start my trip driving from Vegas to Death Valley and then make stops as I head east.

So if you have any advice, experience or just want to chime in with a friendly helping hand, then I'm all ears.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Utah
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1. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

Going from LV to Joshua Tree then back on your way to GC and Arches sounds like a lot to me in 14 days,,,especially when you may encounter snow at that date in the higher altitudes.

I'd suggest you drop either Joshua tree on the west or Moab/Arches and 4 corners on the east and concentrate on Death Valley and Grand Canyon with maybe Bryce and Zion thrown in... JMO

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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2. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

I was a little overwhelmed by your ambitious plan too. Go with the above suggestions and scale it back a little. You'll find that less is more when you start traveling around the southwest. Pick fewer destinations and allow yourself more quality time at those places. On our recent whirlwind trip through Utah my travel partner was constantly lamenting that we didn't have more time at each stop. He can't wait to return to those places and triple the time there.

South Jersey, USA
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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3. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

Hi,

Getting room accommodations in these National Parks will probably determine which route you go. Call Xanterra to see what's available inside each park (Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Zion & Bryce) 888-297-2757.

I would also look into purchasing an America the Beautiful pass. You can find some info on that along with the parks here www.nps.gov

Enjoy

SJG

Chicago
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4. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

Thank you for your replies, they are appreciated.

Four Corners and JTNP were 2 things that I added to my plan as a last minute deal, I was hoping that there might be time to visit them. But after reading the replies I think I'll follow the advice and drop them from the itinerary and allow myself the extra time to enjoy the other places I mentioned.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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5. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

Good decision. Get to work on those park accomodations and then we can assist you with specifics.

CT
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6. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

My best friend did a similar trip when she visited the GC and she really regretted the amount of time they spent in the car. She wanted to say that she stood on the 4 corners but in hindsight she said it was no big deal. I think less is more but good for you for spending 3-4 days at GC, it really is amazing there.

We visited last April and loved the GC but REALLY fell in love with Sedona. I can't wait to go back someday and spend more time there.

Evanston, Wyoming
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for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
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7. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

Strange as this may sound, most Grand Canyon visitors actually find that two days is sufficient to spend. That's not for lack of things to do, but there is only so much most of us can REALISTICALLY see and do at the Grand Canyon, so unless you're a hard-core hiker, you might consider taking some time off your Grand Canyon stop and either beeline it to Bryce (about 6 hours from the South Rim) or stopover in Page/Lake Powell (2.5 hours from the South Rim) for a night to break up the drive. The drive to either place will take you along the East Rim drive of the Grand Canyon, which means you'll accomplish a lot of your sightseeing on the way to your next stop.

Since you plan on hitting a few National Parks, plan on getting an America the Beautiful Federal Lands Access Pass. For $80 this card gets you into all the National Parks and Monuments in the country for 1 year. It'll definitely pay for itself on the trip you're proposing to take. You can pre-order it online at http://store.usgs.gov/pass or just pick it up at the first National Park Service fee station you stop at.

And... bring a coat! It's going to be cold at most of the places you'll be visiting, it might even snow on you, but that will only make the scenery more beautiful!

geolforall
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8. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

I would recommend:

Vegas to Zion then on to Bryce...drive not terribly long. If you have time I would recommend Monument Valley. It is a little out of the way (closer to 4 corners) and a longer drive through some empty country but well worth the trip. If you go to Monument Valley then I also recommend Goosenecks of the San Juan. This is just a stop and see but it is impressive and about a half hour from Monument Valley. Then go to the Grand Canyon.

I don't know how the weather/driving will be that time of year. Bryce is pretty high elevation and you may have snow.

Death Valley is very cool but in the opposite direction from GC, Zion, Bryce etc

Chicago
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9. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

Sorry for the lack of updates but there's been a change of plans. It looks like due to work I won't be able to visit GCNP like I had originally planned in November. I've gotten some new work that will keep me pretty busy till the end of the year and with the economy being what it is it didn't feel wise to reject the contract given to me. So now I'm rescheduling the trip for late April/early May 2010. My itinerary stays the same, although I may be able to add another week for my trip which puts me in the 18-23 day range vacation ( if I can get 4 weeks off then I will drive to GC from Chicago ). I will update this thread with my findings and question as I get closer to my trip date, but as of now ( 9 months ahead ) it looks like mid-spring will be when I will finally visit places I always wanted to see.

10. Re: How much do I need to see GCNP + other natural wonders?

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