We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

13 nights-how to break it down?

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
916 posts
1 review
Save Topic
13 nights-how to break it down?

Hi Zion forum!-

Just got the go ahead to plan up to 13 nights next June for a vacation to Northern Arizona and SW Utah. (It was this or Yosemite and Lake Tahoe). Anyway, family of 4 (2 teens) We usually do very active 2 week vacation in the Summer and this trip I would like to slow it down a little. More breathing and down time.

We will fly in and out of Las Vegas from Chicago. We definitely want at least:

4 nights Zion- 3 full days (1 day canyoneering, 1 day The Narrows, visitor ctr, lunch at lodge, imax movie, 1 day shuttle bus with other mediumish hikes) and down time for pool at Desert Palm. We will do Canyon overlook on way in or leaving Park.

4 nights Lake Powell- 3 full days (5 hour Kayak tour, Discovery river float day, rent a motor boat day, plus Antelope Canyon) Not sure where to stay here?

2 nights South Rim of GC-haven't really figured this part out yet. El Tovar probably.

1 night LV.

This leaves 2 more nights----either---- more South rim, North rim, or Bryce. We have been to Arches, and Yellowstone, which are too far anyway.

QUESTIONS--

What do you recommend for 2 spare days?

I will want to take Alt 89 on way to Page, Can someone explain the order of the stops on this road- Vermilion cliffs, Marble Canyon?, Navajo bridges, Horseshoe bend hike, hanging garden?, Glen Canyon Dam lookout? Anyway, best places to stop on this drive?

I'm assuming we'll see a bit of Lee's Ferry at our raft take out point.

I appreciate any input, thanks so much!

TN
Level Contributor
508 posts
73 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

I would spend the two extra nights at Bryce. The drive from Zion to Bryce is incredible. You may also want to go ahead and make hotel reservations as soon as possible at the Bryce and the Grand Canyon as they can fill up a year in advance.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
59,781 posts
243 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

One night in Bryce might be enough. Consider dropping one night at Page and adding 2 nights in Sedona before or after GCNP.

But the first thing you should do is book your nights at the Grand Canyon Nat'l Park SR, especially if you want El Tovar. It is usually booked a full year in advance.

www.grandcanyonlodges.com

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,918 posts
149 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

Have you ever been to Bryce? You could certainly spend a day there and then maybe a day at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes or the Willis Slot, wahweep hoodoos, The Wave (permit needed), go to Monument Valley.....

From Kanab to Page traveling on Alt 89. You would drive past the Vermillion Cliffs in Kanab, then stop for a look at the LeFevre Overlook as you begin the climb up the Kaibab Plateau for the best glimpse of the Grand Staircase. Next stop Jacob's Lake. Then you will come down off the Kaibab Plateau and have stunning views of the Vermillion cliffs again. You will follow them the whole way. (the road north leads to the Vermillion Cliffs NM and where they release the condors.) You will be able to see the crack in the earth that is Marble Canyon. Then you will come to the turn off for Lee's Ferry/Lonely Dell Ranch. (Even though you will see this area after the raft trip you would not be able to explore it then so I would still make the stop). You will be able to see the beginning of the Marble Canyon there before the river makes a turn and disappears. Then you will cross the Navaho Bridge. Stop on the east side to walk across the old bridge for another view of Marble Canyon and read their story. Then Horseshoe Bend hike trailhead, then Page, then the turnoff for the Hanging Garden trail head and then the Glen Canyon Dam. Cross the bridge and stop at the visitors center.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
916 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

thank you all. The more I look at it, the more I think we should go to Bryce. I think we would do that after Zion?

Is it possible to start our drive from East zion (after canyon overlook) around 10:00, drive the 2 hrs. to Bryce, see visitor ctr, lunch, look around the rim views (how far to go on road?) 1st afternoon. The next day we could do the 1/2 day mule ride into canyon, then head out to Alt89 drive to Page. 1 night.

Would this give us a good sense of the park without feeling to rushed?

How long would the drive from Bryce to Page be, making all the stops we wanted?

RedRox- I loved Sedona. We were there about 13 yrs. ago without the kids. We will be visiting friends in Phoenix in the next few years and will make sure to head up to Sedona for a visit.

I'm feeling guilty about not allocating more time to Grand canyon, but I just can't get a sense of what to do there for more than 2 days (with no mule, helicopter, or long canyon hikes)

Thanks again for any feedback

Boston...
Level Contributor
279 posts
58 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

Does your family have any interest in white water rafting? If so, you might want to consider one of the three day trips down the lower end of the Grand Canyon. There were four families with teenagers on our trip this summer, and all of the kids had a blast at the ranch or on the rafts. Most of the parents agreed that this was a nice introduction to rafting the canyon. Some of the adults are hoping that their kids caught the rafting bug and will want to go back for a longer trip through the heart of the Canyon some day.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
59,781 posts
243 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

2 days will be sufficient at the GCNP. Don't worry about that.

And yes, you can enjoy Bryce in the time you're allowing, although I would choose to do a short hike instead of the half day ride. A half day event like that will actually consume most of your day and make the drive to Page more of a rush. You can do it, but IMO there is more to be seen and enjoyed on the way to Page, especially if you intend to take 89A. All of those places you listed are not just 'drive bys', but are worthy of stops and time to observe and enjoy and appreciate.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
916 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

Thanks again- I looked into the 3 day rafting, and as much fun as I think it would be, I think it would be too much for us. We've rafted class 4+ outside Denali NP and Canada and this Summer we did a class 2 and 3 trip in individual funyaks, which was a blast.

The float trip is completely different. I hope the kids will be able to appreciate the pace of this type of trip.

I booked the Lodge cabin at Bryce for 1 night and El Tovar for 2. I know that my husband would enjoy the Best Western Grand at Bryce more, but with such a short trip, shouldn't we stay in the park?

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
59,781 posts
243 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

Always stay inside the parks when you can. At Bryce the big advantage of being in the park is being able to walk to the rim, but especially to be able to do it at night. Moonlight walks at Bryce are magical. Bring a good flashlight, and plan to do a moonlight walk.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
916 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

Almost ready to book the rest of trip with some updates. What do you think?

day 1- Chicago to LV. drive to Zion-overnight Desert pearl.

day 2- Zion-shuttle day with hikes,visitor center

day 3- Zion-Narrows hike, relax, maybe tubing

day 4- Zion- Canyoneering, relax, maybe horseback or bike riding.

day 5-leave Zion(canyon overlook hike)to Bryce canyon-visitor center, stay around lodge, rim walk, overnight bryce canyon lodge.

day 6-hike into canyon- Navajo/Queens garden loop. Drive/shuttle? rest of park to explore. O/N bryce canyon

day 7-leave Bryce, taking 89Alt with stops along the way. Overnight Bigwater BandB, near Page/Lake Powell

day 8-all day motor boat rental on the Lake.

day 9-morning river float trip, afternoon kayak rental.

day 10-antelope slot canyon tour, leave for monument valley. Afternoon 2 1/2 guided tour of MV. overnight monument view hotel.

day 11-head for GCNP south rim. East entrance viewpoints. Stay El Tovar.

day 12-shuttle ride West, bright angel trail until the arch?

day 13-drive to lv-pool and a show.

day 14-fly home

Before I book everything, any changes you would suggest. I took out a night at Lake Powell to add a second night at Bryce-wise or leave it at the Lake?

Can Someone convince me that Monument valley will be great for the extra 3 hrs. road and 3 hr. tour time.

Thanks- I can tell this will be an awesome vacation!

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,918 posts
149 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 13 nights-how to break it down?

I wish every trip was that well planned. I can't think of any reason to change a thing (at least right now).

I can't give you convincing reasons to spend the time to drive to MV. However I'm not sure what else you could do that would be as nice, especially since you are planning to overnight there. It is a nice place to see and if you have the time to really enjoy it you might as well.

If you want more in that area to do you could take the short detour up to Goosenecks SP and if you really wanted could try the Moki Dugway up and back for great views of empty western desert.