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Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

San Francisco, CA
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Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

Hi folks,

I am planning a trip to the four NPs in south Utah over thanksgiving. I plan to spend one day in each of the following:

1. Zion

2. Bryce

3. Arches

4. Canyonlands (in the sky)

I know I am really not doing justice to the beauty, but can't stretch it longer :(.

Can you please suggests me what are the must-dos in each of the parks? I plan to do couple of short hikes on each and then spend the rest of the day driving around the park.

Also, would I need snow chains for my tyres around Nov end (I don't plan to do any cross country/paved road driving).

TIA.

GT

Canyonlands National Park
National Parks, Mountains, Canyons
Cedar Breaks National Monument
National Parks, Canyons, Monuments & Statues, Geologic Formations
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

Lots of driving, not sure if you can get to all 4 places in 4 days! Starting from Las Vegas NV, your roundtrip mileage will be 900/1000 miles, and very little time to see anything.

Zion and Bryce are close to each other and Arches and Canyonlands are close to each other. I would pick one pair, and do that in your 4 days.

To answer your must do's... In Arches, Delicate Arch hike and Fiery Furnace tour. Canyonlands Island section, all the pullouts and short hikes.

Visit www.nps.gov for each park and see what they recommend.

I have lived in CO and NM my entire life, and have only used tire chains about 3 times, so you probably won't need to use them.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Utah
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2. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

This is a common desire, to see those four parks.

However I highly recommend that you leave Arches and Canyonlands for another trip and concentrate on Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase/Escalante and Capitol Reef. The last two are always ignored, just as spectacular and a lot closer to the first two thereby giving you a chance to enjoy the parks rather than just the drive to them.

In one day for someone in passing shape:

*Zion's: Hike, Riverside walk, weeping rock, Emerald pools, Canyon Overlook. Then one of the following: either partway or more up the narrows (please prepare for cold water), or Angels Landing, or Observation Point.

zionnational-park.com/hiking-zion-national-p…

Check if there is a ranger talk.

*Bryce: drive to Rainbow point hike Bristlecone trail, on the way back stop at the view points. Visit Bryce, Paria and Inspiration Points. Hike Navaho to Queen's Garden loop (start at Sunset Point).

http://www.zionnational-park.com/bhike.htm

*Grand Staircase Escalante:

Stop at visitors centers in Cannonville and Escalante

Drive to Kodachrome Basin, continue on to Grosvenor Arch (this is a graded dirt road please check road conditions first)

Visit Escalante State Park, hike petrified forest trail

Hike to Calf Creek falls

Drive down Burr trail to end of Long Canyon (about 15 miles)

visit Anasazi State Park in Boulder

http://www.ut.blm.gov/monument/

www.climb-utah.com/Escalante/calfcreek.htm

http://www.utah.com/stateparks/kodachrome.htm

http://www.utah.com/stateparks/escalante.htm

http://www.utah.com/offroad/burr-trail.htm

*Capitol Reef:

Main road through will take you to the schoolhouse, the orchard and petroglyphs. Stop at visitors center, take a couple hikes either to Hickman bridge or Cassidy arch. Definitely take the scenic road south to and hike Captiol Gorge

www.nps.gov/care/planyourvisit/trailguide.htm

The roads will be cleared, the only reason you would need anything for your tires is if it is snowing (which it could be, check weather forcasts at visitors centers), in which case I would recommend you park and wait it out.

It will be chilly at night (or down right cold), but that might be more pleasant than the heat of the summer. Enjoy your visit

San Francisco, CA
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3. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

I was planning to use the drawback of early nightfall to my advantage by driving from Bryce to Moab. But then again, I guess I will miss the scenic drive :(.

Thanks for the tips, will surely try to put in a trip report!

nyc
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4. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

FYI, I made a night time drive from Bryce to Moab and there were tons of deer that liked hanging out on the road. Keep an eye out.

Illinois
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5. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

Another short “don’t miss” hike at Zion is one that we liked the best, but I don’t know what the name is! I’ve never seen it discussed on this forum, and only saw it mentioned in one book. It is a slot canyon directly behind the Canyon Overlook parking lot. Driving east from Zion Canyon, the parking lot is on the right side of the road immediately after the first tunnel. Park there, and make your way down the very steep hill behind the washroom. Be careful because there is no trail and it is steep. When you get to the bottom, you will be in a creek bed. (I think it is Pine Creek.) Turn to your left, and very soon you will be in the most beautiful slot canyon. We were there in the winter, so we were walking on snow and ice. It was so much fun to explore.

There is another technical slot canyon that you can see from the Canyon Overlook trail, but this one is different. Make sure to check the weather report since you wouldn’t want to be caught there if a storm were approaching.

Has anyone else been there?

nyc
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546 posts
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6. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

That is a nice one, though last time I went in it a flash flood had passed through and it was impassable. I had not heard of it either until stumbling upon it waiting for someone to use the bathroom. ;-) I guess the NPS doesn't want people hiking down a place that could flood, go figure. Anyway...definitely give it a look when you do the Canyon Overlook Trail.

nyc
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546 posts
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7. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

Oh, and ditto CasaAzul and Kbecjeans' thoughts, it's too much.

San Francisco, CA
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8. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

Thanks everyone!

I finally made reservations only for Bryce and Zion, will decide if I would like to drive to Arches and back. May be skip canyonlands, but still spend a day at Arches.

nyc
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546 posts
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9. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

Arches is wonderful but there are so many beautiful things to see just east of Bryce. Do an image search of some of Kbecjeans' suggestions. Some of the most beautiful things are beyond the limits of the NPs.

10. Re: Trying to cover South Utah NPs over thanksgiving

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