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need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

Oklahoma City...
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need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

Need help planning a trip from North Rim of Grand Canyon to Arches to Yellowstone. We have set aside two weeks, have reservations made at North Rim & Yellowstone for mid-June. What are the other must see's? We plan on making a loop up & back through Arizona, Utah, maybe some of Colorado. DH wanted to drive through monument valley, but I keep reading about Zion & Bryce and not sure how much time to leave to explore. We have 3 kids, ages 7 1/2- 11 1/2 next year. Not sure how much "sight seeing" & hiking they will enjoy. We will either drive from OKC or fly into Las Vegas.

Thanks so much!

Ohio, USA
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1. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

First, welcome to the fourms, 1of5wilsons.

Second, since you are covering a lot of ground, this would certainly qualify as a Road Trip, so you might want to poat your query in the Road Trips fourm as well. I think this link will get you to that forum:

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

The folks over there are expert at this kind of question (in addition to the great advice you will get here on the UT fourm).

You indicated that you have reservations at the north rim and Yellowstone already. Perhaps you could share those dates, as that will put some hard points into the itinerary (so sense suggesting a plan if it is not going to fit with the set reservation dates).

As for getting there, I would fly into the region, as that will save you a couple of days over all compared to driving from OK. With just two weeks to cover this much ground you will need every day you can muster. Salt Lake City is another option to fly into for this trip and may be a little better (more central) starting point since you are talking about southern UT and Yellowstone. But there are a lot of options.

What kind of activities will your kids enjoy? That might influence the suggestions as well. There are options for horseback rides, raft trips, boating, nature programs, 4-wheel drive tours, etc. But not all activities are available at each location, so again this info will help us to help you.

Edited: 27 July 2010, 13:02
Oklahoma City...
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2. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

Had not seen the road trip forum, I will check that out, Thanks! Would love to fly into SLC, just not sure if it will be cost effective with the 5 of us. No horseback riding, my son is allergic to horses (daughters would love that though!) Rafting trip or Hummer tours look fun, plan to raft in Tetons one day. Kids would love to swim or play in water somewhere, not sure temperature of rivers, etc. Reserved June 11-14 (3 nights) at north rim will probably only need 2 just wasn't sure which two. Reserved June 15-19 (4 nights) in Yellowstone, 1 night at Old Faithful, 3 nights at Lake hotel cabins.

Here was my plan:

Day 1 - Drive 12 1/2 hrs to Holbrook, spend night is wigwam hotel.

Day 2 - Petrified Forest, Flagstaff, Sedona, maybe take in Lowell Observatory or night astronomy somewhere.

Day 3 & 4 - North Rim

Day 5 - Drive to Timpanagos Caves 3 hour tour, stay somewhere north of Salt Lake City.

Day 6 - get to Old Faithful

Day 7, 8 & 9 - Yellowstone

Day 10 & 11 - Tetons/Jackson, take a float trip

Day 12-14 - ??? Dinosaur national park, ARches, Mesa Verde, Four Corners (thought kids would get a kick out of that), Monument Valley, etc. But now I keep hearing about Zion & Bryce & don't want to miss anything.

Day 15 - drive home (long day from Durango or somewhere)

Sedona, AZ
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3. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

<<Day 2 - Petrified Forest, Flagstaff, Sedona, maybe take in Lowell Observatory or night astronomy somewhere. >>

That's 2-5 days in a normal trip. Sedona is often a full week on it's own.

<<Day 12-14 - ??? Dinosaur national park, ARches, Mesa Verde, Four Corners (thought kids would get a kick out of that), Monument Valley, etc. But now I keep hearing about Zion & Bryce & don't want to miss anything??

We did that trip last year and it took 12 days

Ohio, USA
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4. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

Well, I think your plan is a bit of a mess, I'm sorry to say. I think the thing that y'all will remember most about this trip is the interior of the car. Seems to be that you are trying to cram 2 or even 3 vacations into one trip (as RedRox indicated in another thread). I woudl focus on either southern UT or Yellowstone, but would not do both. But see what the Road Trips folks say.

Being at the North Rim on Day 4 then Yellowstone on Day 6 is a bit, well, crazy. Then you have WAY too much for Days 12-14. IMO, you need to take some time an enjoy the places you are visiting; spend more than just an hour in each, as your itinerary seems to indicate. Wih two weeks, you can see a LOT, but not everything. DW and I have made four trips to southern UT and/or northern AZ over the past 7 years or so, and still have not seen it all (have not made it to Monument Valley yet). Some of the places in this are need several days to fully appreciate: Sendona, Page, Moab each deserve 3 or 4 days. The time for each park varies. One day is probably good for North Rim and Bryce; 2 days minimum for Zion, one day for Capital Reef. Point is that the days add up quickly. The trips that DW and I took to the southwest probably averaged a week each, so about 4 weeks total. We are also planning an excursion to Yellowstone and the Tetons for next year and that will be a 10-day trip. But we like to really explore the places we visit (no drive-by visits for us). So what is the point of all this rambling? Well, I think you need to rethink the trip and focus on one area. I think you will have a more enjoyable time it you do. But again, that is just my opinion.

Sedona, AZ
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5. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

We did Yellowstone and Grand Teton NPs and Jackson Hole in a week a few years ago. It wasn't nearly enough time. We flew from there to Sedona and spent another week unwinding from the too fast pace in WY.

Oklahoma City...
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6. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

thanks Ohiohick & RedRox for your input. Our original plan was yellowstone, but somehow it made it into a bigger trip. Thanks again for the input. I will keep checking for good ideas on TA.

Oklahoma City...
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7. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

thanks Ohiohick & RedRox for your input. Our original plan was yellowstone, but somehow it made it into a bigger trip. Thanks again for the input. I will keep checking for good ideas on TA.

Salt Lake City
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8. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

If your kids are outdoorsy exploring rock climbing active kids, then I would leave out Monument Valley and focus on Arches NP and/or Zion NP. Personally, as a child and as an adult, I like Arches best - but that's just my opinion, not gospel.

If you end up going north rather than south from SLC, then there will be more time in a car and less time hiking, but the kids would see WAY more wildlife in Yellowstone/Tetons than in the southern Utah parks. So if they are animal loving kids who tolerate hours in a car reasonably well, then Yellowstone is the way to go.

Skip Dinosaur National Monument - the visitor's center there is closed now. It's supposed to open in 2011, but I wouldn't hold my breath for that.

Four Corners is a lot of driving so that you can hop out and get your picture taken touching four states at once. I think it would be not worth it if your youngest will be 7 1/2 because at that age the whole concept of "state" is pretty fuzzy and the experience, for them, would be about as exciting as standing with one foot on one side of a sidewalk crack and the other foot on the other side.

Kids would like Mesa Verde probably, if they have a sense for how long ago it was built, and if they have patience for ranger guided tours, because mostly that's what you have to do in Mesa Verde.

Timpanogas Cave is a steep exhausting trail (read "whining children"). The cave is pretty cool, but all in all, Timpanogas is not on the top ten list of things to do on the trip.

For a Southern Utah trip that includes Mesa Verde, you might consider forming your itinerary around Mesa Verde, Arches, Grand Canyon, Zion, and Capitol Reef. That would still involve a lot of driving and no more than a day and a half in any of the parks. There are several ways to organize that trip into a loop without doing much backtracking. If you go to Google and map that trip, you will see that you could do Arches after Mesa Verde, or you could do Arches after Capitol Reef. Similarly, you could do Grand Canyon after Mesa Verde, or after Arches. You just need to play around with the routes and driving times. If you do this itinerary in some form, you will not be able to make it to Yellowstone. If you are set on Yellowstone, then IMHO, you should get to Arches ASAP, then to Salt Lake City, then to Yellowstone then home. On that itinerary, you would have adequate time for Arches, and adequate time for Yellowstone without spending so much time in a car that you ruined the trip for your kids. Since you have to get to Yellowstone from OK, it would make sense to consider Mesa Verde along the way, but I wouldn't spend much time there. It's not as kid-friendly as Arches. I'm not sure if it would be the fastest route possible to Yellowstone, but at least you'd get to see something besides the inside of the car. I have not given any time or thought to a northern route from OK to Yellowstone and I'm sure there would be ways to do that. Again, you just need to get on Google Maps and give it a try. I know it's really hard to give up anything that you want to do when things seem so close on a map, but honestly you'd be either suicidal or homicidal if you tried to see everything on your original list.

Oklahoma City...
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9. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

thanks utah roots, revisiting my plan, told husband what you said & the others so we will do some work with the map & try to figure it out. I want it to be fun & memorable, but we might not take another big vacation for a few years, so don't want it to be boring or rushed. Thanks again for your help & opinions.

10. Re: need help - trip to North Rim, Arches & what else???

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