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UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

Ohio, USA
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for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
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UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

A lot of folks seem to want to visit Zion, Bryce Canyon and Arches during their first trip to Utah, and for good reason…these places are simply spectacular! I know those parks were my priority during my first trip to the area. It can be done and there are several routes that you can take, depending on the time that you have. For example, you can focus on theses three areas and use the interstate (I-15 and I-70) as your main routes between destinations as illustrated in the map at the link below:

http://tinyurl.com/LV-Zion-Moab-Bryce-LV

The downside to this plan is that you bypass a lot of great places and miss some beautiful scenery along the back roads. Don’t get me wrong, the views along the interstate, particularly I-70, are great, but it is a shame to miss scenic route 12, Capitol Reef and Goblin Valley. But for a first trip and to get the maximum variety in the minimum time this is a very viable option.

In fact for our first adventure in Utah, MsHick and I used a similar route. We landed in LV, jumped in the car and headed to Zion for 3 nights. We then took the interstate route to Moab for 2 nights (not nearly enough, so we came back a couple of years later) but took the scenic route (24 to 12) back to Bryce Canyon for 3 nights. Note that this trip occurred prior to my finding Trip Advisor, or I may have ended up with a completely different introduction to Utah. But it was a great trip gave us many reasons to keep coming back to the region.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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1. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

Ohio, I'd like to know what you thought about this trip? Were you satisfied? Did you get what you expected? Though I suppose you didn't in Moab since you wanted to come back for more. What were you able to do in Moab in that amount of time?

How about driving from Moab to Bryce? Did you stop anywhere along the way? And I'm counting 8 nights, is that right?

Edited: 19 March 2011, 03:12
Ohio, USA
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2. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

Kbec, it was a great trip, but it was our first excursion to UT and, as mentioned, I did not have the advantage of TA advice. I did the research for that trip using guide books and the National Parks Service website. When we started the planning, we were thinking just LV, Zion and Bryce Canyon. However, once I found Arches, I knew I had to visit there.

So, let me take your questions in order....

I thought the trip was great. We knew we would be missing some places, but we hit the places that were on teh priority list. As we like to do, we spent several days in each location, although we quickly discovered that we had not planned enough time in Moab.

Was I satisfied? I was going to say "yes", but after thinking about it and the fact that we have returned to the area (UT and AZ) a few times since, including once to focus on Moab, I guess maybe I wasn't. But is was a good unsatisifed, like being in the candy store and trying all teh free samples until you can't eat any more, but still wanting that next taste!

For that first trip, our focus was on Arches. We spent all of the arrival day and all of our full day in Arches, then had a tour in Canyonlands Island in the Sky on the morning that we left Moab (this was a photography tour, so we left at oh-dark-thirty and spent several hours bouncing through the park with out guide...saw some great scenery and picked up some gets tips with the camera). We then drove to BC that afternoon.

The only stop we make along the way from Moab to BC was at Capitol Reef and that was brief. We did take route 12, but again this was just a drive-by and not real exploration. Lesson learned here is that there is much to see and do along the road from Moab and BC, so it is best to get an early start and to break this in to a two-day event, with an overnight stay in Torrey.

I believe that 8 nights is correct for the UT portion of the trip (we may have stayed in LV for a night due to flight schedules). It was doable. With just these three destinations a better split would have been 3 nights in Zion, 3 in Moab and 2 in BC. Of course an even better plan would have been to add a night for Torrey for a total of 9 nights.

Santa Ana, CA
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3. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

If you go once a year, every year, for the rest of your life, you won't see it all.

Ohio, USA
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4. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

I'm trying to test that theory, Danny...at least unitl DW decides we can move "out west!"

utah
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5. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

>> Ohio,

What I find interesting about your post is that if you were to shorten your nights at Bryce down to 2 you would have a doable 7 night trip that includes Moab and that you had a great time.

And yet it seems that the consistent advice on this forum is that people visiting Utah with 7 nights skip Moab and focus on the other parks. I understand where the advice is coming from - because you don't want to pack too much in and Moab requires the most driving.

But in my opinion Moab/Arches is the #1 best place to visit in Utah so it kills me to advise people to skip Arches especially when they are from far away / out of the country and very likely won't be back.

Thoughts?

Salt Lake City, Utah
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6. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

bc

While Moab/Arches is a fantastic place and I love it every time I visit, I personally would vote Zion/Bryce as the premier place to visit. :-)

If you start in SLC then it really is a toss up as to which direction to go. But if you start from LV then Moab just seems to be one stop too far.

But that is just my opinion and your opinion counts just as much. That is one reason it is hard to tell someone who has never been what it is that they will like best.

And for the most part I find that people enjoy best the places they have spent more time at, which is why -though I understand why they are taken and I have certainly done my share as well- it is hard for me to recommend a drive through trip with any amount of enthusiasm. I want people to love these places, not just see them.

Edited: 21 March 2011, 22:59
Ohio, USA
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7. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

bc, you are correct about the split of time, in fact, I mentioned that a better plan for that first trip would have been 3 days in Zion, 3 in Moab and 2 in BC (see the end of reply number 2). Keep in mind that the trip I was describing was our first excursion to UT, so we were trying to hit the high priority items (just like folks are still trying to do) and I did not know about TA at that time to get better advice. If I had known about TA then, I might have ended up with a different route...who knows. But it was still an outstanding trip and the start of our many trips to the western National Parks.

As Kbec mentioned, the big difference is in the style of travel. Kbec, RedRox and I tend to advise folks to slow down and smell the roses. Spend more time at each location and get to know that place; explore; talk to the rocks and trees like John Muir. So, I'm about more quality time in fewer places.

Conversely, there are others, like Tet14 and you, it seems, who like to see a lot in a given amount of time. Nothing wrong with that, just a different way to do things. As you and I have discussed, it is good to provide a variety of opinions on travel, but we also need to give the OP some idea of why we are posting the advice that we post. And for folks that my not be able to get back to the area, then that may be the better option.

So, with a week for travel in Moab, I would prefer to focus on either Moab OR Zion/Bryce (plus throw Torrey with either). As Kbec said, if SLC is the entry point, then either Moab or Zion/BC are equally accessible. From LV, it is just closer to Zion/BC. However, you can certainly get to Moab from LV (been there done that, a couple of times).

And it also kills me to advise folks not to visit Moab due to lack of time or too many miles. I love Moab and all it has to offer. And Arches is one of my favorite parks. When returned to UT specifically to spend time in Moab and Arches, although we also hit many of the other great sites in the area. But we have not seen it all, so we keep coming back!

So let's all keep providing our own perspective on travel and the parks in UT. This just provides the travelers with more info and more value in that information.

As to the #1 area of UT, I'd say the southern half ;-)

Roosevelt, Utah
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8. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

Ohiohick: " As to the #1 area of UT, I'd say the southern half ;-) "

I hope one day you allow me the opportunity to change your mind about this. :o)

*Pixe*

utah
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9. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

Ha! We can't even agree on which half of Utah is the best!

I appreciate hearing your thoughts Kbecjeans & OhioHick. The advice both of you give on here is invaluable. Ohio with 6, 9, & 11 year old boys stopping to smell the roses isn't much of an option for us. They are interested in stomping on the roses, maybe blowing up the roses, but definitely not smelling the roses. Also have you ever experienced American Fork Canyon? - I'm probably biased because it's my stomping grounds, but the Timp Hike in August rivals anything else Utah has to offer.

Just in thinking a little of the relative strengths of Bryce, Zion, Moab.

Bryce - scenic

Moab - adventure

Zion - balance of scenic and adventure

Not to say that all 3 don't have plenty of scenery and action...

I think both of you are right that if someone wants to do both Zion & Moab that Salt Lake is the better entry point than Las Vegas - ideal would probably be to fly into one and out of the other.

Edited: 22 March 2011, 15:34
Santa Ana, CA
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10. Re: UT Trip Maps: OhioHick’s First Trip to UT

OH...

I'm responding to post #4:

It's not a theory, it's a way of life. You don't have to move out west. Just add this to your early retirement plans (like me).