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Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

South Carolina
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Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

We are planning a last minute trip from the east. This will be our very first trip to the Grand Canyon and any of the surrounding areas for that matter. We have 7 days (9 nights) for this trip. Our main destination is the Grand Canyon as well as traveling a part of Route 66 (my 7 y/o son has to do this due to just seeing Cars 2). We may not have the opportunity to come back to this area for quite some time so we want to see as much as possible. With 2 kids in tow (ages 6 & 7) a lot of hiking is not on our list. We mostly want to do a few fun/exciting things (maybe an atv ride in Bryce) and see as much as possible. We plan to fly into and out of Las Vegas however, flying out of Salt Lake may be an option if it would work better with our itinerary. Here are some things/places we want to see:

Definite things to see:

(1) Grand Canyon

(2) Route 66

(3) Extraterrestrial Hwy (I know crazy, but my hubby really wants to see this...don't need to drive the whole thing maybe to Rachel or just get his pic by the sign)

Things we'd LOVE to see if we can fit it in, but we don't know which should be a priority:

* Zion/Bryce

* Monument / 4 corners

* Arches

* Hoover Dam

Is there any way we could fit this all in since we don't plan to do much hiking (we mostly want to see the great landscape and the "big" viewpoints)? We may be able to add 1 day to our itinerary, but that's not for sure until I get a definite flight. I am currently looking at flight options now. As I said this is a last minute vacation opportunity so there isn't much planning time. I've spent so much time researching the area and travel options that I'm not getting us ready and packed to leave in just 5 days so any help would be greatly appreciated!!

South Carolina
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1. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

UPDATE: With flight options it looks like we are actually looking at 9 nights 10 days. So would this itinerary work?? Some parts I'm unsure of at this point due to unknown lodging optioins. Any help appreciated!!

Day 1: Arrive Las Vegas (late afternoon or eve)

Day 2: Drive Las Vegas to Williams via Route 66 (stay overnight in Williams)

Day 3: Grand Canyon until eve then drive towards Monument Valley (distance depends on lodging)

Day 4: Monument Valley, 4 corners, drive to Arches

Day 5: Arches

Day 6: Arches and drive to Bryce

Day 7: Bryce / short atv tour

Day 8: Zion

Day 9: Zion drive to Rachel, NV (extraterrestrial hwy), drive back to Las Vegas

Day 10: early flight out

I know this is a tight schedule, but is it doable? Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Ohio, USA
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2. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

Is this doable? Sure, but it will need some tweaking, I think. Here are some suggestions and comments:

Day 2: You mentioned stopping at Hoover Dam; make sure to include a walk along the new bypass bridge.

Day 3: Get up early and head to the Grand Canyon, if you are staying in Williams (better to stay inside the park, if you can get reservation). You will also want to enjoy the drive along the drive out th east exit (several nice view points). The drive to MV is 3+ hours, so you will want to get on the road in time to get to MV before sunset (for safety on the roads).

Day 4: Take the back country tour of MV in the morning. Skip Four corners due to time constaints. Head to Moab with possible stops at Goosenecks SP, Canyonlands Needles section and Newspaper Rock.

Day 5: All day at Arches...works for me.

day 6: Get on the road early so that you can stop at Goblin Valley State Park on the way (on route 24 north of Hanksville). Should also try to make at least a quick stop at Capitol Reef National Park near Torrey.

Day 7: The ATV tour is outside the park, so your call on that, but I would focus on the park (but I reckon the kids might like the ATV gig). Make sure to enjoy sunrise/sunset at Bryce Canyon.

Are you driving to Zion on Day 7? If so, again be careful on the road at dusk/night due to critter activity.

Day 8: full day at Zion is a good deal.

day 9: no idea about Rachel NV and the ET highway)

Hope that helps....

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3. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

I like CasaAzul's itinerary posted in the AZ forum. If you get into Vegas late, you probably wouldn't want to drive all the way to Tusayan after dark (due to wildlife on the roads), so Williams would be a good destination for the first night. When my kids were young, they had a great time at the 4 Corners, but we didn't try to include Monument Valley on that trip--definitely Monument Valley has much more to offer (especially its spectacular scenery) but the 4 Corners is fun for kids. If I included Monument Valley, I'd try to see it in the morning and then continue to your next stop. The Grand Canyon (South Rim) is worth a night if you can get a room (cancellations are frequent so phone Xanterra)--or stay overnight in Tusayan; most kids really enjoy the junior ranger programs.

OhioHick's post went up while I was still typing. His ideas are always good too.

Edited: 16 July 2011, 03:12
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4. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

You can drive from Springdale (Zion) to Rachael in just over 4 hours going thru Cedar City and Caliente NV, or down I-15 to Moapa and up.

Not much out there except pretty high desert. I race out there frequently,and there is some pretty scenic stuff in the backcountry nearby.

Near Rachael you can take pictures of the Highway sign, "the Mailbox" and the Little Aleinn. Its a long drive to the end of the highway at Warm Springs.Rachael is around 2.5 hours from Vegas.

On one Vegas to Reno race I was at a pit in Warm Springs before dawn,with maybe 20 people.There was an odd humming noise coming from the sky. Nobody could see anything flying and it was fairly loud.It was bizarre, but we figured it was the government playing with new toys at the nearby base.Just adds to the lore of the ET highway.

Edited: 16 July 2011, 04:15
Salt Lake City, Utah
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5. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

This is the large loop or commonly known as the Grand Circle.


10 days would be pushing it. You'll be spending most of your time in the car. If that is the kind of trip you want with young kids then that is up to you.

Day 2. I'm not sure you'll need all day for hwy 66 from LV to GC. If you make the stop at Hoover dam and take a look at the bridge and then stop at some of the significant hwy 66 places then maybe. But I think you'd be better off trying to get a place either in the park (call for last minute cancellations) or in Tusayan, and head into the park for the evening/ sunset when you get in the vicinity so you can get your bearings there.

day 3- I haven't done the jr ranger programs for a long time so don't know how long they are intended to take, but that would be a good way for your kids to get involved in the park on their level. You'll want to give yourself time in the daylight to see some of the east rim viewpoints on your way out the east entrance to Cameron. Desert View for sure. It is the last one on the east rim which drive can take 2-3 hr. Cameron or Kayenta for lodging?

day 4 While most people don't agree Monument Valley can be done as a quick kind of drive by. Go into the park and hang out at the visitors center, get your pictures from the viewpoint and head on out. 4 corners doesn't have much but the monument (and yes! it is in the right place). It is again somewhere most people will say to leave out. But when I was young and when our kids were young it was something we enjoyed and remembered. You could do both those and still get to Moab with time to spare. Stop at Wilson Arch and Hole in the Rock, both places kids might enjoy.

day 5 Arches needs a whole day if you are hiking. If for some reason you've done everything you want to there and have extra time, head over to Dead Horse Point for some great views.

day 6 Hopefully will have seen everything you need in the Moab area because you really will need the whole day to get to Bryce. Stop for sure at Goblin Valley and let the kids run. The historic area and visitors center in Capitol Reef also is a good place for a break. Enjoy the drive down hwy 12, maybe a quick stop at Anasazi SP. it is a small kiva and pueblo from the anasazi era. If you arrive at Bryce with sunlight then head into the park and go to Sunrise, sunset and Inspiration point viewpoints. Great to see them at the end of the day.

day 7 One hike you should definitely take is one down into the hoodoos. If your kids don't have a lot of stamina then either the Queen's Garden or the Navajo Loop trails are good. If you want a little bit longer one, then combine the two. A one or two hour atv ride might be mighty welcome about this time. The bristlecone pine trail at the end of the scenic drive is easy and fun as well.

day 8 On to Zion. When you approach the long tunnel park and take the canyon overlook trail for a great intro to Zion. It is an easy trail, but keep the kids close. Other trails you should take-- Riverside Walk and emerald Pools

day 9,,,,I for one see no reason to take a ride out into the Nevada desert. I'd spend it at Zions or Snow Canyon outside St George, or at Valley of Fire just north of LV. But I understand sometimes the urge needs to be met.

Day 10 LV Well, it was a lot of driving, but yes, feasible.

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6. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

I so appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions! I was up until 6am this morning researching the areas...literally sat at my computer the entire night! We'd really like to do Moab as well as Monument Valley and 4 corners, but thinking this is something we'll have to try to make another trip for. Moab may be good if we get to some day make a trip to Salt Lake. I don't want our itinerary so tight we can't enjoy things we may see along the way. So, at this point we are thinking we should start out in Las Vegas, do a quick drive by Hoover Dam if we don't arrive too late. Decided to add in Oatman and follow Route 66 from there towards GCNP. We plan on a leisurely trip with time to make any stops we want along they way, not feeling rushed. Once we are done with GCNP we plan to head on to Page, Bryce Canyon, and then Zion. However, if we have found lots of things to do and don't feel we have time to complete the loop we won't push it after GCNP. Although I expect we'll keep going. Once we leave Zion heading back to Las Vegas if time permits we'll dart over to the ET hwy during the trip back (doubt it, but would be awesome if we get the bonus of hearing a sonic boom). If no time, that's fine we'll leave ET hwy for another time. I'm checking Xanterra for GCNP reservations. Any other suggestions regarding places to stay, things that are must do, etc. Does anyone know about the dinner cruise at lake powell? Thought since we have to take time to eat anyway, that may be nice. Also hope to do an atv ride near Bryce Canyon and check out the Jr. Rangers program at GCNP. Also, any suggestions on what to do upon entering GCNP would be appreciated (don't plan to hike with the kids). How is the weather during this time? I'm assuming it's hot! I'm thinking summer clothing, except jeans on the atv ride. Again, I really do appreciate everyone's suggestions!

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7. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

Bryce sits at 8000 feet+, GCNP at 7000, so the high temps might be in the 80s. The lows in the 40s to 50s.

Page and Zion will be in the 90-100 range.

You need to CALL Xanterra for last minute cancellations, The website does not show whats really available.Things get snapped up before they hit the website.

For things to see near Page: Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, tour Glen Canyon Dam. Cheaper, less crowded and just as impressive as Hoover.

Take a float trip. www.raftthecanyon.com

Take a boat tour to Rainbow Bridge, or a shorter tour to Navajo and Antelope Canyons. Maybe rent a boat and a tube and go play on the lake.

At Bryce try the mule ride. www.canyonrides.com

There is an ATV tour across the street from Rubys.

For a tour near Zion try these guys. www.mildtowildrhinotours.com

New Boston, New...
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8. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

IF you go to Moab I bet your children would love the Hummer Tour - from Moab Adventures. Its incredible!

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9. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

If you skip Moab add Valley of Fire in Nevada. It isn't as good as Arches but is similar in some ways and you can do it in half a day on your way in or out of Vegas.

10. Re: Can we fit it all in? GCNP, Bryce/Zion, Arches, 4 corners

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