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Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Massachusetts
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Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

I'm planning a trip to Utah arriving in SLC midday on September 14, and flying out of SLC late night on September 23. We are planning to spend a few hours fishing the Provo river (or wherever my significant other decides to fish, not my call). We have camping reservations at the North Rim Campground at GCNP for the nights of September 15, 16, and 17 and are looking for a good town to spend the night of September 14 to break up our drive, maybe a couple hours south of Provo. We just need a motel or hotel to go to sleep and continue on our journey the next day, preferably somewhere with a restaurant or two that are open late. Any suggestions?

My second question involves the rest of our itinerary. After spending 3 nights at GCNP we are planning to leave the morning of the 18th to camp in Zion, followed by visits to Bryce and Capitol Reef. Any suggestions on how many nights to spend in each? I was thinking 3 nights in Zion, then spend the day in Bryce (getting there early in the morning and staying until sunset) before spending the next 2 nights in Capitol Reef. Is that enough time to enjoy Bryce Canyon? I know there is a lot to enjoy in between Bryce and Capitol Reef so I'm worried about missing things along the way by driving at night. Would it make more sense to spend a night in Bryce Canyon and continue on our journey the next morning? Or would it make more sense to spend only 2 nights in Zion, then 1 night at Bryce followed by 2 at Capitol Reef? Would love to hear suggestions. Thank you.

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Hi

You definitely would not want to drive between Bryce and Torrey in the dark. It's very dark out there, wildlife on the road and you'll miss all the scenery on hw12 www.scenicbyway12.com I'd stay for the night in Bryce and make it to Torrey/Capitol Reef NP next morning.

Are you camping in Capitol Reef (Fruita Campground)?

You are flying out of SLC late night so you'll have the time to spend the morning in Capitoll Reef before the 4 hours drive back to SLC.

If this were my trip I'd stay Zion for 3 nights, make it to Bryce early on the 3rd day. Stay Bryce 1 night and 1 night in Torrey.

Make sure you'll buy cookies at the Jacob Lake Inn on your way to NR and you'll probably buy then again on the way back.

Beaver is some 3 hours south of SLC and has ample lodging.

Tet

New Boston, New...
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2. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

I don't know the answer or have a suggestion for your first question but for your second I would do the 2-1-2 The drive from Zion to Bryce is pretty cool and then you definately want to see the scenerary on the Senic By-Way 12 up to Capital Reef from Bryce - as it is AMAZING!!! A not to miss in my book.

I'm sure no matter what you decide you will be amazed at the sights of the SW.

Massachusetts
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3. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Ah, I was thinking Beaver when I looked at the map so good to hear confirmation.

I think we are planning on tent camping in GCNP and Zion, then maybe a hotel for our last two nights. Sounds like it would be best to stay in a hotel overnight after Bryce so as to not have to miss the scenery and not have to set up the tent after dark. If we did 3 nights Zion, we could get up early to spend the day and night in Bryce before heading on to Capitol Reef for one night. That said, any recommendations of where to stay between Bryce and Capitol Reef, closer to Bryce? We would then have 1 and a half days in Capitol Reef unless we stop a lot along the way which is a strong possibility. Our flight is close to midnight on 9/23 so we would have a good part of the last day to spend in Capitol Reef, but I'd like to play it safe and leave by 4pm. It doesn't seem like as much time as I'd like to spend there but hopefully it won't feel too rushed. Wish I had unlimited time!

Irgardener, do you really think it would be worth sacrificing time in Zion for time in Capitol Reef? If we spent two nights in Zion we would have about 1 1/2 days to spend there and then about 2/ 1/2 in Capitol Reef. I've never been to any of the national parks so don't know which ones warrant the most time.

Uden, The...
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4. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

In Bryce I'd stay at Best Western Grand or Ruby's Inn. Cheaper option is Bryce View Lodge. They ar close to the Bryce entrance. You also can stay inside Bryce at the lodge there. In Torrey maybe try Austin's Chuckwagon in the middle of town and have dinner at expensive but great Cafe Diablo .

I'm not camping anymore but that Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef really looked very nice. Just in case you decide to camp after all.

Tet

Salt Lake City, Utah
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5. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Congrats to Irgardener on 1000 posts!

Ecrom, Beaver would be the best place south of SLC. But you would also find hotels in Nephi, and Fillmore just in case that fishing becomes a bit addictive and it ends up later than you had planned. The KanKun is a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Beaver. It is just off the freeway and so open later than others in town till 10 weekdays, 10:30 Fri Sat.

I think you have the message don't travel between Bryce and Capitol Reef after sunset. But I'll just throw another hat on the pile and say the scenery is not to be missed. Stay in Tropic (better), or Escalante if you want to get up the road a bit and can't get anything right there at Bryce.

My suggestion also would be to keep the 3 nights at Zion, 1 night near Bryce and 1 night at Capitol Reef. While there is plenty to keep your interest in Capitol Reef if you were able to stay longer, I don't think it would be worth taking time away from Zion which would be the bigger priority in my book.

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6. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Thanks all, this has been really helpful. Are there any spots in particular between Bryce and Capitol Reef that we wouldn't want to miss? We might try to stop along the way to hike around and explore a little bit. I've heard that a lot of trails and scenic areas on 12 are even more amazing than what you'd see in the national parks themselves.

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7. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Great advice thus far. I concur with staying a night a Bryce Canyon and to aviod driving in at night (early morning, dusk and at night). I would also suggest 3 nights Zion, 1 BC and 1 Torrey.

Yes, hooray for Irgardener on 1K posts.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Maybe stop between mm 74 and 73 and have something to eat and drink at Kiva Koffeehouse. Views from there are great. Also drive Burr trail from Boulder on the paved part and return ut12 after that.

New Boston, New...
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9. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Thanks all for the congrats.

In regards to your question to me on Zion - It's all a matter of what you like. To me of all the places we went out west IMHOP - Zion had more of the back east feel to me but we are not hikers. My favorties where the North Rim - be sure to catch the sunrise and sunset off the back porches of the lodge. Sunrise is very quiet as many don't get up that early but the colors are amazing - Sunset is very crowded but so worth the crowds when nature puts on her good night show.

Bryce was also one of my top 3 favorites - the colors are amazing it's the one place I talk about all the time and want to come back and stay in the park some day I hope.

Most here will vote more for Zion over Capital Reef but I thought it was a pretty cool area. We stayed at http://www.cowboyhomesteadcabins.com/

No matter where you go your trip will not disappoint it's an amazing area of our beautiful country we live in and the people you come across are so will to share their stories.

Safe travels.

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10. Re: Utah and GCNP - 9 nights

Thanks everyone, this is great advice. Looking forward to the trip.