I also posted this message in the road trips forum, but I want to post here in Utah as well since much of our trip is in Utah.
I have a tentative plan for our road trip next July. First, here's a link to the first thread I started about temperatures, just to keep them together.
We are reasonably fit parents with a 14 year old daughter. In situations without high heat and elevation we'd be doing moderate hikes, but we will be sticking to easy, short hikes and skipping some lower elevation areas that we would ordinarily want to visit (like Zion NP) because of the heat . I have identified the big activities we want to do except for a horseback riding trip. I'm not sure where we can do a ride where we aren't just baking out in the open sun (a few years ago we did a ride in North Dakota that crossed river that was MAJOR fun--is there anything like this in the southwest?). I haven't figured out hikes and scenic drives. I also haven't identified good bird/wildlife viewing opportunities. If I'm not lucky enough to see a California Condor at the South Rim, I'll be needing other likely spots on the trip.
In working on the itinerary, I let being in Bryce Canyon for a full moon hike (held the day before, of, and after a full moon) dictate a lot of the timing. Because of that, our trip is 3 days shorter than our maximum time. I don't like losing 3 days of vacation, but am not sure how to work it differently. Has anyone done the full moon hike? I am imagining that it is a really cool experience, but maybe I'm making more of it than it really is?
So, as you can see, there's a lot of uncertainty and missing information in the itinerary, but I wanted to throw it out here to the experts to ask for suggestions. The only things that can't budge are being in the Grand Canyon on 7/12-13 and 4 nights at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Everything else is pretty flexible, based on what I learn from all of you.
Thanks in advance for your help!
The plan so far:
7/12 Grand Canyon NP, 2 nights (photography, wedding, bike ride)
7/14 Page, AZ 2 nights, (raft/kayak tour, ??)
7/16 Durango 4 nights (Monument Vally on way to Durango, train/zipline tour, Mesa Verde, ??)
7/20 Canyonlands NP 2 nights (sunrise amphitheater, Arches NP)
7/22 Torrey, UT 1 night (??)
7/23 Bryce Canyon NP 2 nights, (full moon hike, Zion)
7/25 Best Friends Animal Sanctuary 4 nights (volunteer, guided slot canyon tour)
7/29 Las Vegas 1 night (Cirque du Soleil show)