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Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

PA
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Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

This is my 1st post in Utah forum for 1st trip to Utah's National Parks. Hoping to make trip in mid /late April or early May & have 8-9 days NOT counting arrival & departures day. Flying in & out of Vegas.

I've spent a lot of time on TA & on roadtrippers.com trying to figure out where to go & how much time to spend where - this is a TOUGH itinerary to plan since there are SO many places to see. We don't mind a lot of driving (did 1,000+ miles last year seeing Yellowstone & Grand Tetons) BUT we want do some hiking (easy), & not just 'drive by' places!

So I am not including Grand Canyon /Monument Valley given our 8-9 day time frame.

Advice /feedback on tentative itinerary below would be greatly appreciated!

(what to see & do in N.P.s, hikes to take, places other than N.P.s, places to stay & eat, general 'road trip' tips for this trip, etc.)

Day 1: fly into Vegas. Car rental recommendations? Modest hotel / motel for easy drive OUT the next day?

Day 2: early start & drive to Moab. Spend day getting there. Ideas on a couple stops along the way?

(3 nights in Moab)

Day 3: Arches N.P.

Day 4: Arches N.P. Other park / place to see?

Day 5: early start & drive to Torrey - Capitol Reef N.P. this day. Overnight in Torrey.

Day 6: spend day driving Rte 12. What to see & do on this route? Stay near Bryce. Sunset in Bryce.

Day 7: Bryce Canyon N.P. sunrise & some of day & drive to Zion

Day 8: Zion N.P.

Day 9: Zion N.P.

Day 10: depart from Vegas

THANKS for any & all suggestions. Like some historical sights, beer & wine places, great scenery (duh!) and easy hikes... any 'easy' slot canyon to do?? And what is weather like mid-late April or early May??

Kipling. SK
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for Zion National Park
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1. Re: Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

Hi bluehighways

I will get you started with some ideas. Hopefully others will fill in the blanks.

I am assuming that you do not want to experience the Las Vegas strip. If you do, mandalay bay, Tropicana, Mirage, even the Luxor are all close to the airport. If you want something more toned down and modest, look in the area to the North of the airport in the area of Koval lane. Some places that come to mind are the Carriage House, Desert Rose, Westin, Wyndam, Super 8, and the Platinum(where I always stay)

On the way to Moab, the preferred fast route from Las vegas is I-15 to I-70. A good stop about 2.5 hrs out of LV is the Kolob Canyons segment of Zion NP on the I-15. It is a good area to spend an hour, and stretch your legs.

At www.dicovermoab.com many people visit the Canyonlands Island in the Sky district and Dead Horse Point State Park, in conjunction with Arches. You could easily spend two days visiting these three areas. For scenic drives, SR128 to historic Dewey Bridge is highly recommended. Also Potash Road to the West of Moab.

At Bryce, you will want to see the main amphitheatre. Here you will want to look for Sunrise and Sunset points. The must do hike is between these two points, and takes you down from the rim into the midst of the hoodoos. It is called the Queens Garden to Navajo Loop combination. Also in the main amphitheatre area, another couple of points to look for is Bryce and Inspiration points. The other area to visit at Bryce is the scenic drive up to Rainbow/Yovimpa points. At Rainbow point look for the Bristlecone loop trail. It may still be muddy and snow bound in April, as Bryce is the highest elevation park on your route. In April and early May, you could still have freezing night time temps. I usually stay at the Ruby's property, the Best Western Grand. The area resource I like to use is www.brycecanyoncountry.com

Heading towards Zion, Red canyon is another place to stop, and is situated West of Bryce on www.scenicbyway12.com

As you arrive at Zion, you will be greeted by the scenic canyon route along SR9 as it travels down to Springdale. On this highway, look for canyon Overlook trail on the east side of the mile long Zion Mt Carmel tunnel. The next day at Zion you will hop on the shuttle and head into the main canyon(unless you are staying at the lodge). In the main canyon scenic route area, you will want to look for the Riverside Walk and lower Emerald Pools. Other worthwhile trails if you have the time is the Kayenta and Grotto Trail. Near to/accessible from town, look for the Parus trail, found along the river in the visitor center and campground area. If you are looking for a more challenging trail, the West rim to Scouts Lookout trail is arguably the most popular trail in the park, mainly due to the terrific view from Scouts Lookout, as well as being the access to the famed Angels Landing spur. I have stayed at Desert Pearl(which is a favorite of just about everyone on this forum). Also the best Western, Driftwood, and cable Mountain www.zionpark.com

I just want to note that this question is very broad, and these types of questions do not normally produce the best results, as there is too mujch material to cover. My suggestion is to keep asking specific narrow topic questions. Starting separate threads is also helpful. Then more people with specific knowledge of specific areas can fill in details in short easy to manage responses.

Park City, Utah
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2. Re: Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

Good advice so far. Your dates are very good for modest temps. Overall plan is good. You'll save mileage and time basing this itinerary out of Salt Lake City rather than Vegas. Also, given that you're flying west and picking up two hours, no reason you can't fly in and drive to first destination same day (except Vegas to Moab). For example, a mid-morning departure puts you into SLC early to mid-afternoon, then it's less than fours drive to Moab (with a stop at Ray's Tavern in Green River for dinner). That alone essentially picks you up a day on your original plan.

You don't need anything special for a rental car, everything you need to hit is paved. For a slot canyon, look at Little Wild Horse Canyon near Goblin Valley State Park on your drive from Moab to Torrey. On your departure, if you take an afternoon flight you can leave Zion in the morning for the 4-5 hour drive and make the flight without having to do a gateway city overnight. Again, buys you another day in redrock country.

Have fun.

PA
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3. Re: Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

Thanks for good info. & for advice to post in more specific forums - will do!

PA
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4. Re: Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

Thanks, Tumbleweeds, for idea of flying via SLC. Will look into that - if cost is similar, may do. And thanks for slot canyon idea also! What kind of temps in mid-late April? Know temps can vary a lot, of course.

Park City, Utah
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5. Re: Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

Forgot to add the weather info. You'll still have cool nights, warm (not hot) days. Have layers. You'll be shorts weather in daytime but likely NOT in evening or early morning. In slot canyon, be prepared for more cold due to the shade. And be prepared for standing water. Have dry socks/shoes available at the end. Of course, lots depends on local weather conditions.

Have fun.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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6. Re: Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

Greetings and welcome out west... Sounds like a fun trip. I would agree with T &C to base the trip from SLC. As mentioned, the drive from from SLC to Moab is 2.5 to 3 hours quicker than from Vegas. Granted, you would have a longer drive back from Zion, but could still make an afternoon flight fairly easily. Might help you gain a day on your trip, if you can stomach a drive after a cross-country flight.

The obvious other park from Moab would be Canyonlands Island in the Sky district. Has some hiking and lots of spectacular viewpoints. But I would plan on hiking, so that you don't get "viewed out."

discovermoab.com/canyonlandsnationalpark.htm

Moab will have a couple of local micro breweries like Eddy McStiff's and Moab Brewery.

A good hike in Capitol Reef is Cohab Canyon with the Freemont River Overlook. Also be at Sunset Point 30 minutes before sunset and watch the spectacular colors on the cliff faces changing. I like the Rim Rock Inn in Torrey and The Patio has a great patio, but is mostly pizza and sandwiches.

Might be pressed for time, but a great hike on Scenic Byway 12 is Calf Creek Falls. It's a relatively flat, albeit somewhat sandy, 3-mile hike to a 125-foot waterfall in the middle of the desert. Very unique and amazing.

Here is a great hiking guide for Zion. Click on a trail for a description and photos. I would try to hit some of the major ones like Angel's Landing and The Narrows. www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/allhikes.cfm

Edited: 14 October 2013, 20:43
PA
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7. Re: Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

Thanks for additional ideas on hikes & some brewery info. too.

Definitely want some 'off the beaten path' at times (hoping late April Will be after the spring break time!).

8. Re: Advice / feedback needed on N.P. tentative itinerary

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