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Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver

London, United...
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Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver


I'm planning a trip from Denver > RMNP > Bryce > Zion and on to the Grand Canyon and LA, but am struggling with the Bryce & Zion bit. I see a lot of people are doing it the other way around and staying in Springdale on the way into Zion, but that would be too long of a drive from RMNP to Springdale and back into Bryce.

The plan at the moment is to drive RMNP to hotel on October 19th, explore Bryce on the 20th, explore Zion on the 21st, then on to Grand Canyon on the 22nd. Is there a good location to stay for all of those nights, or is it best to stay near Bryce on the 19th, then near Zion for the 20th & 21st - any ideas of locations are appreciated!

Thanks for any help.

Tacoma, Washington
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1. Re: Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver

Are your plans set in stone????

If not I would push this trip upo to the end of Septmber/early October.

RMNP has peak fall colors in the valley in ealry October and higher elevations last week of September. I-70 cooridor peaks end of September. In mid October along I-70 you have a real snow risk.

as for Bryce and Zion....

drive Ut 24 to Torrey/Capitol reef then UT 12 to Bryce. Unsure how many days you have, but I suggest 1 night in Torrey then 1 night in Bryce (sunrise and sunset pictures are a must) then in the late AM drive to Zion (about 2 hrs) then do 1 night in Springdale

19 PM Bryce

20 AM Bryce, PM Zion

21 most of day in Zion, late afternoon drive to Page for the night

22 Page AM (horseshoe bend and Antelope canyon) then in the early afternoon drive to South Rim.

Park City, Utah
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2. Re: Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver

Your plan is not exactly clear, but as I read it you're doing:

Oct. 18 - RMNP

Oct. 19 - Drive RMNP to Bryce

Oct. 20 - Drive to Zion

Oct. 21 - Zion

Oct. 22 - Drive to Grand Canyon

This plan is do-able, but not optimum. The drive from RMNP to Bryce is VERY long for one day and pretty much precludes you from taking the beautiful scenic drive on route 12, which would be longer. Rule of thumb is 1-2 nights in Bryce, 2-3 nights in Zion - so you're on the bare minimum. If you could swing one extra day, take Dan P's advice and stop in Torrey, enjoying route 12 the next day down to Bryce. With your present plan, you really need to just take I-70 to US89 and south - nice route, but nothing like route 12.

Also note that you are pressing the closing date of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. It's not unusual for it to close by mid-October. Pay close attention to that as your trip date approaches.

Have fun.

London, United...
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3. Re: Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver

Thanks for the tips! Unfortunately it has to be the 15th of October onwards as I've already got plans sorted on the east coast until then.

Would you say RMNP is wasted at this time of year? Stopping in Torrey sounds like a good idea to be able to take Route 12! - Or maybe at Arches National Park, which one is more worth it?

So at the moment I'm thinking;

18th - RMNP full day, Stay at Grand Lake area

19th - Drive to Torrey

20th - Visit Bryce, late morning. Stay near Bryce

21st - Visit Bryce early. Go to Zion. Stay near Zion.

22nd - Visit Zion, most of the day. Drive to Grand Canyon area.

Not sure whether to stay in the Grand Canyon Park yet and I know this isn't Arizona forum but I noticed you put South Rim, would you suggest that over the North?


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4. Re: Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver

The facilities at the North Rim close for the season on October 15, so you would need to visit the south rim.The road is still open,as is the visitor center,but no lodging.

South rim lodging...


London, United...
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5. Re: Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver

Excellent, thanks for your help!

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver

See how it goes the day of arrival. You can hit RMNP if weather is good but also decide to drive to Moab (app 6 hours from Denver) and spend your night there. Arches and Canyonlands are highlights on a trip like yours.

7. Re: Bryce & Zion - Road Trip From Denver

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