We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
4 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

Hi all-

3 of us (adults) are planning a trip to explore some utah parks from August 6-14th. I am trying to decide how the itinerary would differ if we fly into Grand Junction instead of Vegas. Should we forgo Bryce then and just stay in the Moab area the whole time. If so, what other parks do you recommend...Goblin, etc? We have already seen Zion....

Below is a tenative itinerary if we fly into Vegas...if that helps.

August 6th- Vegas

August 7th-drive to Moab

August 8th & 9th- Mountain Bike in Moab, Arches or Canyonlands

August 10th & 11th- rafting Western River (2 day trip)

August 12-13th- Drive to Bryce Canyon. ? Lake Powell.

August 14th- Fly back from Vegas

Mentioned in this post
Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
63,854 posts
248 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

You have noted the biggest difference. If you fly in and out of LV you will blow most of two days getting to and from Moab. Grand Junction is about 2 hours. Only you can calculate the difference in costs and flight times that could offset the drive time.

If you use GJ and focus on Moab it is easy to add Monument Valley, possibly Page, and certainly Mesa Verde NP, Durango and parts of SW CO. I would save Bryce for another trip. You can easily fill a week in the 4 corners region.

Edited: 06 June 2011, 03:01
Mentioned in this post
Moab
Moab
Utah
Mesa
Mesa
Central Arizona, AZ
Durango
Durango
Colorado
Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
Level Contributor
19,947 posts
443 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

Also consider Salt Lake City as your gateway. Keep in mind, too, that GJT will require a connecting flight while you're likely to get to LAS or SLC non-stop. SLC to Moab is less than four hours, a little more to Bryce.

Have fun.

Mentioned in this post
Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,689 posts
453 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

Welcome to the fourm, swabba.

As mentioned, cost and itinerary could be factors for the entry point (LV, GJ or SLC...all good options, with their own pros and cons). Factor in rental car cost as well.

GJ is the most coinvenient to Moab, but as mentioned will most likely require a connecting flight. LV is the longest drive, but I will say that you will not "blow most of two days getting to and from Moab". While it will take time, the trip is beuatiful, even taking the quickest route along the interstates (I-15 and I--70). Plus it does open up stops along the way (Bryce Canyon, Torrey, Capitol Reef, Goblin Vally).

With 9 days you have plenty of time to add another destination or two to your trip, even with spending the bulk of your time in the Moab area.

Check out the Top Questions in the UT forum; the first item is "How do I see all the parks in southern Utah" and has several maps and smaple iteneraries. There are loops out of LV and SLC that you can use a a starting point of your planning and alter as needed to fit your needs. Also check out the trip report archives at the top of the UT forums; lots of great info in those TRs.

Mentioned in this post
Moab
Moab
Utah
Capitol Reef Resort
Capitol Reef Resort
1,485 Reviews
Torrey, UT
Utah
Utah
United States
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
3,843 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

We just returned from southern Utah. We chose LAS because of airfare costs. Perhaps a mistake. Moab to Vegas is a haul. we broke it up with an overnight in St George. Thus leaving an easy trip in AM for flight out of LAS.

We were hitting Zion and Bryce for a week from St George then Arches and Canyonlands from Moab for another week. SLC may have been better as SLC is 5 hrs or so from St' George or 4.5 from Moab. More or less splits the difference.

BTW, Bryce was too far for a day trip from St. George so we ended up overnighting in Bryce rather than spend 3 hours driving there and another 3 driving back in one day

As prior poster mentioned, the trip from Moab to LAS uses up a full day of Interstate travel... pretty in spots but not much to do other than drive.

If the car drop off fees weren't so bad, the way to do it is fly into LAS and return out of SLC,Grand Junction ( or even Denver).

We had a great trip. The area is quite beautiful and so different than what we see here in teh Southeast US

Mentioned in this post
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
4 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

Thanks for all the advice everyone! We have decided to fly in/out of Grand Junction and adventure from there. Thanks again!

Mentioned in this post
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
3,843 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

swabba.. Please post your experiences. We plan to go back. Especially to Arches/Canyonlands probably out of Moab.

Mentioned in this post
Moab
Moab
Utah
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
4 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

Our Trip to Moab, UT

8 days, 7 nights (August 2011)

Day 1: Fly into Grand Junction, CO. Less than 2 hour easy drive to Moab, UT (all highway, 2 turns the entire way). Dinner at Miguel’s Baja. The margaritas were tasty. The enchiladas with the red sauce got high ratings. The green sauce ones were so-so. Stop at Slick Rock Café for a beer where we discover that you have to order nachos in order to get a drink – Utah drinking rules are…unique. We don’t touch the nachos (paid $5 for them), but enjoyed the live music and the beer.

Day 2: Went to Islands in the Sky District, Canyonlands. Heard a ranger talk on the geology of the area. Definitely worth it if you have any interest in the landscape – it informed the rest of our trip. Decided to embark on a 6 mile loop hike (Neck Loop Trail) at around noon…in the desert….not the smartest of ideas. We still had a pleasant, if exhausting, hike and did not see anyone else (likely because no one else starts a 6 mile hike in the desert at lunch time). The vistas were okay. The trail was marked by rock cairns. Overall, took us approximately 3 hours and we are pretty sure the vistas from the road on the walk back to our car were better. But that being said, Canyonlands is an amazingly beautiful park. Next time, we would like

to explore some of the other areas of the park (much further from Moab then the Islands in the Sky District). Ate dinner at the Moab Brewery. Great drinks. Goodfood. We especially liked the vegetarian chili. Great atmosphere.

Day 3: Arches National Park. In the morning, we hiked to Delicate Arch. It took about an hour to get there and was 100% worth it. Just gorgeous. A must-see for sure. Ate lunch at Electik Café (unique and tasty). For those of you into avocado, the avocado-to-sandwich ratio on the BLT wrap was approximately 5:1. Afternoon nap. Back to Arches, where we took a driving tour to Balanced Rock, Sheep Rock (my personal favorite), Windows Arches, etc. Dinner at Peace Tree – it was pretty tasty.

Day 4-5: Started our 2 day white water rafting trip in Westwater Canyon. We went with Tag-A-Long Adventures. We requested that we be on a paddle raft which we highly recommend if you like to be active and like a little more adrenaline (the default is an oar boat unless you specifically request the

river was essentially a preparation day, no rapids, just getting to know the

raft and our fellow travelers and guides. Our guide takes us on a very cool

canyon to some caves, good vistas, etc. Make sure your “boat shoes” are

for hiking (or that you have a backup). Flip flops would have been horrible.

Excellent dinner complete with fresh guacamole, steaks, veggie burgers (for

whipped cream. Day 2 we hit all the rapids—Class III and IV. Our paddle raft guide was Justin and he was excellent. The oar boat guide (and chef) was Ben who was also excellent. I think we hit about 4-5 rapids…all of which were a blast. Skull Hole Rapid was definitely the highlight. Ended the trip with jumping off some cliffs into the water. Other things to know: 1. We had some issues with the billing at Tag-A-Long prior to the trip which took a couple of phone calls to iron out but be sure to look at your charges (they initially charged us double to reserve the trip ($200 pp instead of $100 pp). Then they tried to charge us extra for the paddle raft because they didn’t realize another group was signed up for our same trip. It all worked out

and we had a fabulous time in the end but just so you know – check the billing. I would still highly recommend using them for your river adventure. 2. Don’t forget to bring your own beer and soda for the trip. 3. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip so if you have time for a river adventure while you are in Moab, do it.

That evening, milkshakes from Milt’s. Dinner at Zack’s Pasta. Meals were

okay…even better as left-overs.

Day 6: Arches National Park. Fiery Furnace Ranger-Lead Hike. We reserved this a month before the trip for $10/pp through the National Parks. It was another must-do, must-see adventure. Takes about 3 hours where the ranger leads you through slot canyons, rock scrambles, etc. Not a marked trail. The ranger (ours was Amy) shared stories about the geology, the canyon, the wildlife, plants, etc. The great thing was that a lot of this hike was in the shade which helped keep us cool. That afternoon we did some shopping in the McStiff’s Plaza and had some great ice cream/gelato at Wake & Bake. Then we headed out to Hole-N-The-Wall – definitely the kitchiest and most amusing part of the trip. This is a huge rock/

boulder/mountain? that a miner dug into for a home for him and his wife. The 10 min. tour was $5/pp and very interesting. They have eclectic artwork on the land which is fun to check out too. We also went to their Petting Zoo there which was ~$5/pp. Definitely cough up the extra $3 to buy the food to feed the animals. A great variety—zebra, alpaca, goats, ostrich, deer, various birds, camel. We were 3 adults without any kids and we still thought this zoo was a blast. Dinner at Pasta Jay’s which was fine.

Day 7: We rented mountain bikes at The Cyclery (the shop in front of the grocery store)? Their friendly and knowledgeable staff gave us a great beginner’s mountain bike recommendation to check out Dead Horse Point State Park. Dead Horse has a beginner’s trail that allows you

to choose a 1 mile, 4 mile, or 9 mile loop. It was a beginner appropriate trail with amazing vistas at every corner. We couldn’t have asked for a better mountain biking experience. We did the 4 mile loop and it took us about 2-3 hrs with lots of stops to check out the views. Highly recommend this adventure while you are in Moab. Dinner at Eddie McStiff’s. Don’t be fooled by their “lush” back patio – it is just a room with some plants. Opt for the outdoor seating in the front.

Day 8: Drive back to Grand Junction to fly home.

Our lodgings during our stay: Kokopelli Suites the 1st 3 nights and then Kokopelli Inn Towner the last 3 nights. Both places give you a kitchen, living area, and separate bedroom, full bathroom. Great locations close to Main St. and reasonable prices (same cost as staying at Sleep Inn). Free wi-fi and friendly staff. Highly recommend reserving lodging here instead of a hotel if you want more room and a full kitchen.

So, overall, we had a wonderful trip. Thanks to all of you for your advice in helping us plan this trip!

Edited: 29 August 2011, 21:27
Mentioned in this post
Moab
Moab
Utah
Utah
Utah
United States
Moab Brewery
Moab Brewery
4,905 Reviews
Moab, UT
Arches National Park
Arches National Park
7,075 Reviews
Moab, UT
Fiery Furnace
Fiery Furnace
406 Reviews
Arches National Park, UT
Pasta Jay's
Pasta Jay's
2,759 Reviews
Moab, UT
Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State...
4,409 Reviews
Moab, UT
Eddie McStiff's
Eddie McStiff's
1,700 Reviews
Moab, UT
Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
63,854 posts
248 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

Did you ever drive scenic route 128?

Michigan
Level Contributor
111 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

Thanks for a great trip report! I'm hoping to go next year and you gave me tons of good info.

10. Re: Moab- flying into Vegas vs Grand Junction

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 04 October 2012, 17:16
Get answers to your questions about Moab