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.

Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

Devon, UK
Level Contributor
163 posts
46 reviews
Save Topic
Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

Apologies if I've posted this in the wrong place!

We are visiting California in late July/August and we are first timers! We have booked a 15 night flydrive and, rather naively we let the travel agent devise our itinerary.

My other half has been looking at the driving distances between our hotels and we got a bit of a shock when we realised we would be doing a 12 hour drive from Bryce to Yosemite! We're not keen on doing that many miles in one day, so we are looking at losing a day in either Bryce or Zion and adding an extra stop on the way to Yosemite. We are thinking of stopping in Furnace Creek for 1 night??

We are likely to incur additional costs at the travel agent for changing our itnerary, so we need to keep the changes minimal.

My question is: which park should we see, Bryce or Zion, both look stunning, and would Furnace Creek be a suitable stopover on the way to Yosemite?

Feel a bit stupid not really looking into this more before we booked it, but hoping someone can help!

Many thanks.

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Dusseldorf
Level Contributor
3,170 posts
621 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

I am sure you will get good advice here. Bryce and Zion are both really beautiful, so it is hard to choose for you..Can you tell us what you like to do? Are you hikers, photographers, auto tourists, etc. Remember that July and August are really HOT in Death Valley, so that may be a consideration for you? Do you want just nature or city as well?

ZB

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
Level Contributor
17,415 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

Both Zion and Bryce are great parks.It would be nice if you could see both,since they are only two hours from each other.Zion would be two hours closer to Yosemite.Just note that Zion and Death Valley are very hot in July/August,Death Valley being way hotter.Bryce is usually about 20 degrees cooler than Zion due to elevation,probably in the 80 degree range,where Zion is about 100.Also Zion has a river to cool off in.Death Valley will be a furnace,but it sure makes sense to break up that long drive.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Anaheim, St. George
Level Contributor
27,690 posts
90 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

how many days do you have for bryce and zion? imo you dont need anymore than 2 days for bryce.

London, United...
Level Contributor
332 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

You may want to post on the Zion, Bryce or Utah boards but hopefully this will help too.

We just saw both the year before last and I'd say my preference was Zion. The considerations of temperature are sensible, as Death Valley in July / August will be borderline unbearable. We visited in Sept and it was 110 F and like a blast furnace but still gorgeous. We're going to Furnace Creek this autumn, so I'd agree it's a good central point in Death Valley. I'd not miss that off either way you go. And the drive into Yosemite via the Tioga Pass will blow your mind.

Anyway back to Zion / Bryce...the latter is very very orange. If you like the idea of sweeping vistas, creamy pastel orange colours, higher altitude, and cooler temps, Bryce won't disappoint. But Zion had me in tears for the same colours going in from the east, with a secret garden and hidden paradise feel throughout the rest. The place is mindboggling. If you're going to stay, I'd go to Zion. Having seen both, I'd go BACK to Zion, but if you can spare say 1-1/2 hour on the night you stay in Zion, I'd drive through Bryce and stop with a picnic lunch at one of the good viewpoints then keep going.

That all said, I think you can see a wider range of scenery 'from the roadside' as it were in Zion than you can in Bryce.

You'll love either and DH and I have since been looking for an opportunity to return.

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
32,064 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

My advice......fire the travel agent.

Seriously, it steams me when travel agents do this, and it is all too common. We end up many times trying to save a trip because of the gaffes they make. Obviously they care about their lodging commissions and care less about your trip. Grrrr.

Devon, UK
Level Contributor
163 posts
46 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

Thank you! Some great advice and recommendations here.

We currently have 1 night in Bryce and 1 night in Zion scheduled, but need to 'lose' one of these nights to enable us to break up the drive to Yosemite with an overnight stay somewhere.

I understand that Death Valley wil be very, very HOT! Any other suggestions on where to stop (overnight) would be great!

Thanks again.

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Dusseldorf
Level Contributor
3,170 posts
621 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

Many will not agree, but here is what I would do! I would stay at Panamint Springs Resort on the western edge of DVNP. It is a true desert cutural experience and in a good location for you. Lots of local color, a decent restaurant in the middle of nowhere, great bar and rooms just adequate but clean. Family owned, very friendly once you get past checking in at the gas station. I think Europeans can somehow appreciate the ambiance and setting more than some of us Americans. It is in an incredible location with nothing around it, flyboys buzzing overhead, and nothing but vistas from the deck.

ZB

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
Level Contributor
17,415 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

Where will you be before Zion/Bryce? In California or Utah?Knowing that would really help form a logical route.

Bryce is a park that can be seen in a few hours if needed.It is sort of a drive thru park.Zion takes longer to visit.So if you need to drop a night ,drop Bryce.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
58,774 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

IMO, keep Bryce. If you're looking for a variety of destinations to explore, Bryce + DV + Yosemite is better than Zion + DV + Yosemite.

What is your entire itinerary?

London, United...
Level Contributor
332 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Help Please! Zion or Bryce?

If you can make the drive straight through to Zion I'd bump the Bryce night but still find a reason to drive through it. If you're going the route I think you will be, the drive between the two parks is extraordinary (Scenic Byway 12).

Thing is whether you stay in Bryce or not, you may find you regret just buzzing through the area! I'm so not helping am I??? Sorry! Please do list your itinerary - maybe there's somewhere else you can chop a day off?