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Driving from Zion NP to Capitol Reef NP in mid February

Hawthorn Woods...
posts: 14
reviews: 32
Driving from Zion NP to Capitol Reef NP in mid February

What is the best route(s) to drive from Zion NP to Torrey, UT in mid February? I'm not sure if I should make lodging reservations for this portion of our winter trip if the route(s) between ZNP and Torrey is likely to be a difficult drive or not passable at this time of year. And, if we we make the drive, are 4 nights and 3 days in the middle of Feb in the Capitol Reef NP area too much?

Appreciate your thoughts & comments!

5 replies to this topic
Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
posts: 3,232
reviews: 81
1. Re: Driving from Zion NP to Capitol Reef NP in mid February

No need to reserve lodging at Torrey in mid February. There is still plenty of choices open in the off season with low visitation normally.

The normal recommended route from Zion to Torrey is via US89 and SR12/ www.scenicbyway12.com You have to be mindful of the weather over boulder mountain(on SR 12, 9200 feet)) between Boulder and Torrey. Weather at and near Bryce can also be a factor.

4 nights at Capitol Reef is a long time, especially in the winter. You would likely want a list of researched ideas for exploring. I am wondering if you have been to Bryce before? might be a good idea to split your time between the two destinations. Escalante also makes a good stop for visiting if you are looking for more remote and off the road activities.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 13,124
reviews: 117
2. Re: Driving from Zion NP to Capitol Reef NP in mid February

The roads are kept open and would be fine to drive as long as it isn't snowing, or if it is a light snow.

I'm with Widmarsh about visiting Bryce, driving up hwy 12, maybe hiking Calf Creek and that 4 days for Capitol Reef would be great if snow isn't an issue (which it could be), but may be too long if the trails are snowed in.

Hawthorn Woods...
posts: 14
reviews: 32
3. Re: Driving from Zion NP to Capitol Reef NP in mid February

Thank-you both for your comments and thoughts. We've been to Bryce, but not in the winter so spending a couple of days there and heading to Capitol Reef is definitely a possibility. And I will do some research on Escalante too. Since posting I've started looking at the possibility of driving from Zion NP to Moab and winter hiking in Arches and Canyonlands (staying for 4 nights). Been to both, but again, not in the winter.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 13,124
reviews: 117
4. Re: Driving from Zion NP to Capitol Reef NP in mid February

Bryce is beautiful in the winter with the snow on the hoodoos, and definitely worth a visit.

As for where to spend your time, there is really no wrong answer, any of the places you mention would be wonderful.

Roosevelt, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 939
reviews: 36
5. Re: Driving from Zion NP to Capitol Reef NP in mid February

I've used the UDOT cameras to give me an idea of current snow depths in certain areas, it makes it easier to plan ahead (and pack appropriately) for weekend trips. Since you don't need to make advance hotel reservations, why not let the weather dictate your hikes? If the snow is really deep in Escalante, you can always head to Torrey, Hanksville, Green River and Moab.

www.kutv.com/traffic/features/commuterlink/

*Pixie*

Edited: 12:04 pm, January 12, 2014
Reply to: Driving from Zion NP to Capitol Reef NP in mid February
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