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Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

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South Carolina
posts: 79
reviews: 58
Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

We plan to leave out of Las Vegas early May 29 in order to enjoy Valley of Fire SP before it gets too hot and catch a glimpse at Lake Meade on the way out. I expect this to take 3 hours. Then north on I-15 to the Kolob Canyons for late afternoon hikes and photography. This should take 3-4 hours. Next stop is Cedar City for dinner and a motel. Next day take a few hours enjoying Cedar Breaks before reaching hwy.89/9 and the east entrance to Zion early or mid afternoon. We will stay at Zion 2 nights and drive 9/89 over to Bryce. Will these added items to our initial las Vegas straight to Zion agenda be worthwhile assuming we have no special time constraints? We figured that by adding an extra day and a little extra driving and backtracking we could visit 3 more interesting places we may never have an opportunity to see again. Any thoughts or additions? Worthwhile?

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
posts: 11,585
reviews: 7
1. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

No need to backtrack two hours from Zion to Bryce.After Cedar City and Cedar Breaks drive straight to Bryce.Spend a night to see sunset, stars and sunrise. Then head to Zion .

Bedford,U.K
posts: 624
reviews: 5
2. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

If you're leaving Vegas early, why not go to V.O.F via Northshore Road 147/169? This route is very scenic and ive done it a few times. You can add Hoover Dam into the equation if you want. There are many vantage points for Lake Mead en-route too.

Be sure to the Double Arch Alcove at Kolob Canyons. Easy flat trail crisscrosses a stream 2 dozen times and the sight at the end is awesome.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 45,015
reviews: 43
3. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

Agree with Axel. You can take Lake Mead Bld out of North Las Vegas and drive Northshore rd to VoF New road and a scenic drive. But Hoover Dam will make too long a detour imo if you also want to visit Kolob same day.

In Overton you''ll find Lost City museum worth a visit.

You won't see much of Lake Mead by driving from VoF north because of the waterlevel.

South Carolina
posts: 79
reviews: 58
4. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

Thanks for the advice regarding Northshore Road. Sounds like that will be the best route to VoF. I guess I'm trying to justify the 80 miles and half day or so in order to experience Cedar Breaks. This is the first part of a much longer trip with a Bryce cabin already reserved on June 1, so we need to see Zion a couple of days before Bryce. Is Cedar Breaks really pretty enough to use that much time for or would we be better off just heading back after Kolob Canyon and use the time in Zion?

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
posts: 11,585
reviews: 7
5. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

Cedar Breaks is pretty and usually opens in late May when the road clears. Its sort of like a smaller version of Bryce.Its a great place to visit if you are driving thru the area.

Where are you going after Bryce? If you are headed back to Vegas, you could see Cedar Breaks on the way back.Maybe post your itinerary.

Zion takes several days to explore, so hopefully you allowed enough time for the park.

South Carolina
posts: 79
reviews: 58
6. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

After Bryce we're headed to Capitol Reef for a couple nights, then on to Moab. Will photography be very good in the AM around Cedar Breaks or will be sun be at an awkward angle?

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 45,015
reviews: 43
7. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

Long time ago we visited Cedar Breaks in the morning in may coming from Panquitch Lake and the pictures were great. (to our standards ....)

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
posts: 6,910
reviews: 299
8. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

Cedar Breaks is a very nice place for a short visit. It is consderably smaller than Bryce Canyon, so if you only budget and hour or so, you can get a very good look. Cedar Breaks is about 2000 feet higher than Bryce Canyon (10K feet above sea level at CB, compared to 8000 feet for BC), so it will be cooler and the elevation may be an issue if you are not used to that sort of thing.

I liked Cedar Breaks and I think it is a beautiful place, but I think Bryce Canyon has better views and more color in the formations. For comarison, here are photos from a visit to BC in May 2007:

photoshop.com/users/…

And a visit to Cedar Breaks in 2009 (October):

photoshop.com/users/…

So, while I think Cedar Breaks is a very nice National Monument, if you are worried about timing, that could be the one thing that you could cut, as you will see the bigger show at Bryce Canyon just a little later in your trip.

edit: forgot to add that I agree with Tet about the Hoover Dam; it is detour for what you have in mind. The drive along Northshore Road that Axelbob suggested does should like a very nice route.

Edited: 11:13 am, January 20, 2013
South Carolina
posts: 79
reviews: 58
9. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

Well, we made a change for what we think is the best. Day 1 is the same leaving Las Vegas to VoF then head straight for Zion. Enjoy our 1 and 2 1/2 days there. Leave mid day on day 3 for a drive to Kolob Terrace then on up to Kolob Canyon to finish the day around sunset . Spend the night at the Best Western in Cedar City, get up early and catch Cedar Breaks and Bryan Head, head east on 143 toward Bryce Canyon, spending a couple hours or so at Red Canyon on the way. Hope is to make it to Bryce Canyon by 3:00 or earlier, have time to do a few afternoon hikes and enjoy the sunset and scenery of Bryce. We'll leave after sunrise the next morning down hwy. 12. Is all of this too ambitious, weather permitting

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 45,015
reviews: 43
10. Re: Las Vegas to Zion the Long Way

Good plans. There's no connection (other than a trail) between Kolob Terrace rd and Kolob Canyon. From Kolob Reservoir there''s an umpaved road that gets to Cedar City but inpassable when wet.