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SE Utah trip questions

Grand Rapids...
posts: 15
reviews: 1
SE Utah trip questions

I am looking to take my family of 4 (with 10 & 12 year olds) on a trip to Southeastern Utah in early April 2014. We plan to fly in/out of SLC where we will rent an RV for our 1 week trip. We plan to pick-up the RV up on Saturday April 5th and return it Saturday April 12th. I have put together a rough draft of an itinerary and would like some feedback

4/5 – P/U RV and travel to Arches NP. Overnight at Devil’s Garden CG if possible.

How easy is it to get reservation for Devil’s Garden?

4/6 – Spend entire day touring Arches NP including taking the Fiery Furnace hike. Overnight at Devil’s Garden CG if possible.

4/7 – Tour Dead Horse SP and Canyonlands NP. Overnight in yet TBD RV park in Moab or farther south down US191(suggestions welcome)

Would we be able to tour Dead Horse SP and both the IITS and Needles section of Canyonlands in 1 day with some short hikes?

4/8 – Drive to Monument Valley and take sunset backcountry tour. Overnight at Gouldings.

Would we have enough time to drive over to 4 corners, take some pictures and be at MV in time for a sunset tour?

4/9 – Hit Valley of the Gods and Natural Bridges on our trip to Capital Reef. Overnight at Fruita CG if possible.

Is it advisable to take a rental RV on Moki Dugway?

Will we have time this day to also tour Goblin Valley?

How difficult will it be to get a site at Fruita CG this night since they do not take reservation and we will be arriving late?

4/10 – Tour Capitol Reef area. Overnight at Fruita CG if possible.

4/11 – Tour HWY 12 South. Overnight at Kodachrome SP CG if possible.

Will we have time to tour a bit of Bryce NP this day?

4/12 – Head back to SLC and return the RV by 11AM.

Thank you in advance for your feedback and recommendations.

9 replies to this topic
Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 9,925
reviews: 194
1. Re: SE Utah trip questions

Welcome to the forum. Exciting trip.

For sure Devil's Garden is a great spot in Arches. It definitely is full all the time but you're working well in advance. Try to get in there. You might even consider staying there the third night if you can.

For sure, you cannot realistically do Dead Horse, Islands and Needles in the same day. Needles itself is quite remote - about 90 minutes from Moab to get to the meaningful trailheads. Also keep in mind that it's all slower with an RV. Given your very tight timeframe for this trip, I would suggest you skip Needles to get to MV to buy some time for the latter part of your plan that has a lot of travel. While you can get over to Four Corners, it's more mileage on the RV and I don't feel it's worth the sidetrip as you're a bit tight on time anyways.

I would skip Valley of the Gods as it's not as impressive as other things you'll see. RVers can help you on Moki Dugway, but I feel if you're a shorter RV you should be fine. Natural Bridges is a worthwhile stop. I think you're too tight to do this, but Little Wild Horse Canyon adjacent to Goblin Valley is worth a stop.

After Capitol Reef, my suggestion would be to stay at Bryce rather than Kodachrome. While both are nice, you have limited time and Bryce, to me, is more important than Kodachrome.

On your departure day, Bryce back to SLC is about four hours, bit more with an RV. So with an early start, it's do-able.

Have fun.

Grand Rapids...
posts: 15
reviews: 1
2. Re: SE Utah trip questions

Thank you for the feedback.

As you noted, we have a bit of a tight timeframe so I am considering skipping the Bryce part at the end of our trip in order to spend more time around Moab, MV and Capitol Reef. We plan to head back to GC when our kids are older (we were there a few years ago) so we can hike down and stay at Phantom Ranch, and I figured we could hit Zion and maybe Bryce then.

Would it make sense to only go as far ar Captol Reef/Torrey and skip driving RT12 to Bryce?

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,255
reviews: 18
3. Re: SE Utah trip questions

Should be a lot of fun Jerry. Whenever i see a post about a family with kids, I just try to take myself back to when I was that age and what I would have liked to do. It included climbing on rocks, playing and jumping in sand dunes, and any access to water features. Devil's Garden is a fun campground where there are places to climb around on the rocks. I might stay there for 3-4 nights and work in a rafting trip and/or Jeep Safari. This early in the season should be fairly easy to get a camp site. You will want to check the website, but I think you can reserve a single site six months in advance.

recreation.gov/camping/…

Definitely not enough time to see The Needles, Island in the Sky, and Dead Horse Point in a single day. The Needles takes some time to access and a half day would be a drive by.

I don't think I would drive to the Four Corners either. It's really just a monument and souvenir shop and the drive to get there isn't great. You'd be driving for a few hours for a couple of pictures and bragging rights of stepping foot in those states.

I would also skip Natural Bridges, as you just spent a few days in Arches. It's different, but I think your kids would have more fun spending that time in Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon. Moki Dugway would be quicker but it will depend on the size of your RV. I'm not sure if there is a website that has detailed limits.

I think early in April should be fairly good chances to get a campsite in Capitol Reef, but probably not late in the afternoon. You might have to talk with folks already in the campground and find out when they are leaving and then go an RV park in Torrey for a night and back into Capitol Reef in the morning. Weekdays will be easier to get a site obviously.

If you do skip Bryce, it might be worth the time to drive over Boulder Mountain and the Hogs Back fopr a day trip from Capitol Reef and hike up to Calf Creek Falls. This is a flat 3-mile hike next to a small creek where the kids can play. There is a sandy beach and cold pool beneath the falls. We would spend three day weekends here when I was a kid. I'm not sure if they have RV parking though, as it's a small campground.

I was going to suggest dropping Monument Valley and going straight to Capitol Reef then Bryce. But if you are coming back to do Zion and the Grand Canyon in the future, it might make sense to add Bryce to that trip instead.

Edited: 1:45 am, August 20, 2013
Grand Rapids...
posts: 15
reviews: 1
4. Re: SE Utah trip questions

Thank you for the feedback.

Traveling with kids is always fun...you get to see the world through their eyes, and they force you to relax and enjoy where you are at the moment. We did a 2 week trip this past June to the Black Hills, Yellowstone and the Tetons, and they had more fun climbing rocks and exploring than going to simply "see" things. That trip was via car and now they desperately want to take a trip in an RV, so here I am trying to plan a trip in an RV...

Thanks again. I am sure I will have more questions as we better define our itinerary.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 12,526
reviews: 86
5. Re: SE Utah trip questions

<<How easy is it to get reservation for Devil’s Garden?>.

It is real easy if you do reserve them early enough through the website Shake801 gave. There are still some unreserved spots, but generally you need to arrive before 10 am to get them.

<< Overnight in yet TBD RV park in Moab or farther south down US191>>

While somewhere in Moab would probably be better I can recommend Cadilacc Ranch RV in Bluff.

<<Would we have enough time to drive over to 4 corners, take some pictures and be at MV in time for a sunset tour?>>

Yes. I don't know why people discourage this stop. It is fun for kids.

<<Is it advisable to take a rental RV on Moki Dugway?>>

I personally would not. Not due to rental issues, but because I'm a little intimidated by the road anyway.

<<Will we have time this day to also tour Goblin Valley?>>

If you didn't do Valley of the Gods you should be able to, and you would be violating rental contracts taking a rental vehicle on this road. Plus there are some washes that might be difficult with a longer vehicle.. Plan about 2 hrs for Natural Bridges.

<<How difficult will it be to get a site at Fruita CG this night since they do not take reservation and we will be arriving late?>>

It might be hard. This is not a large campground and it is a nice one. I would make a reservation at Thousand Lakes on the other side of Torrey.

Sounds like Bryce is already off the agenda. If you wanted a reprieve from rocks you could aim for one of the campsites on Boulder Mountain. Single Tree or Oak Creek are nice forest campgrounds.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 47,881
reviews: 42
6. Re: SE Utah trip questions

Valley of the Gods is a dirt road. Not recommended. I've seen 30' rigs on Moki Dugway and driving up is easier than driving down (and you are going up). keep an eye on the time it takes for the rental RV p/u and you'll also have to buy groceries. This all easily can take 4 hours so you won't be arriving Moab till the very end of the day. But you can buy groceries in Moab of course.

It's some 3+ hours to drive to 4 Corners and 2 hours from 4Corners to Monument Valley.

Tet

Torrey, Utah
Destination Expert
for Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park
posts: 970
reviews: 46
7. Re: SE Utah trip questions

"skip driving RT12 to Bryce?" This should be made a crime - one of the most scenic drives in the world.

I think you will get a camp place at Fruita in mid April, however I don't think the RV parks in Torrey will be open that early in the year. Most things in the area open in mid April though it does seem to get earlier every year.

Personally I consider the Moki Dugway just a freak, it's really not that interesting and the stretch of US95 you bypass is quite scenic. The big view from the top is OK but not really spectacular, especially compared to the views from highway 12. It does make a bit of shortcut for you of course.

Your plans will have to be somewhat flexible, while April can be nice there can also be winter storms in the higher country.

Edited: 12:18 pm, August 22, 2013
Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 47,881
reviews: 42
8. Re: SE Utah trip questions

Opinions on Moki Dugway differ. We like it very much and coming from Monument Valley it's also shortest way to Capitol Reef.

Grand Rapids...
posts: 15
reviews: 1
9. Re: SE Utah trip questions

Thank you everyone for the feedback.

I did not even consider th possibility of businesses not being open that early in April. I will need to check that out a bit more.

Now I just need to find out how I can work in driving RT12 down to Bryce before heading back to SLC......

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