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Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

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Chelmsford, United...
Level Contributor
12 posts
13 reviews
Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

We are planning trip to Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion and then up to Yellowstone in Aug/Sept. We are flying into Las Vegas and will spend a couple of nights there (because you have to) but then want to find a place that we can use as a base to visit Grand Canyon, Bryce, Antelope and Zion over 4-5 day period before heading up to Yellowstone. On the map, Kanab looks to be a good contender and, as long as we visit GC North Rim, everything is within 1.5-2 hours drive.

The idea is that we will probably do some hiking, but nothing hard core, so am assuming 3-4 hours on the ground plus drive time for each location (although Grand Canyon will probably warrant more attention).

What have other people done? Is Kanab a good centre or are we losing out by trying to keep to one base?

All advice, experiences gratefully received.

Atascadero...
Destination Expert
for Lake Powell
Level Contributor
1,152 posts
1. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

Kanab is centrally located, but in my view, you generally want to be closer to the areas where you are planning activities. What looks simple and close on a map belies the wide open spaces you will encounter when you're actually there. That means moving your base. Otherwise, you will be spending about 4 hours per day in the car (round trip to and from Kanab), plus planned activities. You'll need to eat, organize, and soon enough, you've taken up a good part of the day by late morning without having really explored your destination. In some cases, you'll want to be enjoying the sunrise or sunset, which will be very difficult if you have to spend 2 hours in the car in pre-dawn hours, or to drive at night after sunset.

Fortunately, southern Utah is set up like a convenient circle (sort of), and you can take advantage of part of it. Lots of ways to do it, but you could start in Zion (Springdale is a good place to stay), then the GC North Rim, on to Page (Antelope), then up to Bryce... and finally leaving from there on your way to Yellowstone.

If you plan it right, you'll minimize drive times as you stay overnight closer to areas you plan to explore the next day. Keep in mind, however, that that's a lot of places and things to see in 4-5 days, so you will be doing a lot of driving no matter how you slice it.

There are many other posts in this forum about possible itineraries covering these bases...

Good luck!

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
14,589 posts
128 reviews
2. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

Yes, Kanab is a central location. As long as you don't mind the 4 hours extra driving you'd need to do each day.

There are things to do in Kanab as well, such as the Best Friends Animal Shelter, Coral Pink Sand dunes, and the Little Hollywood hall of fame and old western town.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
44,981 posts
154 reviews
3. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

Unanimous. Kanab is central but it makes little sense to base yourself at one place for the three destinations. As Kbec noted, you'll waste 3-4 hours of every day with the commutes. Add to that the fact that you'll miss sunrise and sunset at all of them. Driving in the darkness is a bad idea.

Better to book lodging and move on to each place. Book GCNP north rim first since it's the hardest to get. For Zion, stay in Springdale, and for Bryce, stay at Rubys.

Chelmsford, United...
Level Contributor
12 posts
13 reviews
4. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

Many thanks to you all for your posts. I think I will check back through the forum to come up wih a more practical itinerary.

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
4,187 posts
105 reviews
5. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

No need to sift through the forum looking for relevant info. Post your ideas here and the forum members can give you ideas on a timeframe, routes, places to stay, etc.

Chelmsford, United...
Level Contributor
12 posts
13 reviews
6. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

This is a revised itinerary which I would be interested for comments on. I realise that we are covering a lot of ground but really want to get to both Grand Canyon and Yellowstone during the visit. I have tried to include a few non-transfer days just to break things up. Any suggestions about accommodation/actvities will be most welcome.

Day Activity

1 Flight from LHR to Las Vegas.

2 Day in Las Vegas

3 Day in Las Vegas

4 Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (AM).

Lunch/PM/evening at Grand Canyon.

Overnight stay in Grand Canyon

5 Full day in Grand Canyon

Overnight stay in Grand Canyon

6 Drive to Page

Visit Lake Powell

Overnight stay in Page

7 Drive to Bryce via Antelope Canyon

Overnight stay in Bryce

8 Full day in Bryce Canyon NP

Overnight stay in Bryce

9 Drive to Salt Lake City

Overnight stay in Salt Lake City

10 Full day in/around Salt Lake City

Overnight stay in Salt Lake CIty

11 Drive to Idaho Falls

Overnight stay in Idaho Falls

12 Drive to Grant Village, Yellowstone NP

Tour Yellowstone NP

Overnight stay in Grant Village

13 Full day in Yellowstone NP

Overnight stay in Grant Village

14 Drive to Idaho Falls via Grand Tetons/Jackson (full day)

Overnight stay in Idaho Falls

15 Drive back to Salt Lake City, flight to Las Vegas to Connect with flight home

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,339 posts
384 reviews
7. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

Well, I think you are speeding through some of the most amazing places in the US.

The AZ/UT portion is not too bad, but you seem to be missing Zion completely (yeah, I know that you can't do it all).

I don’t think you are allotting near enough time for Yellowstone with your current plan. Why stop in Idaho Falls? It is not that far from SLC. Why not go on To West Yellowstone or Jackson; that way you will be closer to the parks and can take better advantage of the time. Yellowstone is a huge park compared to the UT parks, so it takes a lot more time to explore. Plus add in Grand Teton (just south of Yellowstone). It is eas to spend a week just in those tow parks (and more time is really needed). So I would at least make the drive from SLC to some place closer to or inside Yellowstone.

While what you have proposed is doable, I think you are trying to combine 2 vacation into one. You havfe 15 days. To me Yellowstone and Grand Teton is at least a week and probably more like 10 days. You can make southern UT and northern AZ anything from a few days to a couple weeks. So, the plan you have will work, but it might be a little rushed. It really depends in large part on what you want to do at each destination (are you just looking to get the high lights or are you wanting to do some more serious exploration and hiking?)

It will be a great trip regardless. It is hard to be the US National Parks.

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
4,187 posts
105 reviews
8. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

I personally think your plan is quite workable, but still I have a couple of questions.

I also notice that Zion is absent from the plan. Is this because you have been there previously, or is it just a fact of needing to drop something to give adequate time to another spot?

Day 11. What is happening here between Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls? If there is nothing on the agenda, I would make the drive from Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone. You will still have the time to drive along the river in Idaho Falls if you choose to.

Day 14, stay Jackson, or another point nearby. The next day return to SLC via the scenic route US89/Bear Lake/Logan.

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,339 posts
384 reviews
9. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

Sounds like Widmarsh and I are on the same page relative to the excursion into WY. Get to the parks and start explorting; there is a LOT to see!

Chelmsford, United...
Level Contributor
12 posts
13 reviews
10. Re: Kanab - is this a good central point for GCNR, Bryce & Zion

Appreciate the feedback. You're right about Zion; it is a question of too much to do, too little time. Regarding Idaho Falls, it just seemed to break the journey better,especially on the way back to SLC. Is Jackson a better bet? It appears to be about a 4/5 hour journey from SLC but I am relying on Google maps for my info. I understand that we are cramming things in and that each park deserves more time. We will do some walking but will not be doing anything hard core - park up and trek for a 2/3 hours max.