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Late October trip

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Chester Basin...
posts: 3,784
reviews: 54
Late October trip

Hello everyone "

Looking for a bit of help on the roadtrip we have put together. Arrive SLC late afternoon lodging in Provo, onwards to Bryce Canyon for 2 nights, on to Capital Reef one night then Moab 2 nights down to the View Hotel, Monument Valley, back up to Moab for 1 more night then back to SLC to catch a morning flight the following day. I've done extensive pre-planning but still a bit confused as to what order to see the sights, example can one see Dead Horse State Park on the trip from Capital Reef to Moab ? Can one see Goblin State Park on that roadway as well or is that off course somewhat ? I really want to see Canyonlands, Arches ( although not a hiker ? ) and Dead Horse looks fabulous as well. In the literature sent out from Utah Tourism they state that there are some very scenic drives in and around Moab that should not be missed, I'd love to take those in but wonder if any can be done in combination with a State Park visit. I'm usually pretty good with maps but find myself confused and with limited time would not like to waste any of it. Could you also tell me what time darkness falls late October in Utah please ? Thanks very much in advance ..

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
posts: 39,627
reviews: 131
1. Re: Late October trip

Goblin Valley is a relatively short and worthwhile detour off 24 between Capitol Reef and Moab.

Plan to visit Dead Horse Point SP and Canyonlands Islands in the Sky NP together as they are adjacent and easy to combine.

Highway 128 along the river is one of the most scenic roads you'll ever see, even after driving UT 12. Give it an hour or two to drive from Moab to the Dewey Bridge and back.

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
posts: 7,139
reviews: 353
2. Re: Late October trip

Starting with sunrise and sunset, try this link:

www.moab-utah.com/rack/sunrise/sunrise.html

For late Oct, it looks like around 6:40 for sunrise and 5:20 for sunset, so the days are certainly getting short.

Is your lodging all set? Is it too late to adjust? The reason I ask is perhaps one night at Bryce Canyon will be enough, since you are not a hiker. That will still give you one sunrise and one sunset and probably ample time for some short walks and taking the scenic drive. A night in Torrey is great so that you break up the drive from Bryce to Moab. If you can trim a night in BC, add it to Moab.

Goblin Valley is just a short drive off of route 24 just a little north of Hanksville as you are heading to Moab. Well worth the detour.

Moab is the gateway city for Arches, Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Dead Horse Point. Arches is 5 minutes or so from the center of Moab; Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point are 45 minutes to an hour drive.

The scenic drives to the parks and in the park are wonderful. Also take route 128 along the Colorado River. It is spectacular. All are easily accessible from Moab.

Here's the link to the trip report I wrote on our last excursion to Moab; it might give you a few ideas:

ohiohickpresents.weebly.com/tr---ut-2012.html

Edited: 4:55 pm, August 24, 2013
Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 12,995
reviews: 117
3. Re: Late October trip

Day 1- I am wondering if you wouldn't be better off staying somewhere close to downtown SLC that first night. The reason I say for that is because you'll be hitting commuter traffic which seems to start ever earlier. Your drive to Provo might take longer than it should. I'm assuming you are thinking of staying there to get a little bit further down the road for the next day. But if you head out in the morning you'll be going against the main traffic flow so it would be faster.

Another idea would be to stay in downtown SLC for the afternoon/evening- go to dinner, check out Temple Square, or City Creek and/or Gateway malls- and then about 7 pm (after the traffic will have died down) head south to the hotel in Provo. Traffic is bad on I-15 south usually between 4 to 6 pm

I'd keep both nights at Bryce, since your first day will be short. Use it to stop at Red Canyon first (you'll pass it on the way to Bryce). Then check out the main amphitheater in Bryce.

Day 2- Take your time this day, drive the scenic drive, take a short hike down into the hoodoos, check out the ranger programs, enjoy the changing light on the hoodoos. if you have extra time drive down to Kodachrome State Park and take a look there.

Day 3- Enjoy the drive up hwy 12. You'd have time for a stop at Kiva Koffehouse, and a drive on the Burr trail out of Boulder (go about 15 miles to the end of Long Canyon ) as well as a stop at the Anasazi State museum there. I expect you'd still have time for Capitol Reef's main historic area that day.

Day 4- Take the scenic drive to Capitol Gorge (in Capitol Reef) for a nice easy hike. Then on the way to Moab you would stop at Goblin Valley along the way. I would also take the turn into Canyonlands before you actually get to Moab. You should have about a half day to see both the main views in Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands, as well as Dead Horse Point. I like sunset from there, though you might not want to drive into Moab in the dark.

Day 5- Your full day in Moab use for Arches. Most of the hikes are fairly short. Visit the Windows and Devil's Garden. Go at least to Landscape arch in the Devil's Garden area. If you don't take the full day there you can use that time for either of two scenic drives. One along hwy 128 heading north east along the Colorado River at least as far as Fisher Towers, or one along the Potash road heading southwest along the Colorado river to the Jug Handle Arch. Otherwise save these for your second stopover in Moab. You could also plan for a sunset hummer tour into the backcountry.

Day 6- Since you'll be going both direction here you can take kind a loop. I'd take 191 south. You could do a trip into see the Needles section of Canyonlands. While much of it requires long hikes or 4x4 I still think it is an amazing place. You could spend half a day there. Then stop in Bluff for the historic Fort, and Twin Rocks Trading Post. Then enjoy your visit at Monument Valley... hopefully planning a back country tour there.

Day 7- On your way back to Moab I would take 261 from just past Mexican Hat. Take the detour to Goosenecks State Park (it won't take you long to visit,,, just a quick look at that amazing view). Then head up Moki Dugway (google it first so you know what you are getting into- but better heading north- be sure to stop at the top for the photo). Maybe a stop at Natural Bridges NM- plan 2 hours there. There are some ancient ruins along the way you could hike into see at Butler Wash (short hike). Also an interesting comparative to Anasazi SP at Edge of the Cedars in Blanding.

Day 8- take another look at Arches, drive the other scenic road that you didn't see yet (or both) along the river before heading north to SLC.

And sunset in Moab late October will be about 6:30 pm (I'm not sure when daylight savings kicks in which may account for the difference between me and Ohiohicks. I get my sunrise info from the USNO- they say it is still daylight savings time)

Edited: 6:04 pm, August 24, 2013
Chester Basin...
posts: 3,784
reviews: 54
4. Re: Late October trip

WOW thanks so much for the quick responses, I certainly appreciate all the valuable input.

Yes OhioHick, accommodations have been prepaid many months ago so I could get the best available selection and prices, in a way I'm glad I did as see many accommodations sold out now and if available much higher prices !

But it does leave me having too work around a few errors you could say. Another full day in Moab would be ideal ... I will definately take your advice and travel the 128 along the Colorado River , I think it's referred too as " UPPER COLORADO RIVER SCENIC BYWAY ( U-128 ) in my guidebook here from Utah Elevated. Also ' POTASH LOWER COLORADO RIVER SCENIC BYWAY ( U-279 ) looks great as well and "DEAD HORSE MESA SCENIC BYWAY ( U-313 ) but I take it this is the way to see DHSP viewpoints anyway so I'll be on that route I assume so the other two are a must. I would love to see this vista DHSP at sunset as Kb suggests but am night blind at the best of times so should probably do a hummer tour if a sunset tour is available. I'm an avid photographer and can only anticipate how beautiful this area is at that time of day, I'm really so excited !!

You are correct in assuming Kb that I'm trying to get on my way ( accommodation Provo ) after arrival at SLC southbound but didn't think for a minute about rush hour traffic ( dah ) Arrival is at 3 pm then I have to retrieve luggage and pick up a car rental so timing won't be good on the 19. I did want to see Temple Square but had that in for the last day before departure , perhaps now I should reconsider this plus a meal is a good idea, they don't over feed you on the airlines that's for sure. Kill some time before heading to Provo .. I'm coming from the Northeast with a few connections so felt the distance from SLC to Provo would be adequate, I have hotel flexibility here, do you suggest another area maybe ? I would like to get on my way early that evening southbound but see lots of places along the 19 to stay, any input there at all ?

I will be staying in SLC on my last day .

Because I'll be almost 12 hours getting there with connection times I felt 2 nights at Bryce would be a good idea although I realize it's not that large. Last year I overplanned Arizona ( pretty sure RedRox told me so) and this is why I have slowed the pace down a touch this time around. I saw everything in Arizona but wow was I on the fly, don't wish to make the same mistake twice for this roadtrip. I'd like to see sunrise the following day and do a mule excursion down in to the canyon etc ..

I love your itinerary Kb, thank you so very much for typing all that too me, I'm going to follow it almost to a T. Is Goblin Valley a drive thru type park or one you park and walk around ? The Moki Dugway !!! So very happy you mentioned this, I would have overlooked it. I did google it as you suggested, I can't wait, looks like a thrill and Goosenecks is a must also.

For that portion after leaving MV and at Mexican Hat the 261 adjoining the 95 to Blanding then same road as going down the 191, I would be backtracking at this point am I correct ?

Thank you very much for your time and OhioHick, appreciate the link, very interesting read.

Edited: 12:21 pm, August 25, 2013
Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,372
reviews: 18
5. Re: Late October trip

Looks like a very fun trip. Goblin Valley has a large overlook area, but i will suspect you will want to get up close and personal with many of the rock features. With shadows in the right places, the rocks really do look like goblins and creatures. I've wandered around at night on a full moon the imagination can start to run wild. You might be there less than an hour, or it might attract your attention and you could be there for a 2-3 hours. It might depend on whether or not you have kids traveling with you. And yeah, the times I've seen for sunset are closer to 6:40ish. You can google the specific info.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 12,995
reviews: 117
6. Re: Late October trip

There are many places for dinner in SLC. If you like Mexican then Red Iguana is considered the best. In Gateway Mall you have the Brasilian bbq Tucanos and more.

If you stay in Salt Lake for a look see and dinner then Orem/Provo would still be a good place to stop for the night. The mid range hotels off University Parkway in Orem exit 269 are easy to access from the freeway.

Yes, you have the scenic byways in Moab correct

Yes, there will be some backtracking on your Moab to MV to Moab loop. Like this: http://goo.gl/maps/Y77Gv

It is a beautiful area, each place wonderful and amazing.

7. Re: Late October trip

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Chester Basin...
posts: 3,784
reviews: 54
8. Re: Late October trip

Great idea, I'll download Scenic Driving Utah, thanks for the suggestion.

9. Re: Late October trip

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