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Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

Napa Valley, CA
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Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

We are planning a trip next May 2018 from the San Francisco area to Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and Yosemite. We can take 3+ weeks for this trip. We will be traveling in a 24 ft. motorhome. We are about to begin making our campground reservations for some of the very popular sites such as Devil's Garden in Arches, and Watchman in Zion. We specifically need help with the Utah and Arizona portion as we have not been there before. We are thinking: Arches 3 nights, Capitol Reef 1 night, Bryce 3 nights, Zion 3 nights, and the Grand Canyon 4 nights. Las Vegas will be a stop to see a show and refuel before heading home to CA and Yosemite.

Can any of you experts give us suggestions for the number of nights in each place, any other RV friendly campground or parks I should know about, or any other tips for this neck of the woods? We need to make the Arches reservations in the next few days. Also, Memorial Day weekend falls in the middle the trip...any park we should avoid during that busy time if possible? Thanks for your time and help.

9 replies to this topic
Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
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1. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

I suggest 2 nights Capitol Reef. Get that from your Bryce stay. You should do an overnight in Page AZ to visit Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend and to break up the long drive from Zion to the Grand Canyon. You can get that night from your Grand Canyon stay. 3 nights at the Grand Canyon will be more than sufficient.

There's one campground in Capitol Reef. I'm not sure if you can make reservations though.

There's one campground inside Bryce that takes reservations and there are only 13 spots. Otherwise, your option is the RV campground operated by the Ruby's Inn complex.

If you decide to stay in Page for Antelope Canyon, you'll need advance reservations for the tour.

On the Utah portion and on to the Grand Canyon, you'll be driving 2 lane highways with many areas of mountain driving...lots of elevation changes, tight curves, some switchback. Plan on your travel days taking longer than expected.

You will have to pay a $15 oversized vehicle fee for an escort thru the Mt. Carmel/Zion tunnel. Because of your itinerary, you'll pay it entering and leaving Zion NP.

The only national park I would want to be anywhere near over Memorial Day weekend Is Capitol Reef. and maybe Bryce. The others will be crowded.

I assume you are planning on purchasing an annual parks pass at your first park entry.

Edited: 2:31 pm, November 15, 2017
Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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2. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

Replied in your AZ thread. Posting the same question four times is confusing.

utah
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3. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

Time at the parks depends a lot on your preferences. Do you like to hike a lot? Do you like a lot of down time and a very leisurely pace?

Grand Canyon 1-2 nights (2 nights if you want to do extensive hiking and/or what to look out over the Grand Canyon for many hours). 4 nights is way too much.

Moab/Arches 3-5 nights. One downside of camping inside Arches is you are a long ways from visiting anything but Arches. 0 to 2 nights in Arches is plenty - only do 2 nights if you want to spend 2 full days in Arches hiking a lot. Then spend the other nights in Moab or maybe Canyonlands depending on what you are doing.

1-2 nights in Bryce. IMO 2 nights istoo long in Bryce but others feel differently. 3 nights is way too long.

3-5 nights at Zion - it depends on how much hiking you want to do.

1-2 nights in Torrey - personally I would do 2 nights in Torrey before doing 2 in Bryce.

1-2 nights in Page - Antelope Island and Lake Powell plus a convenient stopping place.

Kipling. SK
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for Zion National Park
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4. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

Bryce is having a campground construction project sometime early next year. Not sure if you can reserve in the park. As suggested, look at Ruby's Campground.

For Capitol Reef, the better suggestion is to look at one of the commercial campgrounds in Torrey. The Fruita campground in the park should still be a FCFS.

4 nights for the Grand Canyon is also excessive in my mind, unless you are doing something aggressive like a rim to rim or a visit to Phantom Ranch. You can treat Grand Canyon like Bryce, which is to visit a half dozen overlooks and ooh and aah for half a day.

I would also suggest a couple nights in Page. There is a commercial RV resort right in town.

Napa Valley, CA
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5. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

Thank you. I have been to the Grand Canyon but many, many years ago. Very fond memories. Have hiked to the bottom twice on 2 different trials and once spent the night at Phantom Ranch. I don't lan on that hike again but it seems the park is still worth 2-3 nights. We will probably take the above advice and take a day off Bryce and add a night in Torrey and maybe 2 in Page. As for races I think we will combine the camping in the park at Devil's Garden with a couple nights in Moab. We do like to hike. Thank you!

Salt Lake City, Utah
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6. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

You don't need 2 nights in Page unless you will be doing a water based activity on Lake Powell or the smooth float on the Colorado River below the Glen Canyon Dam. JMO, I'd do 3 nights in Torrey for Capitol Reef would give you 2 full days. There's lots of hiking in Capitol Reef and Torrey is a charming little town. That's s where I'd plan to be over Memorial Day weekend.

Napa Valley, CA
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7. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

Thank you. It looks like we will be in the Grand Canyon over Memorial Day. We will have finished with Utah by the last weekend in May. Can't do much about that now. We will be visiting lesser visited areas of Grand Canyon since I have been there twice already. Everyplace we go will be crowded so we will just have to deal with it. At least we plan all mid week days for our stay at Zion. But may take you advice about 2 nights in Torrey and only one in Page.

Encinitas...
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8. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

Not everyplace is crowded, like you think it is.Make use of the RV. Look into dispersed (no hook-up)camping near the GC.One of the nicest forest views is just feet outside the park boundary and not far off the main hwy.

azoffroading.com/arizona-trails/…

https://get.google.com/albumarchive/10016639…

Lots of BLM stuff beween Vegas and Yosemite depending on route. Free to camp and some of the nicest views around.Places like Alabama Hills near Lone Pine are fantastic. Hopefully Tioga Pass is open for you in May. That is a big question mark depending on the severity of winter this year.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/wyf8wNFsRnN9NoH32

Napa Valley, CA
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9. Re: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand anyone help?

Thanks. We will look into Alabama Hills near Lone Pine. We will be on our way to Yosemite on or around June 1 or 2 so we hope Tioga Pass will be open. We will have to check that as we get closer. We are also considering some of the dispersed camping areas and BLM areas. Thanks!

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