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Working on itinerary - Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion

Bethesda, Maryland
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Working on itinerary - Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion

I am posting this on the Bryce, Zion and GC forums. We are planning a trip for Aug 2006. Two couples in 40s-50s, and 5 kids (ages 7, 8, 15, 17, 18). We want to do Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion. We will begin at Las Vegas and end at Colorado Springs, or just round-trip to Vegas. We have two weeks.

I would love any advice about what to see along the way, how many days you would stay at each park, great places to stay besides in the parks, things that the kids will love, etc. We are pouring over the guidebooks but want to know what should not be missed from those who love it there. None of us are serious hikers, and that would be limited by the two little ones anyway. But we are interested in things like the float trip.

Thanks in advance!

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1. Re: Working on itinerary - Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion

There are so many possiblities with 2 weeks and young kids will surprise you. DS did the Queen's Garden hike and wasn't even 4 years old yet.

One route would be:

Las Vegas, Grand Canyon (2 nights and 1 full days) Walking along the rim and riding the free shuttle buses is a lot of fun. Make sure you stop at the scenic overlooks as you exit the park on your way to Page.

Page, AZ (3 nights and 2 full days) to do the float trip and a boat tour on Lake Powell. There was a 5 year old on our raft for the float trip and he LOVED it! The Upper Antelope Slot Canyon involves just an easy 1 mile walk.

Zion National Park (2 - 3 nights) Ride the free shuttle buses into the parks canyon. The Riverside Walk is a 2 mile round trip hike that is an easy hike. If everone is up for more then try Weeping Rock and at least the Lower Emeral Pools.

Bryce National Park (2 nights, 1 full day) Lots of good trails along the rim if you don't want to hike into the canyon. I'm sure everyone could do the Queen's Garden trail

Drive Hwy 12 to Torrey, Utah (2 nights and 1 full day) Explore Captiol Reef National Park. Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge are both easy level hikes. Grand Wash is longer but more impressive IMHO.

Drive to Moab, Utah and spend (3-4 nights...depending on how much time you have left.) Arches National Park, Canyonlands - Island in the Sky District, Dead Horse State Park, you can do a rafting trip from Moab, there are petroglyphs on the Potash Road and Kane Creek Road. You can make a day trip down to Canyonlands - Needles District if you have time or you can rent 4 x 4 jeeps in Moab and explore some of the great jeep trails like the Shafer trail. I would try and talk everyone into the Delicate Arch hike. This hike is 3 miles round trip and it's a more difficult hike but well worth it. If nothing else...send the teenagers on this one! My youngest did the Delicate Arch hike at the age of 8 without any problems. August will be hot so carry plenty of water and hike early morning or late afternoon. Delicate Arch is best in the evening for lighting.

When you leave Moab, Utah take Hwy 128 to Interstate 70 for the scenic drive to Grand Junction.


Dublin, OH USA
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2. Re: Working on itinerary - Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion

We (wife, myself and 2 kids age 7 and 9) just returned from a circumnavigation of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas toataling 11 days. We started in Vegas and drove to Williams. We stayed overnight at the GC Railway Hotel and took the GC Railway into GC and stayed overnight at Yavapai. 27 hours at the rim gave us time to go to all the viewpoints and do a small hike below the rim.

We came back the next afternoon and drove to Flagstaff.

In Flag we stayed at the Days Inn for 2 nights, which was fine, but there were some nicer looking properties nearby(Radisson). We checked out the Lowell observatory and took a day trip down 89 through the Coconino forest to Sedona.

We drove to Page the next day, and again stayed at the Days Inn. We checked out Lake Powell. We didn't get to go to Antelope Canyon, but its looks awesome. There are 2 ways to see Antelope Canyon, one is with a tour, the second is right at the Canyon with an Indian Guide(which was cheaper). In retrospect, I would not have stayed in Page. I would instead do a day trip to Page and continue to the North Rim or Bryce.

We drove to Bryce and stayed over 2 nights at Bryce Country Cabins in Tropic. There are some nice B and B's in Tropic which are reasonable. Ruby's Inn is at the entrance to Bryce, but that place is GIGANTIC. We were glad that we went to a smaller more intimate place. Bryce could be done in one day, but we took 2 and did the driving tour, some hiking and a morning trip to Cedar Breaks.

We drove to Zion and stayed at the Zion Lodge for 2 nights. The lodge was great because of its location. But the places in Springdale all looked great and were accesible by shuttle. We hiked Watchman, Lower and Upper(my Favorite)and Middle Emerals Pools, Riverwalk, and Weeping rock trails.

We drove up to Kolob Canyon on the way back to Vegas.

For the most part, we just took our time and enjoyed the scenery. This forum was great in planning, I am so glad I found it.

We had a great time, I hope you do too.

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3. Re: Working on itinerary - Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion

Plan to stop at Valley of Fire State Park, about half way between LV and Springdale, Utah (Zion). It will only take you slightly out of your way - really worth it - like being on a different planet! Then you can make a lunch stop at Mesquite (a gambling town on the Nev/Arizona border). We stopped at Oasis Casino, and had a great (cheap) meal. My teens played in the gameroom and even enjoyed go-carts outside while my husband made a quick $200 at blackjack!

Continue your ride to Springdale, you'll be passing through a gorgeous gorge with incredible mountainous scenery. Don't rush this trip - it's to be cherished. Springdale is a great little town (strip). I'd recommend at least 3 nights there. Zion is huge and you really need to do some hikes to see the park. Pick up Frommer's little guide book to Zion and Bryce. Really useful for chosing hikes.

We did Bryce as a day trip from Zion - 2 hours in each direction. You'll love the hoodoos, but watch out for the altitude change. Drink lots of water, and take it slow. The air is really thin (Bryce is at 8,000+ feet). We drove back to Springdale before dark, and we were glad to go down to a lower altitude. Bryce is the kind of park you can drive from viewpoint to viewpoint, so technically you can do it in one day.

I can't comment on driving to Grand Canyon, because we did that as a seperate trip - took a small plane from LV - then they shuttled us around South Rim. All I know is you'll be a lot closer to the North Rim, which is supposed to be much less commercial and just as nice.

Good luck with your plans, and book early! I recommend Flanigans Inn in Springdale. Write back if you have questions.

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: Working on itinerary - Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion

We went the opposite way from Vegas, to Bryce, Kanab, Paige, GC, and then back to Vegas - one week and 1700 miles on the car - so worth it.

Like you, we don't hike, but two of the most memorable things I saw on our trip were Kodachrome Basin and the Pink Sand Dunes.

Do a search on google for Southern Utah - there is a fellow who has a website with all types of things to see.

That area is awash in God's gifts.

Good Luck.

Glasgow, United...
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5. Re: Working on itinerary - Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion

we spent two weeks last year in the area.

Started from Las Vegas, drove to St George, Tropic, Page, Kayenta, back to Page via Springdale and back to Las Vegas.

On the way we managed to visit -

Zion National Park

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Bryce Canyon

Petrified Forest

Kodachrome Basin

lake Powell and LP Dam

Monument Valley

Canyon de Chelly

Hubble Trading Post

Grand Canyon North Rim

Lake Powell (again) and

Zion NP (again - well worth a second visit)

Of course not forgetting 4 days in Las Vegas at the end. It seems like a huge mileage but it wasn't and we had the best time ever. It's truly magnificent scenery and if you are lucky enough to time things right (Monument Valley at sunset) you will see some of the world's most magnificent settings.

We purchased a guide book (Rough Guide to Southwest USA) which was great, gathered lots of info from the wonderful people on this site and registered with the tourist authorities in Utah




they sent us some fantastic literature and leaflets which helped a great deal.

Hope you have a great trip and a fun time planning!

One last thought - the North rim of the Grand Canyon was much quieter than the south and less touristy and if you stay in Springdale plan to stay at the Desert Pearl Inn - heaven on earth!

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