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Hiking Utah Parks in Summer

Princeton, NJ
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Hiking Utah Parks in Summer

I am trying to plan our summer vacation and keep going back and forth on where to go. In the past four years we have been to Acadia NP (annually), the Smoky Mountains, Glacier NP and the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, Yosemite and Sequoia NP, and the Grand Canyon (South Rim.) I will be going with my kids (ages 11, 13, and 16.) My husband may or may not be going with us. We mostly enjoy day hiking (8 to 12 miles); nature, and getting away from the crowds. They also enjoy rock climbing (with a guide.) Our trips typically are 10 to 14 days (length depending mostly on budget.)

My kids would like to go somewhere new this year and the Utah parks would look like an obvious choice. However, my daughter (the 13-year old) says she prefers not to go to a "hot" place. We are limited to a timeframe of the last two weeks of July and the first two of August and can spend about 10 to 14 days. I don't mind some driving but don't want to be spending more time on the road than on the trails.

My question is given what we like to do (hiking and nature), would you recommend a tour of the Utah parks (and perhaps Mesa Verde) or stick with higher altitudes for a July/August trip? (The other places I am thinking about are Olympic National Park (i'm going to post a question there as well) or going back to Glacier or Banff.)

Princeton, NJ
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11. Re: Hiking Utah Parks in Summer

I'm the OP on this thread. We ended up doing a 10-day trip (8 full days in the Utah Parks -- Zion, GCNR, Bryce, CR and Arches) in mid-July. We had a great time -- along with a whole lot of other people. Weather is hard to predict, but when we were there we tried to get to the trails early (though that didn't always happen) or later in the day. We did a lot of hiking. In Bryce we did the Navaho-Peekaboo-Queens Loop. That turned out to be one of the percieved hottest and sunniest days, but it was bearable. The first of two days near Arches was very hot and sunny and that was the only day that bothered me. The heat that day made the hike to Delicate Arch in the evening much tougher than I expected, but still worth it (and ok coming back when the sun was going down.) the next day we decided to do a jeep tour with Dan Mick to avoid the heat. That turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip for the kids.

In short, there is so much to see and do in the Utah parks or nearby that I would just go for it. It is a uniques area that will make you forget about the heat. If I were to say one place that would be better in other parts of the year it would be Arches/Canyonlands. On day 7 of our trip, my daughter said that we should come back ... she wants to go to Mesa Verde. You should also be aware that some of the Parks like GCNR can't be visited in the colder months and that with some of the trails like the Narrows in Zion you have the best chance of hiking them in the summer.

I would also note that (somewhat ironically) we went to Acadia National Park (Maine) in June. We've been there several times before and ususally have our fleeces at the ready. This year in June the temperature topped off in the low 90s. Not what I was expecting. We also just got back from Olympic NP and Mt. Ranier, where most of the time we were hiking in sunny conditions that felt alot like what we had in Utah, but with a bit more humidity. We still had a great time.

Merida, Yucatan
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12. Re: Hiking Utah Parks in Summer

Many thanks for that feedback. Very nice to hear from the OP.

So, it seems that it can be done. I will do some digging around TA pages as well as the NPS websites.

13. Re: Hiking Utah Parks in Summer

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