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Itinerary in April

Mechanicsville, MD
Level Contributor
194 posts
18 reviews
Itinerary in April

Hi fellow TA members, we are planning a trip in late April/early May and I've put together an itinerary and would welcome any feedback. I've read through lots of posts and google mapped this route and am a bit unsure if it makes sense. We are mid-50s, in pretty good shape, but like to limit our hikes to 3 or 4 miles. Also like to start out about 8 am and call it a day around 4 or 5 to enjoy a cocktail in our room before dinner. Thanks so much for your help!

Day 1: arrive Las Vegas (from Baltimore) at 9 am. Drive to Zion/Springdale and overnight. Hike a bit that day or next morning.

Day 2: drive to Bryce and do a few hikes. overnight in Bryce OR continue on to Torrey via Route 12. Should we overnight here or keep on to Torrey? (Not many dinner options in Bryce....)

Day 3 and 4: Whether we start out from Bryce or Torrey, plan to arrive in Moab. 1 or 2 nights in Moab? Would like to see Arches NP, still on the fence on Canyonlands.

Day 5 and 6: Drive to Cortez or Durango for 2 nights. See Mesa Verde NP. I think we need a full day to see the ruins on a tour.

Day 7: Drive to Grand Canyon, south rim. We don't plan on doing much hiking here, if any. I've been before and my husband would like to see it since we are in the area.

Day 8: Drive to Phoenix by way of Sedona, overnight in Phoenix or nearby.

Day 9: Fly home.

I'm unsure if we should overnight in Bryce, or Torrey for our 2nd night. I know that doesn't leave us a lot of time to see both parks, but since we are limiting ourselves to short hikes, I also don't want to leave too much idle time.

I'm also unsure if we need 2 nights in Moab, again for the same reason.

Lastly, does our route make sense? Maybe its totally nuts. And wasn't sure which forum to post to. Thanks again for your help!

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,140 posts
36 reviews
1. Re: Itinerary in April

Here's a suggestion:

Day 1: Arrive Las Vegas. Drive to Zion NP. (3 hour drive) Afternoon for Zion NP. Overnight Springdale

Day 2: Zion AM. (You could use another day in Zion if you want to hike) Drive to Bryce (2 to 2.5 hour drive) Afternoon Bryce. Overnight Bryce. Best times at Bryce are sunset and sunrise. You won't see them if you keep going to Torrey. (Zion to Torrey without any stops is about 5 hours).

Day 3: Drive to Torrey UT via scenic byway highway 12. This drive can take a few hours or all day, depending on stops you make along highway 12. Overnight Torrey

Day 4: Brief visit to Capitol Reef. NP.. Drive to Moab (4 hour drive). Overnight Moab

Day 5: Arches or Canyonlands

Day 6: Arches or Canyonlands

Day 7: Drive to Cortez/Mesa Verde. (2 hour drive) Overnight Cortez

Day 8: Mesa Verde

Day 9: Drive to the Grand Canyon (4.5 hours) Overnight Grand Canyon

Day 10: Drive Grand Canyon to Sedona to Phoenix (about 4 hours)

Day 11: Fly home

Drive times provided are wheels turning, no stops for fuel/food/rest breaks or allowances for traffic delays.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
66,651 posts
249 reviews
2. Re: Itinerary in April

Stay at Bryce over night.

You can barely begin to tour Mesa Verde in a single day from Durango or Cortez. Just understand that going in.

One night at Grand Canyon National Park is sufficient. Try to spend a night or two at Sedona.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
5,190 posts
33 reviews
3. Re: Itinerary in April

I think the route looks fine, but you're going to be in the car for a significant portion of this vacation. I think you're underestimating the burnout the driving will extract and also how much there is to do and see in each destination.

For instance, Mesa Verde's entrance is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Moab. But that is only to the entrance of the park. You must drive for another hour before you start seeing any of the ruins. You'll then want to tour through the ruins, which will take time. And then then hour drive back out of the park. Durango is another 45 minutes away. So you would likely be in the car for about 6 hours that day. That is longer than the flight MD to Vegas.

And the Moab area really has a ton of things to do outside of the parks from leisurely paved trails next to the Colorado River, to SUP, to wineries, to scenic mountain drives. It's really not a place to blow through in a night.

And with the current itinerary, you're really not going to see much of Zion. The drive from Vegas is about three hours to get to the entrance. And Utah is on Mountain time, which is an hour ahead of Pacific Time. You likely wouldn't arrive at Zion until 2:00 pm or so. By the time you check into a hotel, etc, you're not leaving yourself much time to explore the park.

If this were my trip, I would slow down and probably drop a couple of destinations from the list and spend more quality time in each area, so that I'm not driving so much. But that is just me.

Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
1 post
93 reviews
4. Re: Itinerary in April

Make sure you add Canyonlands when you are in Moab. You are able to do both in two days. Canyonlands has a very nice hike to also an arch. There is also a state park called Dead Horse which is also very nice. These parks are close by and you can do it in 2 days. Also go to Potash Road and see petroglyphs. If the night is clear go out and star gaze; it is beautiful

So Cal
Level Contributor
11,812 posts
75 reviews
5. Re: Itinerary in April

I don't think you have time to add anything new to your already-crammed list. In fact, I would consider dropping something. All your locations are fantastic, but this trip is just arriving and driving, with very little time to see anything.

If you do decide to press on and see everything, then yes, stay overnight in Bryce. Trying to leave Zion (without really seeing any of it) for Bryce, then driving on through to Capitol Reef and then Moab in a single day is really...sub-optimal. It's seven hours minimum of just driving, no stopping and seeing much less hiking. Certainly no leaving the room at 8am, hiking 3 or 4 miles, and enjoying a cocktail at 5!

Durango is nice, but as said, it's a good 45 minutes past the park, let alone past where you want to be in the park. Far View Lodge (inside the park) is best, Cortez would still be ok.

Edited: 9:28 pm, November 09, 2016
Mechanicsville, MD
Level Contributor
194 posts
18 reviews
6. Re: Itinerary in April

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I think we will try to rearrange a bit so we can spend less time driving. Thanks again!

7. Re: Itinerary in April

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