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a week in southern and eastern Utah

Ohio
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a week in southern and eastern Utah

Any ideas for the areas of Combs ridge, Valley of the Gods, Antelope Canyon, Paige, AZ , Capitol Reef nation park areas, Burr Trail. Hiking, driving off road trails, out of the way places to see (maybe a California Condor if lucky).....get away from the crowds.

We will be renting a high clearance vehicle (maybe 4 wheel drive). Flying into and out of Las Vegas. Will be there early July for 7 days. One week back roads driving trip for two old farts/friends....will stay in older hotels along the way. Thanks in advance for ideas.

Edited: 11:54 pm, April 09, 2010
Ohio, USA
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for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
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1. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

Welcome to the forum, OhioOscar.

A week in southern UT, excellent! There is a LOT to see and do in the region, but way too much to fit into a week, so you will have some choices to make. Sounds like you guys want to get off the beaten path a bit. Are you planning on hiking, or mostly just driving and sight-seeing?

With a week, I suggest an itinerary that includes Zion, Bryce Canyon, drive route 12 between BC and Torrey/Capitol Reef and Page AZ. Even this may be too much for a week, depending on how much time you want to stay at each destination. Zion deserves at least 2 days (3 nights), Bryce Canyon at least an overnight stay (probably 2), you could spend a day just exploring along route 12; Capitol Reef needs a day; and you could spend several days in Page. So you see how the time adds up quickly. Perhaps focus on Zion and Bryce Canyon, then add either the drive up route 12 to Capitol Reef OR head down to Page.

You might want to check out the trip report archives at the top of the UT and AZ forums. The trip reports were written by fellow travellers after their adventures in these areas and provide a wealth of information on what to see and do, where to stay and eat and a lot of other great tips. The archives are found in the first post in each the UT ans AZ forums.

Also a caution on rental cars, even 4WD: the rental car companies frown on taking the cars on dirt roads, so off-road trails will be a no-no in their eyes. This would be a go at your own risk situation, I reckon. If you really want an off-road adventure, head down to Page and take a Hummer Tour to some of the slot canyons (check Things to do under Page).

Plenty of places to stay near Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef (Torrey) and Page, but you might want to get reservations in place as July will be a busy time of year.

Also, beware of the heat, as there will be plenty of that! Bryce Canyon will be a bit cooler due to the elevation (8000+ feet), but still in the 80s probably.

ontario ny
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2. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

Hey OhioOscar,

We just finished your same trip (plus GCNP) last week and It was great. Many people like Zion but my wife and I thought 1 night was plenty because we wanted to spend more time in isolated areas.( Grand-Staircase Esc. and Capitol Reef dirt roads) Everybody has different wants. I rented a "SUV" out of LV and they told me they didn't have a 4 wheel drive, thats another story. Here are a couple links to look at for dirt road driving http://www.scenicbyway12.com/

www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/recreation.html

Check your messages on this site to see more as I am out of time now.

Good luck.

Edited: 10:06 am, April 10, 2010
Santa Ana, CA
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3. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

Here's one of my favorites: Hole-in-the-Rock road.

This starts at the east end of the town of Escalante and runs southeast. Your goal here is to reach the Dry Fork of the Coyote Gulch. How's that for a name?

There are four slot canyons for hiking. Spooky and Peek-a-boo are the best known names. One is considered a bit boring, just a narrow canyon with high walls. Another has a large chokestone blocking the canyon; you could jump down it but couldn't get back up. My advice is to bring a hiking stick so you can drag it in the sand and find your way back to the car, or drop bread crumbs along the way. The most number of cars I've seen there is 3 or 4.

Along the way is the Devil's Garden which is a group of interesting hoodoos.

There's a visitor center in Escalante which can give you directions and maybe a map. Ask them about the condition of the road and tell them the type of vehicle you have. That road can have soft sand areas and can occasionally wash out.

At the visitor center ask them for directions to Covered Wagon Natural Bridge and Cedar Wash Arch. You can park at the natural bridge and walk up to and all over it. At the arch you park at the rim of a canyon and look out in the distance to see the arch. You won't see anyone out here.

Because of the heat these are best for early morning. Good maps are important, too. Also, there is a very neat looking older smaller motel in the middle of town plus a nice grocery store. I always stay at the Prospector Inn.

Santa Ana, CA
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4. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

The Burr Trail and Cathedral Valley loop are popular back roads in the Capitol Reef NP area.

Go to the search window in this forum and type in cathedral to see trip reports and others' comments. Do the same search for burr.

Something you might enjoy is some actual video footage. Look on the left side bars of this forum where you see hotels, flights, things to do, etc. Click on the bar for Videos. You should see two excellent videos from honeybun51 posted in 2007.

You'll find an excellent older motel in the center of Torrey with a good place to eat. I always stay at Austin's.

Santa Ana, CA
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5. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

Hell's Backbone and the Box Death Hollow. How's that for a name?

This graded and well-maintained gravel road leaves the town of Escalante heading north, then turns east, and ends in Boulder Town. The "backbone" is a skinny little ridge with dramatic drop-offs on both sides. They could build a bridge across it that is only one lane wide. I went there one time with a buddy and we took folding chairs and read books at the precipice of the hollow. I forget how deep that box canyon is - 500 feet or 1,000 feet? It's very scenic.

That road serves a few campgrounds nearby plus ranchers. You'll want to watch out for cattle on the road.

If you take this trip, be sure to loop back and take highway 12 back into town. Highway 12 between Escalante and Boulder is the most dramatic section. It crosses what's called the Hogsback.

There is an older and smaller motel in Boulder.

Have fun!

Uden, The...
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6. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

As OH already said, you are not allowed to drive off road with a rental car, 4wd or not. Sounds odd but that's how it is. You are taking a risk driving dirt roads. That said, we have done it many times but always check for roadconditions first at the local VIC and never drive when wet.

And make your reservations asa possible. It will be busy for lodging that time of year. The moment you leave the lodgingtowns you'll find enough places without the crowds. Antelope Canyon in Page is not one of them but don't miss anyway.

If you are renting a 4wd check if it really is one. Rentalcompanies tend to give you a 2wd SUV if you don't pay attention. The tag already will say RWD or AWD but check the car also. There still are enough places to explore without a 4wd. A SUV will come handy.

Tet

Ohio
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7. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

Thanks very much for your ideas.........I love Utah and it's back roads.......

Santa Ana, CA
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8. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

Check your car rental contract very closely. "Off road" to some people is "on road" to another. Many roads in southern Utah are not paved but are still graded and maintained on a regular basis by the county as a normal road. These roads commonly have names and numbers. The Auto Club (AAA) honors free towing and service to lots of these.

Go for the back roads!

Edited: 3:36 pm, April 20, 2010
9. Re: a week in southern and eastern Utah

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