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Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

Hiddenite, North...
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Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

We are planning a trip June 28 - July 5 to the Grand Canyon area. Sites we want to see and things we want to do: Grand Canyon North Rim, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, Four Corners Monument, Durango and Silverton Railroad and then catch a Rockies game in Denver.

We land in Las Vegas at 3:40 on a Saturday and will probably hang out in the area for the night. Trying to figure out our best route so I can make necessary reservations for Mule Ride, Train Ride, etc. Any suggestions for best route would be appreciated!

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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1. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

So, you have 7 days / 6 nights total? And the Rockies play at 2pm on July 5th in Denver - is that the game you're attending? (Do you already have tickets?) Las Vegas to Denver is over 1,000 miles; while you can drive it in the 6+ days that you have, you won't be able to see and do much of the things on your list.

Las Vegas to GC North Rim is 5 hours. You need two nights and a full day at GCNP. North Rim to Bryce is 3.5 hours. One night at Bryce. Bryce to Moab is 4-5 hours. You could easily spend a week in Moab but a minimum of two nights to see Arches. Skip Four Corners monument. I know very little about Durango and Silverton train but I presume you need a whole day and two nights. Durango to Denver is another 6+ hours drive. If you add all that up, that's alreay 7 nights right there...

It might help you to use an app like mapquest.com or googlemaps.com to work out your itinerary to understand the distances and drive-times involved. Keep in mind that many of the roads in this part of the country are in remote areas and there is a real risk in driving after dark because of the wildlife (hitting an animal can easily total the car.)

Lastly, your trip is over 4th of July weekend, which is a popular travel week. Lodging availability may already be very limited. GCNP North Rim has only one lodge and availability will undoubtedly be an issue.

tucson az
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2. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

(Edit: As DTF has pointed out, doing everything that you want to do is not possible in 7 days.)

For GCNP, go to the website and learn more about the park.

nps.gov/grca

For North Rim mule trips, see the info from the website:

www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/mule_trips.htm

But, if you're going to be at the North Rim, the first priority is lodging. Right now there is no availability for your dates. You will need to call and check for availability. The park website (not the lodge website) will tell you about alternatives some of which are quite distant from the park.

http://grandcanyonlodgenorth.com/

In general, you would want to go to Zion and Bryce, and then to GCNP NR, then other destinations. If you ae not going by Four Corners, it's not worth detouring to see. If you don't have one, get yourself a tabloid size atlas so you can plot out your trip; less than $10 for Rand McNally US Atlas at Walmart. Look at other parks in UT and CO that might fit in your time frame.

Edited: 3:42 pm, March 18, 2014
Hiddenite, North...
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3. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

We have Saturday to Saturday, 8 days and 7 nights. The game is Friday night at 6. We don't have tickets yet, but have found some online we're thinking about getting. I'm checking online now for lodging. I have been on mapquest to check distances. Just trying to piece it all together and see how we need to adjust things.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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4. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

OK, but you said you're not arriving until 3:40 on Saturday and spending that night in LV, and if you have to be in Denver by 6pm on Friday, you effectively have SIX days and five nights to get from Las Vegas to Denver.

Hard to know what to suggest cutting out without knowing your priorities but, if it were me, I'd probably do something like Bryce, then up to Torrey via UT-12 (Grand Staircase Escalante NM), then Moab (Arches), and then straight to Denver via I-70. But you would miss GCNP and Durango.

Sedona, AZ
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5. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

Not enough time. As noted, you need two nights at the Grand Canyon National Park north rim. It is not a drive by and certainly not a day trip from anywhere. In addition to the remote location of the park access, the view points are distant and without at least a full day, you'll see little more than high plateau forest land.

Zion is noticeably absent from your rushed plan. Too bad. Bryce is a favorite and needs at least one night.

Moab needs and deserves 3 days because it offers way more than just Arches. The 4 Corners monument is a waste of time, though it is on the way to Durango. But you need 2-3 nights there as well.

You need to prioritize and create a more efficient route.

Columbia, Maryland
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6. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

Agree with others. You can't do all that in the time alloted. We did a 10 day road trip from Denver that took in Durango and the train (the train is an all day thing - you need 2 nights there to do it or at least the night before. It departs early AM), Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon North Rim (need 2 nights there), a rockies game and Pikes Peak. Didn't have time to fit in any of Moab (Arches), Zion, or Bryce.

Don't go out of your way for 4 corners. It is only worth it if you happen to be driving by that way.

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

Just let us know what's most important for you.

Hiddenite, North...
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8. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

Well, they said it couldn't be done but we did it. We flew into Las Vegas, spent the night there and left the next day. We drove to the Colob Canyons of Zion National Park. After driving through that, we drive through the Dixie National Forest and on to Bryce Canyon. We went to all of the overlooks and dos some very short hikes. Then on to Kanab, Utah. We spent the night there, had a fabulous dinner at Houston's Trails End Restaurant. The next morning we left early and got to the Grand Canyon North Rim. We rode the mules, had dinner and sat out under the stars at the Lodge. I even saw a shooting star over the Canyon! After spending the night in a cabin there, we spent a little time near the Lodge. We left and drove to Four Corners National Monument then drove on to Durango. We rode the Durango & Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad the next day. Spent another night and headed to Arches National Park. We stopped in Moab for picnic food and went to Arches. We stopped briefly at the Visitor Center and began our stops at Arches. We did the trails to the Arches that were less than 1 mile. The others, we just drove by and that was ok with us. We left Arches after 5. It was the only time we drove at night except in cities. We drove US Hwy 70 east to Denver. It stormed and the road had water gathering in it. Every time I thought about stopping, the rain let up. So when we got to Denver it was pretty late. The next day we got up, walked downtown, took lots of photos, ate lunch at the Rodizio Grill and went back to our hotel for a quick swim. That evening we walked to Coors Field for a baseball game. It sprinkles rain on us but by the time we got into the stadium it was pouring rain and stormed a bit. It eventually quit raining and we enjoyed the game and the fabulous fireworks. The next day we slept a little late and went to the airport and flew home. Were we tired? Absolutely. Did we miss seeing or doing some things? I'm sure we did. Do I wish we had waited until we had more time or had eliminated anything? No way! We had a blast even though we drove a lot. Sometimes, the drive was as cool as what we were going to see! So maybe next time someone comes to the experts for advice, tell them, yes, you'll be rushed but if you don't have to explore every trail, read every plaque and eat at every specialty restaurant and it's ok, then go for it. Sme days we ate peanut butter sandwiches at a picnic table or fresh bread driving down the road. But it was just part of the adventure. We took over 2,000 pictures on our camera and a lot more on our iPhones. And the memories are priceless!

Sedona, AZ
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9. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you'll return someday for a proper visit. You surely missed a lot. But no way for you to know that.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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10. Re: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Denver and points in between

Thanks for checking back in. Yes, you packed a lot into a few days. Now you know what to come back and see again when you can spend more time. I just got back from an eleven day, 3,200 mile road trip. I know what you mean about the traveling being a big part of the adventure!