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10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

Princeton, NJ
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10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

I am thinking about taking my three kids (ages 11, 13, and 16) on a trip to see the Utah Parks in July. I thnk that we would have ten full days for exploring. (I am not including the travel days from the east coast in that total.) We would most likely fly into Las Vegas. I have looked at the "loop" suggestions, but would like to get some more guidance as to how to plan out the trip and what to include as far as destinations for the amount of time we will have and what our interests are.

As far as our interests ... My kids are experienced hikers (can do up-to 12 mile moderate to strenuous hikes.) So I would like to do some good hikes, but probably would try to limit hiking to earlier or later in the day to minimize how much time we are in the heat. I would also like to hire a guide to do a half- or full-day of canyoneering, though I am not sure which park would be the best to do that in.

My kids are very interested in Native American sites as well as fossils so I would like to include something related to that if possible. Personally, I have always wanted to go to Mesa Verde, but I am not sure if that would be feasible on a trip of this length.

In addition, my 13-year old daughter is very interested in photography so good spots for that, espeically sunsets would be places we would want to check out.

I have made reservations for the time when we would be there at Bryce Lodge and Zion Lodge, but there is a gap in time between them. A few years ago on a trip in Arizona we visited the Grand Canyon South Rim, Page, and Monument Valley (great jeep tour with a Navaho guide), so those locations would not be high on our list to see.

So, which parks would be best to focus on? I was thinking three nights in Zion, 1 in Bryce and then I'm not sure how much time in the others. Where would be the best places to get in some good hiking (mindful that it will be July) and possibly get away from some of the crowds?

Also, it seems like a lot of people include the north rim of the Grand Canyon in this type of trip, but it looks like quite a detour from the other parks. Is it a place I should include even if I have been to the South Rim? and if I didn't do the North Rim, would I be able to comfortably go to Mesa Verde or would that be jamming too much in? or in this time frame would it make more sense to focus on just a few of the Utah parks?

Belleville, IL
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11. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

If you are flying in/out of SLC, then Moab would make more sense than the Grand Canyon. Arches is very nice for photography and you can add Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. (Both around 50 minutes from Moab.)The Island of the Sky District of Canyonlands is sort of similar to the Grand Canyon geography on a smaller scale.

Capitol Reef would also be an easy add on since it is between Bryce and Moab and easy to see some of the highlights in a short amount of time.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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12. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

Try this: http://g.co/maps/7rtcf

day 1- Head to Bryce (overnight in Bryce unless that 5 hr drive just seem to long, then Beaver (3 hrs) has some good hotels and restaurants.)

day 2 Bryce, one day is plenty here, stay bryce

day 3 Head to North Rim (three+ hours), Over night here, though that might be hard to get a spot. keep calling their reservations as cancellations do occur. You'll have half a day to explore the area around the lodge (transept trail, Bright Angel etc.)

day 4 Take a drive out to Cape Royal and Point Imperial. You could do this by early afternoon. Then drive to Zion (about 3 hr) Enjoy the main canyon via shuttle, maybe take Riverside trail

day 5 canyoneering

day 6 more Zion- Narrows or Angel's Landing or Observation point /Hidden Canyon

day 7 drive to Moab via I-15/I-70 (about 6 hr dr) Stop in at Dead Horse Point and/ or Canyonlands Island in the sky before actually getting to Moab. That would be a long day, start early.

day 8 Arches

day 9 something fun like a jeep tour or river trip

day 10 drive back to SLC via Price and hwy 6 (4 hrs)

Edited: 11:48 am, April 30, 2012
Princeton, NJ
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13. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

That looks like it would certainly make everyone happy in tems of what they would like to see and do. I was concerned that doing either Moab or the Grand Canyon might be too aggressive. So, that is encouraging to me.

Right now I been able to get a reservation at the Grand Canyon North Rim (big enough for everyone) on the 5th night or 8th night. I don't know that either would work out with this itinerary, unless if I reversed the itinerary and did Moab first, but that might leave me with too long of a drive back to the airport.. So, I will keep trying.

I had a question about driving at night around the parks. I know sunset will still be around 8:40 when we are there, But if I do end up in the dark are the Interstates pretty good or do I have to really look out for wildlife?

Thanks

Salt Lake City, Utah
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14. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

Nothing is ever guaranteed with animals, but for the most part you would not have a problem on them at night. You wouldn't want to travel through the Grand Canyon at night unless you go veerry slowly. And between Zion and Bryce would not be a good idea either.

I'll try it the other way and see what we get for Grand Canyon on the 8th day.

Day 1 SLC to Moab (4 hr) stay Moab

Day 2 Arches

Day 3 something fun like rafting or jeeping or horseback riding (or explore some of the other places like hwy 128 or Corona Arch

day 4 Morning Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Dead Horse Point then drive to Zion via I-70 and I-15

day 5 Zion

day 6 Canyoneering

day 7 morning hike to Canyon overlook then drive to Bryce

day 8 drive to GC enjoy lodge area

day 9 drive to Points Imperial and Cape Royal then head north getting to maybe Beaver

day 10, to SLC

Princeton, NJ
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15. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

Thanks, I really appreciate you for helping me plot these out.

It looks like taking Rt. 89 to Richfield would be about the same amount of time from the North Rim as getting to Beaver and would give us a quicker drive back to SLC airport the next morning. Is that right? or is there a reason I would want to avoid taking Rt. 89 and/or Rt. 28.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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16. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

No reason not to go 89 to Richfield (with a short hop onto I-70). 89 is a mostly two lane road with some stretches for passing, but it isn't usually too crowded, so it shouldn't be bad.

I can't figure out what road you mean when you say 28?

From Richfield I would take 89 to Aurora (260) to 50 to I-15 for the most direct road back to SLC.

Princeton, NJ
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17. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

I was using AAA TripTik and it says to take Utah 25 (which is north of 50 and branches off from 89 near Gunnison) and then I-15. When I looked at Google it gave about the same time for either 28 or 50. I'm guessing from your response that 28 is more remote.

I think for the last day (if I ended up using this itinerary and going to the North Rim last) I would just be looking for the fastest route to get back towards and as close to SLC as possible.

Thanks.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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18. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

Oh, forgot to look at that road : /

It is really heads or tails kind of thing whether to go 50 or 28. I take 50 because it gets me to I-15 sooner.

19. Re: 10 days in Utah Parks in July -- Itinerary Suggestions

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