We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

Albany, New York
4 posts
Save Topic
Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

My husband and I are planning a 9 night (10-day) tour of the National Parks in Utah. We are flying into and out of Vegas (it was much cheaper than SLC. So far we are planning on staying the first night in Vegas and then heading to Zion NP. We are spending two nights in Zion and then plan to spend several nights in Moab to see Canyonlands and Arches. My question is, it seems there is a lot to see between Zion and Moab. Is it worth it to stop and spend the night in between these two destinations? Or is it enough to make a stop on the way from Zion to Moab. I don't want to eat up too much time from enjoying Zion, and the parks near Moab, but I also don't want to drive right by something that's worth stopping and spending some time at. I should also mention we are active people and would like to enjoy some of the many activities these parks have to offer (hiking, canyoneering, white water rafting, jeep/mountain bike tours, etc.) so that's why we would like to spend a couple of days (2 or 3) in the Moab area. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
Level Contributor
17,505 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

Welcome to the forums.

A good place to start is to look at the top right of the UT forums page, under top questions. See "How to see the parks of southern UT"

There are sample itineraries for loops out of Vegas, SLC that include maps, drive times, how long to stay etc.

Also check out Ohio Hicks sticky at the top of the forums about touring the grand circle.

Yes there is alot to see between Zion and Moab.I'm sure you will have more questions after checking out those resources.

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
6,268 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

Zion is fantastic for hiking, not too bad for canyoneering, and so so for jeep tours. Moab is so so for hiking in my opinion, but a great place for all the other activities you have mentioned.

Between Zion and Moab, at least plan on stopping for a day at Bryce NP

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
58,215 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

When?

Albany, New York
4 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

We will be there the beginning of May.

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,648 posts
447 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

Welcome to the forum.

Here's the link to the travel article that dez referred to:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28965-c177493/Utah:U…

There is a LOT to see throughout southern UT, and in particular between Zion and Moab. I suggest a night at Bryce Canyon and maybe even one at Torrey (that will give you more time to explore route 12 and Capitol Reef NP). A stop at Goblin Valley State Park and Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon is also advised.

There are a lot of ways to route this trip. 10 days/9 nights is probably too tight for the big loop from LV, but you still have time for Zion and Moab (since those were listed as your main destinations) plus a couple other stops. One option is the route that my wife and I took on our first trip to UT:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28965-i411-k43306…

(this is also listed in the TQ item "How can I see all the parks in southern Utah?" that dez mentioned). You can adjust the route by having more time in Moab (at least 3 nights, perhaps 4), then work back from Moab to LV via Gobin Valley, Torrey (1 night there) and Bryce Canyon (1 night there). Just one of many options. Lay it out on Google maps to get a handle on the drive times and distances. With the time that you have, starting/ending in LV and wanting to include Moab, there will be a long day of driving in the mix somewhere in the plan, but it is all doable. Should make for a wonderful trip.

BTW, early May is a great time to visit.

Albany, New York
4 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

Thank you all for your input. I have been doing a lot of research and mapping out many different itineraries. Here is what I have so far.

Day 1 - Arrive in Vegas, spend night.

Day 2 - Travel to Zion, spend 2 nights (we've booked two nights at Zion Ponderosa).

Day 4 - Travel to Torrey, stopping at Bryce and any other spots along the way, spend night in Torrey. I haven't booked anything here yet, looking at the School House B&B. I've read there's a good restaurant here as well (Cafe Diablos).

Day 5 - Travel to Moab, spend 2 or 3 nights (havent' decided). I've booked the Kokopelli Lodge in Moab for 3 nights, but that only leaves one stop between Moab and Vegas on our way back which seems like two long days of driving. So now I'm thinking 2 nights in Moab.

Day 7 or Day 8 - This is where I get stuck, should we go back the way we came and maybe spend a night at Bryce or Escalante?

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
Level Contributor
17,505 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

Zion Ponderosa is a nice place,and there are some really nice cabins up there, but you will have to drive thru the tunnel and down into the canyon each day to reach the majority of the trailheads which are in the canyon itself. If you want to eat out, you will find the restaurants in town, down in the canyon.

If you stay at ZP, a nice trail is the back way into Observation Point from above ,via the east mesa trail, accessed via dirt road in the ranch.

After Moab, another option is to drive by Monument Valley and stay at Page/Lake Powell on the way back to Vegas.

And yes Cafe Diablo is a good place to go in Torrey.

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,648 posts
447 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

How about this so that you get the long drive out of the way first:

Day 1: Arrive LV; stay LV

Day 2: On the road early and make the trek to Moab via I-15 and I-70. 7 hour drive, but easy and interstate almost the whole way. With an early start you will be in Moab by mid afternoon, give or take an hour, so still time for some exploration. Perhaps stop off in Canyonlands or even hit the trail to Delicate Arch for sunset. Stay in Moab.

Days 3 and 4: Moab for Arches and Canyonlands. Stay in Moab.

Day 5: Start working your way back toward las Vegas. First, head to Torrey with stops at Goblin Valley and Capitol Reef. Stay in Torrey.

Day 6: Route 12 to Bryce Canyon; stay in BC.

Day 7: On to Zion; Stay in Zion or Springdale.

Day 8 and 9: Zion

Day 10: back to LV

This assumes that your flight out of LV is not first thing in the morning on Day 10. What is your return flight schedule so we can take that into account when making suggestions?

Edited: 12:35 pm, February 26, 2013
Albany, New York
4 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

Our flight out of Vegas is on day 10 at 4pm, so your itinerary would definitely work. I

t's funny because just after I posted the first itinerary, I started thinking the same way, why not get the long drive done with first when we're still fresh and have the whole vacation ahead of us and take our time getting back. Thanks for the advice!

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
Level Contributor
7,648 posts
447 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Round Trip Tour of National Parks starting from Vegas

Well, you know what they say, great minds think a like! ;-)

With the 4 PM flight you can have a relaxed morning in Zion and still have plenty of time to get back to the airport.