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Need route advice from ABQ to AZ + UT parks

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Boca Raton FL
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Need route advice from ABQ to AZ + UT parks

I am working on a proposed route from Albuquerque to Las Vegas,Oct 4-14 covering primarily: ABQ Balloon Fest, Canyon de Chelly, Arches, Canyonlands,Bryce, Zion, (one way car rental involved).

Got some advice from tet14: I am over- estimating time and relying too much on driving at night.

Looks like we need to add a day...so more advice please on how to spread this 24 hours throughout the trip most effectively to minimize night time driving!

Fri Oct 4: Fly into ABQ, arrive 4pm local. Hotel near ‘Balloon Fiesta’ for 3 nights

Oct 5 + 6: wake before dawn for ‘Balloon Fest’; rest up midday. PM: see sites downtown (Trolley?)

Sun night: one hour drive for dinner and craft market in Santa Fe .

Mon Oct 7: Drive 3 hours to ‘Hubbell Trading Post’ then 45 min to Canyon de Chelly. Drive North Rim mid-late afternoon. Mon: 1 nite stay in Chinle/B Wern/ or T bird lodge (it’s changing management this week!).

Tues Oct 8: – Morning drive on ‘South Rim’ ;then 3-4 hours hike down. (Staley’s de Chelly tours?) or White Horse trail on our own- till mid afternoon {Driving south rim/stopping at views- couple of hours. The hike down to White House and back app takes 2.5 hour

Tues late afternoon: 5 hour drive to Moab, take 12 mile detour to ‘Newspaper Rock’, if time. Tuesday evening: Hotel in Moab- 2 nights

Wed Oct 9:Arches- Before dawn to ‘Windows’ for sunrise (hopefully no tour buses there). Fiery Furnace if we can get a Ranger tour reservation, or Devil’s Garden or??

Thurs Oct 10: Canyonlands: Drive ‘Islands of the Sun’: early am ½ hr hike to ‘Mesa Arch’, drive to Green River Overlook and Grand View Point for sunset.

Leave mid afternoon for 2.5- 3hr drive to Torrey. Stop briefly at ‘Goblin State Park’ enroute. Overnight at Austin’s.

Friday Oct 11 Take half day to get to Bryce, Enjoy Rt 12 drive. (any suggestions?) Check into Bryce Nat’l Park Lodge in time for sunset view, gentle walks

Saturday Oct 12: Bryce : early morning Sunrise view; then ½ day hike (possibly Queens Garden/Navajo loop ?). Leave late afternoon for 1.5-2 hour drive to Zion. Stay at Cliffrose 2 nights?

Sunday Oct 13 Early morning: East Zion Canyon Overlook + Trail Hike. If energetic: Angel’s Landing ; if warm enough: the Narrows. If enough time- Kolub Canyon

Monday drive 2-3 hours to Las Vegas …and flight home.

So if we leave Zion on Tuesday Oct 15 instead, how can we spread the extra 24 hours ??

Albuquerque, New...
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1. Re: Need route advice from ABQ to AZ + UT parks

You have done a good job of planning your trip. I have just a few suggestions and comments.

Firstly, note that you are coming around the first of October. Weather in Albuquerque is usually good, but cold mornings. However, elsewhere, such as Bryce, Arches, Zion etc. can have snowfall. They are a much higher altitudes and the mountain ranges they are close to do accumulate snow fairly early in the fall.

Hope you have reservations for the Balloon Fiesta. Getting close to the park is good if you can, but if you haven't made any commitment yet, I would suggest Uptown, or the Big I area for staying. They are close to the shuttle service provided at the Coronado Mall.

The only trail accessible to visitors in Canyon de Chelle is the White House trail. Have you considered the 1/2 or one day guided jeep tour? It is conducted by the Navajo people, and is quite good.

At Arches and other Parks, you might want to check on ranger led tours. Some of the parks don't have them off season.

On your way to Torry, you pass through Capitol Reef Nat'l Monument. Take the paved road trail along the reef. Fascinating and beautiful, and doesn't take but a short time. You might check my reviews on Torrey for lodging and food.

Angels Landing is a long hike, quite strenuous at times. You might instead consider taking the Narrows Walk beyond the end of the paved trail. Not much water, but you do have to sometimes wade in the stream, but it is magnficent.

I would save Kolob for Monday. You are going to have a lot to see and do in the main part of the park, and by doing Kolob on Monday, you could drive to Vegas that day, and go visit Red Rock Canyon Natl Preserve, and even do Boulder Dam.

Hope you have a wonderful trip.

Boca Raton FL
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2. Re: Need route advice from ABQ to AZ + UT parks

Got Fri- Sun nite reservations for ABQ LaQuinta NE ( San Antonio Dr + I-25) a month ago! (Whew!)

Already looking into Navajo led hike down into CdC (Staley's + many others all get rave reviews)

Maybe you - or other TA-ers can help with fine tuning this area; if not I'll repost.:

Is there someplace to eat lunch in Ganado- or at the Trading Post itself...or is it solely a craft/historic location?

A bit confused; half the CdC posters (and Park Rangers!) say to drive North Rim in the morning for best sunrise views; half say South Rim for sunrise. Which is correct, or rather, best, photography and viewing -wise?*

If we get to CdC 1-2pm ish, we'd like to get in either the White House hike , then do the preferred (*) sunset drive that late afternoon. If that is not too much of a strain??

Am now re-working everything to extend a few hours here or there to fit in more hikes/more stops along Rt12 to do Capitol Reef drive, etc.

Nice advice about Kolub on way to LAS.

Thanks for the weather/clothing hints...but that's sort of why I hestiated to hike the Narrows; wet feet/legs for a hike in mid October (no guarantee whether river will be high or low, depends on summer rains, right?)

My hint: don't use dearest Google Maps to route ABQ to Chinle/CdC; it goes north past Ft Defiance on what looks like dirt roads(-Rt 7?) that adds 2 hours and won't accept Chinle is the way to get to CdC!

Albuquerque, New...
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3. Re: Need route advice from ABQ to AZ + UT parks

Can't help you with info on Canyon de Chelle. Suggest you contact Natl Park Service for more info. They would be able to give you more on the rim drives.

You might want to post on the Arizona site. Someone there could give you some info on CdeC and Ganado. I haven't been there in many years, and don't remember much about it.

Boca Raton FL
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4. Re: Need route advice from ABQ to AZ + UT parks

Just did- thank you anyway!

5. Re: Need route advice from ABQ to AZ + UT parks

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