South Utah Itinerary Help
Replies: 8 - Last Post: May 6, 2012 3:19 AM Last Post By: mareebee83
Apr 30, 2012 3:52 AM
South Utah Itinerary HelpHi There,
I'm looking for a bit of help with an itinerary for a self drive trip from Las Vegas to southern Utah and back.
I know there are a number of posts like this (apologies for the repeat) but most of them are at least 7 days whereas i only have 4 days. Basically we plan to start the drive morning of the 30th July and have to be back in Vegas for a midnight flight 2nd Aug.
I've looked into a few options but i'm pretty unfamiliar with each area and how big it is / whats in it / where the viewpoints etc are within them. Like, do you need to walk to some destinations or are most a viewpoint that youre able to drive to? I'm basically relying on google images to get an idea of whats out there.
I'm interested in seeing the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell things like 'the wave' and stuff like this: http://www.visit4corners.com/Resources/iStock_pplslot.jpg, Bryce Canyon looks good, but all the posts i've read say it can be done in less than half a day and Zion is where its at, however i wasnt really a fan of what google images showed from the search!
Finding this research task a little overwhelming - not sure where to start!! Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
Thanks so much
Apr 30, 2012 8:03 AM
1You simply don't have time to see everything you mention.
These Links will help:
Grand Canyon National Park
The Wave You don't do this hike on a whim.
Lake Powell If you don't bring or rent a boat, don't waste your time.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Zion National Park I don't know what pictures of Zion you saw but the park ranks with Yosemite National Park in my opinion.
Four Corners is a dot on a map and a gift shop. It is out of your way. You don't have the time in any case.
You have time for two of the above, three if you drive through them quickly.
Apr 30, 2012 9:23 AM
2I agree with #1, you will have to make choices.
I recently travelled to Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon. Here are some thoughts.
Zion: absolutely stunning. Like #1, I don't know which photos you looked at but the park is fantastic. Very beautiful and there's a lot to do. Many different hikes, from easy to strainuous - so for all levels. You cannot drive all the way into the park though. After a couple of miles, you need to park and take the shuttle as no private cars are allowed in the park (unless they go to the lodge). You can definitely ride the shuttle all the way to end of the park and back if that takes your fancy but, for me, Zion, is all about walking and hiking. So maybe that's not ideal if you don't like walking or if you don't have much time.
Bryce: the ampitheatre is spectacular. You can walk around the rim at the top - it's an easy walk although I'm guessing it must get super crowded in high season. I was there for Spring break and it was ok crowd-wise. From the top, you'll get stunning views accross the valley. But of course, it gets even better if you can hike down. The hikes are not that easy as they all involve going down the canyon (ampitheatre) and therefore back up but it's not impossible at all - there are many people doing it and they really don't all look like regular hikers :) You can do a quick hike down and back up (1 hour maybe?) or do a bigger loop at the bottom and around the canyon. We did a five hour hike, it was great.
Grand Canyon: I believe the best spots to go are the South and the North Rim. That's where you get the best idea of how grand it is. You can go the West rim from Vegas (where the skywalk is) but I don't believe the canyon is as impressive there. We went to the South Rim (Grand Canyon village). There, you can just park your car and walk along the rim. There's a trail that the bus follows so you can even catch the bus on the way back if you're tired. Going East from the village, there's a scenic route with overviews where you can stop and take pictures.
If you don't plan on doing any hiking down the Canyon, I'd say 1 day would be enough to cover it (hike in the AM and drive in the PM for instance?).
In terms of logistics, our trip went
8-Apr drive to Zion
9-Apr Zion / drive to Bryce Canyon in the PM
10-Apr BC / drive to Page in the PM
11-Apr Antelope Canyon (first tour at 0800) / drive to Grand Canyon / PM in GC
12-Apr AM in GC / drive to Boulder City (on our way to Death Valley)
It felt ok although a bit rushed to my taste. The drive Page-GC and the next day GC-Boulder City especially was heavy :(
And Zion deserves definetely more than 24 hours...
Hope that helps -
Apr 30, 2012 1:46 PM
3To me it sounds like you're mostly interested in driving to viewpoints and seeing the sights that way (i.e. walking a few hundred yards/meters at most), rather than doing hikes. If you plan on hiking be forewarned that it will be dangerously hot at that time of year.
If you're just interested in viewpoints and don't want to hike, you'll want to move about frequently - which will mean doing a lot of driving. Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is roughly about 5 hours. About the same for Grand Canyon to Bryce. Zion to Las Vegas is only a couple of hours. Sunset from the South Rim and at Bryce are both spectacular. On your last day you would not be able to see the sunset at the South Rim and get back to Las Vegas in time for your flight, so consider making the South Rim your first destination. Get there in the early afternoon, explore a bit, then see the sunset. The next morning you could head to Monument Valley (very much a "viewpoint" kind of destination), take a tour and then backtrack a bit on your way to to Page, AZ (aforementioned Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell area) or on to Kanab. The third day you could head to Bryce - spending the afternoon going to all the viewpoints and seeing the sunset as it sets the ampitheatre ablaze. Get up early and see the sunrise (or at least the early morning light), then head down to Zion for the day. Have a full day at Zion before heading over to Las Vegas in time to spend an hour or two walking the strip. Fly home and recover!
You'll spend 3-5 hours a day driving, but you'll see lots of places that are on your list.
Apr 30, 2012 7:20 PM
4You can do it all except for the wave. This is a limited access hike which requires a permit. I think the best part of Zion is actually seen from the road as you drive through on your way to Bryce. You can stop and take the shuttle into the valley and do either a really short hike or a really tough hike. Bryce is best viewed from the viewpoints but of course a hike will take you really close to the scenery. It is at 6 or 7,000 feet so it won't be horribly hot, but your tolerance may vary. Then you can do the north rim of the canyon. I don't think you have time to do Lake Powell, but if you end up with extra time you can drive along Lake Mead and at the north end of that there is the valley of fire drive. Or even the Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Utah if you have tons of time.
May 1, 2012 5:44 AM
5You could do Zion, GC and Bryce in a quick trip. I'd skip the rest. Driving from LV to the North Rim of the GC you pass through a bit of Zion NP. Spending the night in Springdale would be a good idea if you can. Biggest obstacle of staying at the North Rim of the GC is the dearth of places to stay: the lodge at the rim, which sells out way in advance (though you can always check for last-minute cancellations); the rustic Kaibab Lodge just outside the park, and the Jacob Lake Inn (motel0 40 miles from the rim. Except for Zion, which has the town of Springdale next door,you may be overnighting several miles from eachpark and spending just a full day (ideally from very early until the evening) inside the park. Far from ideal, but better than nothing.
May 1, 2012 8:33 AM
6Good point about temperatures at Bryce, but hikes into the Grand Canyon will be hot and Zion will be very hot. But it doesn't sound like hiking is a priority - that's why I stress seeing the sunsets in GC and Bryce.
If you are into hiking then do a short hike at Bryce - Fairyland Trail, Navajo, etc are nice hikes and offer great views of the formations, windows, etc. (much closer, more intimate feel for the place than simply going to the viewpoints). In Zion there are several good hikes/backpacks with great views, but you won't have much time - if its hot you could consider walking up the Virgin River for a couple of hours - the shapes and colors of the canyon walls are spectacular (you'll be walking in the river so appropriate footwear and hiking sticks/poles are helpful).
May 3, 2012 3:09 AM
May 6, 2012 3:19 AM
8Thankyou so much everyone!! All this info has been really useful - given me alot to think about!
I dont mind a bit of a hike, and this time last year i spent 2 weeks driving through outback/central Australia (over 6000km) so a long drive and the heat doesnt bother me, i quite like both actually :)
It was great to get an idea of whats achievable as it really is quite daunting when researching! I think coming from Australia, since its so far away, i tend to bite of more than i can chew and try to fit too much in!
Thanks again - much appreciated!
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