Soutwest USA october / november
Replies: 6 - Last Post: May 26, 2012 2:36 PM Last Post By: Marocfan
May 18, 2012 2:28 PM
Soutwest USA october / novemberHello all!
We are planing to do the following loop in late october this year. It won't be a fixed itinerary and we won't book any hotels (except for Las Vegas and New York) but I would appreciate any comment to this first idea. Especially if it will be too much because I have no idea how much time it really takes to visit the national parks (we are no hardcore hikers and will mainly use the scenic drives with some short walks), And what about the weather at his time of the year? Will it be allready too cold or still fine?
Day 1 (propably 17th of october) - flight from Europe to Las Vegas
Day 2 - Las Vegas (picking up a rental car)
Day 3 - Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Village (maybe with a detour on route 66 between Kingman and Seligman)
Day 4 - Grand Canyon (probably with a heilcopter flight)
Day 5 - Grand Canyon to Monument Valley
Day 6 - Navajo tribal Park and then to Mancos
Day 7 - Mesa Verde Park and one more night at Mancos
Day 8 - Mancos to Moab
Day 9 - Canyon Lands and Arches NP and one more night in Moab
Day 10 to 13 - Moab back to Las Vegas on Higway 12 visiting as many NPs on the route as possible (Capito Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion) sleeping in towns like Boulder.
Day 14 - Flight to New York
Day 15,16,17 New York
Day 18 (probably 3rd of november) - Flight back to europe
Thank you for any comment or suggestion!
May 18, 2012 4:58 PM
1I think your schedule looks good as long as you don't plan to do a lot of hiking. Maybe spend one more day in Moab, depending on how late you arrive the first night (try to get there in time to see the sunset from Dead Horse Point or Island in the Sky).
Plan on a full day at Bryce and at least one full day at Zion. Capitol Reef is not worth much time - maybe I didn't explore it well enough, but it's probably ranked last in terms of national parks I've visited.
Weather that time of year should be beautiful, especially in Colorado with the aspens turning gold. You might consider tacking on some time in Colorado to drive the "Million Dollar Highway" between Durango and Ouray before heading on to Moab.
May 18, 2012 9:31 PM
2Mancos to Moab is less than four hours.
Moab to Las Vegas is almost 500 miles using interstates all the way. If you do use highway 12 it will take a lot longer but it does get you near some National and Sate Parks that are quite spectacular. Maybe save a day between Grand Canyon and Mancos; Grand Canyon to Mancos is about 300 miles.
This is a great trip but you will have a lot of "windshield time".
May 19, 2012 10:32 AM
3There are no helicopter flights within Grand Canyon National Park. Helicopter trips are to the lower less scenic portions of the canyon.
May 19, 2012 10:57 PM
4Clarification to #3 - there ARE helicopter tours that leave from the South Rim and go over the National Park. Helicopter tours do not go below the rim within the National Park, but they most definitely fly over it.
@ #1 - I find Capitol Reef to be a pleasant drive-through, but of the National Parks in the region it does offer the least to a casual tourist. There is much more to it if you're willing and able to walk a few miles.
OP - given your interests and the fact that you're OK with mostly drive-by tourism mixed with a few short walks, I think your itinerary is just fine, in fact, one of the more reasonable first drafts I've seen posted in a while. I might think a little harder about days 8 and 9. Day 8 doesn't have much going on, and 9 is probably a bit overcrowded.
October/November is mostly fine weather-wise. It is possible you might run into an early-season storm while crossing Boulder Mountain on Hwy 12 or at Bryce NP. I wouldn't worry about it, but definitely keep an eye on the weather forecast. Generally, plan for warm days with cool nights in lower elevations such as Moab or Zion, and cool days with cold nights in the higher elevation areas like Bryce and South Rim Grand Canyon. Every park has the seasonal average temperatures posted on the official website.
May 20, 2012 12:47 AM
5Thank you all for your replies! So, our first sketch seems fine!
Day 8/9: As we will leave Mancos in the morning we will propably visit Arches NP allready on day 8, which will give us day 9 completly for Canyonlands. But as nothing will be booked ahead we can decide such changes when we are there!
Have a nice sunday!
May 26, 2012 2:36 PM
6Be aware you could run into snow in late October in Southwest Colorado...or it could be beautiful. Who knows what the weather will be?
You really need 4-wheel drive to explore Canylands but if you are not an experienced jeep driver, don't try it. Places like Elephant Hill are not for the novice.
I have always found half a day is enough for both Zion and Zion, unless you plan to hike.
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