Southwest parks for 5 days
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Aug 27, 2012 2:40 PM Last Post By: carracar
Aug 26, 2012 2:09 PM
Southwest parks for 5 daysHi,
I'll arrive at Denver airport Friday around 5pm and have to be back the following Wednesday early in the morning. Which leaves me only 4 1/2 to travel. I'd like to see beautiful sceneries and landscapes, possibly the grand canyon and monument valley and anything interesting along the way (canyonland, bryce?). I know I won't have much time for activities, but that'd be great if I could do a few short easy hikes (2-3 hours).
I've considered driving to Moab on Friday night (google maps says 6 hours), but I'm not sure about the rest of the itinerary. Any advice?
I'd rather spend as little as possible on accommodation. May I expect to find many motels on the way? do you recommend booking?
Aug 26, 2012 2:41 PM
1Drive Interstate-70 past the ski resorts through Grand Junction to Highway #191, turn south to Arches National Park, Moab, Canyonlands National Park, and Canyon de Chelly National Park. Drive south to Interstate-40, then west through Flagstaff to Williams, then north on Highway #64 to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It would be more feasible if you were to fly out of Las Vegas. To return to Denver, drive east on Interstate-40 to Albuquerque, then north on Interstate-25 through Santa Fe and Colorado Springs to Denver.
Are you flying over Labor Day weekend? Car-camping would be the best -- take a sleepingbag and park overnight at truck stops, such as Flying J and Pilot Travel Centers with 24 hours restrooms plus buffet breakfasts -- there is one just off Interstate-70 in Denver before climbing up into the Rockies, and one west of Grand Junction on Interstate-70. There are also Wal-Mart Supercenters along part of the route, such as in Santa Fe and in Trinidad along Interstate-25. All free car-camping.
Edited by: trekker502
Aug 26, 2012 4:01 PM
2#1's itinerary is a little nuts for 4.5 days. If it were me, I would pick one place to savor, rather than drive all over the Southwest.
What month is this trip? If it's this weekend, it's going to be HOT in Moab. If it's anytime in summer, in fact, it's going to be hot in the Utah parks (except Bryce). Why not enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park near Denver? If this trip is sometime other than summer, I'd spend the whole time in Moab.
Aug 26, 2012 4:12 PM
3The Grand Canyon & Bryce,are two days too far, for the time available to enjoy the drive... I'll suggest rent a car off airport & spend the night in Denver... In the AM drive the 285 through the foot hills and South Park to Buena Vista. South to a right turn on the 50 over monarch Pass to Black Canyon of the Gunnison... South at Montrose and overnight in Ouray...Then down the 550 over the "Million Dollor highway"to Durango East, on the 160( Mesa Verde NP. is a half day option here) to Kayenta AZ. and M.Vy for sunset...Overnight in Mexican Hat. In the morning stop by The "goosenecks " for a look see & drive up the Moki Dugway (261) to the 95 to Moab... Spend your remaining time in the area ... drive the I-70 back to Denver for the flight... carracar
Aug 26, 2012 5:13 PM
4Thanks for your answers. Yes, it's going to be this weekend. If it were me alone, I wouldn't go to the Grand Canyon (I've been there before) but my gf really wants to go and she's quite stubborn (she lives in Denver, that's why we'll start our itinerary there).
Stopthebus: I live in the French alps, that's why I'd like to see something other than mountains.
Carracar, considering I have little time, wouldn't it be a waste of time to spend the night in Denver?
I realize it'll be labour day weekend, may I have trouble to find accommodations?
Aug 26, 2012 5:26 PM
Aug 26, 2012 5:54 PM
6OK, IF, Grand Canyon is a "must' ... If your getting off the plane into "girl friends" car... Drive the I-70 to Grand Junction for the night. Stay on the interesting I-70 in daylight to the 89 and Bryce...Then to the North Rim CGNP for sunset...See if you can "score" reservations, at Jacob Lake lodge... If so, continue on the 86a to the 89 to the 160 East,then,eliminating Moab,(sigh) do the above suggestion in reverse...carracar
Aug 26, 2012 6:45 PM
7what about this:
friday evening : denver - grand junction
saturday: grand junction bryce
sunday: bryce canyon - north rim - (page ?)
monday: (page ?) - monument valley - moab
tuesday: moab - denver
it's about 5-6 hours driving a day (according to google maps...).
If the scenery is beautiful it still may be enjoyable. And I still have half a day to spend near Moab.
I chose "page" as a stop as it makes the daily distance more even, and i should be able to find cheaper accommodation there than in north rim. I picked it randomly on the map, maybe there are better options.
Does it look feasible?
Aug 26, 2012 7:59 PM
8I guess its doable - but it's 2380km as a minimum, and probably 2600km if you add 10% - so about 580km each day over 4.5 days - which is a lot in such scenic country. The roads are good, thankfully, however you wouldn't be stopping very much, but as you say - even the view from the car is rewarding. And both Bryce Canyon and the North Rim are pretty much right there when you park your car - Arches requires a lot more driving from Moab to see its wonders.
Page makes sense after the North Rim - and probably has more chance of accommodation - if there is any available.
Aug 26, 2012 8:16 PM
Aug 26, 2012 9:32 PM
Aug 27, 2012 1:53 PM
Following your suggestions, I've made the following itinerary.
Friday 31 :
Denver -> Green River
Saturday 1 :
Green River -> Kanab
Sunday 2 :
Kanab -> North Rim
North Rim -> Page
Page -> Moab
Moab -> Denver
The only problem is Page. I couldn't find any cheap accommodation there. Basically, I'm looking for a place to stop between North Rim and Monument Valley (and I have no particular interest in Lake Powell). On the map, the other option seems to be Kayenta, which is expensive as well. Any alternative?
Carracar, why do you suggest to avoid Moab?
Aug 27, 2012 2:40 PM
12I personally, would avoid Page rather than Moab...Tuba City is on your way, if you drive the 89a...There is some newer & acceptable lodging available...Mexican Hat,Bluff or Blanding then,on the other side of M.Vy... Moab's fine, it's just a pity to pass through see nothing of the wonderful surrounding area and drive the same old, same old back to Denver...carracar
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