Southern Utah parks
Replies: 31 - Last Post: Feb 15, 2013 12:45 AM Last Post By: ianw6705
Feb 8, 2013 4:10 AM
If you need a "base," Springdale is much better. It's smaller, but has more charm, and will involve less driving to get to the east.
Feb 8, 2013 5:34 AM
16Thank you all for your replies. I will devote time this weekend to do heavy research and hopefully book something too! Looking at flying in and out of Salt Lake since airfare $100pp cheaper so far. Would a cheaper rental car be OK? Or do I need a bigger engine or 4 x 4 for the mountains? I read something about mandatory shuttle use for Zion and if the car will just be parked for several days....
Feb 8, 2013 6:38 AM
Feb 8, 2013 1:49 PM
18Salt Lake flights were cheaper than ... what was your comparison destination? Have you priced those to Las Vegas, which we found were most often inexpensive? Also be sure to comparison-price your car rentals by flight-destination.
Even if you use the shuttles at Zion during the day, you'll probably want your car for getting to restaurants. Be prepared for sticker-shock at the (Zion gateway city) Springdale, UT restaurants -- costs were double what we're used to paying for breakfasts or casual-dining supper. As of 5 years ago there were zero "fast food" chains -- a quick check showed that's still the situation, with the closest 20 miles away in Hurricane, UT.
Feb 8, 2013 2:46 PM
19Hurricane was fine for a Zion base. Slightly overpriced hotel and mediocre Chinese food.
Nobody goes to Utah for the cuisine.
Feb 8, 2013 4:10 PM
20I never considered the lack of fast food chain restaurants to be a negative about Springdale. It is a little pricey, as you'd expect at a National Park gateway. I don't know about "double", but there's definitely a bump for basing yourself in a beautiful setting right at the park entrance rather than a sleepy mormon bedroom community a half hour away.
Feb 8, 2013 9:10 PM
21In summer, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is only accessible by shuttle. You can drive the other roads in the park.
And it's a great set-up - you can drive in from the south gate (Springdale) or the east entrance tunnel, and drive yourself to the Park Center. From there you take the frequent shuttle buses all the way up the canyon to near the start of The Narrows river-walk - it's very peaceful having no vehicular traffic on the scenic road.
Feb 8, 2013 9:11 PM
Feb 10, 2013 11:49 AM
23Firstly - WOW WOW WOW!! I am currently living in Illinois and am planning a trip to Utah, the SAME week and had literally the SAME question! That is the COOLEST thing ever! I can hardly believe it! My partner has never been but i used to live in Zion. Curious, where in Illinois you live. We're in Bloomington Normal and will soon have a place in Chicago too. I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is anything i can help. Too funny!!
Feb 10, 2013 12:06 PM
Feb 10, 2013 12:09 PM
Feb 10, 2013 3:38 PM
26Zion NP is a busy place, and all the trails will contain people, especially along the river to The Narrows - but I wouldn't call any of them "touristy" in a Disneyland sense. The separate northwest unit (Kolob Canyons) was interesting and certainly much quieter when we visited, with some great views.
Feb 10, 2013 5:17 PM
27Two walks we especially enjoyed were the Weeping Rock Trail and the Canyon Overlook Trail. We visited in April and saw 4 other hikers at Weeping Rock, 10 others at Canyon Overlook -- i.e., not crowded. We also walked the Lower Emerald Pools trail and the Riverside Walk - neither had enough of a scenic reward at the end to make us say "oh, good thing we kept going" -- due to swift currents, the Narrows / riverbed trail at the end of the Riverside Walk was closed.
Feb 10, 2013 5:25 PM
28#20/Flagstuff - I only highlighted the lack of fast food chains because OP is travelling with a 10 year old who might consider getting to eat at such places one of the highlights of vacation travel (I know as kids we did, but that was long ago). I absolutely would base in Springdale again when we visit Zion next time.
Feb 10, 2013 6:38 PM
29Many many moons ago, we took the kids (both around 10) into a McDonald's while on the road ... it was late, and there were few options. They were absolutely astonished (given the hippie vibe that was our world at the time) and equally appalled - they were not fans and didn't become so - which was nice.
But Springdale is a nice place.
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