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Old 05-13-2019, 10:51 AM   #1
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Bryce and Zion NP

I am planning a trip that will include staying in the Bryce and Zion NP area. My question is how long to stay in the area. We are not hikers so that time period can be taken out of the length. Is two weeks to long, I plan on a base camp somewhere between the two parks.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:21 AM   #2
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I would stay at each of the parks and take the shuttles to get around. There are campgrounds in each park if you get there early (before noon) that are very reasonable. We spend at least two to three days at each park for sightseeing. We used to hike all the trails but not so much anymore. To set up a base camp between the two parks would mean you would be doing a ton of driving back and forth and not seeing much. That's what we do and we've been there like three times. Don't forget to visit the arches, and all the other places out there.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:52 AM   #3
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The parks are fairly close, so weíve visited them together the few times weíve been in the area. I canít speak for how much time you may enjoy being there because itís so personal, but can share our experiences.

Weíve stayed no more than 2 nights at entrance to Bryce and 3 nights at campground at south entrance of Zion. At Zion that included time to take shuttle trams in and out of park to points of interest, plus ride our bikes in and out of canyon in early morning, plus a little hiking to falls/pool (can't recall name). There are long trails in park we want to hike some day, but havenít yet.

Zion is awesome, and with more time I could have easily stayed at campground there much longer.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:16 PM   #4
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I wouldn't say the two canyons are "relatively close" when it takes almost 3 hours to get between them, 89 plus miles. And that's the shorter scenic route.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:06 PM   #5
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What I meant was that as National Parks go, 72 miles apart per Google Maps is relatively close, so weíve always visited them both on same trips from Texas or Florida. I recall at least 4 trips over the years ó not all in motorhomes. Once we stayed at Lodge inside Zion when traveling by SUV with older family members.

Iíve avoided summer trips due to traffic congestion, and can see where getting through tunnel could take some time. For that reason, weíve stayed at one park for a few days and then moved to the other. Commuting daily from a middle point isnít something Iíd look forward to.


For what itís worth, if time permits and traveling from East, Iíd recommend considering a stop at the North Rim of Grand Canyon. Itís also ďrelatively closeĒ by my driving standards. Weíve stayed at the Lodge and at campground of North Rim. There is something special there for me thatís hard to describe.
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:38 PM   #6
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[Thread Hyjack In Progress]

We are planing to do a day at each this June, any recommendations for highlights? None of us are big hikers.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:36 PM   #7
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[Thread Hyjack In Progress]

We are planing to do a day at each this June, any recommendations for highlights? None of us are big hikers.
Iíd plan to take the shuttle at Zion and get off at each stop which are near points of interest. Most of the highlights off the main road donít require walking that far. At times there is a little elevation change along paths, so could be difficult for some.

If you can do light hiking, the Lower and Upper Emerald Pool Trail (across and near Lodge) are relatively short and not too difficult. I hiked to Upper section with my parents when they were in their 80s. I noticed on Summer schedule that Upper section was temporarily closed, so may want to check first.

As I mentioned before, I avoid summer months due to crowds. I donít recall being there in June (we prefer May and September to go out west when kids are in school).
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:49 AM   #8
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We are looking at doing all 5 of those Utah Natl parks some time down the road, probably in September. Maybe in 2020. We've been to Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone, too, but would go back if it works into the schedule. It's a long ways from Florida!

We generally prefer to stay at private RV parks outside the parks and drive in. That would be different if the Natl park was the main destination of our trip and if we could plan far enough ahead to get a reservation.

Here's a web site about 5 parks in 5 days (I wouldn't try this with an RV): https://utah.com/five-national-parks-five-days

Any comments about Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon will be appreciated.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:23 PM   #9
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Bryce, Zion and the Grand Circle

These National Parks are all terrific (though my local favorite is Dead Horse Point State Park near Arches because it is uncrowded and a mini Grand Canyon) and you can find great itineraries by Googling "Grand Circle". Did these parks for our honeymoon before some were even National Parks, and have kept going back.
Leaving next week for 4 weeks to go again, Zion, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Yellowstone and a host of fun things to do along the way with my 3 teenage "grands" who helped plan the trip and can't wait to go! It is a 7,000 mile plus trip for us from South Florida.
In Zion take the shuttle to see the sights, it is the only way to do so as cars are not allowed on park roads during most of the year now. If you can, enter from the East for some terrific views and a trip thru the mile long tunnel you won't soon forget (it is faster to go around if you are crunched for time or pushing the weight or tow limits and want to avoid the mountain road).
Arches and Bryce are easy to see the sights from the park roads, and Bryce also runs shuttles. Moab is crazy full of tourists and lots of adventure activities.
Canyonlands and Capital Reef are more of hidden gems. Not as developed, not as many tourists, and harder to get around. Look for the Petroglyphs and take an easy walk thru a slot canyon nearby to appreciate the terror of flash floods when there is no escape.
As you drive from Park to Park there are some local/state parks which are equally awesome and less visited, such as Hoodoo and Dead Horse Point. Both are worth the stop.
We have stayed in the parks and outside. If you have Salt Lake City in your plans try to visit the Rio Tinto-Kennecott copper mine. The visitor's center and tour has reopened (effective April 2019) after being closed for several years. One of the largest pit mines, it can be seen from space.
If you would like any particular info please PM me and I will get back to you.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:30 PM   #10
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.....cut..... It's a long ways from Florida! ....cut.....

Any comments about Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon will be appreciated.
Yes, it is a very long way, which makes me want to drive a lot initially until I get to at least Colorado, where I start feeling like Iím on vacation.

As a point of reference, the last time I started in south Florida, it took me almost two days to my house in SE Texas (1,100+ miles), on day 3 we made it to Amarillo (600 miles), day 4 was relatively short to SE corner of Colorado, then days 5 and 6 taking scenic routes through Colorado on way to Moab, which is just outside Arches. So yeah, it took us 6 days to just get to Arches.

On way back when we left Zion we went to North Rim, then down to I-40, where we headed east to follow same route back from Amarillo. Basically, I spent close to 2 weeks just getting there and back.

Some day I would like to do a trip like that without time limitations. I would still try to get to Colorado quickly, but would like to spend more time exploring on way there and back. High on my list is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, not too far from Moab and Arches, and itís on the way traveling from the east. What we saw during a road detour was spectacular ó a traffic accident turned out to be an unexpected gift for us.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:49 AM   #11
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Thank you all for the impute. From whats been said I will no longer do the base camp thing. I will instead stay 5or so days at Zion then move to Bryce and spend 5or so days there.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:56 AM   #12
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Thanks, ArrrV and Chance. My list of must-sees keeps growing! All this may take multiple trips!
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:53 AM   #13
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Be happy, I just returned from Bryce today! A couple things to consider. Go there when school is still in session. A little less crowded. This week was crowded but it will get worse! Check the weather averages for when you plan on going.Bryce Park entrance is about 7700 feet and far side of the park is at least 8400 feet, can be cold at night! some camp grounds have power some do not! If you are not hiking you can see everything in two or three days easy. shuttles work awesome! and free! Navajo loop and Wall Street hiking trails were still closed because of to much snow. (in case others are interested) Same advise for Zion. Enjoy your trip, it is truly awesome country.
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:53 AM   #14
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I found Capitol Reef interesting. After looking down into things at a couple of parks, it was different to be looking up. I also found Mesa Verde ancient cliff dwellings to be of interest.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:31 AM   #15
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I was planning on early to mid June , but now I am leaning to mid May. I never thought that much about it being crowded. I plan on doing the private campgrounds so power would be no problem. Again that's for the info.
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:50 PM   #16
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As long as you are thinking Utah, Dont miss the Moab area Canyonlands and Arches. Beautiful scenery. Plenty todo.
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:49 PM   #17
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Thank you all for the impute. From whats been said I will no longer do the base camp thing. I will instead stay 5or so days at Zion then move to Bryce and spend 5or so days there.
Several state parks near Bryce worth visiting and be sure to eat at Ruby's
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Old 05-26-2019, 09:29 PM   #18
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I am planning a trip that will include staying in the Bryce and Zion NP area. My question is how long to stay in the area. We are not hikers so that time period can be taken out of the length. Is two weeks to long, I plan on a base camp somewhere between the two parks.
We stayed a week and spent one day at Zion and a one at Bryce, at both parks we did a mule train ride which was awesome (especially since it is difficult for me to walk or hike long distances). On other days checked out Capitol Reef and other sights.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:05 AM   #19
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You ALL have given some terrific advice ! However, I don't think anyone mentioned Monument Valley in Southeast Utah and Northeast AZ...
if you are coming in through Colorado...Durango, Cortez towards Moab...I would suggest a side trip through Monument Valley...or on your return trip through the loop..make the drive to Page, AZ where the dam for Lake Powell is...there is an awesome campground there...reservations are recommended..however, the last time we were there we dry camped..in a very nice slot...KOA is also at Page. You can visit Antelope Slot Canyon via a truck tour offered by the Native Americans..head east from Page into NM for more beautiful country...or, as Chance suggested, go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon...amazing !!
if your wind up in AZ...remember the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert !

If you are traveling to that area in September...take some warm clothing, as nights can get a bit chilly...and you might run into snow at some elevations.


enjoy !!
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:24 PM   #20
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There is a great road to drive that starts near Bryce and comes out just West of Powell

Gravel and sand but maintained some what

About a 4 hour drive if you are adventurous
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