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Old 11-03-2007, 01:08 PM   #1
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Hi all,

We're planning a canyon tour for this summer,with a pretty tight time frame (13 nights). As of right now, we're planning to loop through Grand Canyon (South Rim), Mesa Verde, Arches, Bryce, and Zion. What are we missing? Should we also squeese in a night or two at Canyonlands? And what about Dead Horse Point State Park? And how many days do recommend minimum at each of the above? As of right now, we're planning to stay three nights at each stop except for Mesa Verde (2 nights there). Thanks in advance for your advice. When I retire in twenty years, I won't have to worry about squeezing everything in to two weeks!
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Old 11-03-2007, 01:08 PM   #2
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Hi all,

We're planning a canyon tour for this summer,with a pretty tight time frame (13 nights). As of right now, we're planning to loop through Grand Canyon (South Rim), Mesa Verde, Arches, Bryce, and Zion. What are we missing? Should we also squeese in a night or two at Canyonlands? And what about Dead Horse Point State Park? And how many days do recommend minimum at each of the above? As of right now, we're planning to stay three nights at each stop except for Mesa Verde (2 nights there). Thanks in advance for your advice. When I retire in twenty years, I won't have to worry about squeezing everything in to two weeks!
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Old 11-03-2007, 04:20 PM   #3
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I don't know about all of your stops, but Bryce canyon and that whole area of Utah are gorgeous. The little RV park that we own is in Dolores, Colorado, and we are quite partial to that area... the Dolores River is gorgeous, as is the entire road to Telluride (not sure if you're going that far... we ride the motorcycle around the mountain passes in the summer, ski in the winter... love it all!). Whatever you decide to do, you are visiting a stunning area. Enjoy!

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Old 11-04-2007, 03:37 AM   #4
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We were in Utah this past summer and made similar stops. We didn't get to Dead Horse Point SP or Mesa Verde, but we did see the other parks you mentioned plus Canyonlands and Cedar Breaks. Bryce, Zion, and Cedar Breaks are fairly close together as are Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, and Arches. Try to arrange your route to at least drive up US 163 through Monument Valley. Look for the balanced rock in the town of Mexican Hat that gives the town its name.

We were in the areas you mention for about 16 days, although we went to the North Rim - we had been to the South Rim a few weeks earlier. Your time frame of 13 nights is a little ambitious, but probably doable.

With visits to all those National Parks, be sure to look into the America the Beautiful Pass. It costs $80 and gets you and anyone with you in to the National Parks and National Monuments for free for a year. Camping fees are discounted by 50%. If you are 62 or over, the Senior Pass is an even better deal. It costs $10 and gives you the similar benefits and is good for life.

Enjoy your trip. Utah is spectacular!
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Old 11-04-2007, 12:08 PM   #5
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We used Thousand Lakes as a base camp. From there took day trips to the surrounding parks. Even though we had went through Capital Reef we took that route to Goblin Valley, and on to Moab. Dead Horse Park and Arches are close. We Stayed at Moab RV Park because there were no spots to fit our unit at the time. They do have some nice ranger programs. Had a great time.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:43 AM   #6
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Looks like you have a grand adventure planned out. Dolores (mentioned above - on Hywy 145 north of Hywy 160 to/from Mesa Verde) is very nice. I think you will really enjoy Mesa Verde. Plan on hiking a lot there. You can camp at Cortez also. Ute Mountain Casino (under Towaoc CO)is south of Cortez on the road (145 to 160)to the four corners area. The Casino has a nice (not great but nice) buffet and the camping area is neat and near the casino.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:12 AM   #7
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2 years ago, we took an 11,000 mile trip around the country (in 7 weeks - talk about cramming stuff in!).
Anyway, we did Mesa Verde, Bryce, Zion and North Rim CG. For the last 3 we stayed in Kanab, UT. (Kanab RV Corral campground). Very clean, nice campground and Kanab is a neat, very friendly western town. In addition, if you like anmimals, Best Friends Animal Sancuary is there. After taking its 2 hour tour, my family voted to forgo a day at Zion to volunteer there for a day. (See my trip web page in signature for more info). Great area of the country. Have fun!!
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:21 AM   #8
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We've traveled in this area a number of times and my suggestions are:
The weather is better in late May/early June or the fall(I realize this may not be possible for you)
Don't miss Canyon DeChelly in NE AZ!
North Rim of GC is cooler, less people, very scenic and will save you a day or two.
Lower Antelope Canyon (a slot canyon)@ Page is a don't miss.
If you like to hike I recommend Angel's Landing at Zion and Lower Calf Creek Falls on Utah Hwy 12.
Spend some time at Capital Reef NP if possible. Send me a PM if you need other ideas or information.
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:54 AM   #9
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Those are all nice places to see. The south rim of the Grand Canyon is very busy in summer. If you want a more relaxed view, check out the North Rim, which is 1,000' higher than the south rim and isn't anywhere near crowded. It's an easy day trip from Kanab (I recommend staying at the Kanab RV Corral, which is an excellent park). Mesa Verde is also nice as is Bryce Canyon and all of these parks can be seen in a day. Zion, I'd allow two days for because there's more to do. Personally, with a limited schedule I'd stop off and see Bryce Canyon for an hour on the way from Zion to Moab. Much of the overviews at Bryce look alike after a while and if you want a relaxing day you can spend it there but with a limited scheduled I'd just make it a pit stop. When you leave Zion you'll have to pass through the 1.1 mile long Mount Carmel Tunnel that is carved into the mountainside. They will shut down 2 way traffic through the tunnel so that you can take your wide and tall RV right down the center when you pass through (it's high in the center but the arched top lowers the headroom at the edges of the normal lanes). I believe there is a $15 charge for this and the Zion NP website will have details. There is also a 40' overall limit in Zion and through the tunnel. We had to unhook the Jeep and Leann had to follow when we had out 40' Bus. Now that I have a 42' Bus, I can't go through that way any more and need to go around via cedar Breaks or whatever. With a 30' RV you will probably need two drivers and will have to unhook your Honda and drive in tandem for a few miles.

As you leave the Dixie portion of Utah you'll drive through Capital Reef on the way to Moab. On this day's drive you'll see the most fantastic scenery. Actually, on that drive the scenery radically changes back and forth more than any other road I've been on. You'll be looking down into wastelands, going through painted desert style areas, passing red rock cliffs and buttes, climbing through aspen thick forests, you name it.

Moab is not a quick stop. There is so much to see and do there. It's the Jeep capital of the world and you can rent a Jeep there and take some really interesting trails through the red rock country. I'd recommend going to Canyonlands Island In The Sky district and looking down into the confluence of ther Colorado and Green Rivers. Also stop and see Dead Horse Point. If you leave Moab and drive towards Potash you'll pass indian pictographs etched into the sandstone cliffs along side the Colorado River. Then take Long Canyon trail up to Dead Horse Point, then Island in the Sky. After lunch head down Schaeffer Trail onto the White Rim area of canyonlands and drive around in the areas that you just saw from up top earlier. Go to Musselman Arch, then back to Moab via the Potash Trail. That's just one day. Another day can be spent seeing Arches National Park. I'd see the Windows, Balanced Rock, Park Avenue, and Landscape Arch during the morning then return to Moab in the hot afternoon and spend it in town. After supper head back to Arches, park at Wolfe Ranch, and hike up to Delicate Arch to catch the sunset .

You can raft or take jet boat rides on the Colorado if you want. There are tons of other trails in the area. I'd recommend driving out to see the huge brontosaurus footprints on the ridge across from tyhe Moab airport, then stopping off to see Gemini Bridges on the way back.

All of the above trailsd are not that tough. I've taken them with a 4WD Suburban in the past. The Wrangler is much more capable but I'd stay off of Poison Spider Mesa unless you have a lifted Wrangler. There is much more to do here and you can easily spend 3-4 days here and still not see it all. Plenty of western films were shot in this area and the downtown visitor's center has a wealth of information and maps that'll help you decide what to do and see.

It's a great area and you'll have a fantastic time. Plan on taking lots of pictures.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:14 AM   #10
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Wow! Thanks everyone for all the great advice and suggestions. Now I can be more specific in my planning. We'll be out there June 7th - 20th. Hopefully it will be early enough to beat some of the crowds and the heat! We plan to do a lot of day hikes, and maybe a half day rafting. Other than that, we'll just be absorbing the natural beauty! If anyone has any more ideas, we're always open to more suggestions. Thanks again!

Jill
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:18 AM   #11
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When we were out there 2 years ago, it was the end of June/beginning of July. The temps were pleasant in Kanab, Bryce and North Rim. Only Zion was really hot because it's the lowest elevation. Out there the temp is all related to elevation. The higher you are, the cooler it will be. Good luck and have fun!
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