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Old 12-28-2013, 04:03 PM   #1
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Need help with planning Utah trip 2014

Hi All:

We are still a bit new to RVing, started in May 2013. Last year in Sept/Oct we did a 22 day trip through Arizona. We are ready for a longer trip now. Starting to plan a May/June trip 2014.

We have a 45 ft. National Pacifica and pull a Jeep Patriot. I know that excludes most all state and national parks. We use the Jeep to get around and love it, so that is no issue being outside parks. We are leaving from SF Bay Area and will drive to Bakersfield and over to Vegas to start, then in to Utah through St. Georges. That is as far as I have mapped out. We have plenty of time, 6 weeks total. I figure at least 4 weeks in Utah. I am trying to figure out the best routing to see all the National Parks and also spend some time at lake areas or river areas. Also would like to hear from people about Salt Lake City..should we plan to see it also? I could really use some suggestions...there is so much to see I am in overwhelm. Does anyone have a past trip report they could share? Neither of us have ever been to Utah.

Anyone need AZ trip information I am happy to share our experience. We even did Disneyland on the way to Arizona. You can imagine my husbands response when I said I wanted to go to Disneyland on the way to Arizona. Driving a 45 ft motorhome with toad on Southern CA freeways was not his idea...but he did great and we enjoyed Disneyland.

Robin
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
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There are 5 NP in the state of Utah.

Utah National Parks

I have been to Zion and that's all but we plan to see all 5 when we leave Southern CA on our way to Alaska in 2015.

There are also some wonderful national monuments and recreational areas throughout Utah. See this link.

Utah National Monuments & Recreation Areas | Visit Utah

You will LOVE Utah and I am positive that you WILL return again and again.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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This last September, we went to the following "must see" places in Utah:

Zion NP
Bryce Canyon NP
Cedar Breaks NM
Capitol Reef NP (try the pies at the Gifford Homestead in the Park )
Canyonlands NP
Dead Horse Point SP (practice saying "wow" )
Arches NP

Wonderful! All of them!

I highly recommend the trip along Utah Highway 12 between US 89 and UT 24

If you get to Moab (and I hope you do) look up Milt's Hamburgers . . . go hungry, don't dress up Milt’s Stop & Eat - Burgers, Shakes, Fries & more
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:55 PM   #4
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Virgin River RV Resort is a nice stop. Just a few miles from the Zion entrance. You can buzz around from there to a number of parks.
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #5
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It's a great state to visit. You have plenty of time to do some research on places to visit. I may suggest you get a Mountain Directory West if your not to certain on driving the coach in some suspect areas you could encounter. Zion, Bryce WOW wish we were out there again, maybe soon we'll head that way again. Haven't been to Moab but have heard a lot about it. St George has a couple of nice parks if you should decide to use that as a hub and do some day trips into Zion and over to Bryce Canyon.
Good Luck and hope you have a great time.
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:53 PM   #6
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You are in for a great 4 weeks. This is one of my favorite destination areas. I have visited all the National Parks in Utah, some more than once. From St George, go to Zion NP. The Virgin River RV park near there is first class and has every amenity including full hookups and high prices. But it is kind of distant from the park and and from the superb and enjoyable town of Springdale. My strong preference is the Watchman campground just inside the park (reservations advised). It will only work for you if you are willing to dry camp, as it has no sewer hookups and only some sites have water. But all have 50A electric so if you are willing to work out of your onboard tanks, you can enjoy the many advantages of Watchman: It is only a mile or so from town and the town is a gem featuring high quality shops and restaurants and more. The campground is directly adjacent to the visitors center where the trams run out of. You cannot drive through most of the park except in off season but must take a park tram. The good news is that the trams are free, delightful, run frequently, and allow you to meet other folks as you travel through the park. Did I mention that they are located adjacent to the Watchman campground? Also, there is a wonderful movie shown in the visitors center. The Watchman campground is far cheaper too, costing only $16/night or $8 if you have a Golden Pass (age 62+). The park is magnificent, but eventually you will have to leave and head for your next park, Bryce Canyon.

In order to get to Bryce you must travel through a Tunnel, for which there is a fee ($15 or so). You cannot tow your car through the tunnel so someone must drive it behind you. The tunnel is low on the sides but has adequate height in the middle. So they will close off the tunnel to oncoming traffic and allow you to drive right down the middle of the road, thereby having adequate roof clearance. The tunnel is about a mile or so long.
When you exit the tunnel there is a place to pull off and rehook your car.

The scenery enroute to Bryce is stunning as is Bryce Canyon itself. When you get to Bryce I advise you to stay at Ruby's campground. It is a full hookup campground, not deluxe but well-located. It has a little town built around it with touristy restaurants and shops. They also have free trams that stop right at the campground. At Bryce you may take your car into the park or ride the free tram, your choice. The scenery at Bryce is beyond belief. If you are a hiker, there are numerous trails into the canyon that are spectacular. If that is not for you, there are still amazing sites to be seen from the rim of the canyon, just off the road.

After Bryce, take Highway 12 through Escalante and Boulder into Torrey. This is one of the most fantastic scenic drives anywhere. There are some steep climbs but your coach will be able to handle them. The views are out of this world. When you get to Torrey, you are just outside Capitol Reef National Park. There are several campgrounds there that will be a better fit for your big rig than the NP campground. I was there this past summer and stayed at Wonderland RV Park, which I highly recommend. You can stay here for several days and make forays into the park for sightseeing, hiking or whatever pleases you.

After Capitol Reef, take Hwy 24 through Hanksville to I-70. Then east on I-70 to Hwy 191 southbound to Moab. Moab has many full-service campgrounds and is an excellent base to explore Arches NP and Canyonlands NP.

If you are into off-roading, all these areas have Jeep trails, too many to mention, but there are guidebooks for sale in every town that will help you with this.

You mentioned spending time at Lake and river areas. The Colorado river runs through Moab and there are a lot of opportunities there. But for the absolute best in Lake and boating experience, visit Lake Powell, most of which is in Utah. However, the best road access may be from Page, AZ, where you will find a good RV park at Wahweep Marina. Make sure you get onto the lake by boat. They have an excursion boat tour from Wahweep Marina that is excellent, or if you have more time and money to spend you can rent a speedboat or houseboat and spend several days on the lake, which is huge. You could easily spend a week on Lake Powell in a boat and only scratch the surface.

You didn't say when you plan to do this trip, but beware: mid-summer is extremely hot. If you can do it in late April-early May or late September-October the weather should be much nicer.

Every place I mentioned can accommodate your 45-footer in some of their sites if not all. Have a great trip and bring more than one camera in case one breaks. You will get photos of a lifetime. I am jealous.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:25 AM   #7
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Thanks and keep the idea coming pls

All of your suggestions are wonderful to read. I can't wait. I've been pouring over books and the internet all day. There is so much I want to see.

I am wondering if, even with the escort, we can go through the tunnel at Zion to Mt. Carmel. We are a little over 12 ft high. I was told by someone we would have to go around. Certainly worth looking into.

We just bought fishing rods today to put on the motorhome. Anyone have good fishing locations we should not miss?

Keep the ideas coming, really appreciate them.

Robin
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinfromCA View Post
I am wondering if, even with the escort, we can go through the tunnel at Zion to Mt. Carmel. We are a little over 12 ft high. I was told by someone we would have to go around. Certainly worth looking into.

Robin
I have been through that tunnel with a 12 foot high coach. But according to this website,
vehicles over 13' 1" are prohibited, as are vehicles over 40 feet long, so it looks like you will have to take a different route because of your length, not your height. A glance at the map suggests that you could backtrack to Cedar City and then take Hwy 14 to US 89.
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:46 AM   #9
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I 15 North East out of Vegas
Virgin River Gorge (our home)
Through St George, Utah
Zion
Bryce
then 89 North to Salt Lake City,
Next time try 15 to 70 East to Moab, Monument and Arches National parks
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:50 PM   #10
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Yup, looking like we won't do the tunnel in motorhome

After looking at the website you noted we think it best to go around. I said we were 45 but we are actually a little over 40. And we tow. I read somewhere else we would have to unhook, have one of us drive the Jeep, then rehook on other side. We are traveling with another couple who would have to do the same. Too close to call. We can drive the scenic drive through the tunnels in the Jeep while there...and be happy to go out to the hwy and around in the motorhome. One thing we figure for sure is we can find good, easy in/out diesel off the hwy. Just must be a rush driving a motorhome through that tunnel!

Thxs, Robin

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I have been through that tunnel with a 12 foot high coach. But according to this website,
vehicles over 13' 1" are prohibited, as are vehicles over 40 feet long, so it looks like you will have to take a different route because of your length, not your height. A glance at the map suggests that you could backtrack to Cedar City and then take Hwy 14 to US 89.
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:55 PM   #11
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We may stay around St George for couple days

We are looking for a place to buy our retirement home and heard St. George area is very popular. We want to get a home with an RV garage maybe, so thought we might check that area. We will probably get out of CA and end up in NV, AZ or UT. At least that is what our initial thoughts are. Really just getting starting thinking about it. We will have time this trip to do a bit of research.

So, how do you like living in Virgin River Gorge? Are you from there or a transplant?

Robin

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I 15 North East out of Vegas
Virgin River Gorge (our home)
Through St George, Utah
Zion
Bryce
then 89 North to Salt Lake City,
Next time try 15 to 70 East to Moab, Monument and Arches National parks
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:04 PM   #12
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Nothing to add except since you already have a Jeep you need to spend time in Moab. There maybe more Jeeps there than any town in the world. Awesome trails and sights.
Wonderful Spring or Fall destination.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:57 AM   #13
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We are transplants, Ohio to Mesquite, Nevada 15 years ago. Built a place out on the Virgin River, in the tri corner area 13 years ago. If you like views and solitude, this is the best we have found.
St George is truly a great developing city. This is where we shop.
The old Mormon trail, Hwy 91 from Mesquite to the backside of St George is breath taking and in comparison to Sedona, AZ is stellar.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:01 AM   #14
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Hwy 9 through Zion has quite a few sharp, steep switch backs. Tunnel height is a problem but I would by pass the tunnel because of the grade and switchbacks.
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