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Old 08-04-2016, 06:34 PM   #1
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Opinions on how long to spend at some national parks

My wife and I are planning a trip to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon. We're leaving from Tampa, FL and expect to get to Sedona early August of 2017. While I know my question is pretty subjective, I'm interested to know how long you think we might spend at each of these parks. We'll spend a week in Sedona but we know Sedona pretty well and a week is good. We've spent a day in the Grand Canyon but can't figure out how long we should stay to get a good experience. Should we stay for 3 days, for 5 days or a week? So I'm quite interested to know what you think as we need to make our site reservations pretty far in advance. I'm also interested in any tips you might have as this will be our first major RV trip outside of Florida. We have a 32-foot Class C Jayco Red Hawk if that helps. Thanks for any feedback. Mark
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:11 PM   #2
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If you're hikers, this is what I'd recommend:

Sedona - unless you have a place in mind since you've been there before, we enjoy Dead Horse Ranch State Park in nearby Cottonwood. It's an easy and less congested drive into Sedona. You'll have a night view of Jerome up on the hill. You'll be near Tuzigoot Nat'l Monument and also you could take the Verde Valley train ride.

Grand Canyon - best if you get a site in the park itself at Trailer Village - full hookups. You will be within walking to the Rim and the free shuttle stops right at the campground. You can take the shuttle and get off and on wherever. Take a stroll - fairly level - on the Rim Trail and pick up the bus at another stop. To get an altogether different perspective of the canyon, hike down the Bright Angel Trail if only for 1/4 mile or so. It's a neat feeling to be below the rim. There are many nice ranger programs and short strolls and naturally gift shops, hotels and restaurants to explore. Drive to the east end of the park at Desert View for lots more. If you stay in the park and when you leave for Zion, go out the east entrance taking you to Hwy 89 and head north toward Page, AZ. It saves a lot of time and miles rather than heading south to the interstate and into Flagstaff and then north on 89.

So for Grand Canyon - 3-4 nights minimum

Zion and Bryce are definitely hiking parks. You'd fit in both parks in their campground. Zion has electric at Watchman campground but Bryce does not. Ruby's RV just outside the gate of Bryce has a large full-hookup park. The free shuttle also stops there. At Zion there's also a shuttle thru the park and also, if you stay outside the park at Springdale, the shuttle stops in that little town, too.

Again, I'd allow at least 3-4 nights at each. Bryce's trails are like a fairy wonderland. We love them.

From Hwy 89 at the east entrance of Grand Canyon you can take 89 north to 89A toward Jacob Lake or 89 north to Page, AZ and west to Kanab, UT.

From Kanab take 89 north to Hwy 9 west and you'll have to go though the Zion Tunnels (google them to see what it entails). It will be a steep downhill into Zion but many RVers do it - just depends on how you feel about it.

If you want to avoid the tunnel route. take 89A (a steep climb) or 89 which is fairly flat and get to Fredonia, AZ. Then take 389 west out of Fredonia to Colorado City and it will become UT59 at that point. Take 59 to Hwy 9 and come into Zion from the west to east at Springdale.

Ready to leave Zion? Either Hwy 9 east and a climb through the tunnels. Or...from Springdale, Hwy 9 west to I-15 north. At Circleville, UT take Hwy 20 to 89 and south on 89 to Hwy 12 east to Bryce. Don't be tempted to take Hwy 14 from I-15 - you probably won't like it...steep and curvy.

If you're big hikers or just want extra days to tour some of the areas outside the parks, then add a few more days.

One thing.....if you happen to be retired.... consider a mid-Sept/Oct trip instead of August which is still very hot.

Have a great trip. They're favorite parks of ours.
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:15 PM   #3
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We've been doing all those parks this year - been on the road since April. I booked a week at each. It has worked out very well. Don't forget Glacier NP and Yellowstone. Both are beyond wonderful!
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Old 08-05-2016, 08:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
If you're hikers, this is what I'd recommend:

Sedona - unless you have a place in mind since you've been there before, we enjoy Dead Horse Ranch State Park in nearby Cottonwood. It's an easy and less congested drive into Sedona. You'll have a night view of Jerome up on the hill. You'll be near Tuzigoot Nat'l Monument and also you could take the Verde Valley train ride.

Grand Canyon - best if you get a site in the park itself at Trailer Village - full hookups. You will be within walking to the Rim and the free shuttle stops right at the campground. You can take the shuttle and get off and on wherever. Take a stroll - fairly level - on the Rim Trail and pick up the bus at another stop. To get an altogether different perspective of the canyon, hike down the Bright Angel Trail if only for 1/4 mile or so. It's a neat feeling to be below the rim. There are many nice ranger programs and short strolls and naturally gift shops, hotels and restaurants to explore. Drive to the east end of the park at Desert View for lots more. If you stay in the park and when you leave for Zion, go out the east entrance taking you to Hwy 89 and head north toward Page, AZ. It saves a lot of time and miles rather than heading south to the interstate and into Flagstaff and then north on 89.

So for Grand Canyon - 3-4 nights minimum

Zion and Bryce are definitely hiking parks. You'd fit in both parks in their campground. Zion has electric at Watchman campground but Bryce does not. Ruby's RV just outside the gate of Bryce has a large full-hookup park. The free shuttle also stops there. At Zion there's also a shuttle thru the park and also, if you stay outside the park at Springdale, the shuttle stops in that little town, too.

Again, I'd allow at least 3-4 nights at each. Bryce's trails are like a fairy wonderland. We love them.

From Hwy 89 at the east entrance of Grand Canyon you can take 89 north to 89A toward Jacob Lake or 89 north to Page, AZ and west to Kanab, UT.

From Kanab take 89 north to Hwy 9 west and you'll have to go though the Zion Tunnels (google them to see what it entails). It will be a steep downhill into Zion but many RVers do it - just depends on how you feel about it.

If you want to avoid the tunnel route. take 89A (a steep climb) or 89 which is fairly flat and get to Fredonia, AZ. Then take 389 west out of Fredonia to Colorado City and it will become UT59 at that point. Take 59 to Hwy 9 and come into Zion from the west to east at Springdale.

Ready to leave Zion? Either Hwy 9 east and a climb through the tunnels. Or...from Springdale, Hwy 9 west to I-15 north. At Circleville, UT take Hwy 20 to 89 and south on 89 to Hwy 12 east to Bryce. Don't be tempted to take Hwy 14 from I-15 - you probably won't like it...steep and curvy.

If you're big hikers or just want extra days to tour some of the areas outside the parks, then add a few more days.

One thing.....if you happen to be retired.... consider a mid-Sept/Oct trip instead of August which is still very hot.

Have a great trip. They're favorite parks of ours.
Really nice summary! x2
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Old 08-05-2016, 08:12 AM   #5
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I would suggest a minimum of 3-5 days at each. We drove from Tampa last summer. I also suggest that you add Moab to your list as long as you are there and check out Canyonlands and Arches. Not too far away from Moab is Monument Valley.. also worth a stop. If you are interested in the route we took out and the campgrounds we stayed at on our way and while at the destinations, PM me.
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:51 AM   #6
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X2 on the hot time of year you will going from Florida to Sedona. It will be a long hot trip, and in prime thunder storm/tornado season as well. We have been doing that trip several times in the last year (except Chicago to Sedona) as we are in the process of moving to Sedona and overseeing the rehab of a s&b. If I were you, and if you can, I'd bump the trip a month later.
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:34 PM   #7
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Yes, we understand about traveling in July/August. However, we want to time our trip so that we arrive in Sedona in early August to coincide with the hummingbird festival held there. Mark
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mjschocken View Post
Yes, we understand about traveling in July/August. However, we want to time our trip so that we arrive in Sedona in early August to coincide with the hummingbird festival held there. Mark
Ahhh...birding

Just another suggestion for cooler temperatures and a little less congestion in the other parks you plan to visit - we've attended the Verde Valley Birding Festival the end of April. It's extremely well-done with lots of trips to various sites...and yes, you'll see hummers. In the past it's held at the Dead Horse Ranch State Park and you can stay right there in the nice campground - water and electric and a dump station. It's a convenient place to stay since most of the trips leave early morning so no driving timelines. Here's the site for the 2016 festival but the 2017 dates haven't been announced yet, I don't believe. It's always been around the same time period though. It's very popular and a big thing in the area.

Home page of the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival 2012 in Cottonwood, Arizona

(I notice the link says 2012 but it's the 2016 information)
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:51 AM   #9
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[QUOT;3194071]If you're hikers, this is what I'd recommend:

Sedona - unless you have a place in mind since you've been there before, we enjoy Dead Horse Ranch State Park in nearby Cottonwood. It's an easy and less congested drive into Sedona. You'll have a night view of Jerome up on the hill. You'll be near Tuzigoot Nat'l Monument and also you could take the Verde Valley train ride.

Grand Canyon - best if you get a site in the park itself at Trailer Village - full hookups. You will be within walking to the Rim and the free shuttle stops right at the campground. You can take the shuttle and get off and on wherever. Take a stroll - fairly level - on the Rim Trail and pick up the bus at another stop. To get an altogether different perspective of the canyon, hike down the Bright Angel Trail if only for 1/4 mile or so. It's a neat feeling to be below the rim. There are many nice ranger programs and short strolls and naturally gift shops, hotels and restaurants to explore. Drive to the east end of the park at Desert View for lots more. If you stay in the park and when you leave for Zion, go out the east entrance taking you to Hwy 89 and head north toward Page, AZ. It saves a lot of time and miles rather than heading south to the interstate and into Flagstaff and then north on 89.

So for Grand Canyon - 3-4 nights minimum

Zion and Bryce are definitely hiking parks. You'd fit in both parks in their campground. Zion has electric at Watchman campground but Bryce does not. Ruby's RV just outside the gate of Bryce has a large full-hookup park. The free shuttle also stops there. At Zion there's also a shuttle thru the park and also, if you stay outside the park at Springdale, the shuttle stops in that little town, too.

Again, I'd allow at least 3-4 nights at each. Bryce's trails are like a fairy wonderland. We love them.

From Hwy 89 at the east entrance of Grand Canyon you can take 89 north to 89A toward Jacob Lake or 89 north to Page, AZ and west to Kanab, UT.

From Kanab take 89 north to Hwy 9 west and you'll have to go though the Zion Tunnels (google them to see what it entails). It will be a steep downhill into Zion but many RVers do it - just depends on how you feel about it.

If you want to avoid the tunnel route. take 89A (a steep climb) or 89 which is fairly flat and get to Fredonia, AZ. Then take 389 west out of Fredonia to Colorado City and it will become UT59 at that point. Take 59 to Hwy 9 and come into Zion from the west to east at Springdale.

Ready to leave Zion? Either Hwy 9 east and a climb through the tunnels. Or...from Springdale, Hwy 9 west to I-15 north. At Circleville, UT take Hwy 20 to 89 and south on 89 to Hwy 12 east to Bryce. Don't be tempted to take Hwy 14 from I-15 - you probably won't like it...steep and curvy.

If you're big hikers or just want extra days to tour some of the areas outside the parks, then add a few more days.

One thing.....if you happen to be retired.... consider a mid-Sept/Oct trip instead of August which is still very hot.

Have a great trip. They're favorite parks of ours.[/QUOTE]

As is normally the case, twogypsies is right on in the advice given , the time frame is also very good - Utah IMHO is an October or later state - if you need to get out of Florida, think about a little time in Colorado or at elevation so as to be able to just Cool Down. and if you time it right, Last week or so of September, - https://lynn.smugmug.com/Travel/Colo...pens/i-tsVRkXg - you might really enjoy those cool nights with a blanket before you head back in to the A/C of Utah.

We have hiked to the top of Angels Landing in December in shorts and T shirts, so think about the weather as it will make all these visits even better.

Besk of Luck,
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