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Old 07-28-2019, 12:06 PM   #1
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Utah Big 5 in 2020

Have been reading a lot of the travel info posts and will be using a some of the suggestions from forum members but still need some more details on things to do. I will also plan some down time at each location for some relaxation and just take the day off. Thinking of 5-6 weeks for these areas but can easily extend the dates.

In mid May 2020, we'll be spending 4 days at Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon an plan to do some of the day bus excursions inside the park. Not really sure about a lot of hiking but may do short trails. Any other suggestions for the Grand Canyon?

Next will be Zion River Resort for another 4-5 days and plan on doing some of the shorter trails just to see more of the park. Are there any trail roads where I can use the Jeep Rubicon? For site seeing, not off roading.

Bryce Canyon is where I need more help and can't decide how long to stay. Will be staying at Ruby's and would like to see the Grand Staircase. From Google maps, it looks like some dirt roads are available to visit Kodachrome for a day trip. Next, I'd like to head up on route 12 to Escalante and take BLM 200 and Spencer Flat Rd for another day trip. Is this worthwhile and doable?

We'll also do the Arches, Moab, Mesa Verde, Meteor Crater etc. on the way back home but haven't planned that far out.
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:08 PM   #2
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In mid May 2020, we'll be spending 4 days at Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon an plan to do some of the day bus excursions inside the park. Not really sure about a lot of hiking but may do short trails. Any other suggestions for the Grand Canyon?

The Rim Trail is just about flat and it will give you many scenic views of the canyon. By riding the free shuttle you can start at one place and walk to the next shuttle stop and board. At least walk about 1/8 mi. down the Bright Angel Trail.
It will give you a good perspective of getting below the Rim.
Attend the ranger programs. Have a nice meal in the Lodge.
Your 4 days are up!


Next will be Zion River Resort for another 4-5 days and plan on doing some of the shorter trails just to see more of the park. Are there any trail roads where I can use the Jeep Rubicon? For site seeing, not off roading.

There's a paved flat trail in Zion which is very pleasant. The others are all uphill so choose wisely. Stay at Watchman campground in the park or in nearby Springdale where the free shuttle stops. There are plenty of gravel roads for touring. Look online for backcountry trails. Some will be difficult but also some very easy. If not planning on much hiking 4 days would be plenty.

Bryce Canyon is where I need more help and can't decide how long to stay. Will be staying at Ruby's and would like to see the Grand Staircase. From Google maps, it looks like some dirt roads are available to visit Kodachrome for a day trip. Next, I'd like to head up on route 12 to Escalante and take BLM 200 and Spencer Flat Rd for another day trip. Is this worthwhile and doable?

Take BLM200 as far as you want to go - not with the RV. You might want to spend 2 nights in Escalante so you won't have a lot of driving. BLM200 does get rough toward the end but starts off easy. Definitely walk through Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons. They're not too far off Hwy 12 and the trails are short. Make sure the weather isn't threatening there and at least 25 miles away. You don't want to do them with rain in the horizon. There's an excellent web site on things to do along Hwy 12. Check out Kodachrome Basin State Park and perhaps do a trail there. Red Canyon just west of the Bryce entrance has some very nice trails and a pretty campground. Walk to Calf Creek Falls. It's all a gorgeous area. From Ruby's the park's free shuttle stops there. Take it just for an overlook of the park. Then choose where you want to hike. You really need to get down below to appreciate the beauty. It's like walking through a fairy wonderland. Going DOWN Wall Street trail is fun but perhaps go UP via another trail unless you're in good shape! Again... lots of interesting ranger program in our national parks and campfire programs.You could easily add more days here.

Don't forget Capitol Reef Nat'l Park - various ability hiking and driving options.


We'll also do the Arches, Moab consider staying at Dead Horse Point State Park. It's a beauty! Take an evening river trip. Lots of easy to difficult drives. Stop at the Visitor Center in town for ideas., Mesa Verde Definitely take a tour., Meteor Crater it will be a let down after all the beauty you will have seen already! etc. on the way back home but haven't planned that far out.
It's a wonderful trip! Have fun.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:57 PM   #3
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You only need 1 night at Meteor Crater. We stayed there as a staging spot prior to going to the Trailer Village. Trailer Village will not let you park till noon or 1pm and there is no place park and wait in the campground. If you do get in early go over to the visitors center and park where the tour busses park. Also you might want to get the National Park Access Pass. It works at Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches and I think Bryce as well. Moab and Mesa Verde get brutally hot in the summer so plan accordingly
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Old 07-29-2019, 08:43 AM   #4
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Take a look at the VisitUtah.com website. They have lots of information there. They used to have a section on “The road to the Mighty Five” which included info on the nearby state parks and historic sites. The national parks are certainly not the only wonderful things in the area.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:30 PM   #5
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Here's info on Utah's Scenic Highway 12:

https://scenicbyway12.com/

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Old 07-29-2019, 02:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. I have the life time senior pass and have been using google maps. The scenicbyway12 has a lot of interesting things to look at and haven using it for my research.

Right now, just trying to decide how long Iíll need at Rubyís if I want to do Bryce, Kodachrome and the Staircases. Thinking of 2 days for Bryce, a day for Kodachrome, and a couple of days to hit the back road at the Staircase. Somehow, I donít think that enough time and I should extend my stay at Rubyís.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:23 PM   #7
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Not familiar with the area around Meteor Crater. Is there a good place with hookups and how about a nice central location for the Arches and Moab.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:05 PM   #8
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Not familiar with the area around Meteor Crater. Is there a good place with hookups and how about a nice central location for the Arches and Moab.


Since you will be at Meteor you might consider driving a little bit farther east and hitting Petrified Forrest and the Painted Desert. Both are interesting side trips.

Just an idea...
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:46 PM   #9
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Since you will be at Meteor you might consider driving a little bit farther east and hitting Petrified Forrest and the Painted Desert. Both are interesting side trips.

Just an idea...


Thanks. We have been looking at this and would like to find a central location with hookups.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:55 PM   #10
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Meteor has a RV park right there. Meteor itself would be the only thing nearby to see. Leaving Meteor you could stop for lunch in historic Winslow but no reason to spend more time there. If you want to do things in Flagstaff then stay in Flagstaff. Petrified Forest is also a one-day drive through.

I'd suggest staying at Ruby's at least 3 nights and then moving on Hwy 12 to the little town of Escalante for 2 nights to do your big Jeep drive.

Arches is in Moab. We always stayed at Dead Horse Point State Park because we enjoyed the quietness and scenery and also it's a good area for Jeeping but there are plenty of RV parks along Main St. in Moab.
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:27 PM   #11
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I'd suggest staying at Ruby's at least 3 nights and then moving on Hwy 12 to the little town of Escalante for 2 nights to do your big Jeep drive.

Arches is in Moab. We always stayed at Dead Horse Point State Park because we enjoyed the quietness and scenery and also it's a good area for Jeeping but there are plenty of RV parks along Main St. in Moab.

Rubyís is the part that Iím trying to wrap my head around and staring at maps for too long. Actually looking at 5-6 nights for Bryce and taking some back roads to Kodachrome. Not sure if Iím seeing this correctly. The Grand Staircase doesnít look doable from Rubyís and have been looking for sites around Escalante.

Will probably do another 5-6 nights around Moab and hit the Arches and Canyonland.

Not trying to rush everything and leave some time to relax.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:39 PM   #12
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Love Southern Utah. Last May we went 30 or so miles down BLM 200. Especially liked Devils Canyon and Dry Fork Slots. A few miles further east on 12 youíre in Boulder. Hells Backbone Grill is a great stop for food. Consider a detour in your Jeep from Boulder and head east up Burr Trail canyon. There is an excellent interagency visitor center in Escalante. Hereís a shot of Dry Fork Slots. A couple of miles of hiking.
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Devils Canyon
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:04 PM   #13
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Have been reading a lot of the travel info posts and will be using a some of the suggestions from forum members but still need some more details on things to do. I will also plan some down time at each location for some relaxation and just take the day off. Thinking of 5-6 weeks for these areas but can easily extend the dates.

In mid May 2020, we'll be spending 4 days at Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon an plan to do some of the day bus excursions inside the park. Not really sure about a lot of hiking but may do short trails. Any other suggestions for the Grand Canyon?

Next will be Zion River Resort for another 4-5 days and plan on doing some of the shorter trails just to see more of the park. Are there any trail roads where I can use the Jeep Rubicon? For site seeing, not off roading.

Bryce Canyon is where I need more help and can't decide how long to stay. Will be staying at Ruby's and would like to see the Grand Staircase. From Google maps, it looks like some dirt roads are available to visit Kodachrome for a day trip. Next, I'd like to head up on route 12 to Escalante and take BLM 200 and Spencer Flat Rd for another day trip. Is this worthwhile and doable?

We'll also do the Arches, Moab, Mesa Verde, Meteor Crater etc. on the way back home but haven't planned that far out.

We will be down there in a couple of weeks. I am wondering if anyone can rank the places mentioned here on a hotness scale for August?
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:51 PM   #14
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We will be down there in a couple of weeks. I am wondering if anyone can rank the places mentioned here on a hotness scale for August?
August: The coolest will be Bryce.

Next, Grand Canyon (South Rim) and Meteor Crater.

The hottest: Zion, Moab (Arches, Canyonlands), Mesa Verde - You'll need to plan to get up early if hiking. By 10-11 am it'll be very hot. 5pm will start cooling down.

A brimmed hat, sunscreen and lots of WATER!
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