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Old 01-19-2020, 10:06 PM   #15
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Sounds like awesome trip, make sure to check restrictions on Mt Carmel tunnel between Zion and Bryce. You can probably take the RV thru but may need to buy permit. If you are too big you have to go around which is many more miles. The Zion national park website will explain the tunnel restrictions. As long as your rv meets the size limits its a very cool drive.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:30 PM   #16
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Looks like a great trip and manageable, we e don as much. It will be warm so make sure your RV has 2 air conditioners. Don’t listen to the naysayers, it’s your adventure.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:31 PM   #17
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That sounds like a great plan. Some of your days will be long as you'll want to stop and see, or at least slow down in many places for good views and photos.
It's doable. I hope you have a great time and share your pictures here with us. Wife and I are doing Grand canyon, Yosemite, Brice canyon, Zion no and a few others in June for 3 weeks.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:27 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
In that case, let me say this about the Grand Canyon, having visited it for the first time myself a few months ago (after many canceled trips over the years). Pictures completely fail to give any sense of its scale, and seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time is sort of like seeing an ocean for the first time. You may have seen small lakes and rivers before, and had it described as a lake that goes on to the horizon, but until you see it yourself, it is hard to comprehend. You can stand at the canyon rim, hold your arm out stretched with your thumb covering just a patch of canyon floor, then be amazed by how much area was covered by your thumb.
Which side of the Canyon would you suggest? I have read that the south is more popular but also a lot more crowded...the north should be quieter and with cooler temperatures...what would you suggest?
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:43 AM   #19
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We have only visited the south rim, but would love to visit the north rim at some point in the future, though in our case that means hundreds more miles added onto the trip from Louisiana. Several people have told me that they prefer the north rim, primarily due to less crowds, though also less of the canyon rim is easily accessible there.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:46 AM   #20
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Which side of the Canyon would you suggest? I have read that the south is more popular but also a lot more crowded...the north should be quieter and with cooler temperatures...what would you suggest?
I have been to both. The North is much more “quiet” because of access to the park (the South is closer to a major highway). There will be less people but they are more restricted to one area. The south has more access points for viewing the canyon.
I would not go out of your way to hit one over the other go to the one that is closest to your route. If your return trip brings you close to the opposite side then I’d say do that too, but I’d not alter plans to get to both sides.
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Old 01-20-2020, 01:02 PM   #21
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I agree with ThomB. Don't go out of your way to do one over the other.

We've been to both sides many times. For a first time visitor I'd recommend the South Rim. Yes, it's crowded but there is so much more to do; more hiking trails; more restaurants; more viewing points. Having seen it all we will now only go to the North Rim.

Trailer Village is the place to stay if you need hookups. The free shuttle bus stops right there and you can walk to the Rim.

If you don't need hookups Mather or Desert View, at the eastern side are very nice. In fact, if you want to avoid the crowds, stay at Desert View and drive to the western area for other things.
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Old 01-20-2020, 01:32 PM   #22
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National parks RV trip in the West

OP. These are all good recommendations. I agree that the south rim would be my first choice (in spite of it being busier) having visited both just this past summer. A warning about highway 9 between Zion and Bryce. The Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel was built in the 1920’s and it is so small that any vehicle over 11 feet 4 inches or 7 feet 10 inches wide requires a traffic control escort. If you go through the tunnel you will see thousands of metal streaks on the walls and ceiling from those unfortunate individuals that made a bad choice. We avoided this by staying between Zion and Bryce in Glendale at Bauer’s Canyon Road Campground. Nothing special but it was convenient and used our tow vehicle to get to Zion. I’m guessing you won’t be pulling a car so take this into consideration.

We enjoyed Bryce more than Zion by the way but are glad we visited both.
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:10 PM   #23
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Thanks for posting that, for future reference it is nice to know that we would almost fit without an escort, except for mirror to mirror width, as we are 11'5" to the top of the air conditioner.
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:32 PM   #24
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Some helpful information about YSNP (some general items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is BIG!, about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The “figure 8 grand loop” road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much as you planned on in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or stop all traffic for 1/4 mile or more blocking both directions of travel, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 MPH radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line to check it out)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking and there are passes on the grand loop road that are close to 8000 ft or so! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking.

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until about 9:00- 9:15 PM then there is a long and bright twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise non-existent!

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is shiny black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YNP yes, drink lots of water! HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas only have pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line at the lower Geyser Basin (2 R/Rs) 25 or more feet long (bless the tour buses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area! I.e. “Never pass up a flush toilet!”

Sun- At YSNP altitude the Sun is intense (uv) have and apply sunscreen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear Sunglasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have up to a hour and 10 to 15 minutes wait for the next one. Tour the O/F Geyser basin while waiting. O/F INN is a must see, reportedly the largest LOG building in the U.S. (Meals in the O/F Inn dinning room are “A OK” also.

We have lived about 110 miles from West Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go to YSNP 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all yet! So don’t be discouraged that you didn’t have the time to see all of it. Just plan on coming back another time!

I honestly don’t mean to scare or discourage you but to give you a heads up as to what to expect! After all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015! As far as I know we didn’t lose one of them. Except those who by their own stupidity step off the board walks into BOILING HOT water and ignoring the warnings about the WILD ANIMALS! That is called purifying the gene pool!

Now, for the early spring/late fall visitors, YSNP is closed to ALL wheeled traffic from mid November to mid March (Snow Machines, Snow Coach’s, Snowshoes, X-country Skiing etc only as of mid Dec to mid March) the first road to be plowed open in mid April is from West Y’stone, MT to Old Faithful. The last roads to be plowed is Norris to Canyon to Fishing Bridge, West Thumb south to GTNP. Other tourist venues are open AS the shelves are stocked, beds are made, winter debris cleaned up etc. All tourist venues are open by Memorial Day weekend the official opening.

Note I have seen on this blog and others about folks “day tripping” from YSNP to GTNP, it is done all the time (myself included) however remember this is BIG country and with the speed limits, animals and thermal attractions you will be doing a LOT of slow driving. From Grant Village Visitor Center (extreme S/E corner of the lower loop road) to Jackson, WY is about 80 miles with Coulter Bay being about 1/2 way, then from Grant Village you have to add the distance to your CG it will be a Long days trip!

A point of Coulter Bay (GTNP) clarification- there are two (2) CG’s at Coulter Bay, One the “Coulter Bay RV Park” a full service “RV Park” with FHU’S that takes reservations. The other is the “Coulter Bay Campground “ (FS CG) has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations. Both have about 300 sites and are basically across the road from each other.

The Gros Ventre FS CG in GTNP (about 5 miles north of Jackson and about 4 miles n/e toward the town of Kelly, on the right side of the road) is about 300 sites (including about 30 sites that are electric only) has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations.

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/ TABLE SEATING ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 9 times and the US open fiddle championship twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench seats/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pads to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer just to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money on your trip! Check out their website.

http://www.barjchuckwagon.com

Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and the # of Silver Dollars imbedded in the bar. The Wort Hotel Bar (just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar) also has Silver Dollars imbedded in the Bar.
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:47 PM   #25
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Be aware that in the Mojave Desert between (I-15) Victorville/ Barstow/ Calico/ Baker/ Las Vegas/ Saint George/ Zion in July can be as much as 110*F! I know that it is a “dry” heat but 110* is still 110*.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:28 PM   #26
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Here's the information about the Zion tunnel. Also, each national park has a great website with lots of good information such as things to do, special alerts, road conditions, etc. Check them out. Here is Zion's.

https://www.nps.gov/zion/frequently-...and-tunnel.htm
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:12 PM   #27
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I normally drive a minimum of 500 miles a day so your schedule is very doable to me. I also recommend that you drive more miles per day at the beginning of the trip, not less, and fewer miles per day later in the trip when you are more tired from all your travels. At the beginning of the trip you are more fresh and less likely to get tired early. Also covering more miles in the beginning will leave you some room for down time later if you need to slow down or stop due to fatigue, unplanned breakdown or you want to stay longer than planned at a particular stop.
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Old 01-21-2020, 12:50 AM   #28
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TXTiger, I would perhaps agree with this advice, if they had experience driving a motorhome, but they don't they also likely don't have experience with how vast the American west is.
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