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  1. Default Utah Route suggestion:My 2007 RT part 1

    My first couple of days I'm solid on my itinerary, but I'm a little torn on my next couple fo days.
    Day 1:Home>Yosemite>Tioga Pass>camping somewhere beyond there

    Day 2:Drive from somewhere east of Yosemite (not sure exactly where I'll camp), to Springdale (449 miles) which is fine because there isn't much I plan on long term stopping, aside from probably lunch in Rachel NV and a quick look around Caliente. Hotel stay it after the long drive.

    Day 3: Zion in the morning. Bryce Canyon in the later afternoon. Camping in the Bryce area. Less than 100 miles of driving. Plenty of sightseeing time.

    Day 4 is my question.

    Option 1: Bryce>Escalante>Calf Creek (including the hike for 5.5 miles roundtrip to the falls)>Capitol Reef>Natural Bridges>Moab
    389.1 miles, which is a lot with a 2+hr hike and 3 parks to look over.

    Option 2: Bryce>Escalante>Calf Creek>CRNP>Moab via 24-70.
    Only 272 miles, but I'll miss crossing the Colorado and Natural Bridges, as well as a lot of 191 scenery, since it would really add mileage if I do it after Mesa Verde a few days later.

    Option 3: Bryce>Escalante>Calf Creek>CRNP>Bullfrog Creek- Camp overnight

    Next day take Ferry over Glen Canyon, then on to Natural Bridges then Moab.
    I'm planning 2 days in Moab for Arches/Canyonlands, but I'd probably have to cut that to 1 day instead if I use this route. I'd probably see Canyonlands on the way, then Arches the next morning before I head out.

    The next leg is heading to Cortez, CO via 145 after 2 days (or 1) in Moab

    Which plan sounds better?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Hmmm

    I've never traveled through that part of the country, but there should be others along soon that will be able to help.

    But I have been to Mesa Verde (I came up from Texas and New Mexico before heading back home, though). Cortez was a nice town to stay in (I believe we bunked down at a Days Inn there) and really enjoyed the park. Definitely spend the money and go on some tours. There was one that you were supposed to test out how large your backside was before you could buy the ticket, though. You had to crawl through a tunnel after climbing up a ladder to get to the house. It turned out to be a small part of the tour, but several people in our group had failed to check out their size. Made for an interesting afternoon. They all made it through eventually, but it was a tight squeeze for a while there.

    We toured two buildings and did the driving tour in one day. My only regret is that we did not set aside two days for our visit. There was just too much to do to get it all done in one day.


  3. #3


    Capitol Reef is a great park( somewhat of an overlooked gem) but can be seen in a couple of hours if you are not looking to hike much. The scenery is great though; it’s worth a full day. Natural Bridges is a great little park but is can be done in 2-4 hours. Two if you are just driving and four with hiking one of the trails.

    191 is worth the drive, beautiful road. I wouldn’t take the ferry over Glen Canyon. It is quicker to drive from my recollection. I am at work so I cant’ look at maps but driving over is quicker as I remember. You are packing a lot on that day. Option 2 seems to have to many places for one day. Option 1 seems to hit the best places and have some great driving.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Choices, choices, choices

    Depending on the vehicle you are driving... Captiol Reef can easily be 3 days. First, you can camp near the visitor center, so that is easy. The main road east-west and the one from the visitor center south show you a small, but dramatic portion of the park.

    On your way there, heading north from Escalante, you'll see the small burg of Boulder. A right turn there takes you through a great canyon drive to an overlook of the waterpocket fold (several miles on gravel, then a short hike). I first saw the waterpocket fold from an airliner. It looked like someone had taken a 3 mile wide hoe and dragged it for 150 miles through the Utah desert. When I got home and looked on a map, I discovered it is the main geologic feature of Capitol Reef NP. From the overlook you can see up and down the flat-bottomed canyon for miles. Leaving there, either go back to Boulder, then north toward Torrey, or take the steep drive down into the canyon and drive on gravel roads up to Hwy 24. Your choice.

    The other interesting road, also on gravel, is from the north. I don't see it on my atlas, but it runs through Cathedral Valley, past the Glass Mountain, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon and back to Hwy 24. There is some soft sand on the road so 4-wheel drive is suggested. (Can you tell this is on one of our favorite parks?).

    The main lookout point at the north end of Canyonlands is just that, a look out point with a spectacular view. Nearby, Mesa Arch at sunrise is an iconic experience, if you have time and clear skies. Driving down into the park on the White Rim trail requires high clearance and 4-wheel drive (deep sand, deep ruts, large rocks, expanses where the road disappears). It is a 12+ hour, or two day loop with campsites along the way, but worth it if you have the gear and the vehicle (they rent Jeeps in Moab).

    Dead Horse Point is another interesting, spectacular lookout that is worth a stop. The Indians used to herd wild horses onto this finger of land surrounded on 3 sides by steep cliffs, then fence off the narrow neck. The only problem was that occassionally the horses would freak out and jump.

    Arches should be a day, at least, to get a decent taste. There are several hikes, but for me, the must do is to Delicate Arch at sunset. Do you hear me...MUST DO!?

    On your way to Mesa Verde is the eastern entrance to Canyonlands, the Needles District. That is a longish, but geologically interesting area, too. Newspaper Rock, right on the road, is a famous petroglyph site with hundreds of images.

    Natural Bridges, as has been stated, is a nice park. Take the time to take one of the hikes, which bring you under and around several arches.

    And then there is Monument Valley and Navajo National Monument, etc. Needless to say, this area is so full if interesting, dramatic scenery and historic places and hikes that you could spend a lifetime exploring (several people have).

    Because of the driving time between places and the amount of things to see and do at each location, I suggest picking some for this trip (restricting your mileage and driving time), and saving some for the next trip!

    Author of America's Living History
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-22-2007 at 09:42 PM. Reason: Added link to approved site

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