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  1. Default Grand Canyon & Southern Utah Tour

    Hello,

    My wife and I are planning a trip in Late June through Early July from the Oklahoma Panhandle. As of right now, the sights we are planning to visit include (in this order):

    Mesa Verde
    Monument Valley (just drive through)
    Grand Canyon
    Zion
    Bryce
    Capitol Reef
    Arches

    We will be getting the National Parks Pass, and possibly even traveling with another couple, so that could potentially help on costs a little bit.

    The questions I have right now are:

    1. Should we make reservations for each place, or use the first-come-first serve campgrounds so we can be more flexible in case we want to stay at a certain place a little longer.

    2. What's the best way to go about food for the trip? I have a backpacking stove (pocket rocket), so that is an option.

    3. How many days would you recommend at each place? We would like to keep the total trip time around 12 days. (Allow 1.5 days to get to/from the Oklahoma Panhandle).

    I think that's it for now. Any advice at all, including suggested campgrounds and day hikes would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Nice trip.

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums.

    It doesn't matter how many times I see that list of places it never fails to amaze me how many wonderful places there are in relatively small area, brilliant !

    1. Should we make reservations for each place, or use the first-come-first serve campgrounds so we can be more flexible in case we want to stay at a certain place a little longer.
    What''s your main priority, camping in the N.P's or being flexible ? Personally, I love the N.P.S sites and would feel I am missing out big time if I had to camp outside of somewhere I wanted to be and others would just "wing it". As it's quite a short trip and relatively short journeys and a busy time of year I would book but the choice is yours. The way I feel about it is if I don't make a place for a night it's cost me a few dollars and someone who prefers taking a chance might get a place for the night.

    Here is the N.P.S website that contains all the info you need including camping.

    2. What's the best way to go about food for the trip? I have a backpacking stove (pocket rocket), so that is an option.
    Judy's tips on packing the cooler

    3. How many days would you recommend at each place? We would like to keep the total trip time around 12 days.
    I would spend at least 2 days at the Grand canyon and Zion and fit your travelling and visits around that, although allow plenty of time as you will be wanting to stop to take in the sights on the way. You might even fancy a detour and stopping at Black Canyon. on the way back from Arches.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Reservations

    When it comes to camping in some of the most popular parks in the country, during the most popular season, I think it's a must. It could save you hours each day driving around trying to find a campsite. This is especially true if you want an NPS campsite. Even commercial campsites can be a bit hard to find at this time of year.

    Do you have your route planned? After Arches, I suggest you consider coming through Colorado. It's a beautiful drive. If you have time, consider visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, too.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the replies! We'll definitely make reservations for the N.P. campgrounds then. With the exception of Arches, I've been to all of the sites before (just once though, and each one for only a day), but my wife has never been to them before.

    I'm afraid it's going to be a lot of the same thing (although I know Zion is quite different, and I assume Arches is different enough to be interesting). I know we would fully enjoy all the sites no matter what. But I wouldn't mind spending maybe an extra day or two in Colorado by either skipping one of the sites I mentioned before, or maybe not spend quite as much time there. I went to the RMNP two summers ago, and absolutely fell in love with it, but I that's slightly out of the way...but anything with those sort of views for something just a little bit different would be nice. Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    169

    Default more suggestions

    I agree to reserve the campsites.
    You might also want to reserve a horseback (mule) ride at Bryce canyon (2 hr or 4 hr options).
    Zion NP is spectacular - be sure to take a few hikes there - not just drive through.
    I agree to spend two nights at Grand Canyon & Zion.
    Monument Valley - there are jeeps waiting to take folks on rides through for reasonable cost - if you want to get a closer view without a 4x4 vehicle of your own.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Same thing?

    Gosh, I find all these parks so unique that I can't agree that there is a sameness about them. In fact, I found each scenic overlook and different perspective into the parks quite different. Never a boring moment or feeling of sameness, in my opinion. I think you'll be enchanted.

    How about something like this? You can enjoy a bit more of Colorado on the way there and back. Of course, this will take time from the places in Utah and only you can decide how quick or slow you want to tour things. But it might make a nice mix. Leadville CO is one of my favorite towns, with blocks of original buildings. And the drive through Leadville will take you through some amazing views of the Rocky Mountains.

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