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Thread: Las Vegas Loop

  1. Default Las Vegas Loop

    I am planning a trip to Vegas at the end of August. We plan to spend the majority of that time outside of the Vegas Strip. In 2004 I planned a road trip starting in Phoenix and went up to Bozeman, MT before returning to Salt Lake City. Had an amazing time and fell in love with this part of the country and its National Parks. I am so very excited to be returning for a taste of it all again.

    I have been searching the forums and gathered good info and ideas, but was curious if it would be better to head towards Zion/Bryce and then down to the Grand Canyon, or the other way around? Or does it even matter? This is all going to be packed into two nights/three days. But I figure they do these tours from Vegas for just the day so this should be doable or am I insane?

    Also is it not a good idea to go to Death Valley in August? Just want to see it and get some good pictures. What are the best stops to do for a day trip for Death Valley?

    I am mostly interested in getting great pictures for this trip, so any other side trips would also be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Doable but busy.

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

    I don't think you will find any major benefits from going one way or the other. If you head for Zion first I would spend your first night at Bryce and then the GC. In the other direction, gc first night and then Springdale [Zion]. All three parks are amazing but Bryce can be seen the quickest as all the viewpoints are close to the roadside. Drive to the top of the canyon first and see the sights on the way back, this will put all the turn outs on your side of the road and you won't be constantly having to pull in or out across the traffic. It 's going to be busy this time of year and you could consider visiting the quieter North rim of the Grand canyon rather than heading to the South rim that is further away.

    Death valley will be extremely hot but you can get some fantastic shots of this stunning landscape from close by to your car. You will find some info on our Day trips from Vegas page. If DV is included in your Vegas loop I think it might be a bit much, but for a day trip from Vegas it's ideal.

    You have a lot to see in a short space of time so I would get early starts to get ahead of the crowds.

  3. Default

    Dave- Thanks for your input! It looks like getting to the North Rim takes you up route 15. I assume that is the less scenic way? If I see the South rim on the first day will I pass through or by the North Rim on the way to the Utah National Parks? Wanted to get a quick photo opp of Hoover Dam. One of my most favorite memories was the actual drive out of the Grand Canyon to the next stop. Amazing scenic drive! I assume I was a tthe South Rim then if I was coming from Pheonix.

    Doesn't look like there is much lodging, and I of course cannot remember where I stayed 5 yrs ago when I went to the Grand Canyon. It was def outside of the park, and all I remember is there being a huge gift shop accross the street.

    Death Valley will be done seperate from this loop. :)

  4. #4
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    Default

    The closest place to stay to the South Rim is Tusayan, the little town just outside the south entrance. The next closest place is the Cameron Trading Post, which is not too far from the east entrance right near the US-64/US-89 junction. With both options, you are looking at $100+ rooms in August. To get rooms for less than $100 you will have to go to Williams or Flagstaff.

    You can certainly go to the North Rim after the South Rim - go out the east entrance and then north on US-89 toward Page. Take Alt-89 to the North Rim. Coming out the other way, Alt-89 rejoins US-89 in Kanab, from which you can go to Zion and/or Bryce Canyon. Coming around the other way, you can take I-15 to St. George, then UT-9 to Zion. You then have the option of going to Bryce or the North Rim.

    There is lodging in Page, but also expensive in season. I strongly suggest that if you choose to stay in Page, stay away from the Super 8. It is not well maintained and customer service is quite lacking.

  5. #5
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    Default map time

    Quote Originally Posted by vally1978 View Post
    Dave- Thanks for your input! It looks like getting to the North Rim takes you up route 15. I assume that is the less scenic way?
    I think another look at your map will be in order.

    If you did a loop of Bryce, Zion, and the North Rim, yes you would be using I-15 to get from Vegas to Utah. However, That's pretty much going to be a requirement on any loop that you take from Vegas that includes Bryce and Zion.

    If I see the South rim on the first day will I pass through or by the North Rim on the way to the Utah National Parks? Wanted to get a quick photo opp of Hoover Dam. One of my most favorite memories was the actual drive out of the Grand Canyon to the next stop. Amazing scenic drive! I assume I was a tthe South Rim then if I was coming from Pheonix.
    If you went to the south rim first, you'd be taking I-40 across to Williams before going north. Then you'd have to loop around on US-89 to get around the Canyon and head into Utah. This route will take you towards the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but its a good 40 miles from that road back to the North Rim.

    I think your biggest problem will be fitting all of this into 3 days. If you just did a loop of Bryce, Zion, North Rim, and back to Vegas, you'd be looking at 650 miles of driving, mostly on 2 lane roads. If you did it as a loop to the South Rim and then north to Utah (skipping the north rim) your drive would climb to 800 miles, again, mostly on 2 lane road. You can fit all of this in, but there's a good chance that you're going to end up feeling pretty rushed. I will remind you that while they might do daytrips to all of these places from Vegas, We really don't recommend visiting the Grand Canyon as a daytrip from vegas (its much better if you can have 2 days), and even Bryce is on the outer edge of how far you can comfortably go in one day.

  6. #6
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    Default One rim.

    Hi,
    The North rim, Zion and Bryce was a suggested option to cut down your miles, but with your time not a recommendation to try and visit both. As you want to see the Hoover dam and do a loop then the South rim is your best option. I would get an early start from Vegas to maximise your time at the South rim and either stay inside the park or at Cameron trading post that has dining and a massive store. Flagstaff and Williams will be cheaper options but will mean back tracking and taking valuable time up. From I=40 and Williams enter the canyon by the Southern entrance [64]and then leave by the East gate along Desert view drive [64] which is a big part of the GC experience and takes you to the 89 and Cameron[stop at the Old watch tower near the exit gate]. Booking in advance will be essential at the time of year you are visiting. Personally I would get an early start to Bryce, enjoy the views and head to Springdale for the night which is situated on Zion's doorstep,a great little town with diners and shops, but again it would be advisable to book. To do this it would be better done with a start from Cameron rather than from inside the park because of time factors.
    Spend the day on the free shuttle bus and walking in Zion before heading to I-15 and the drive back to Vegas.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-28-2009 at 10:57 AM. Reason: Info

  7. #7
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    Default

    If you do the loop through the South Rim and want to go to Bryce and/or Zion after, it's only about an hour from Cameron to Page if you want to get closer to maximize your time the next day.

  8. Default

    Wow! Thanks to everyone who has replied thus far. Eash post has really helped me to sort out the plans. I think the South Rim will be the best route since Hoover Dam is on the way. I like the idea of staying at that Cameron Trading Post. Looks decent and it would be the most decent and cheapest at $99 for the night. So this place is after the Grand Canyon as if I were traveling towards the next stop--Bryce Canyon? I think the website said it was 30 min from the GC.

    Thanks again everyone!

  9. #9
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    Yes, it's out the east entrance. You will be on US-64, take that to the end, turn left on US-89, and it's a mile or so north on the left. It's about a 5 hour drive from Cameron to Bryce Canyon via US-89 and UT-12.

  10. #10
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    Default

    I think the website said it was 30 min from the GC.
    It is close to the East entrance but allow extra time for the drive along Desert view drive from the village area and any stops such as the view from the Old Watchtower.

    Have a great time and pop back in and let us know your thoughts when you are done !

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