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  1. #1

    Default First time RV trip to the Great Grand Canyonlands!!! pleaase help!!!

    Hi,

    It has been a dream to rent an RV in my life as well as visiting one of the Wonders of the World.
    I think finally it can come true with a bit of planning and help from all of you. :-)

    I stay in NJ and will be flying down to Las Vegas at the end of May. I have 6 days in my hand to cover all the parks possible.
    I went through numerous travel blogs and at the end all of them has left me totally confused as there are so many great places to cover!! I have no idea what to leave and what to hold on to!!

    Places highly recommended to cover as understood by me are:-
    1> Zion NP
    2> Arches NP
    3> Canyonlands
    4> Grand Canyon

    Do you think that it would be possbile to cover these places with a little bit of hiking and photography?
    I have just over 2 months in my hand to complete all the bookings and it came to my mind that it would be easier for me if i had a RV with me to move through the places.

    Have any of you travelled to these places with an RV?
    If yes, where have you stayed? Can i get any site from where i can book my sites beforehand. Are there any free camp grounds with the amenities?
    I have no kids on board so i will not be needing a swimmingpool around me.

    Can you pleaaaaaase help me with a plan and tell me whether the RV plan is in or out?

    Cheers!!!

    Thanks a ton for any help!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default things to remember

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you've had a dream of doing an RV trip, then by all means you should go for it - however, it does seem like you have a few misconceptions.

    First, no, there are not any free campgrounds with amenities. There are some free camping option, but in these cases you will have no hook ups for water or electric. If you are parking in a public lot (like a truck stop) you also shouldn't use things like slide outs or your generator that make it obvious you are camping.

    A camp site will generally cost $20-25, and can be more if you are getting a site with hookups.

    If you want to stay at campgrounds within the National Parks, recreation.gov handles pretty much all of the reservations. They do fill up early, so I'd work quickly on your planning.

    I will say that an RV should be looked at as part of a lifestyle choice, and not something to save money, and its rarely an easier mode of travel. Going with a car/motel means the ability to move around more quickly, and many times its far easier to find a motel with a vacancy on short notice than a campground.

    As far as your specific plans go, you could do a loop like that in 6 days, but you'll need to plan carefully. Once you factor in all the driving, you aren't going to have a ton of time left for hiking and photography. Its not impossible by any means, but you'll need to budget your time carefully.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default More of less

    Hi there,

    I have stayed at all the places you have mentioned in an RV and the National park campgrounds are the place to be IMO. You won't have hook ups but they have loo and shower blocks plus dump stations to empty your tanks and the RV will most likely be equipped with a push button start generator that you can use when needed.

    I personally think you will be rushing with only a 6 day round trip from Vegas and would consider cutting out Arches and Canyonlands and adding Bryce canyon and enjoy some quality time at those places and rather than seeing a little of lots, see more of less and have time to enjoy them.

    For GC the "Mather campground" and at Zion "Watchman campground" are great sites close to main areas, if you went to Arches it would be "Devils garden" and for Bryce canyon I would recommend "Ruby's Inn" which isn't a NP campground but is in a good location near to the entrance of the canyon.

    If you arrive late or intend to spend a night in Vegas with the RV I would also recommend the "Oasis resort" as a little treat.

    Although you are travelling before high season I would decide on where you are going and get booked up as Michael has said. The lodgings can be quite expensive to stay inside the parks and the campgrounds only $20 [more or less] which helps to balance the costs against car and Motel, but with poor mpg return, campground fees and other extras it won't be cheap but if you like the lifestyle it's a great experience !

    If you need to know anything else just ask.

  4. #4

    Default Frist time trip to South West and maybe last!

    Thanks to both of you for helping me take the initial step!

    Things that i figured out was scrap the idea of RV(keep it for future) and rent motels or inns and rent a SUV for the trip as it requires lot of driving.

    Can you suggest name of the cities where i can put up. For GC, i know but for the rest of the NPs can you think of one place where i can stay and roam around and visit the parks or maybe two places?
    I was going through the map and came across a place called Kanabe. It lies somewhat at the centre of the NPs
    Will it be possible to stay at this place and cover the NPs?
    I may sound totally illogical :(. Please suggest me any other alternative.

    Thanks a ton for your help and time!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    All of the parks you are talking about are a several hour drive from each other, so you really can't do a home base without wasting a whole lot of time.

    Moab would probably work for a base for both Arches and Canyonlands, but otherwise, you're going to be better off finding lodging in the towns near your other parks.

    I will say that renting an SUV will cost quite a bit more than a regular sedan, and it really doesn't provide any significant advantage (a large sedan will probably be a more comfortable ride too). Unless you have a strong preference to driving SUVs, I personally wouldn't bother spending the extra cash.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I wouldn't think you need a SUV just because you are doing a lot of driving. A standard sedan is cheaper to rent, gets better gas mileage, and is just as comfortable on the road, if not more comfortable for people of reasonably "normal" size. The only reasons to rent a SUV are if you have several people, a lot of luggage, have extremely long legs, and/or you are planning on folding up the rear seats and sleeping in it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Moab and Springdale.

    As Michael noted, Moab is a great base for Arches and Canyonlands and for Zion I would look at lodging options in the lovely town of Springdale that sits on the doorstep of the park, you can hop on the free shuttle bus from town into the canyon as well.

  8. #8

    Default Finale stages of the plan.

    Hey guys!!!

    You all made my day :-) I can now plan this trip with ease.
    I had suggested a SUV because i read in the blogs that if you do not have a 4 wheel drive then you will not be able to reach many places in the GC. Is it true?
    Once i reach these parks, do i travel on my own or are there tour buses and jeeps which i can avail?

    I am also bothering you all with another thing. i actually want to chalk out the plan and get it verified by you all.

    Wednesday : Fly to Vegas from NJ and stay overnight.
    Thursday & Friday : Drive to GC early morning. Roam around the North Rim GC and South Rim GC. Stay for 2 nights.
    Saturday : Drive to Moab ( will take around 6 hours) . Visit Canyonlands and Arches Park
    Sunday : Drive to Springdale ( will take another 6 hours). Visit Zion national park and stay over night.
    Monday: Drive back to Las Vegas Early morning( will take around 3 hours) and catch a flight back to Newark, NJ in the evening.

    Does this sound ok? Am i missing out anything? and where is the historic Route66? On which way do i get to travel on this road?

    The trip map as it appears on mapquest.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I had suggested a SUV because i read in the blogs that if you do not have a 4 wheel drive then you will not be able to reach many places in the GC. Is it true? Once i reach these parks, do i travel on my own or are there tour buses and jeeps which i can avail?
    No. All roads accessible to the public are paved and designed for passenger cars. Your rental contract would not allow use off improved roads anyway, the 4wd would essentially be useless to you. The Grand Canyon and Zion both have a shuttle bus system which you can use.

    where is the historic Route66? On which way do i get to travel on this road?
    When you go from LV to GC, there is about a 90 mile long stretch of old road, signed AZ-66, between Kingman and Seligman. It goes through Peach Springs. It adds approximately one hour to the trip over what it would take by staying on I-40.

    Saturday : Drive to Moab ( will take around 6 hours) . Visit Canyonlands and Arches Park
    Sunday : Drive to Springdale ( will take another 6 hours). Visit Zion national park and stay over night.
    Take the eastern exit out of the GC (AZ-64) to US-89. Go north to US-160 and take that east to Kayenta. Take US-163 north through Monument Valley to US-191 and take that north to Moab. 6 hours is a bit wishful, allow 8 hours. From Moab, you can make it to Zion in 6 hours if you take US-191 north to I-70, then take that to I-15. However, you would be missing out on a fantastic scenic drive on UT-12. I think if you want to see Arches and Canyonlands, you are going to have to come up with another day in there somewhere. If you can't, you may want to consider going to Bryce Canyon instead of Moab, and/or skipping Zion.

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

    Default A big detour !

    Thursday & Friday : Drive to GC early morning. Roam around the North Rim GC and South Rim GC. Stay for 2 nights.
    You do realise that there is a drive of over 200 miles separating them even though it is only 10 miles wide on average as the crow flies, don't you ? I don't think you have time to do the both but the North rim is nearer to Zion than the South rim.

    As has been explained the SUV won't do anything more for you than a standard rental, except to cost more in fees and gas.

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