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  1. Default Las Vegas to Salt Lake City via Grand Canyon and Arches Nat'l Park

    We're interested in taking a road trip out west to see the Grand Canyon and Arches National Parks.

    We were thinking of flying into Las Vegas (or Phoenix--does anyone have recommendations for which would be better?), then driving to the Grand Canyon, then up into Utah to hit up Arches National Park, then drive up to and fly home from Salt Lake City.

    We were hoping to be able to do this trip in approximately 7-9 days. We're going to have our daughter with us, who will be about 8 months old at the time, so we would only really want to do light hiking. Suggestions on things to do in the parks, as well as stops we can make/things to see between destinations would be much appreciated. Also, how long should we "budget" to stay at each park?

    Thanks much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default How about a loop ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you don't have any other plans for anything other than flying out of Salt lake City, you could consider doing a full loop from Vegas. This may possibly make your flights more reasonable and you won't have a one way drop off charge on your car rental. It would only add about 4 hours driving which is not a lot over the course of a week.

    From Vegas you can get to the Grand canyon in 5 hours or so and I would recommend a couple of nights close by, for a day and a half to explore. You could then continue to Moab, it's possible same day quite comfortably but you could spend a night in Monument valley. As well as Arches, Moab also makes a good base to explore the 'Islands in the sky' section of Canyonlands, so a couple of full day's here would be good. If you were to consider heading back to Vegas and you had 2 or 3 day's to spare, some other National park 'treasures' you could consider are Capitol reef, Bryce canyon and Zion.

    You can visit the National parks site [] and find all the info you need for each park, but each of them offer easy walking options to some great viewpoints. You can also look at your lodging options but staying outside of the parks will be more budget friendly.

  3. Default

    Thank you! Your suggestions for timing are helpful.

    We have considered the loop, but we're not sure if we would be able to do it all, especially with a little one in tow. Surprisingly, flight prices are the same, regardless of whether we fly roundtrip from Vegas or whether we fly into Vegas and out of Salt Lake.

    This is the itinerary we are currently considering--

    Saturday p.m. - Arrive in Las Vegas - 1 night
    Sunday a.m. - Drive to Grand Canyon (stop at Hoover Dam en route) - 2 nights
    Tuesday a.m. - Drive to Monument Valley - 1 night
    Wednesday a.m. - Drive to Moab (Arches National Park & Canyonlands) - 3 nights
    Saturday a.m. - Drive to Salt Lake City - 1 night
    Sunday a.m. - Fly home to Rochester, N.Y.

    Does this seem wise? Are there activities/sights to consider in any of these places that are unrelated to the parks?

    If we were to fly out of Vegas again and complete "the loop," how would you suggest we adjust our itinerary accordingly? After further discussion with my husband, we think the best we can do is a Saturday to the following Sunday, so 9 days total, but really only 7 days when you account for our flying days.

    I so appreciate the help! We're overwhelmed by all the possibilities.

    Edited to Add: The car rental fee difference is pretty huge though, whoa. $264 for picking up and returning to Vegas, while it's $835 to pick up in Vegas and return in Salt Lake. Yikes! We could bid on Priceline, but it's likely we would still end up paying significantly more. Bummer. Definitely looking for suggested itineraries if we were to head back to Vegas instead...
    Last edited by kowabunga; 12-04-2010 at 07:13 PM.

  4. Default

    Also, any recs on where to stay at the Grand Canyon? Obviously the park is pretty massive, yes? I'm not sure what to search for in terms of accommodations. Is there a town (or towns) that would be good? Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Besides "The Parks"

    Understanding that the National Parks are the main reason most people come to this neck of the woods )OK -that and Las Vegas), and that you haven't listed even half of the public lands available to you, here are some other attractions you might want to look into. In the Flagstaff area: The Museum of Northern Arizona (Native American anthropology and archaeology), The Lowell Observatory (telescopes and such, where Pluto was discovered), Walnut Canyon National Monument (Sinagua Culture pueblo, short walk but many stair steps down and up), and others. Heading north from the Grand Canyon: Cameron Trading Post (classic place to enjoy and perhaps purchase Native art and craftwork), the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, and of course the 'obvious' in Salt Lake City, the Temple and the Lake.

    As for where to stay 'at' the Grand Canyon, besides the Lodge and campgrounds in Grand Canyon Village, there are few motels in Tusayan just outside the south entrance to the Park, but they are relatively expensive. Your best combinations of price and access are in Williams or Flagstaff where you have many choices in verious price ranges.


  6. Default

    AZBuck--The parks are definitely what we are coming out to see and explore. I just didn't know if there were other must-see/must-dos that we should consider when planning how much time to spend in each area. But our focus is definitely seeing some of our great National Parks... I cannot even imagine how beautiful it is to see all of the scenery in person. We can't wait. But thank you for your other suggestions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    It's going to cost you at least $100 a night to stay any closer to the Grand Canyon than Williams or Flagstaff. If the cost is acceptable, Tusayan is very convenient and the major chain hotels there are quite nice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default 'Earning' almost $150 per hour !

    I definitely think an extra 4 hour drive is worth the $570 saving !!

    Use the nps 'find a park' here, click on the state, select park and you can find lodging costs inside the park plus all you need to know.

    You could get to Vegas the same day but it would be an 8 to 9 hour drive with lunch and short breaks. If you don't fancy doing that, you could leave Moab mid/late afternoon on your last day there, and get 3 hours of driving under your belt, or if you had an afternoon flight, leave things as they are and stay somewhere around Cedar City or St George and finish the journey Sunday morning.

    With some of those dollars you might save, it would be worth considering looking at lodging in the Grand canyon NP area to save you travel time. For your Grand canyon 'night 2', I would check for any lodging deals at the Cameron trading post, it is located just outside the East kiosk. This will let you have a full day at the canyon and is part of your onward journey to Monument valley. That would put you about 2.5 hours from Monument valley and from Monument valley to Moab around 3 hours.
    With an early[ish] start from Cameron, this would present itself as another opportunity to gain that extra night if you were prepared to spend just a few hours in Monument valley.

  9. Default

    You're losing an entire day leaving in the evening. Every time I flew to Vegas, I took a VERY early flight and had an entire day ahead of me, minus jet lag. Is it possible for you to take a flight around 6am? Often, these are cheaper too, at least from Detroit.

    It's been a long time since I visited Monument Valley, but years ago there was only one hotel nearby and it was extremely expensive. Not sure if it's any different now, but you might want to make reservations somewhere.

    Everywhere in Utah is beautiful, but each place is so different from the next. Arches, Bryce, and Zion are my favorites (even over the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley) but you can't go wrong wherever you choose.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The closest "cheap" lodging to Monument Valley is in Blanding. Anything closer is probably going to be at least 80 bucks and up.

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