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  1. Default Moab, Million dollar highway and yellowstone

    After attending a conference in Las vegas in first week of May, we have 8 days to see the nature and take lots of pictures. My plan is: Day 1: Vegas to Cortez, CO (after spending 3-4 hours in lake Powell / Glenn canyon). Day 2: Four corners and then Million dollar highway to Moab. Days 3 & 4: Moab, most of the scenic byways, national / state parks. Day 5: Jackson, WY and Grand Tetons. Days 6 & 7: Yellowstone national park. Day 8: return to Salt lake city and fly back to Canada.
    Do you think it is do-able or am I getting too greedy? Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    I'm afraid you are being ambitious. The first day will put you behind the curve before you even get into the trip. It's 500 miles from LV to Cortez, and that's mostly on 2 lane roads. You could make the drive in one long day, but you won't have any time to stop in Glen Canyon, you will just have to wave as you drive by on the bridge at the dam. You would also be going right past Zion. You would also be going right past 4 Corners - if you wanted to do 4 Corners the next day, you will simply be backtracking. You will also be going right past Monument Valley. You need to examine the rest of the itinerary in a similar fashion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Ditto

    or am I getting too greedy?
    Your eyes are bigger than your belly [as Ma used to say]

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you want time to digest these places and get a real taste for them you will have to cut back on your 'menu'' to really allow that.

    How early are you travelling ? Spring comes late to Yellowstone and a lot of the park is not open until well into May and although peaceful I think this and the Tetons may be the places to drop because of the additional mileage.

    A nice loop from Vegas could then include Grand canyon, Monument valley, Mesa Verde,[?]Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and a drive along Utah scenic by-way 12 to Bryce canyon and Zion NP. Even then it will be a 'busy' trip but the parks and the scenery along the road will keep you amazed.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the prompt responses. We are renting the car in Salt lake city and driving directly to LV for the conference. Our vacation starts from 8th of May. I guess we will have to do the Tetons & Yellowstone in another visit. We have already done Zion NP, Bryce canyon and south rim of the Grand canyon in our previous visit. Since we are returning the car in SLC, any scenic drives around the city?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default In that case.............

    Heading out to Cortez and the 'Million dollar highway' 'on the way' to Moab does add around 350 miles to your trip. If Yellowstone is still on your 'radar' with the possible conditions in mind you could head direct to Moab and spend a couple of days around Arches and Canyonlands and then on day 4 drive to Jackson and spend 2 or 3 days in and around The Tetons and Yellowstone before heading back to SLC.

    You can get an idea of what to expect at Yellowstone by looking here at the NPS Webpage.

    If it isn't, you could still head to the 'Million dollar highway' [great drive, great towns] and include visits to Mesa Verde and Black canyon of the Gunnison NP's, possibly Currecanti Nat Rec area and Colorado National Monument on the way round to Moab and then head towards SLC.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-09-2011 at 08:11 AM. Reason: Clarity.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you decide to leave off Yellowstone, you might be able to do the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It typically opens in mid-May, so there's a possibility that it will be open. You could also look at some of the other attractions in Northern Arizona, like Sedona, Walnut Canyon, and Sunset Crater.

    And if you are going to Cortez, it would seem to be a huge shame to skip Mesa Verde. And you know, it doesn't hurt to revisit places that you have been before. The Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce are all places were there is far more to see than most people can do in a single visit.

  7. Default

    Thanks a million to both Mike and Dave and I am so excited to be part of this forum. I think we will drop Yellowstone this time and focus more on UT / CO. We already visited the beautiful town of Sedona last time. I want to revisit the breathtaking beauty of Bryce but we will see. Here is the draft:
    Day 1: Drive from Vegas to Lake Powell (Stops ???). If we are in time, a quick boat ride on the lake and Glen canyon.
    Night stop near lake Powell / Glenn
    Day2: Sight seeing near lake Powell, including the boat ride (if we missed the first day). Drive to Cortez (or to Durango) and stopping on the way to places like four corners etc.
    Night 2 in Cortez /Durango
    Day 3: Train ride from Durango to Silverton, possiibly drive to Mesa Verde.
    Night again in / Cortez Durango
    Day 4: Start early for any scenic drive and then drive on to million dollar highway to Moab
    Night in Moab
    Days 5, 6 & 7 in Moab for all the parks and scenic drives.
    Day 8: Drive from Moab to SLC, night stop in SLC for next morning's flight back.
    How does that sound? Can we squeeze Bryce in this? Is the north rim of GC more scenic than the south rim and can that also done? We are more into natural scenery: drives, trains, boats (passive).
    Thanks again and appreciate your time and excellent suggestions.

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

    Default Looks good.

    The North rim has fewer amenities and easily accessible view points than the South rim which means less visitors which is a big attraction for those who go there. You could visit it on the way to Page if you wait untill next day for the boat trip. Another top attraction in Page is Antelope canyon and if you enjoy photography what a place to go, [Google is your friend] but you need to go with a tour group. I think you are going to have to choose between one of those or Bryce or else it's gonna get to much again. From Page a drive on 163 will take you through Monument valley and the famous Red rock towers.

    It all looks pretty good and you can decide certain things on the road depending on how much time you spend 'here' and 'there'. Durango would certainly be a better location for night 3 rather than heading back to Cortez or you might consider Silverton depending on time. The rim drive around Colorado National Monument is pretty cool but again will depend on timing. When heading to Moab turn off I 70 a junction earlier and go down the 128 through Castle valley, it's a lovely little drive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    A few notes:

    If you are going to be driving from Page to Cortez, I'd much rather go through Monument Valley than 4 Corners. I would much rather spend nights in Durango than Cortez. You can include Bryce if you cut some time off in Moab. The drive from Moab to SLC is pretty close to the same time as from Bryce to SLC - 4 to 5 hours. I'd allow about 6 to 7 hours to get from Moab to Bryce via Scenic 12. The north rim is not necessarily more scenic than the south rim, it's just a different aspect. It's considerably less developed with very few amenities.

    The recommended route from LV to Page will take you near the North Rim - if you have time you could make a stop. This would be I-15 and UT-9 like you were going to Zion, but you then bypass the park by taking UT-59 at Hurricane. This becomes AZ-389 which meets Alt-89 at Fredonia. From there, you have 2 choices - go north to Kanab to get US-89 to Page, or take Alt-89 to just south of Page. The north rim access is off Alt-89 at Jacob Lake.

  10. Default

    One problem with Yellowstone in May.

    The beautiful springs, such as Grand Prismatic Spring, will be largely obscured by thick steam that rises during the colder months. We learned this the hard way during a mid-June vacation some years ago. We kept praying for wind so that we could see something at all.

    Of course, there are a lot of other beautiful sights at Yellowstone, but missing out on the springs is enough reason to visit the park in the heavy Summer tourist season.

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