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  1. #1

    Default Monument Valley & Great Basin NP

    Last year my husband and I visited Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite NP and San Francisco on our honeymoon. We absolutely loved it and were thinking of returning to America next year to do another road trip. So far, the places we know we'd definitely like to visit are Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. After seeing the ghost towns and the abandoned mines around Death Valley last year, we were interested in possibly visiting places such as Ely and Great Basin NP, however I realise these are in a different direction to Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Is it possible to combine them all somehow? And aside from these, where else could we visit? I know there are lots of national parks, but without overdosing on them, how do we pick the best, and are there any interesting cities or towns which might break it up a little?
    We'll probably have around 2 weeks, although we are considering a few days in Chicago first and then flying from there.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,060

    Default Loop Trip from SLC

    Every National Park is different and special. Some are certainly less known and less crowded -- Great Basin is one of those under-appreciated parks. Utah has one of the greatest collections of such parks. I have to leave for a meeting -- but consider making a loop trip from Salt Lake City -- you could easily see seven national parks in your two week journey. And welcome to the Forum!

    Mark

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

    Default So many options.

    As Mark mentioned you could create a nice loop and pick out some wonderful NP's and other attractions along the way. It would work well out of either SLC or Vegas. As well as the places you have mentioned there are Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol reef Arches and Canyonlands NP's in southern Utah alone. There are wonderful drives like Utah scenic Byway 12, towns like Springdale, Moab and Williams and possible other attractions like Hoover dam, Four Corners, Cathedral Gorge, Lake Powell, Antelope canyon, Dixie National Forest and so on.

    One example would be too head from LV to Great Basin and then across into Utah, down to Monument valley and GC and then back to Vegas.

    You won't have any problem mixing things up a bit but what I would suggest you do is to open a good map and research around RTA and see what it is that appeals to you the most, as you won't be able to do it all ! Once you have some dots on the map we can help you too get the best out of your trip.

  4. #4

    Default

    In addition to the Utah National Parks mentioned above there is also Natural Bridges National Monument and south of there is Goosenecks State Park along Utah 261 north of Mexican Hat. Goosenecks is an amazing view and it only takes about 1/2 hour to do.

    Note: Utah 261 from Natural Bridges to Goosenecks can not be done in a RV or pulling a trailer. The reason is Moki Dugway, a series of switchbacks down a mesa that is similar to La Bajada Hill on old Route 66 near Santa Fe. This short section is well-maintained gravel and is no problems for a car but large vehicles are prohibited. Moki Dugway in and of itself is worth seeing. The rest of Utah 261 is just a normal road. If you do not do Natural Bridges, Goosenecks can be reached from the south. It is just a short, easy drive from Mexican Hat on US 163 and Utah 261.

    Just west of Kanab, Utah off US 89 is Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The coral colored dunes are beautiful and unless you want to do some exploring on foot, it does not take long.

    In the Moab/Arches NP/Canyonlands NP area there is also Dead Horse Point State Park where the movie Thelma & Louise was supposed to have been filmed. It is a magnificient view that, at least in my opinion, is more impressive than Canyonlands NP.

    If you come in to Utah on I-70 from the west, there are some very nice rest areas/scenic overlooks that are somewhat unusual for interstates.

    Do not underestimate Utah. I know of no other area of the country where you can see so much in a comparatively small area as you can in the area south of I-70 to the Arizona border.

    If you choose to do the loop drive through Monument Valley, know that it is a dusty road that is very rough in places especially right at the start where it goes across solid rock. Later, it changes to a dirt road that is much smoother. There are guided tours in open vehicles but be prepared for a hot, dirty ride. When we were there last year, a lot of the people we saw on the tours had an, "Are we having fun yet?" look on their faces.

    Have A Great Trip!!
    Last edited by Charlie H; 04-18-2012 at 04:27 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    Default Not prohibited.

    Some great suggestions there Charlie, but for others who might look in and read this the statement below is not quite right.

    Originally posted by Charlie HNote: Utah 261 from Natural Bridges to Goosenecks can not be done in a RV or pulling a trailer. The reason is Moki Dugway, a series of switchbacks down a mesa that is similar to La Bajada Hill on old Route 66 near Santa Fe. This short section is well-maintained gravel and is no problems for a car but large vehicles are prohibited.
    There is a recommendation in place that vehicles over 10,000lbs, 28ft, or Trailers do not travel the Moki Dugway, but it is not prohibited. [In fact it was built by a mining company for quarry trucks]

    In fact here we are in a 30ft RV !







    It's a great drive for sure !

    If you choose to do the loop drive through Monument Valley, know that it is a dusty road that is very rough in places especially right at the start where it goes across solid rock. Later, it changes to a dirt road that is much smoother. There are guided tours in open vehicles
    Just to clarify, you will not be permitted to do this drive in a rental car and would have to take a tour.

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for the clarification on Moki Dugway Southwest Dave. I knew there were restrictions but I could not remember exactly what they were - I just did not want to take a chance on sending someone down the road in a prohibited vehicle. I just remember seeing a sign shortly after getting on 261 near Natural Bridges. On the map, it looked like the best way to get to Mexican Hat from Natural Bridges and, despite GPS Jill not wanting to go that way, I decided to take it anyway and told her to shut up. At the time, I was unaware of Moki Dugway and remember thinking as I drove down mile after mile of straight as a string, flatter than a pancake road, "What's up here?"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default Sounds familiar !

    despite GPS Jill not wanting to go that way, I decided to take it anyway and told her to shut up.
    I have similar arguments with my GPS Gal ! LOL I prefer paper maps, they don't talk back !

    Dave.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for the advice everyone :) next stop - a big map!

  9. #9

    Default Trying to do too much? Chicago, Yellowstone and Monument Valley

    Hi All,

    My husband and I have a few key places we'd like to visit, but given the distances I'm not sure it's entirely feasible and just wanted some advice. We'd love to visit Chicago, Yellowstone, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon (plus maybe some other NPs in the Utah area). I realise Yellowstone is a way off from the other NPs.... But is there any way we could sensibly combine without driving too far every day? We're looking at around 2 weeks.

    Thank you for any help.

    Moderator Note: Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-20-2012 at 03:47 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default depends

    It depends upon what you are thinking, really.

    I would say about the only way you could do all of that in 2 weeks is as a one way trip, from Chicago to either Vegas or Phoenix. Doing that would be roughly 6 full days of driving (3 from Chicago to Yellowstone, 2 more to Monument Valley/Grand Canyon, 1 to Phx/Vegas) plus whatever extra parks you might add along the way.

    If you were trying to do some sort of loop, then I'd say it would be tough to fit everything in.

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