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  1. Default Salt Lake City-Bryce-Zion-GC-Vegas-Yosemite-SF trip advice

    Hi all,

    I'm finding this forum extremely useful planning for our own road trip this spring (end of May/beg June), so I thought I'd post our planned itinerary to get any advice.

    We will have 14 full days for this trip, and counting the distance it's coming to about 1,481 mi / 2,384 km in total. We've never done a road trip quite this long so a bit worried if we will have too much driving, we really want to also have some time to enjoy each location. We've already dropped Arches, Canyonlands and Monument Valley to allow a bit more time in the destinations below...

    Here's a rough plan of our itinerary so far:

    Starting from Salt Lake City airport, drive south to Torrey for highway 12
    Drive highway 12 to Bryce
    Bryce (how long, must sees?)
    Zion (how long, must sees?)
    Grand Canyon (north rim or south, we are considering the south so we can walk down and see more of it)
    Las Vegas (maybe stay an afternoon or one day)
    Drive through Death Valley towards Yosemite, maybe stay in Bishop (we want to see Zabriskie Point, anything else amazing on the route?)
    Yosemite Valley (how long, must sees?)
    Drive to SF (due to time restraints this might be straight to airport as we've already visited SF)

    We are trying to balance distance with what to do in each place. Do you think the amount of driving seems doable for 2 weeks? Also any tips what would be must see places along the route or best road options? Or do you think we have dropped off something amazing that's just around the corner and we definitely should visit?

    Massive thanks beforehands for any replies, so looking forward to this trip!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Everyone's thoughts will be different, but this is what my husband and I would plan:
    Bryce - 1 day
    Zion - 1 day, 2 if you want to do any hiking
    Grand Canyon - the North Rim accessibility will depend on the weather. South Rim is year round. I'd allow at least one day!!!
    Yosemite Valley - at least a day
    Then you need to plan driving time. About 6 hours from SLC to Bryce. An hour or two between Bryce and Zion. A day to the GC from Zion. GC to Bishop, a day. Another day from Yosemite up to SLC.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default North Rim: Problem and Opportunity

    As Donna pointed out, the North Rim closes for the winter, and its opening date in the spring depends on weather conditions that cannot be predicted in advance, but mid-May is typical. This year there is an additional consideration. US-89 is closed between Page and Bitter Springs AZ. Repairs are still in the planning stages, but it is clear that work will take so long that the 'quick' solution is to pave an entire BIA highway through the Navajo Nation. That temporary fix was just approved on April 12th. What all this means is that your best options for getting from Bryce/Zion to the South Rim will either be through Las Vegas, Kingman and Williams; or down Alt-US-89 from Kanab through Fredonia and Jacob Lake to Bitter Springs where you would reconnect with US-89 south to Cameron and the entrance to the South Rim. But Jacob Lake is where the road into the North Rim (AZ-67) starts from. So you're going to have to do a little homework now to figure out what each of those options means to you in terms of miles and time, and then some more homework just before you leave to determine what's actually open in terms of both roads and park sections.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by annamoi View Post
    Grand Canyon (north rim or south, we are considering the south so we can walk down and see more of it)
    Just so you're aware, you can hike down into the Canyon from either side. In fact, for those who are thinking about hiking from one side to the other (with permits, and plans to spend at least a night) the North Side is often recommended as a starting point, as it is at a higher elevation.

    There are other factors, that others have mentioned, but based only on hiking, you certainly have the opportunity to visit either side.

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

    Default Having it all !

    Much will depend on your travel style, mainly at the pace you are happy to move with. I would actually recommend a minimum of 2 nights at each of Zion, Grand canyon and Yosemite to give you at least a day and a half at each with travelling.

    If you wanted to include your original 'wish list' and were happy to keep on the move, I would do something like this;

    Day 1 SLC to Zion NP
    2. Zion. [Springdale]
    3. Zion to Bryce canyon and explore
    4. Bryce to Moab via scenic 12
    5. Moab [Arches NP]
    6. Moab to south rim via Monument valley. [Possibly stay Cameron Trading post]
    7. Grand canyon.
    8. Grand canyon to Vegas.
    9. Vegas across Death valley to Bishop/Mammoth Lakes. ***See below.
    10. To Yosemite via Tioga Pass [CA120]****** See below.
    11. Yosemite
    12 Yosemite to SF
    13 SF.

    **** You would need to check that the Tioga Pass was open beforte heading this way. Otherwise you will have to go south around the mountians via Lake Isabella/Bakersfield. ******

  6. Default

    Thanks everyone for all the comments and tips, this is a great forum :)

    AZBuck - thanks for informing us about the road works, definitely sounds that we'll need to take that into account and do a bit more planning to what's the best route for us to take!

    Southwest Dave, thanks for giving us tips how to see more on this trip. I feel it might be a bit too much driving versus spending time hiking and seeing the parks, but I'll definitely check it out with a good map :)

    Cheers everyone, very much looking forward to our trip now!

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