Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. Default Salt Lake City to Denver in 7 Days in Mid-August

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm a long time lurker to the site, but decided to post for the first time.

    The wife and I are planning to go from Salt Lake City to Denver through the Southern part of Utah and Colorado. I've seen similar discussions, but they all seem to discuss going straight East or in a more north direction.

    We've already been to the Grand Canyon, so we were thinking about spending a night#1 in SLC, then heading south to Bryce Canyon (is Zion worth it before this?), then east to Monument Valley up to Canyonlands and Arches.

    After Arches, I'm just not sure what else to see/do on the way up to Denver/Rocky Mountain NP.

    Also are the Salt Flats west of SLC worth driving out to see?

    We're both young and although not real big hikers, we could handle a mile or two of hikes if it were REALLY WORTH IT! :-)

    Any route suggestions would be really helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not That Unusual a Plan

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To answer your specific questions...

    I would actually phrase it the other way. Go to Zion and then is Bryce worth it. At Zion, you are actually down in the canyon and looking up at the marvelous rock formations on either side of you. At Bryce Canyon you are on the cliff tops looking down at the formations. Each view has its own benefits, but I found Zion somehow more rewarding. You have to use the shuttle bus in Zion during high season, but this also has the added benefit (besides being 'free' with your admission to the park) that you get a bit of narration from the driver and/or ranger. Also you can take several shorter walks connected by bus rides. Both Zion and Bryce have short hikes (a mile or so in, another mile or so out) that are basically flat. As always, check at the visitors center and let the ranges know exactly what you're looking for and what level of activity you're up for that day.

    If your plan is to go from those two parks to Monument Valley, then before Arches, I would head over to Cortez CO and take in both Mesa Verde National Park and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. And after Arches I'd take I-70 to Colorado National Monument and then US-50 from there south and east through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison before heading north on US-285/CO-9/US-40/US-34 to Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Unless you're real desert or speed aficionados, I'd skip the salt flats. The name pretty much says it all - they're flat (as far as the eye can see), made of salt (white - as far as the eye can see), as well as dry and lifeless. The famous Bonneville Salt Flats would be a good 200+ mile round trip from Salt Lake City.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-28-2013 at 07:55 AM.

  3. Default

    Bryce is a fantastic place for a short hike. From the beginning, every step down into the canyon is scenic but it is a canyon. Going down is easy but coming up is harder if you are really out of shape. But it is well worth the very unique experience. I've hiked it many times since I was a small child. If you are camping, there is a campground right next to the canyon rim. Wake up and take a few steps to see a fantastic sunrise light up the canyon

    At Zion, I love the Narrows Walk up the Virgin River. You walk along a flat scenic path along the river for about a mile while the canyon walls close in on you. Then the paved walkway ends and you continue to walk In The River! The beautiful canyon walls tower hundreds of feet overhead as you marvel at what you see! THIS would probably be the highlight of your vacation. Just be aware that this hike is dependent on low water levels in the canyon when hundreds of families walk the river. But during high water or rain, it can be a death trap due to flash floods. Check with the park rangers for current conditions before venturing out.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-28-2013 at 06:37 AM.

  4. Default

    Thanks everyone. I had written off Zion as being a bit out of the way, but clearly I was wrong.

    Can anyone give suggestions on the amount of time we should alot for each park? We have a flight to catch in Denver, so we can't go beyond our 7 days. There's just so much to see and not enough time.

    Also, if anyone has suggestions on towns or places to rest at night (not camping) near the Parks, that would be a huge help. For example, I've heard sketchy things about Kayenta, AZ near MV.

    Thanks again everyone - really useful suggestions.

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

    Default One option, for part of it anyway.

    You should have time to arrive in Bryce and walk the main rim around the Ampitheatre and sunset/sunrise points and witness a sunset on day one. Next morning if you were to head to the far end of the canyon and visit the various other viewpoints on the way back up, they will all be on your side of the road and you won't have to cross traffic. There are a few lodging options near the canyon, a popular one being 'Rubys Inn'. You could then make your way to Zion NP, stopping in the lovely town of Springdale for the night. [You can catch the free shuttle bus into the canyon from town.]

    Day 3, you could explore Zion until just after lunch and drive to Monument valley for the night, or spend another night in Springdale and a full day in Zion and head to Monument valley for lunch and a couple of hours and then continue to Moab, I'd probably choose the latter or these two.

    Day 4, explore Arches NP and stay nearby again, visit Canyonlands on the morning of Day 5, and then continuing towards Denver.

    From here it would depend on whether or not your flight is on day 7 and at what time, or whether this is a full travel day and you fly out the following day, ie a day 8. [?]

  6. Default

    Our flight is at midnight on Day 7, so we have 7 full days. However, I think that entire day would be devoted to checking out Denver.

    I figure one option for the 2nd half of the trip is to head east from MV and go to Mesa Verde then continue north east towards Great Sand Dunes National Park. From there, just head north to Denver.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A lot of options.

    There are just so many great options and it will come down to if you want to spend quality time in a few places or see less of more, if you know what I mean. US50 as Buck mentioned is a nice drive past Black canyon and through Currecanti Nat Rec area and over the continental divide at Monarch Pass. Of course you could make good time along I70 and enter Rocky mountain NP from the west near Grand Lake and drive across the park on the Trail Ridge road to Estes Park which is less than 2 hours away from Denver. Some nice sight seeing and easy walks available along the Bear Lake are of RMNP near to Estes.

    If Monument valley wasn't high on your list of priorities then you could head to Zion, then Bryce and then take Utah scenic 12 to Torrey and 24 past Capital Reef NP towards Moab. No wrong choices, it's just a case of which options whet your appetite the most.

Similar Threads

  1. Denver - Salt lake - San Fran - LA - Tijuana - Vegas - Denver, 23 days
    By rossyd in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-21-2013, 02:42 PM
  2. Denver to Salt lake city via Yellowstone
    By andy, lyns and the jew in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 06-21-2012, 11:22 AM
  3. Denver to West Yellowstone, Salt Lake City, Moab, Denver
    By hipster in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-17-2011, 06:18 AM
  4. Yellowstone to Denver or Salt Lake City?
    By Leila in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-09-2010, 06:41 AM
  5. Salt Lake City to Denver; june10-18
    By LaPetiteMaligne in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-17-2007, 10:22 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name