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  1. #1

    Default Salt Lake City - Zion - Vegas/March 2014

    Hi everybody,

    Im planning a trip in March/2014 starting from Salt Lake City, where I decided to learn snowboarding with a friend. Here is what I have planned:

    a) 3 days in Salt Lake City (visiting the city/snowboarding)
    b) 3 days in Zion National Park (hiking)
    c) 3 days in Vegas (visiting the city/casinos)

    What would you recommend about these places? Are there enough time to enjoy each place? How much time I spend driving through these places at this period of the year?

    Another question: I was thinking about going to San Diego after Vegas, driving through the Joshua National Park... Is it a good idea?

    Many thanks!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Besides the Obvious

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, Besides snowboarding in Salt Lake City, hiking in Zion, and gambling in Las Vegas, there is actually quite a lot to do in the areas you'll be traveling through. Since your primary interest seems to be outdoor activities, you could start by checking out the Great Slat lake, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and perhaps a couple of hike in Dixie National Forest such as Navajo Lake and Cascade Falls, as well as Valley of Fire State Park an Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area - both outside Las Vegas.

    There is also plenty of history to be had as well, largely connected with the Mormon pioneers of the area, such as the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young's house in St. George, but also the more secular take of the Clark County Museum in Henderson NV.

    If you decide to continue down to San Diego, and take a full day for the drive, then you should look at going through Mojave National Preserve to Amboy CA, then continue south to Joshua Tree, and finish up by driving through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for three decidedly different views of the southern California desert areas.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Cedar Breaks is open year round, but in March, it will be in winter mode - the scenic drive (UT-148) will be closed, the visitor center, restrooms, and all campsites will be closed, the only thing open will be the winter ranger station - from 10am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. The only way to get around will be snowshoes, skis, and snowmobiles.

    You will be going right by it, so I'd consider spending a day at Bryce Canyon between SLC and Zion.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Time ?

    How much time do you have available for the whole trip ? Sure you could continue to San Diego, if it appeals to you and you have the time available, then it's a good idea. Just one of many other alternatives [many good ones listed by Buck] would be to head to the South rim of the Grand canyon NP from Zion and then into Vegas via the Hoover dam. This would open up another load of possibilities such as the Lake Powell area and Monument Valley.

  5. #5

    Default

    First of all, thanks everybody for the tips!!!

    I have only 10 days to do this trip, so I think that if I decide to drive to San Diego from Las Vegas I wont have time to visit places like Lake Powell, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon. But I really liked this idea, so I made some small changes in my plans using your suggestions:

    1º) Visiting Salt Lake City/snowboarding
    2º) Visiting Salt Lake City/Great Salt Lake/snowboarding
    3º) Last day in Salt Lake City/ drive to St George
    4º) Zion National Park (hiking)
    5º) Zion National Park (hiking)/ drive to Page (Lake Powell)
    6º) Visiting Navajo National Monument (stay the night there or drive back to Page?)
    7º) Drive to Grand Canyon National Park South Rim/spend the night in Flagstaff
    8º) Last day in Grand Canyon National Park/drive to Las Vegas (Hoover Dam)
    9º) Las Vegas (visiting/casinos)
    10º) Last day of the trip = Vegas

    Will I have problems to do this trip in March (climate,some parks will not open,and others...)? I have the option to travel in late May too, but i wont learn snowboarding if i do this!!

    Thanks for the help!!!

  6. #6

    Default

    I forgot to ask: what's better for 1 day: Navajo National Monument or the Monument Valley? Do you think I have time in my schedule to go to both?

    Thanks!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default As Always...

    ...That depends on you. Broadly speaking, Navajo National Monument is a part of the US National Parks system and is thus more 'developed' with a visitors center and even free guided tours (a 3-5 hour, 5 mile hike) from late May to early September. This park is about the ancient pueblo structures contained within it and has nothing to do with the Navajo Nation except that it is within their reservation boundaries. The Navajo are actually relatively late-comers to this area - the pueblos predate them by quite a bit.

    Monument Valley, on the other hand, is a Navajo Tribal Park and so is considerably less well developed. It is about the natural beauty of the land and will be instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with classic Westerns, particularly those of John Ford. You can hire a native guide and his 4WD/AWD vehicle to take you to some more remote locations, or you can drive a bit of the unpaved park roads in your own car if you think you/it can handle it.

    I would think that you could see both parks in a single day, but not if you plan to cover any miles in addition to the drive between the parks. If you decide to do both, I would try to see Monument Valley at sunup or sundown when the lighting is truly dramatic, and do Navajo National Monument with the other part of the day.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Nice plan.

    You have a nice plan layed out. A couple of suggestions for you to look at regarding lodgings would be; 1) I would recommend Springdale UT as your base for Zion NP if you can find somewhere that suits your budget, it's very close to the park entrance and a lovely little town. 2] After visiting Monument valley you would not want to head all the way back to Page. You could stay close by [Gouldings] or a good alternative would be the Cameron Trading Post, which is located close to the east entry kiosk to GC. Cameron Trading Post has a large store to walk around and offers both good value and great food. You can easily spend 2 or 3 hours entertaining yourself in the evening here. Enter the GC by the east entrance along Desertview drive. Your first views of the Colorado will be from the Watchtower near the entrance and then you get to enjoy the views develop as you follow the direction of the river to the main canyon area.

    As you drive to Vegas you could also drive part of original route 66 through Seligman to Kingman to get off Interstate and enjoy some of the wierd and wonderful memorabilia stores in Seligman.

    The parks will all be open whenever you decide to travel. The weather is unpredictable at the best of times but, you should be OK in March.

  9. #9

    Default Thanks!!

    Very good tips. My route is finished, here's what i have decided:

    1º) Visiting Salt Lake City/snowboarding
    2º) Visiting Salt Lake City/Great Salt Lake/snowboarding
    3º) Last day in Salt Lake City/ drive to St George
    4º) Zion National Park (hiking)/spend the night in Springdale UT
    5º) Zion National Park (hiking)/ drive to Page (Lake Powell)
    6º) Visiting Navajo National Monument (morning) and Monument Valley (afternoon and sunset)/spend the night around there
    7º) Drive to Grand Canyon National Park South Rim/spend the night in Flagstaff
    8º) Last day in Grand Canyon National Park/drive to Las Vegas (Hoover Dam)
    9º) Las Vegas (visiting/casinos)
    10º) Last day of the trip = Vegas

    Here's some questions just to put more information in my plans:

    In Zion National Park, what hike do you recommend for just one full day: Angels landing or Observation point?
    I have listed some places to stay after visiting Monument Valley: Gouldings, Cameron Trading Post, Kayenta and Bluff. Do you remember any other place just as close to Valley as these ones?
    What do I have to do in Page just for a night? Do you know any place with a good view to the Lake in the sunrise?
    Do you know any place that I cant leave without visiting in Navajo National Monument?
    What is the best kind of car to rent for a road trip like this?

    Thanks everybody!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    For MV lodging, it depend upon how close to MV you want to stay.

    Cameron Trading Post is several hours away from MV, and is actually closer to Grand Canyon. It would make sense as a place to stay if you are driving between the two, but it is not close to the valley.

    Gouldings on the other hand is on the Navajo Reservation and basically across the street from Monument Valley Tribal Park.

    Kayenta is about 20 minutes from MV, and would have more motel options right near MV.

    Bluff is almost an hour from MV and is the opposite direction of Grand Canyon.

    For a rental car, you will almost always get the best value with going with a basic sedan. 4 wheel drive really is not needed, as going off road is a violation of nearly every rental contract.

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