My husband and I have booked airline tix in and out of SLC for a spring break trip to Zion, GCNP (south rim) and Bryce with our two teenage kids, getting into SLC very late on a Friday and leaving SLC the following Friday a.m. We chose SLC because I had read that it was a viable point for the "grand circle" tour, and tickets and car rental were significantly less expensive and more convenient than Las Vegas or Phoenix. Now that we're planning the details, we're seeing what we should have learned before booking-- SLC is very, very far from the South Rim. My husband wants to change the tix to Las Vegas and add two days to the trip at a HUGE cost-- basically the price of another family vacation. He's worried that the long drives will make for a rushed and ruined trip. I'm hoping the trip can stand as is, and I was interested in hearing the opinions of others who have toured this area. Here is the itinerary I've sketched out so far:
Fri: arrive SLC very late.
Sat: leave for Zion @noon after sleeping in. Stay over at Zion.
Sun: Zion--horseback ride, hike. Stay over at Zion.
Mon: Drive to GCNP-- south rim. Stay over.
Tues: GCNP-- 1/2-day float trip, short hike. Stay over south rim.
Weds: GCNP-- more hiking, touring, stay over GC; OR drive to Bryce canyon, stay over at Bryce.
Thurs: Drive to SLC
Fri: a.m. flight home.
We're not used to major driving trips like this -- can anyone describe the nature of the drives: are they scenic, with open roads, or more like I-95 between NYC and New Haven?
Thanks for your help.