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  1. #1

    Default Grand Circle in May

    Hello!

    Have 12 days at the beginning of May to travel the Grand Circle and any other great spots. Starting/ending in Salt Lake City, renting a small campervan. Thinking of heading down 89 to Bryce/Zion then on to Grand Canyon. Not so sure of a route back.

    Would love to hear any thoughts, experiences others have had. Should I be concerned about campground reservations? I know I’m late for some, but I’m ok with finding something spur of the moment. Looking for something a little less planned, though I’m not sure that’s realistic.

    can’t wait to experience, and thanks for the great forum!

    Thanks all!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,969

    Default Campgrounds a priority.

    Hello and welcome to RTA!

    It depends on what your definition of the 'Grand circle' is really as that's just a guide books guide. You can make your own trip unique to suit your pace and interests. You can just visit Bryce, Grand canyon and Zion at a leisurely pace with a couple of extra side trips or you could include Capital Reef, Arches and Canyonlands if you want to keep on the move. So if you head to Bryce you could then take UT12/24 heading through Capital Reef to Moab for Arches and Canyonlands and then through Monument valley to the South rim of the Grand canyon, through Vegas and stop over at Zion on the way back. You could also head straight to Moab and then work your way back to Bryce and the North rim and Zion. If you want to keep it more relaxed you could head to Bryce, the North rim and Zion and do side trips to The Valley of Fire and the like.

    ** You will need to check if the road to the North rim is open when you travel. It's usually open mid May. **

    Booking campgrounds should be a priority once you have worked out your plans.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-02-2018 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Added info

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,463

    Default Basic Option(s)

    If your main targets are Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon, then I agree with Dave that you should plan on hitting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by heading through Las Vegas. I wouldn't really consider the North Rim; there's just too great a chance that it will still be snow bound in early May. Instead, I'd plan on taking a day or two to enjoy Las Vegas including both the 'entertainment' and the nature sites such as Valley of Fire State Park and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. From there head to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. Note that there is much more in the Flagstaff area than 'just' the Grand Canyon, including Wupatki, Sunset Crater Volcano and Walnut Canyon National Monuments; the Museum of Northern Arizona; and Lowell Observatory. From Flagstaff s good route back to Salt Lake City would be US-89/US-160/US-163/US-191 up through the Navajo and Hopi Nations, Monument Valley, Gooseneck State Park (UT), Arches National Park, and perhaps Dinosaur National Monument. You will have to decide how much time you want to spend at a given park and whether you want to see less of more sites or more of fewer sites, but that's always a good choice to have.

    AZBuck

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks Dave!

    I wanted to include capital reef, arches and Canyonlands. That first route you suggested sounds excellent!

    Just trying to figure out which direction to head in and what my first destination could be. Thanks for the tip about campgrounds as well

  5. Default

    Thanks for the info! I have been trying to plan a trip this summer and the "GrandCircle" sounds great. I may change a few stops, but I sure will look into it. It may also have to wait untill spring 2019, but all the info here has been great.
    Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,969

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonlight View Post
    Thanks Dave!

    I wanted to include capital reef, arches and Canyonlands. That first route you suggested sounds excellent!

    Just trying to figure out which direction to head in and what my first destination could be. Thanks for the tip about campgrounds as well
    Well you can pretty much go in which direction you like. If you include Capital Reef maybe you could go something like this. SLC>Moab>Bryce canyon>Page>South rim Grand canyon>Las Vegas>Zion. (Or reverse)
    Without Capital Reef. SLC>Bryce>Zion>Las Vegas>South rim>Monument Valley>Moab>SLC.

    I would include Capital Reef as the drive through and UT scenic byway 12 is great !

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks Dave!

    Your help has been so useful. Here is what I have.

    2 days BRYCE
    3 days Moab
    2 days monument valley
    3 days Grand Canyon
    2 days Zion

    Found a few state parks that have vacancies near Bryce and Zion and some commercial other places.

    Was wondering about the first come first served for national parks, but more so for the BLM sites.

    Thanks again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,756

    Default

    For the parks you mentioned, folks will be in line at 8 or 9 am for the first-come, first-served sites at the campgrounds, especially so at Zion and Grand Canyon.



    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,969

    Default

    You have the makings of a wonderful trip ! Personally I would spend just 1 day at Monument Valley and stopover at Capital Reef between Bryce and Moab. Even with travel time it would work as MV can be enjoyed in a few hours as fascinating as it is.

    Have you tried the NP campgrounds ? The Watchman for Zion. Sunset campground for Bryce. Devils Garden for Arches NP. Mather campground Grand canyon. (Fruita for Capital Reef if you decide) I would also check out Ruby's Inn campground for Bryce canyon as an option.

    As said first come first served could be in high demand and may be a gamble.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,036

    Default State Parks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonlight View Post
    Found a few state parks that have vacancies ....
    When I went to Bryce, I stayed at Kodachrome Basin SP. Given that Bryce can be seen in a day, or less, it is worth looking at this SP, where there is also much to do and see. I enjoyed waking up in the shadow of the hoodoos. There is Grovenor Arch and the canyon road. Most roads are good dry weather roads, despite being unmade. (The road into the campground is paved.) Not sure if they are State maintained. But if you have a day there, you could walk to most of those attractions. It was a nice camp ground when I was there right on UT-12.

    Lifey

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