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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default 1-2 day trip worth it?

    I'm going back to Roswell this year for another car show and am planning on coming back hitting the following places: Flagstaff-South Rim Grand Canyon-Page-North Rim Grand Canyon-Zion-Bryce-Salt Lake City-then home via Boise.

    My question is this: time will be short and I only have 2 days to do the Grand Canyons areas, Bryce and Zion. I know that I won't have time to do any hiking or really exploring the area but I want to know if such a quick drive-through is worth it. Having never seen any of these places, I figure a quick drive-by is better than nothing.

    Per MS S&T, this is the tentative plan:

    Leave Flagstaff about 6am and spend about 7 hours at the South Rim, then drive east to spend some time (up to 2 hours allotted) at Desert View, then onto Page for the night.

    Leave Page about 6am for the North Rim for about 3-4 hours, then off to Zion for about 3-4 hours, then onto Panguitch area for the night.

    Leave Panguitch about 6am then onto Bryce for about 3-4 hours before heading north to SLC and home via Boise.

    Tips, ideas on highlights to hit, warnings, and so on would all be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Drive Fast!

    I'd say it is worth it -- but I hate to see you have to blaze through so quickly. You can see portions of all of these parks from the roadway overlooks, but to really experience the grandeur, you have to get out, walk around, sit a spell and soak it up. Sounds like you'll have a little time for that at South Rim, but with only 3-4 hours at the other three, there won't be much opportunity for relaxing.

    But, on the other hand, I've more often done it the way you are suggesting and I would not trade those experiences. So I say do it! At the least, you'll whet your appetite for a return visit another time! Bob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    Thanks...and driving fast, well, I do it when I can. :-)

    I'm leaving Roswell, NM, early Monday morning and have to be back on the Washington coast by Friday so anything I do will be a quick stop. I have an all-day event in Westport, WA, on Saturday to attend.

    Do you have any hints on how to do these parks quickly? Like what would you do if you only had such limited time? Any hints on how to avoid crowds as much as possible? Any highlights that are not to be missed in the time we have?

    I hope to return someday for a longer stay where I can actually do some hiking and, hopefully, a river rafting trip. So this will have to do for now.

  4. #4


    Making the most of the time available -- at South Rim, the East Rim Drive out to Desert View has the best views in my opinion, and it's right on your way. If this is a summer trip -- I would NOT do the West Rim Drive (only because of your time constraint). They do not allow personal vehicles on it during the summer crowd season, and the shuttle bus system is slow going. Doing the West Rim drive under those conditions will eat up your entire time budget!

    Spend some of your time at the visitor center complex, but my opinion is stay out of the shops! You'll waste sightseeing time if you get caught up in the shopping frenzy!

    You may have time for a short walk along the rim, between Bright Angel and Shrine of the Ages, for example, or down Bright Angel Trail for a short distance. Remember the rule of thumb for Canyon hiking though, 1/3 of your time downhill, 2/3 of your time uphill! The in-canyon trails are desert hikes, so TAKE WATER.

    If you can, take the aerial tour from Grand Canyon Airport. By airplane, it's only about $75 per and well worth it (they also have helicopter, more expensive). You'll see the Canyon in a way car tourists never do. I had never done this until a couple summers back, and I've been going to the Canyon for years. It was awesome.

    When you arrive at the entrance station for the Park, they'll give you an informational newspaper -- it will have a section on what to do if you have 1/2 day, a whole day, etc. Take a look at that for some other ideas. You won't be able to do ALL of it, but you can get some ideas.

    At North Rim, you'll have time for some of the drive and overlooks (maybe not all the way to the end), and for exploring the paths and overlooks around the Lodge. At Zion, you'll have time to drive through and that's about all (the drive through the park goes north from the highway, and is a deadend -- when you get to the end, you turn around and go back). Zion may also prohibit passenger cars on the park roads in high season, but you can find out about that by taking a look at their website.

    I don't remember much about Bryce -- maybe Utahtea will have some ideas about that?

    Finally, if you can scrape up the time to do it, from Bryce, take SR12 and SR24 through Grand Staircase/Escalante, making a loop to the east and northwest through Teasdale to get back to US89 or I-15. It's a spectacular drive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Thanks, Bob

    Your reply confirmed some of what I had gotten from a few websites and guidebooks. But I trust a fellow roadtripper more than strangers so your input is much appreciated.

    I don't think I'll have the time or funds for a plane trip but it does so very cool. My husband isn't going with me on this trip and we plan to get back there for a longer trip with more hiking, etc. in the future. I think I'll save the plane trip for then.

    I'm pasting your tips into my itinerary so I can use it to continue planning. Thank again!

  6. #6

    Default De Nada!

    It's nothing... You're welcome!

  7. #7
    buck1116 Guest

    Default question on GC-Bryce, Zion

    I am about to do similar quick trip this summer. I will have time to do 2 days around Bryce, 1 day or 1/2 day at Zion, 1 day at North Rim. Here's the question: is it worth going in July to South Rim later (coming around on way way, via Flagstaff) when we will absolutely only have drive by time? thanks, jb

  8. #8


    I made a similar trip last summer...even though I didn't have any time to see the sights, it was well worth it!

    Those areas are beautiful!

  9. #9

    Default Agreed!

    These areas are worth seeing even if you don't have much time. Whether I would take the time to just drive through would depend on how soon I figured I could get back for a more in-depth visit I guess. If I was planning a return trip next year, I might save the time now, but if I can't get back for a long while, absolutely, I'd do a drive by!

    My point-of-view is I want to see as much of this country as possible in my lifetime -- so I drive, drive, drive!


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Our advice -- Don't be scared off by the crowds!


    It is possible to find remarkably large crowds at the Grand in the summer months. It is also possible to drive no more than 30 minutes or walk no more than 10 minutes from the crowds and find tranquility, awesome views and private time. I recently reviewed a new <a href = "">Lonely Planet quidebook<a/> to the area -- and I highly recommend it. It will share little known tips for seeing the grand in all of its glory -- crowds or not.


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