I need advice...
Hi, I'm planning a 4 full day roadtrip starting in Salt Lake City and ending in Phoenix. I wanted to see Zion, Bryce, The Canyon and Monument Valley...
Is this too much?
What order would you suggest?
Estimated time at every place?
Recommended hostels, extras, trips?
Thanx very much for your help, I appreciate it!
Add a day?
Bryce, Zion and GC are pretty much on a single path, but Monument Valley takes you farther afield and results in some extra driving. If you could add one day, it would be better. You can easily spend a day in the Bryce/Grand Staircase/Escalante area, one day at Zion, one or more days at the Grand Canyon (either north or south rim, not both). I think that Monument Valley, if you do anything more than drive through it, will also easily eat a day, in general.
Here's one possibility:
Day 1: Drive to Zion (6 hours), see the park in the afternoon and evening, and finish there in the morning of Day 2.
Day 2: Short drive to Bryce (2 hours), spend the afternoon at Bryce. Drive on toward Escalante and see Grand Staircase and Capital Reef. I highly recommend this route. The drive to Mexican Hat (Monument Valley) takes about 7 hours, but you will want to make lots of scenery stops, so it will be necessary to stop for the night somewhere along this route (perhaps Torrey or Hanksville). Be SURE to take the shortcut (SR261 on the map) from west of Blanding down toward Mexican Hat, this road is dirt for a couple miles in the middle, but is SPECTACULAR and worth the effort.
Day 3: Finish the drive to Monument Valley -- take the guided tour at Monument Valley if you can. Visit Gouldings Trading Post. Spend the night at Kayenta, AZ.
Day 4: Drive to South Rim, Grand Canyon (3.5 hours). Spend Day 4 and the night in the park or at Tusayan. An alternative is Flagstaff, but that takes you 70+ miles from the Canyon and means you cannot spend any time there on Day 5, which I suggest is a good idea.
Day 5: Finish up at Grand Canyon, and drive to Phoenix (about 4 hours, 220 miles).
If you add an extra day, you can add time at any one of the places I've already mentioned (like Zion or Bryce), or you could manage a visit to the North Rim as well. Your times may vary. If you cannot do 5 days, then I'd suggest you need to skip Monument Valley this time. Bob
Actually, it's 4 days ;-)
Thanks for the input Bob, but I messed up in my post, it's 4 days, not 5.
Would you drop Zion and go only to Bryce? That way we could visit Monument Valley, right?
Do you know of any specially nice Rangers Programs in Bryce that you would recommend out of the ones they have?
Thanks very much again.
Bryce vs. Zion
I haven't been to Bryce for awhile, so I'm not familiar with the programs there. I prefer Zion over Bryce, although both are beautiful, Zion has the river flowing through where Bryce is "dry."
The cleanest way to do 4 days would be to drop Monument Valley, because of all the extra distance, but you may also be able to eliminate Zion and do Bryce, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon as you suggest.
This would entail doing Bryce on the first day afternoon, heading on toward Monument Valley, seeing that on the morning or afternoon of the 2nd day, then heading toward the GC for that night. Third day, see the Grand Canyon, and head toward Phoenix on the 4th day. I think this would work. If you have an extra hour on the drive to Phoenix, instead of taking I-17 all the way, take the road through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, and hook back up with I-17 using SR179. This gives you some extra time in the trees and splendor of Oak Creek Canyon. Bob
I love Zion & Bryce, but...
No question that Zion is one of my favorite parks, but if you can squeeze in Monument Valley -- do it. If you visit the Tribal Park (not part of the Federal NPS) it is really a great way to see the land. This time of year, the early morning light is very special.
Be warned, the local Indian nation does not consider road repairs an appropriate way to spend money -- the road in the tribal park is dirt, rough and has potholes large enough to swallow cars. But it is worth it.
4 day itinerary
I agree with other replies. If you only have 4 days, SKIP Monument Valley and be sure to see BOTH Zion and Bryce.
Monument Valley is nice too, but what you see in photos is exactly what you see there. It is too far out of the way for just 4 days.
Zion & Bryce are both so different and SPECTACULAR!