Driving in the States
Me and my husband will be going on our honeymoon to the States (we are from Sweden) and will be travelling by the following plan in the summer of 2005. I would be very happy to get some comments. Does it sound realistic?
We will start in Albuquerque and drive to Santa Fe and Chama on the first day. From Chama we want to take a trip with the Toltec Scenic Railroad on the next day. Thereafter we will go to Durango, Silverton and Ouray, we have planned two days for this. Then the trip goes to Mesa Verde and Monument Valley. Do we need a day each for these? Then the question is if we should go north to see Antelope Canyon and Bryce Canyon (or maybe Zion?) and see Grand Canyon from the North rim or if we should head south and take a helicopter tour over Grand Canyon. We are very appealed by the later suggestion, but it means we would have to skip the above mentioned parks, unfortunately we can´t do it all. Could someone please give me some input on this? After Grand Canyon we will go to Vegas for two days, Los Angeles for two days, drive up highway 1 for two days and finish the trip with three days in San Francisco.
Grand Canyon or Southern Utah?
That is a really tough question. You won't ever regret an aerial tour of the Grand Canyon. But to many of us, Zion, Bryce, and the other southern Utah parks are among the very best, most scenic areas that America has to offer. If it were me making the choice, I'd probably go with Utah. But if the idea of the aerial tour is too hard to pass up, then you should do that. I don't think you'd be making a mistake either way. Especially since you would still be including the North Rim, which is a gem all by itself.
While writing this, I tried to think of what the difference is. Among other things, the Utah red rocks are more accessible -- in visiting there, you are right in the middle of them. You can hike amongst them, climb on them, sit on top of some of them, etc. If you have no significant time to hike, the Grand Canyon is more remote and "impersonal." The colors are more subdued, and you will feel like you are looking AT the panorama, rather than being in the middle of it like you are at Bryce, Zion or Capitol Reef.
I would definitely split Mesa Verde and Monument Valley into two days. And by the way, you will really like the Cumbres and Toltec train ride! Bob
I agree with Moderator Bob that this is a tough choice. I too would come down on the side of doing the Utah parks and the North Rim of the Canyon. Up until about 15 years ago it was possible to fly INTO the canyon, and that flight was spectacular! Due to noise and flight restrictions imposed by the FAA, that is no longer allowed and your flight will simply be over the canyon. It's still scenic, but not what you may be expecting. I've been to both rims and have stated elsewhere my preference for the north rim if for no other reason than that you will have it more to yourself, without the busloads of tourists. Even in the summer I could still find places on the north rim that gave me a sense that I was the only person in the park. Also, the Lodge at the north rim is one of the more romantic settings for an elegant meal that my wife and I have come across in our travels.
BTW - you can also get Grand Canyon flights out of Las Vegas if you really have your heart set on that.
Or Page, AZ -- I think you can still get a charter tour from Page! Bob
Thank you for your input. We´ll give it some more thought, but we still feel it would be wonderful to go with the helicopter. We will be by Grand Canyon on our wedding day, and it would be a nice way to celebrate it. The fun thing is that we got engaged on a small aeroplane when doing a tour over an attraction here in Sweden!