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  1. Default Arizona/Utah National Parks


    I'm planning a five day national parks road trip for our family (parents plus 2 boys aged 11 and 15) next September as part of a month long visit to the US from Australia.

    We plan to leave from Las Vegas, drive to South Rim Grand Canyon then up to Zion or possibly Bryce then back to Vegas. Given time is short, is Bryce or Zion a better choice or should we try to do both? What differences are there in what we will see? Zion would involve less driving so I'm tending to that but would like advice.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Both Bryce and Zion are wonderful places to visit, and they're not too far away from one another, either - about 85 miles or so.

    The essential difference is that in Zion, you're in the canyon, whereas in Bryce, you're above it. Here is a page with a two-photo comparison (scroll down a bit; photos don't do either one justice). Still, you can hike through either one, and I honestly couldn't choose between the two - so we hiked in both.

    You should have ample time to see all that you want, given five days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Here is a trip that does most of it

    Quote Originally Posted by Deborah Stone View Post
    We plan to leave from Las Vegas, drive to South Rim Grand Canyon then up to Zion or possibly Bryce then back to Vegas.
    Here is a field report from a similar trip -- although I went to the North Rim, here is another report about a trip to Zion we took.
    Given time is short, is Bryce or Zion a better choice or should we try to do both?
    They are both quite different -- Since you mentioned a shortage of time, I would suggest concentrating on the Grand and Zion -- although Bryce is otherworldly!


  4. Default Beautiful Country!

    Well earlier this summer i did a mega road-trip which included both Bryce and Zion and Vegas and the GC but not quite in the order you are looking to do them. Though I think it is very possible to do all of them enjoyable and within 5 days depending on whether you are looking to get DEEP into each park or must get a good strong flavor. It is only 5 hours from Vegas to the GC and then 6 hours to Bryce, hour and a half to Zion then 2 and half back to Vegas. Not TOO much driving in 5 days.

    Here is a Brief Summary of the "MUST SEES" with a detailed adgenda of my trip through these parts below:
    Grand Canyon!
    Bryce: Queen's Garden/Navajo trail
    Inspiration Point
    Yovimpa Point (on Bristle Cone Trail)
    Angel's Landing (if you are up to it!)
    Upper Emerald Pool
    The Lodge
    Main Canyon tour
    The tunnel/Checkerboard Mesa View Point
    Hidden Canyon is cool too.

    Our trip worked like this... arrived at Ruby's inn outside of Bryce Canyon near sunset..checked into Ruby's as its the closest accomedations and it was to late to set up tents. Caught Sunset from the top of inspiration point, very nice. Then back for the country buffet at Ruby's which was very fulfilling.

    We rose early (6ish) to get a good some hiking in before noon time sun hit. As MassTim said you are above the canyon so we hiked down into the land of hoodoos which are amazing geographic figures which are the focal point of the park. You can reach stunning views of the area from the lookout points on the Rim Trail but to get the real experience i would reccommend the Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop Trail which takes you through the major hoodoos and heart of the canyon. After this nice 3 mile hike that lead down the canyon and has a steep exit from the canyon. Then a short drive out to the end of the park with numerous lovely overviews and the Bristle Cone Loop which features century old Bristle Cone Trees from circa 0 AD and a view all the way down to Arizona and the Glen Canyon Rec Area.

    This is a stunning park and unlike anywhere else in the country but without backcountry hiking or scouring every mile of trail we were ready for a late lunch around 3ish and excited to head down towards Zion.

    The definite way to enter the park is from the East on Zion-MT. Carmel highway. You come down through some buffalo fields and up to the enterance which leads into checkerboard mesa and down through the magnificant tunnel (amazing that it was built in the 1920s!) where you get your first glimpses of the canyon before entering right above the virgin river! Its just breathe taking! We posted up at one of the first come first serve campsites at Zion, grilled some dinner and took in a wonderful ranger talk about the history of the Park System.

    On day number 2 we hopped a shuttle from the vistor center and headed out to the the Temple of Sinawava and holed out to the entrance to the Narrows. then worked our way back through the canyon stopping at the Weeping Rock Trail and then checking out the lodge and doing the full Emerald pool Circuit of Lower, Middle and Upper! The Upper pool is worth definitely worth the extra evalation you have to climb! Its a beautiful deep green pool hidden at the foot of a tall ledge perfect for wading in the shade on a hot day! then we caught an early night at the campsite with plenty of stars.

    The Next morning we broke camp at 5 and hopped the first shuttle to the Grotto and hiked the challenge but wonderful trail to Angel's Landing It is by far the most rewarding hike I have ever taken. The long, steep, narrow trail leads you to the middle of the Canyon with beautiful views to both the North and South and leaves you nose to nose with the Great White Throne. it is just Fantastic. After taking time to absorb and reflect we began down and were glad we had gotten a head start on the crowds. After a delicious lunch at the lodge were were off to Vegas and there by Sunset.

    I loved both these parks and cannot wait to get back and see the Zion Backcountry and Kolob Canyon Areas! Sorry for being soo long winded but I really love these parks and hope you make it to all three!!!!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Couldn't have said it any better!

    Quinn, Excellent commentary and suggestions. I have been to all of those places too -- But you covered more ground than I probably could these days. Thanks for the suggestions!


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