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  1. Default June in Arizona and Utah

    Hi! This is my first post on this forum, and I'm very glad that finally I could find this site. We are from Italy. This summer we are planning to travel in US from San Francisco to New York. Our daughter was born on july 4, and always wanted to celebrate her birthday with all america! This year she would be 10 and finally we are coming, even on very strict budget, sleeping in campings and eating from cooler, but this is our way of travel. We have plenty of questions, esp about the part of the trip in national parks (Arizona-Utah)
    In the beginning we had planned:
    06/21 Las Vegas, morning leaving to Bryce canyon (booked)
    06/22 Going to Escalante (Peak-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons), Afternoon returning to Bryce canyon to sleep (booked)
    06/23 leaving to Lake Powel, sleeping in Page
    06/24 Grand Canyon, North Rim (booked)
    06/25 Grand Canyon, North Rim (booked, but may be changed)
    06/26 Going to petrified forrest and sleeping in Painted desert
    That was the original plan. So now I would like to add to this itinirary: Monument valley (must see!), Mesa verde, South rim of grand Canyon. Too much? we planned to walk a lot, but now I think it would be very hot and we must reduce time of hiking in those places and more drive around with air-conditioning. Any sugestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Breaking Points

    Sounds like you're having the usual internal debate about how much to squeeze into a vacation. On the one hand, you'll have come all this way, and you don't want to miss anything, and those extra places are so close. On the other hand, you've already have scheduled some of the best sites in the area you'll be visiting, and going to more places means more time in the car rather than outdoors enjoying the fresh air and quiet and natural beauty. I think in your case, what I'd consider is skipping the second night at the North Rim as well as the Painted Desert and use that time to drive up through Monument Valley to Mesa Verde. Then it would just be possible to get back to Las Vegas (I'm assuming you have to return there for your flight home) in one day's hard drive (530 miles) via US-160/US-89 to Flagstaff and I-40/US-93 to Las Vegas.

    The other advantage to such an itinerary is that it spends most of your time at higher elevation sites and in pine forests so that the heat will not be as oppressive and you can do some more comfortable hiking. But wherever you go and however much you walk, be sure to have plenty of water with you whenever you venture outdoors in the Southwest.


  3. Default

    It is natural to have such doubts, mine appeared when on site of grand canyon I had read that they advice not to hike after 10am in summer...If it would be fresh air- OK, but what if it would be hot, as they warn? I am preparing alternative.
    Sorry, I didn't explain well, we are not going back to Las Vegas, but calmly driving towards Florida for july 4.
    I was thinking instead of stopping in Page, from Bryce Canyon to drive untill Monument valley (or even untill Mesa verde)and sleep there. But my doubt, could we make it? Then to go back to North rim, and later to take US-89 towards I-40 and just to stop on South Rim (on the map it lookes like 2 hour driving more). Then we'll just drive east.
    The other possibility was as you mention, but after mesa verde to go to I-40 and skip south rim and painted desert/petrified forest. Thanks for suggestion.
    Another question can normal car drive in Monument valley and in Escalante Hole-in-the-Rock road with good weather? Did somebody went there by Impala or similar?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default In That Case

    Since you're not returning to Las Vegas but are leaving on or about June 27th for the 'East', then your original plan make more sense to me. Sorry about the confusion. But still, if you want to see Monument Valley and Mesa Verde, you should really consider giving up the second day and night at the Grand Canyon. With 'only' 6 days or so to see all those places (I count 7 that you plan on visiting) and cover a little over a 1000 miles you will have to keep to a moderately busy pace. You can still have several hours at each location, but only hours, not days at each. Do them in the order you originally listed with Monument Valley and Mesa Verde in between the North Rim and the Painted Desert. Don't plan on returning to the North Rim, or any other location, once you've left it.

    As far as heat and exercise go, you'll need to exercise some common sense. Use the mornings and evenings (mornings especially) for hiking when the temperatures are lower and the lighting is more dramatic, and use mid day for driving. Whenever you're out hiking, wear loose fitting light-colored clothing, a good wide-brimmed hat, and be sure to carry plenty of water and drink copiously. If you're not used to the heat, keep your walks to 2 miles or less and if you start feeling flush, and particularly if you stop sweating, find some shade, rest, and then slowly walk back to civilization.

    Any standard car will be adequate to get you over all the roads you'll be driving. The only dirt road you should encounter would be the one into the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. But once there, if you want a native guide, I believe that they provide more 'serious' transportation, but you might want to contact them before going just to make sure.


  5. Default

    Thanks again for suggestions. About Navajo guide, the ones on internet are starting from $45/person for 1 1/2hour tour =120$ for all, unfortunately, out of our budget. We used to drive on unpaved roads in the mountains with our city car. What is the difficulty of this road (deep sand, big stones, uneaven surface)? Could we still have some chance to see smth there without entering the valley (just driving some miles after the visitor's center)?
    Google maps suggest me to drive from Bryce to Mesa Verde via I-70 (around 7h), not US-160. Make sense?
    When we travel in Europe, for us 450 miles on 2lane road is "hard". Driving thru villages every 15-20 mi, to have some truck in front and may not surpass it. while motorway "hard" is 800 (but always includes crossing Alps, and few big cities). We heard so many nice things about driving in US: roads are large, well-kept, drivers are very polite. But speed limits are very low. As I saw on Google street view, it is almost a paradise to drive in Arizona and Utah, no traffic and high mountains.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Most rental car companies do not allow you to drive on unpaved roads.

    Speed limits here are not THAT low - the Interstate highway limit in NV, AZ, NM, and UT is 75 mph (120 kph) and the limit on rural 2 lane highways is generally 65 mph (105 kph). Of course, they are lower in congested and mountainous areas.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Speed limits here are not THAT low - the Interstate highway limit in NV, AZ, NM, and UT is 75 mph (120 kph) and the limit on rural 2 lane highways is generally 65 mph (105 kph). Of course, they are lower in congested and mountainous areas.
    That sound great, I heard it is 65/60.

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