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  1. Default Chicago -> LA via Utah in late July: Too hot?

    Hi everyone! My partner and I are moving from Chicago to LA and are thinking of driving our car (our belongings will be transported separately).

    This is the itinerary that I've come up with for late-July:
    Day 1: Drive Chicago -> Omaha, NE (474 mi, 7 hrs, 30 min)
    Day 2: Drive Omaha, NE -> Boulder, CO (554 mi, 7 hrs, 45 min)
    Day 3: Tour Boulder, Denver (staying with friends)
    Day 4: Drive Boulder, CO -> Arches Natl Park (373 mi, 5 hrs, 50 min)
    Day 5: Tour Arches National Park
    Day 6: Arches National Park -> Capitol Reef National Park (165 mi, 3 hrs, 3 min)
    Day 7: Drive Capitol Reef National Park -> Zion National Park (173 mi, 4 hrs)
    Day 8: Drive Zion National Park -> Las Vegas, NV (167 mi, 3 hrs)
    Day 9: Drive to LA (278 mi, 4 hrs, 15 min)

    I have been very eager to see the Utah National Parks and the circumstances are convenient, since we need to get the car to LA anyway. My big worry, however, is that given we are driving in late-July, that it will be too hot for us to enjoy it. We will have air-conditioning in our car, but we would really like to do some hikes in the area (highs are supposed to be in the low 100s).

    Does this trip sound doable/enjoyable? Are there any other natural landmarks that we should not miss?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default its possible

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It certainly is possible that you'll be dealing with some hot weather, however there is something to be said that it will be a dry heat. You will need to bring lots of water, but you should still be able to get in some short hikes. And remember, there is no way of knowing now what things will be like when you are traveling. An average gives you and idea of what you could see, but what really matters is what the temperatures actually are when you arrive. It could be 100, but it could be 80 or it could be 110 on the actual dates of your travel.

    If you are really concerned about heat, you might want to spend a little more time in Colorado at a higher elevation to get in your hiking, and then do shorter tours in Utah.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd recommend that you visit Bryce Canyon between Capitol Reef and Zion. It shouldn't get TOO hot up there, it's around 9000 feet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Oh, definitely add Bryce

    It's my favorite of the three (Bryce, Arches, Zion). But they are all spectacular!

    If your lodging is close to the parks, I suggest getting up quite early and doing your hiking in the cooler morning hours. In fact, sunrise is terrific in these parks. Pack a portable breakfast, drive out to the park and enjoy sunrise, and then hike until it starts getting hot. Then spend the day cooling off in a river, lake, pool or other cool place, and then go back in the evening for sunset. Or use the hot mid-day time to travel to your next destination.

  5. Default

    Thanks for all the suggestions! I am working on revising my itinerary to visit all the Utah National Parks (including Bryce Canyon), and also trying to do morning and evening hikes, using afternoon times for scenic drives or getting from one place to another.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd recommend if you want to visit Canyonlands, the Island in the Sky portion is a lot more worthwhile than the Needles section. However, if you want to go to Natural Bridges on the way to Capitol Reef, it's right along the way - and if you are going that far south, you might as well do Monument Valley too..........this will never end!

  7. Default

    Tell me about it. There is so much I want to see on my trip, but unfortunately I can't really stretch out this road trip. Does my new itinerary look too grueling? Is there something that I should cut out to make things easier on myself?

    Day 1: Drive Chicago -> Omaha, NE
    Day 2: Drive Omaha, NE -> Boulder, CO
    Day 3: Drive Boulder, CO -> Moab, UT
    Day 4: Morning hike in Arches
    Afternoon drive of Canyonlands
    Stay in Moab
    Day 5: Another morning hike in Arches or Canyonlands
    Drive to Capitol Reef
    Day 6: Morning hike in Capitol Reef
    Drive to Bryce Canyon
    Day 7: Morning hike in Bryce Canyon
    Drive to Zion
    Day 8: Morning hike in Zion
    Drive to Las Vegas
    Day 9: Drive to LA

  8. Default

    I wish I had your energy! Your trip sounds great, and although exhausting, probably doable. The great thing about it is that you're going to be traveling two of the most beautiful highways in the United States. UT-24 and UT-12 are incredible (particularly the latter.) I'm actually going to be in that area myself in early July.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A possible variation.

    You sure are going to see a lot of great scenery, but yes it will probably be exhausting.
    If you had enough energy after your drive from Boulder to Moab you could take an early evening drive to Dead horse point/Island in the sky section of Canyonlands, using the following day just visiting Arches. By doing this you would free up a little time by driving to Capitol reef on day 5 in the morning for an afternoon/evening hike and the same for Bryce. You can then enjoy a fantastic sunset at each one [and a sunrise if your early] and get to Zion by lunchtime [ish] giving you the afternoon/eve as well as the following morning to enjoy some of it's many hikes. The riverside walk is a lovely gentle stroll through the canyon but should be done early, it will get packed.

    Have a great time !

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