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  1. #1

    Default Need advice driving Salt Lake City to Grand Canyon

    We (my b/f and I) are planning a two-week road trip to the southwest at the end of Sept/beginning of Oct. We are casual road trippers who will be seeing the natural sights, hiking, taking pics. We love the outdoors but aren't super marathon hikers. No camping on this trip. We'd like to stay in B&Bs or nice motels. I am looking for advice on must-see places between Salt Lake City and the Grand Canyon/Sedona. We are planning on taking the train from San Jose, CA to Salt Lake City and then renting a car and touring southern Utah and the Grand Canyon. Though we are definitely planning on Zion and Bryce, we're a bit hung up on the best stuff to see and do beyond Zion. Definitely the Grand Canyon. But is North Rim better than South? We were thinking of staying in Flagstaff for a couple of nights. Maybe squeezing in Sedona. Are there some gems that we should know about? We have no idea really.

    Any suggestions would be very helpful.

    Our schedule thus far is:

    Day 1: Train from San Jose to Sacramento
    Day 2: Train from Sacramento to SLC (arrive 4 am)
    Rent a car, drive to Springdale UT for visit to Zion/Bryce
    Day 3: Zion/Bryce
    Day 7: Zion Bryce
    Day 8: ?
    Day 9: ?
    Day 10 ?
    Day 11 Maybe Flagstaff
    Day 12 Maybe Flagstaff
    Day 13 Unknown....somewhere between Flagstaff and SLC.
    Day 14: Return to Salt Lake City. Train from SLC to San Jose
    Day 15 Arrive San Jose

    Thanks so much for your input. This area is so fantastic and we don't want to screw up our vacation by seeing the wrong stuff or wasting out time.

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

    Default no wrongs

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The great thing about a roadtrip is that if you are taking the approach that everything you see is something new and different, then you'll never find a "wrong" place.

    What would be quite typical for a trip like this would be to do a loop around southern Utah. You can go down through Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon, then you could go back along the eastern edge of the state and see places like Monument Valley, Canyonlands, and Arches (possibly Mesa Verde in Colorado too).

    As far as which side of the Canyon too see, neither is better, they are just different. The south rim is the more visited side, with more services, and easier access to I-40. The north rim is more quiet and at a higher elevation, so the views are different. Its also not open in winter. Really, coming in from the north, it would be easy to see both sides - just know its about 5 hours to drive from one side to the other.

    I'd also check out the new RTA Article about 4 Side Trips from the Grand Canyon.

  3. #3

    Default Sedona?

    Thanks for such a great site. It's really comprehensive and full of information.

    A couple of other questions...

    If we miss Sedona will we be missing something really fabulous?
    Too much time in Zion? or is the location a good central place for other visits?
    Any suggestions for great places to stay in Eastern Utah?

    We could bail out completely on Flagstaff/Sedona if Eastern UT would make more sense. We don't want to rush too much on this trip.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default top heavy

    I will say it does seem like you are weighted a little heavy towards Zion/Bryce. Basically, you're dedicating half of your trip there, which seems a bit much.

    Unless you strongly prefer staying in the same hotel every night, I'd probably shoot for Tropic (outside of bryce) for nights 2 and 3, then down to Springdale for night 4 and maybe 5, but by day 6, I think I would be heading down towards the Grand Canyon or the Page/Lake Powell/etc area.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Give me the North Rim anyday

    Quote Originally Posted by Crooklynn View Post
    .......But is North Rim better than South?
    For my money, everytime!! I far prefer it to the south, though both are somewhat different. Less commercialised, less busy, many more small hikes to be able to drive to, and far easier to park, even on the busiest of weekends... and of course, the visitor centre and the views are just as spectacular! However, the North rim is not open all year round. Not sure when it closes.

    And nearby Kanab is a neat little place to stay... but then, so is Page, though a bit further away.

    Between Kanab and Page is Lees Ferry and also Vermillion Cliffs (??). Some amazing scenery in there as well.

    Sedona is also very nice, but after Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon, you really will not be missing anything if you miss out on Sedona. I would follow Michael's suggestion, if you have extra time, and go see Mesa Verda... totally different to the other parks, and oh so full of the early history of the continent. Just an amazing place. The two days I spent there were no where near enough.

    Lifey who hopes to get back there..... one day

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default All about choices.

    As has already been said, there are no "wrongs" and you can't see everything so it comes down too choices. My preferred would be along the lines of Michael's suggestion of a loop. My choice would be to head direct for Bryce and then head towards Arches NP/Moab on scenic 12/24/I-70 passing Capitol reef on the way. Head South on 191 and through Monument valley on 163 [Canyonlands and Mesa Verde would be possible] and to the Grand canyon. From the South rim head through Page [Antelope canyon/Lake Powell] and finish the loop in Zion. An easy drive via I-15 back to SLC.

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