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  1. Default Colorado Plateau

    We have 9 nights to spend in the Southern Colorado Plateau the beginning of February. We are thinking of 3 nights at Arches, 3 at Bryce Canyon and 3 Zion. Would a different distribution of the nights be better in terms of sights? We are on our way to Encinitas, CA so this is a good route in that direction.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default It's your time.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It really is how you want to spend your time that is important. With 3 nights at Arches NP you could also visit the "Islands in the sky" district of Canyonlands. As wonderful as Bryce canyon is you might find 3 nights to much, especially at high elevation in February, it could be bitterly cold. If you cut back on time in Bryce and possibly 1 night at Zion you could head through Page AZ and visit the South rim of the Grand canyon on the way to Encinitas. Have a look at a good map and search the forums for ideas and see what suits you best, but be prepared for some winter conditions.

  3. Default

    Thank you, Dave. I've looked at other options and we are now considering this. What do you think, especially about roads? I know you can't predict the weather, but do you know if they are roads that stay plowed and open? BTW. We live in Massachusetts, so the weather won't shock us.

    Denver to Black Canyon > one night
    Black Canyon to Mesa Verde > one or two nights
    Mesa Verde to Arches and then on to Bryce and Zion
    Last edited by Minkcove; 01-10-2010 at 01:51 PM. Reason: spelling, punctuation

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default If You're Used to It

    As Dave pointed out, you can expect cold temps over much of your trip. Many of the places you'll be visiting are at elevations above 8,000 feet, so even though they are significantly farther south than Massachusetts, the average temperature range in Zion National Park is from 24°F to 48°F . You may very well see snowfall at some point during your trip. Your New England driving experience will help and while the roads may not become 'impassible', you may be better off just holing up for a day while the road crews go about clearing things up. To miss out on seeing the Grand Canyon would be a shame after getting so close. Unfortunately the North Rim will be closed for the season, and it would take a good two days for the drive from Las Vegas to the Canyon, plus the time to see the Canyon, plus the time to get well on the way to L.A. allowing you to reach Encinitas around mid-day 2˝ days after leaving Las Vegas. Yeah, that's a lot of time but consider whether it's worth fitting into your plans.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Default Mesa Verde

    Quote Originally Posted by Minkcove
    Black Canyon to Mesa Verde > one or two nights
    Mesa Verde NP is open year-round, but the lodge, the campground, and some of the cliff dwellings are closed during the winter. You would need to find a place to stay in one of the towns nearby, like Cortez or Durango.

  6. Default

    Thank you, AZBuck and Howard. We'll definitely schedule Arches, Zion and Bryce. And maybe spend 2 days in Denver. If we find we're ready to head to CA early, we may look at going to Death Valley. I've been to the Grand Canyon twice and my husband's been once (a helicopter trip in that I didn't think was as nice as the north rim). I agree that it is a phenomenon not to miss. It is truly indescribable. Thanks for all your insight and advice.
    It has not been out of the 20's here since before Christmas. I really enjoy winter and taking vacations during the winter. And we don't mind sitting around and reading if we have a nice view from the lodge/hotel.

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