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  1. Default Las Vegas/Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon trip help please

    I’m a newbee to this and could really do with some advice.

    20 years ago the wife and I did a fly drive from Las Vegas taking in the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the Zion area and always said we would do a RV trip with the kids (If we have any). 20 years & 3 kids later (17,12 and 8) we finally get round to doing it. Thought if we don’t do it this year we never will as a family as the older one will be off next year probably.

    I need someone to check our plans ....let me know of any pitfalls and point out any things I have forgotten.

    Flying into Las Vegas on 1st April from San Fransisco, picking up an ELmonte CS-30 (31ft) and staying at Oasis RV park for the night. Taking this as an opportunity to get familiarised with driving it and hook up...etc.

    2nd April – Leaving around 9am to drive to Grand Canyon Mather campground via Hoover Dam. Planning on this taking about 4-5 hours (including break at Hoover dam). Arrive 2-3 check in and take in sights and sunset. Whats this drive like is the timing OK,

    3rd April – We will be checking (where is the best place to park the RV as will want to stay in area till lunchtime ish for the rim trail). Leave around 12-1 for Waheap at Lake Powell. Arrive around 3-4pm and settle in......walk around and water activities (canoes...etc).

    4th April – leave Lake Powell mid morning for Bryce Canyon, either Ruby’s Inn or Bryce Canyon Pines resort (Any advice on which is the one choose). As we want to do a horse trail (For the little 8 year old girl you understand – and for me to live the cowboy dream). The Horse trails are at 2pm at the Bryce Park Centre and 3pm at Pines......what time shoudl we plan to leave lake Powell to make the 2pm session if stay at Ruby’s Inn.

    What is the best route for this size of RV from Bryce to Zion?

    5th April – leave Bryce at 11am ish for Zion Resort at Virgin for 2 nights. Using the shuttle for getting to Zion for walks and maybe another short 1 hour horse trail.

    7th April – Head for Las Vegas, drop off RV and settle into a hotel on the strip before we fly out on the 8th.

    Any advice welcome....

    How hard is it to drive these things?
    I am assuming a pull through slot is basically a drive thru?
    Could really do with any advice on the best route for this size of RV....for you experienced RV’ers a 31ft is probably not much, but it does seem a bit daunting.....don’t get me wrong I am really looking forward to this...I love driving, love driving vans (transits....etc)..

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Possible Pitfalls

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is certainly going to be more than 4-5 hours. If everything goes right it will be a minimum 6 hour drive. Then you'll have to add in whatever time you plan to spend visiting the dam. The wildcard is any traffic delay in crossing the dam and this could run to a couple of hours or more on a bad day. I would plan on this drive taking all day and just be thankful to have whatever time I saved on that for a first brief look at the Canyon on arrival.

    I don't think parking your RV should be a problem. Certainly there are spaces at Grand Canyon Village and at most of the pullouts along the South Rim Drive that can accommodate your rig.

    I'd leave at least 3˝-4 hours for the drive from Lake Powell to Ruby's Inn. You don't want to arrive at the last minute and find that all the horses for that days's trail ride have been spoken for. Remember that ALL driving times you're getting from mapping software assume that you drive at the speed limit (which will not be true in your rig) and that you never need to stop for gas, food, bathroom breaks, or traffic (not true with your crew.)

    Your only option for the drive to Zion is to stay on the numbered highways: UT-12/US-89 north/UT-20/I-15 to the northwest entrance, or UT-12/US-89 south/UT-9 to the southeast entrance. Note that there is no road connecting these two entrances through the park itself.

    I'm afraid that I don't have any experience driving a large RV, but I have driven several truck/tow combinations in the past, and the key has always been to just take my time, make wide turns, and use every opportunity to pull off and let following traffic pass me so as not to create any undue road rage.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Note that there is no road connecting these two entrances through the park itself.
    Not necessarily true. UT-9 goes all the way through the park and through the Mt. Carmel Tunnel. RV's require an escort, which costs $15. With that said, it's a challenging drive in a RV, it's very narrow with a lot of switchbacks. If you choose to use it, it can be quite a timesaver from Bryce Canyon, as you have to cross the mountains somewhere anyway. UT-20 is quite a ways out of the way, I've used UT-14 to get across and it's a very scenic drive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A couple of points.

    Hi there,

    Buck has summed it up nicely but I have taken a 30ft RV through the area and there is nothing to drastic to deal with and as Buck said, if you start get traffic behind you use one of the pull outs to let them by, it will take the pressure away from you and you will be rewarded with a toot of the horn and a smile.

    At the dam you will be subject to a security search of the RV which can take up some time depending on how busy they are. Between Bryce and Zion you can go through Mount Carmel tunnel but you will be charged $15 and have to wait until they stop oncoming traffic from entering the other end so you can drive down the middle because of height restrictions. It is not a big deal but a wonderful drive and exciting for kids of all ages and is the second route on UT 9described by Buck.

    I have stayed at Rubys and it's a nice spot and although not in a wooded setting like in GC it is pleasant with a view of the lake and only a short walk to the shops and restauruant at Rubys Inn and the "Old town" , a kind of "wild west" row of stores with jailhouse etc. At Bryce you can visit Sunset and sunrise points and the Bryce amphitheatre in one area but if you want to check out the other viewpoints [and have the time] to Rainbow point at the far end then drive all the way down and stop at the viewpoints on the way back up. That way they will all be on your side of the road and you won't have to keep pulling across traffic.

    With regards to the Zion river resort, I can say that it's a lovely little campground but it isn't as close to Zion as they make out and personally I would stop at the "Watchman" campground in Zion NP where it's a short walk to shuttle buses into the canyon and to the town of Springdale. Springdale has some nice little stores and restaurants and you can feed buffalo and other interesting animals at the little farm there.

  5. Default

    Thanks alot everyone, this forum really holds some great pieces of info.

    Hadn't eralised that it would take that long from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon in the RV, but obviously had not appreciated the speed. You are right all the other sites quote a time of a lot less probably because of the speed.

    I suppose the clarification I need is on the trip from Bryce to Zion. Do I take the straight route through Mt Carmel tunnel on I-9 or detour around Zion to get to the Zion Resort.....? The straight route through the tunnel sounds exciting and I would have had at least 3-days getting familiar with the RV driving by then. Won't be pushed for time because....hey its supposed to be a holiday.

    I am assuming a 10mpg average stopping every 100 miles or so to keep it topped up.

    A little concerned now about the Zion resort, the site paints a picture of it being a lot closer to the entrance....any idea how long the shuttle takes.

    Anyone got experience of the horse trails?

    Once again, great info and thanks alot.


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

    Default Not that far.

    From a personal point of view I would take the tunnel every time and although I was used to driving larger vehicles before my first RV trip it shouldn't be an ordeal for a competent driver and many RV's take the route but ultimately you have to decide.

    The Zion river resort is just under 15 miles from the entrance and maybe 20 [+] minutes, so not that far really but also not next door either. I was aware of this before travelling and used it as an overnight stop on the way to the NP campground [Watchman] but some people thought it was closer than this. If you have booked it shouldn't be a problem as it is a nice place with amenities, it was just that I personally preferred being in the natural surroundings in the park and near to Springdale in the evening.

    I have no experience of the horse riding trails but thay take bookings through Rubys Inn at the head of Bryce canyon.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-02-2010 at 10:11 AM. Reason: added info

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