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  1. #1

    Default Tips for Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon

    I have been to Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon many times, and there are some sights that most tourists miss. If you are going to these three canyons, which are all close enough to make that worthwhile, here are some tips for you.

    The Grand Canyon sunset is a must see, but don’t leave your viewpoint too early. Once the sun descends over the west rim, it takes about 10 minutes before the afterglow begins. Then the canyon lights back up with fantastic colors even more vivid than when viewed during the day. I prefer to be at Mather Point to watch this phenomenon, but any of the viewing points will do. The afterglow will last from 10 to 15 minutes, and is light enough to take great pictures or videos.

    Traveling from Zion to Bryce Canyon is usually accomplished by going out the east exit of Zion on Route 9 to Mount Carmel Junction and then turning north on Route 89 up to Route 12 and into Bryce Canyon. Because of that, many people miss the “other part of Zion,” the Kolob Canyon part.

    Don’t miss the eastern exit and Checkerboard Mesa, but leave Zion Canyon by the west exit to Springdale and head over to I-15 turning north. Kolob Canyon is several miles up I-15, but well worth the detour. Allow at least two hours there, and then head back up I-15 to Cedar City and Route 14. Take 14 over to Route 148 and go up to Cedar Breaks, a bowl-shaped miniature of Bryce Canyon. Allow at least an hour to see it. Then you can go back to Route 14 over to Route 89 and go the rest of the way up to Bryce Canyon.

    The best way to see Bryce Canyon if you are not up to hiking down into it is to drive all the way south to Rainbow Point and then all stops coming back are right-hand turns with no crossing of traffic lanes. Even for the hikers it is a good way to familiarize yourself with the trail opportunities.

    Take these three tips and you will truly enjoy everything the canyons have to offer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Then you can go back to Route 14 over to Route 89 and go the rest of the way up to Bryce Canyon.
    Or you can take 143 to Panguitch.

  3. #3


    How long would you take to see Bryce and Zion, with small hikes (not long ones)? We want to see them fairly well, but as part of a much longer road trip. Are there any skinny roads with big drop offs that we flatlanders might want to avoid? Thank you.

  4. #4


    Hi Toni,

    You can see all of Zion and Bryce Canyons within a long day, but you won't do any hiking except to overlooks and back to the parking lot. There are no "skinny roads" in these canyons, so don't worry about that. You might want to start out of Kanab, Utah and finish your day at Tropic, Utah, right below Bryce Canyon. Try to include the upper part of Zion, called the Kolob Canyons, too. They are up I-15 from Zion, but you can get there and then on to Bryce from there without any difficulty.

    You could do the short hikes and all if you spend one day at each park. Trails in Bryce are especially neat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Take your time if you can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toni View Post
    How long would you take to see Bryce and Zion, with small hikes (not long ones)? We want to see them fairly well, but as part of a much longer road trip.
    Road Hawk has mentioned how quickly you could visit the parks but as for how long I would take to see them is another matter. I personally would spend at least 2 nights and a day and a half around Zion before heading to Bryce for the night and spending the best part [if not all] of the next day in the Canyon, but of course it all comes down to how much time you have and then how to make the best of it.

    Springdale is a lovely town right on the doorstep of Zion and would make a good base if you are not staying in the park. Riverside walk is an easy paved walk to take a stroll along the Virgin river and Emerald pools and Weeping rock are a couple of the other popular walks. "Ruby's Inn" is the closest lodging to Bryce canyon and has plenty going on there and you can use the free and regular shuttle bus from there into the Canyon, as you can from Springdale into Zion.

    If you head through the Mount Carmel tunnel towards Bryce be sure to spend a little time on Checkerboard Mesa and Red canyon on scenic 12 a short way from Bryce.

  6. Default

    Any tips about The Canyon in December? Are any roads closed?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Roads to the North Rim are closed in December. The South Rim is open year round.

  8. Default

    Don't see it mentioned elsewhere in the Forum, so I'll post it in here. Mt Carmel Junction Rd, AKA the road to the East entrance of Zion will be closed from 9 am - 4 pm every Monday through Friday from June 6th to October 28th. Which means the area east of the tunnel will be closed at those times, which means a couple of things.

    1. If anyone wants to see Checkerboard Mesa, etc. the timing has to be planned out to avoid it.

    2. Travelling from Zion to Bryce during that time will all but necessitate the trip up I-15 to Cedar City as Road Hawk mentioned. But I side with GLC about taking UT-143 to Panguitch from Cedar Breaks, now called the Patchwork Parkway, the newest scenic Byway in the US, just officially dedicated 3 days ago.

    3. Anybody doing a Biking Road Trip will have to adjust their route entirely, as no Bikes will be allowed during the construction.

    Details here

  9. #9


    If you go to Zion, be sure to take time to walk "the Narrows"...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Good catch

    Twilight, Thanks for the news about the road closures in the park.


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