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  1. Default Advice on San Fran-Utah National Park Trip

    Next week, my friend and I are setting out on a 10 or so day road trip from San Francisco through Nevada and Utah. Here's a rough itinerary. Hopefully it's realistic and won't be too too rushed! Any pointers on good places to camp, short hiking trips at the national parks, and sites to see along the way would be awesome! Also, if you've spent some time in SW Utah, what's worth spending more time at, Bryce or Zion?

    Day 1: San Francisco to Lake Tahoe
    Day 2: Lake Tahoe to Central Nevada
    Day 3: Central Nevada to Great Basin National Park
    Day 4: Great Basin National Park to Arches National Park/Moab
    Day 5: Arches National Park/Moab to Canyonlands National Park
    Day 6: Canyonlands National Park to Capitol Reef National Park to Grand Staircase Escalante
    Day 7: Grand Staircase Escalante to Bryce Canyon
    Day 8: Bryce Canyon
    Day 9: Bryce Canyon to Zion
    Day 10: Zion to Las Vegas
    Day 11: Las Vegas to San Francisco

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

    Default Some ideas.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Your trip is certainly doable but it will be at a "busy" pace trying to get an overview of these spectacular National parks. I wonder if you wouldn't be better off heading from Tahoe to the Great basin [or nearby] on day 2 and have a little extra time at the other end of your trip, perhaps Zion or break the trip up back to SF with a possible detour through Death valley.

    For camping the the National park campgrounds would be my first choice and what could be better than waking up in the one's you are visiting ! For Arches the "Devils garden campground" is great and we actually used that as a base to visit "Islands in the sky" section of Canyonlands although I'm pretty sure Canyonlands has a campground. Be warned that if you did stay in Arches for the 2 nights [it would save breaking camp and setting up again] they are quite long drives in and out of the parks, but great scenery. Bryce canyon also has a NP campground [can't think of the name right now] but there is a cool one at "Ruby's Inn" right by the park entrance with shops and restaurants nearby. For Zion the "Watchmen campground" is just inside the park entrance but close to the cool little town of Springdale. I am not sure of tent camping in Vegas but the "Valley of fire" has camping [primitive I believe] about 50 miles outside the City.

    Both Bryce and Zion are wonderful but Bryce can be seen quicker as there are Lot's of short walks to the viewpoints. A walk around the rim between Sunset and Sunrise point and Inspiration and Bryce points to witness a sunset on arrival day and then drive to the far end of the canyon and stop at all the viewpoints coming back up next day before heading to Zion. By doing so, all the viewpoints are on your side of the road and you won't have to keep pulling across any traffic.

    Short walks that I know of would be; form the Devils garden in Arches, walk from the campground to "Broken Arch" and "Sand dune Arch"in a loop. Walk to the "Upper Delicate Arch trail" to witness a sunset over it, and try and fine time to go to the "Window's section".

    For Canyonlands "Island in the sky" drive to the far end and walk to "Grandview point", the views are spectacular. On the way back stop at "Mesa Arch" and the the "Shaffer trail" overlook. If you have time you could also visit "Dead horse point".

    Bryce, as described above.

    Zion, "Riverside walk", "Emerald pools" and "Weeping rock" are all nice walks. Just outside Bryce stop at Red canyon and as you enter Zion the "Checkerboard Mesa". You could check out the "Angels landing trail" on the Zion website if you have a head for heights
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 05-13-2010 at 03:16 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default One more thing.

    It will work out better value to purchase the NPS annual pass for $80 then paying individual entrance fees. Neither include your camping fees though.

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