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  1. #1
    jayme1545 Guest

    Default Utah area in September

    Hi Everyone,

    I know this info is posted all over the place on these boards, but there's just too much of it! You all do a great job!

    My husband and I decided yesterday that we would like to rent an RV and head to the Utah area for two weeks in September. That is about as far as we've gotten with planning :)

    My first question is- would you recommend the first or second half of September? We're flexible around an east coast wedding on 9/17.

    We're looking at renting an RV in Phoenix and heading up to UT from there. We'd like to include * Arches National Park
    * Bryce Canyon National Park
    * Canyonlands National Park
    * Capitol Reef National Park
    * Zion National Park
    * Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
    * Mesa Verde National Park
    * Great Basin National Park

    Should we skip any of these? I've left the Grand Canyon off because we were just there last April but if our drive finds us close by we'd certainly go again!

    Also, in two weeks and at this time of year, could we make it up to Yellowstone? Would you recommend starting and finishing in Phoenix (we're looking to start in Phoenix because there's currently a great deal on RV rentals out of Phoenix).

    Thanks for your advice and I'm sorry this post is so disorganized! Just starting to get really excited!

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

    Default Nice !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    September is a great time of year to travel, personally I prefer towards the end of the Month into October when the crowds begin to dwindle and the temps drop for day time walks etc. If Yellowstone was on the agenda I would think about going earlier in the Month. I do however think that Yellowstone might be too much with the other sites you have listed but it's certainly doable.

    I would head head North to Zion NP and then Bryce, Capitol Reef to Arches and Canyonlands NP. You could head into Colorado on I70 and then head South through Montrose on US 50 from Grand junction [possible detour to Colorado National monument] and onto the spectacular 'Million dollar highway' [US550]. Near Montrose is the Black canyon of the Gunnison and you will drive through the lovely mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton to Durango. Then to Mesa Verde and Monument valley back to phoenix, which would put you close enough to the South rim of the Grand canyon for an overnight stop !

    The Great Basin NP is quite a way out from any other of your attractions and would add quite a bit of travel time. A lot will come down to how long you want to stay in each area and at what pace you travel.

    You could stop at Page on your first night [Lake Powell/Antelope canyon]a couple of nights in Zion, 1 in Bryce, 1 in Capitol Reef, 2/3 at Arches/ Canyonlands, 1 in Black canyon, 1 in Ouray, 1/2 in Mesa Verde, 1 in Monument valley, 1 in GC and back towards Phoenix, perhaps with a night in Sedona.

    That's just an example, there are many other options and variables you can 'play' with to suit your own needs, but that might help as a base to build your trip from. Once you have done a little sorting out we can then help to fill in the blanks and perhaps make other suggestions based on your decision.

  3. #3
    jayme1545 Guest

    Default Thanks!

    Thank you for your quick response. This gives me some great ideas and I'll definitely have more questions for you as I get this worked out. Have a great weekend!

  4. #4
    jayme1545 Guest


    One other quick question from my husband. This will be our first RV experience. Do you have any advice on traveling with an RV? Do most of the national parks have hookups for RV camping and is it usually an okay experience at the places we're looking at visiting?

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

    Default More than OK

    The National park campgrounds don't have hook ups generally speaking. A lot have shower/loo blocks which helps to save the RV's water supply, but most also have dump stations so that you can empty and fill the RV tanks when required. The RV should be equipped with a push button start generator that you can use when using a lot of power to save draining the battery. Each site has 'quiet hours' from evening to early morning.

    It's more than an 'OK' experience, the National park campgrounds are fantastic places to be in an RV. The National park campgrounds I would recommend are as follows > Zion' The Watchmen campground, Arches > Devils garden [can visit Canyonlands from here as a base] , Mesa Verde, Morefield campground and GC South rim Mather campground. Bryce canyon has 'Ruby's Inn' at the entrance to the park, nice place ! Some others if you chose the 'Million dollar highway' route would be the 'Fruita section campground', part of the Colorado River state park and near to Colorado National Monument, and the mountain town of Ouray has a small riverside RV park called 4J+1+1. [Weird I know !]. I Have not stayed in Monument valley although I think Gouldings lodge has RV parking, further towards GC is the Cameron trading post, a basic RV park but interesting stores and a good restaurant.

    If you have any specific questions regarding the RV then please ask, but once you have adjusted to the size and got familiar with how it all works, it's fairly straight forward and not half as bad as reading all the operating manuals make it sound. The RV Co. will explain it all, and if it's Cruise America you will have to sit through a 20 min video before they let you near it.

    Some tips.

    On the longer units [29ft plus] there is a long overhang past the back wheels so be aware of the 'swing' when making tight turns near parked vehicles or gas pumps. [Think of it like turning around with a plank of wood on your shoulder].

    Someone should always jump out and be a guide when reversing into spaces.

    If you are on a 2 lane highway with traffic held up behind, use a turn out when possible to do so safely and let them through, it will make your lives less stressful and you will get a wave and a smile for your trouble.

    Allow longer for your journeys and drive smoothly, they take a lot longer to stop and a lot longer to get back up to speed.

    Some NP's have a limited number of RV spaces available, if you figure out your dates I would book in advance and as soon as you possibly can.

    Don't expect to more than a return of 10mpg !

  6. #6
    jayme1545 Guest

    Default Great Info!

    Thanks for all your help, Southwest Dave!

    We are just going to get a smaller RV- it's just the two of us and we don't need too much space.

    We're trying to decide our dates. If we push this into the first week of October, will we need to be worried about snow/road closures? I know it's hard to predict the weather, but appreciate your help!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Early October is still usually OK. When you get toward the middle of the month, you have to check higher elevations more carefully, that's when they start shutting things down in Yellowstone, for example. Bryce Canyon is around 9000 feet and you need to check that too.

  8. #8
    jayme1545 Guest

    Default Utah area in September- New plans

    Hi again,

    Thank you again for all your advice a while back regarding a trip to Utah in late September/early October. We've decided to modify the trip a little bit to spend a little less time retracing our steps.

    We have two weeks and instead of making a loop to Phoenix, we're thinking of flying into Vegas and out of Denver.

    Here's what we're thinking. Definitely open to questions and suggestions!

    Day 1. fly into Las Vegas, pick up RV, drive to Bryce Canyon
    Day 2. Bryce Canyon
    Day 3. Capitol Reef
    Day 4-6: Canyonlands/Arches
    Day 7: Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    Day 8: night in Ouray
    Day 9 and 10: Mesa Verde

    At this point, that's all I've got. We have a total of 16 days. I have a feeling I'm a bit out of order with my geography here, so please help! :) Should we try to go down and see Glen Canyon or drop into NM at all?

    I'd like to also do Great Sand Dunes and try to see some of the Rockies. I'm having a bit of trouble finding info about the CO national parks, so would appreciate any info you have. At this time of year (1st week/mid Oct), will we be okay in an RV in the Rockies? Should we reverse our trip to start in Denver, end in Vegas?

    I'm so glad I found this forum a couple of years ago. Thank you so much for all of your help!

    Mod Note: Please don't create Multiple Threads about the same trip.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-28-2011 at 11:03 AM. Reason: Merged Threads

  9. #9
    jayme1545 Guest


    Sorry Michael- thanks for updating it- I couldn't figure out how to get back to the earlier thread.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Some thoughts.

    Providing your flight doesn't land in Vegas to late in the day, you might be able to get on the road the same day, but once you get through the airport, it is still time consuming to do the paper work and get instruction on how to operate the RV so take that into consideration.

    I would highly recommend stopping in Zion NP on your first night, it's too good to miss, especially as you are driving right by there. From Mesa Verde you could head through Pagosa Springs to Great Sand dunes NP. Colorado Springs is an option and in the surrounding area are places like 'Cave of the Winds' and 'Garden of the Gods.' You could head North through Poncha Springs, Leadville and to I70 and into RMNP via Grand Lake on the Trail Ridge Road. You should be fine in October although early winter storms can close the Trail ridge road, but if this were the case you could continue further along I70 to get to Estes park. Reversing the trip is certainly an option, but you cannot guarantee the weather. When we travelled the Trail ridge road in October, had we tried a week earlier it would have been closed.

    If you have the time take a look here at our Colorado/Utah trip, it might give you some ideas, campground details etc.

    Here is the NPS 'Find a park' map. Click on a State and it will give you a list of all the parks and detailed info on each one. If you are visiting more than 4 major parks you will find it better value to purchase the annual pass for $80. It can be bought at the kiosk of the first park you visit.

    Sorry Michael- thanks for updating it- I couldn't figure out how to get back to the earlier thread
    You can subscribe to your thread by clicking on 'Thread tools' or simply click on your user name and then 'Find all started threads' to locate your thread.

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