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  1. #1
    kstorie Guest

    Default Phoenix-Grand Canyon-Arches-Zion/Bryce-Vegas?

    My boyfriend and I are leaving on July 28th at 6 a.m for Phoenix from Vancouver BC. We arrive around 10 and pick up our SUV. Our *plan*, I stress plan, because I want to know if this is all possible and also get feedback from the users here.

    Again, our plan is to head up to the South Rim. We have camping reservations at Mather Campground. At 5 we are doing a plane tour. Will we make it there if we don't leave the airport until 11? That gives us 6 hours.

    We are not going to have much time at the Grand Canyon itself thats why we hired the plane. The next morning we are planning on driving to Arches. The plan is to drive East through Arizona hitting Monument Valley and 4 Hours then North to Arches. How many hours of driving is this? We know we'll be spending a lot of time in the car. Any places we should check out? Places to eat, places to stop and swim? We stop for the night at Devils Garden campground.

    The next day we drive to Zion/Bryce. We have a 4 hour ATV tour scheduled around 3 or 4 I believe. I know we'll be pushing it the whole time I just want to make sure it's doable.

    From Zion/Bryce we head to Vegas and fly back from Vegas to Vancouver.

    So basically I want know of any cool landmarks, places to eat, places to swim, ghost towns.. on this route.

    Thanks again!

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Canyonlands Blitz

    Wow... I know in North America we've gotten into this fast pased, double book, end to end appointments routine... but I didn't think it had moved in to roadtripping yet! With that said... here is what I can tell you.

    6 hours from Phoenix to the South Rim should be more than plenty. I know it takes anywhere from 2-3 hours to get to Flagstaff from Phoenix, and about another hour to the Canyon (from what I have been able to gather... My hope is to be driving north to the canyon on the either this upcoming weekend or the next, depending on when I get my car, to test the times again... it's been a year and I've forgotten exactly).

    Be careful when traveling between Grand Canyon and Arches... there is not much out that way.

    If your ATV tour is at Bryce, you might be able to make it. If it's Zion... you better get up pretty early so that you can enjoy Brice for a while before you have to high tail it to Zion.

    Although you are missing some of the other great Nat'l Parks in that area Canyonlands Nat'l Park, near Arches, and Captol Reef Nat'l Park, between Arches and Bryce on UT24. Both are excellent parks.

    It will be pushing it very close from what I estimate. Bob & Mark, this is your guy's backyards (basically)... what do you know about drivetimes between the NPs? I can only estimate by my maps. I know these are 2 lane highways, so I figure about a 55 or 65 mph speed limit at the max. I feel they may have to skip something to be able to make their flight... mainly because I know alot of people dedicate entire days to exploring one park, then the next day they travel to the next park, etc.

    -Brad M.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    How much time do you have for this entire trip? I'm thinking flying in and out of Vegas and just doing the Grand Canyon-Page-Bryce-Zion areas will be a heckuva trip, a lot less driving and a lot more exploring and fun stuff.

    Are you set on doing Arches? Arches is very cool but so are GC/Zion/Bryce. If you're short-changing those parks to squeeze in Arches, I would skip Arches and do that area another time myself.

    Per MS Streets & Trips (which is fairly accurate most of the time for timing unless you run into heavy traffic, construction, etc.). I'm using a speed of 60mph for highways/55mph for other roads for this estimate. You may be able to average faster than this (sometimes I do) but you need to allow for show traffic, bottle-necks, etc. These times also DO NOT INCLUDE stops for gas, stretching, bathroom, eating, etc.

    Phoenix to Grand Canyon: 4.75 hours with no stops. Frankly, I think you are pushing it to land, get your rental car, and get to the airport for your flight in 6 hours. And there can be quite a line just to get into the park itself. When I was there last, I think it took almost an hour just sitting in line to get past the ranger's gate so you need to add time for that. If it's busy, it would be more like 5.5-6 hours. I'm not real familiar with traffic levels in Phoenix so you might get hung up getting out of that city so, hopefully, someone with more info on Phoenix can weigh in on that.

    If you're flying out of Valle Airport, you'll only need 4 driving hours to get there once you actually get out of Phoenix. This gives you more breathing room. But by the time you deboard, get your lugguage unless you do all carry-on, get the car, etc. you might not be leaving the airport until closer to 12:30 or 1pm. So, to me, I would like more lead time. But, if all goes well, you should make it. I just think you might be cutting it quite close and there's nothing worse than adding these types of deadlines to a roadtrip. Why add stress to something that's supposed to be fun? Does that make sense?

    Grand Canyon to Monument Valley: If you're traveling 64-89-160-163 it should take you roughly 3.5 hours with no stops.

    Monument Valley to 4 Corners: About 2 hours with no stops via 163 and 160.

    4 Corners to Arches:
    About 3 hours with no stops via 160-666-191 (OK, I know it's no longer 666 but I'm using my old version of S&T so it's the road from Cortes to Monticello).

    You say you are getting into Arches and driving to Bryce/Zion the next day. So does this mean you have no extra days to explore Arches? Gosh, by the time you drive about 8.5 hours to get there, that seems like a waste to not have time to explore there. There's plenty to see and do in the Moab area. You could spend several days there and just scratch the surface. I love Arches/Moab. But I'm really questioning the point of driving all the way there just for a sneak peek into the park where you really won't have too much time to see all the things Arches is known for.

    Arches to Bryce: If you take 191-I70-89-12, this will take you about 5.5 driving hours. This area of I-70 is, for the most part, barren and boring. You will have left behind the beautiful rocky formations that make Utah spectacular and will be driving along barren, brown dirt with little clumbs for green and lots of sagebrush for most of this stretch on I70. It starts getting more attractive down 89 again.

    So, if you leave early, you should make your ATV tour if it's in Bryce (and I assume it is because driving in Zion is very limited and most of the sights can only be seen via their tour bus into the park). But you won't have time to stop much at all along the way unless you leave Arches quite early.

    Bryce to Zion: About 2.5 hours via 12-89-9.

    I'm a bit confused. Are you planning on seeing both Zion and Bryce that same day? Or are you driving to Bryce, doing the ATV tour, spending the night in Bryce, and then heading to Zion. That would make more sense. By the time you finish your ATV tour at 7 or 8pm (depending on whether you start at 3 or 4pm), you won't be getting to Zion until the park is close to closing. If I remember right, it closes at 10pm. And, it will be dark by then, too.

    Zion to Vegas:
    About 3 hours drive time via 9 and I15.

    It's your trip, you should do it how you want. But I would really advise you to consider flying into Vegas, focusing on GC-Page-Bryce-Zion, and skipping Arches for this quick trip.

  4. #4
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Thanks Judy

    Muchas Gracias Senoria Judy! Unfortunately I don't have streets and trips on this computer... its a late 90's reject... but soon enough, I will have a good computer with Streets/Trips.

    As far as Phoenix, I take it she will be leaving mid-day, so traffic should be fairly light unless there is an accident. The main two N/S roads (SR 51 and I 17) occationally get bad accidents. My advice would be to dial 511 as you leave the airport and get the traffic info on Black Canyon Freeway (remember that, you'll need it... btw thats I-17 to non-Phoenicians).

    She will not only be able to get metro phoenix info on the Black Canyon Freeway, but if she also requests info on all of I 17, she can check for incidents up the road (and on any other highways in the state).

    Brad M.

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