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Author Topic: Utah  (Read 3702 times)
slothead
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« on: May 23, 2013, 03:40:42 PM »
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I am attempting to assemble a trip to Utah from Denver (where my daughter lives) and I am thinking of renting an RV and taking our families from Denver to Zion, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Arches (not necessarily in that order).  Is there anything outstanding that I will miss with these stops (should I add any other places)?  If we spend a day at each site, it's about a week-long trip coming out of (and returning to) Denver.  Is there any reason to schedule longer at each site?

Thanks,
Tom
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Tom
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marvpelkey
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 12:17:25 AM »
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Tom,

Coincidently, the wife and I have a son and daughter-in law who also reside in Denver and have visited them from British Columbia a number of times while pulling a travel trailer. We always hit various locations en route, mainly for photography. Not sure of your intended set-up and whether you will be pulling a smaller vehicle with you, so I offer this:

Some/most of the locations you suggest require vehicular travel from an RV site so be prepared to either unhook your RV or have a second vehicle handy.

Although possible, not sure you could comfortably do all the locations you anticipate (unless you do some long driving or only spend a very short time at each location).

A good first stop would be Moab, Utah. I would drive highway 128, just west of Grand Junction. It is a very pretty drive along a secondary highway and alongside a river. It arrives just outside of the town of Moab. There are a few RV places in and around town. Arches is only minutes from Moab, while CanyonLands/Islands in the Sky entrance is a good half hour and the photo view points are another half hour, forty minutes farther, depending on your driving speed (I did sunrise at Mesa Arch and had to travel in the dark at about 10 mph to miss hitting the gazillion rabbits and deers running across the road). You can find camping in various locations within Canyonlands, however, but again, you are packing up and leaving to get to Arches.

Be aware that some areas within the parks are over-run with the most annoying flying insects (not sure if they are gnats or mosquitoes or whatever but boy can they be a pain at certain times of the year as soon as the sun comes up). As I have not camped within the park, I am not sure how bothersome they are to campers but they drove us crazy.

A good second stop might be Monument Valley, which is south of Moab. There is an RV place right across the highway (Gouldings). If you have the chance, drive some of the interior road. It is sand/gravel and easy to drive if careful. Not sure I would take an RV though. There are guided tours available as well and they supply transport, for a price. Regardless, visiting the main viewpoint is a must. It's from there you can get the iconic Monument Valley photo. Hotel/restaurant and gift-shop are located at this viewpoint.

Others will probably offer more/better info.

Regards,

Marv
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slothead
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2013, 06:46:40 AM »
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Wow Marv,
Great feedback!  This is all very informative and while I hadn't fully planned the trip, this will certainly have some valuable contribution to the plan.

Thanks,
Tom
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Tom
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k bennett
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2013, 07:09:36 AM »
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We did a similar loop a few years ago when I had to be in Provo for a conference. We stayed in Moab for the second half of the conference, and spent a lot of time in Arches, then stayed for two more weeks of family camping/hiking/photography. We did a circle that hit Bryce, the North Rim, and Mesa Verde, with plenty of stops in between.

I guess my first reaction is that a week is not long enough for that itinerary. The driving distances are long, so by the time you get from one park to the next, it's early afternoon or later, giving you one afternoon and evening in the park before heading out the next morning. Two nights in each park would be better (and perhaps that's your plan), with three nights being ideal for me.

If I had only a week, I would spend half of it in Moab exploring Arches NP, and the other half in Bryce Canyon. There is so much to see and photograph in just those two places. If you enjoy hiking, both parks have extensive trails (get out on the trail very early in the summer - pre dawn, even.)

Have fun. It's an amazing area and not to be missed. I can't wait to go back someday.
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slothead
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 09:41:48 PM »
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Thanks K, I was originally thinking of a day per most locations, but I realize now that isn't a realistic plan.  I agree with you that 2 - 3 nights per site is probably a better plan, even if it means reducing the targets.
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Tom
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bretedge
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 09:37:21 AM »
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As has been pointed out, one night at each location isn't enough time to see much of anything.  I suggest you plan at least 2 days in Moab (one for Arches & one for Canyonlands), 2-3 days in Zion, 1 day at Bryce and 1 day at Capitol Reef.  If you and/or the family are avid hikers, plan even more time at each location.  My recommended times do not include travel time, so be sure to plan accordingly.  There's also a crazy amount of incredible scenery outside the national parks to include national monuments, BLM and state parks.

If you need any suggestions for places to eat or things to see while in Moab please stop into my studio - The Edge Gallery - at 137 N. Main St.  Either I or my wife will be there and we're always keen to give advice to tourists.

Have a great trip! 
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slothead
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 11:46:59 AM »
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As has been pointed out, one night at each location isn't enough time to see much of anything.  I suggest you plan at least 2 days in Moab (one for Arches & one for Canyonlands), 2-3 days in Zion, 1 day at Bryce and 1 day at Capitol Reef.  If you and/or the family are avid hikers, plan even more time at each location.  My recommended times do not include travel time, so be sure to plan accordingly.  There's also a crazy amount of incredible scenery outside the national parks to include national monuments, BLM and state parks.

If you need any suggestions for places to eat or things to see while in Moab please stop into my studio - The Edge Gallery - at 137 N. Main St.  Either I or my wife will be there and we're always keen to give advice to tourists.

Have a great trip! 
Hey thanks for that Bret!  I will be sure to look you folks up.
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Tom
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2013, 08:54:58 AM »
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Definitely stop in and see Bret (Hi Bret!). His gallery is lovely, and his insights into the local area are great. Don't forget his ebook!

Neil
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2013, 04:04:09 PM »
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Tom,

I don't know if you've already gone on your trip yet, but I've been to Zion, Bryce, and Arches, and all three were outstanding (and as others have mentioned, probably worth more than a day each). I created a photo guide with some of my favorite spots in Arches:

http://www.shutterguides.com/guide/20/arches-national-park/

I'd also recommend driving Highway 12, which was quite beautiful!
http://www.scenicbyway12.com/

Hopefully I'll have some time to create one for Zion and Bryce as well soon. Enjoy your trip! I'd love to go back there again soon...such an amazing part of the country!

Tim
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slothead
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2013, 07:21:29 PM »
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No Tim,
We haven't.  We are still figuring out how and when we can fit it into our hectic schedule.  Thanks loads for your photo guide.
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Tom
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PJTraveler
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2013, 01:42:32 PM »
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Tom,
just got back from spending 8 days in Moab.  Each Spring we hit a southwest location for a week.  As you have already gathered, there is more to see than you can see in a week or 2.

When in Moab, hit Dead Horse Point (state park) for morning or evening
Mesa Arch was great, but I would spend more time at the Needles part of Canyonlands than at Island in the Sky.

Hwy 12 is spectacular, but slower than I-70

If you are going to be in Zion, (which I think of as Yosemite valley of red rock), then make sure that you do the 1/2 mile hike in just above the tunnel for sunrise - absolutely incredible

What do you want in the way of Southwest photos?  If you less common type topics ant things, visit Escalante, Needles.  Interesting photos, visit slot canyons.

If you are not familiar with the site, check out
http://www.americansouthwest.net/
It has an abundance of information for trip planning and locations, travel times etc.

Holler if you have specific questions.
:-)
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jeffreybehr
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2013, 04:12:02 PM »
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"When in Moab, hit Dead Horse Point (state park) for morning or evening"

Here's Goose Neck Bend of the Colorado River at sunrise from Dead Horse Point State Park.

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sierraman
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2013, 10:13:43 PM »
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Another view at Dead Horse Point.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2013, 04:47:28 AM »
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Looking at today's weather forecast (at least the BBC version), Utah could be one of the states to avoid during the coming week.

Anyone know the melting-point of a digital sensor??
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kikashi
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2013, 07:18:00 AM »
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Looking at today's weather forecast (at least the BBC version), Utah could be one of the states to avoid during the coming week.

Anyone know the melting-point of a digital sensor??

Higher than mine.

Jeremy
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slothead
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« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2013, 06:15:51 PM »
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Thanks for all this great feedback.  In talking to my daughter (a better fotog than I am) apparently they are not going until next year (too much going on for them this year), but I may find another opportunity to go out there - maybe by flying into Vegas and renting a car and driving east.  Not sure yet.  The easy question to answer is which is closer - Denver or Vegas, but I can answer that one - and it also depends on where the primary POIs are (Moab for instance is probably closer to Denver, but the other locations - Zion, Arches, etc. may be closer to Vegas).
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Tom
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