Canyonlands......help me plan our vist

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by MikeVB, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

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    Our 4-piece family (14 - 50) will visit Canyonlands NP during the last week of June. I've been wanting to get back since I visited it in 1986 as a 20-year-old. Now I get to share it with the wife and kids.

    I'm looking for advice on how to maximize the WOW factor as much as possible in 2-3 full days in the park.

    We'll be in a car, so I'm thinking Island in the Sky is the prime suspect. Hope to tent camp at least one night possibly two.

    I'd like to shown them some pueblos, majestic vistas, 2-3 short to moderate hikes to great vistas and some cool slots.

    Maybe end with drive to Dead Horse Point and a hotel in Moab.
     
  2. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    IIRC, the park is split by a river you cannot cross in a vehicle and the entrances to each section are pretty far apart. So you'll need to sleep in two different places to see both sections.
     
  3. Norsegod

    Norsegod Member

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    The wow factor in Arches is as good as anything in Canyonlands and the short hikes in Arches are probably your best bang for the buck and time available.
    I would suggest Island in the Sky and Arches for 2-3 days. I'm pretty sure all the campgrounds can be reserved and probably need to be reserved during the high season. Devils Garden campground in Arches is really a cool place to camp and the primitive trail from Devils Garden trailhead is a really cool and fun day hike. Probably the best hike in the area for scenery and clambering over slick rock without getting too far out in the desert.
    The Delicate Arch trail is also a must see and a relatively short hike. It's the arch that's on Utah's license plate.

    I would choose Arches over Canyonlands if time is limited and you haven't been there before. It's kind of all part of the same area.
    That being said The Needles is a really cool area with some good short hikes and some epic long ones but it's a drive from Island In the Sky and Arches. The Needles also has a pretty cool campground but Devils Garden is cooler.
    The Maze is pretty much not doable for your time frame and needs off road capabilities.

    Expect it to be HOT. If you are into mountain biking that whole area is epic. The slick rock trail outside of Moab is kind of the standard run but there are endless trails to explore if you are a serious biker.
     
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  4. johnkoz

    johnkoz Supporting Member

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    ^^^Agree.

    you can't get much more in a day or two than Arches NP

    You can camp next to the Colorado River, just upstream from town.
    ps- don't try to swim across it; it's WAY further than it looks! (BTDT, 30 years ago!)
     
  5. Stike

    Stike Member

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    I'm going to piggyback on this thread as I will be there the week after the op but for much less time.

    My father in law is taking my family ( wife & 2 kids ) and his other daughter on what is looking to be a bit of a whirlwind tour of the area. Here is what he has planned, maybe those of you that know the area can chime in. Keep in mind my FIL is fairly Clark Griswoldian in his trip planning. :p

    Day 1-Fly from NC to Las Vegas arriving around noon. He and his wife will already be there to pick us up. Lunch and then drive to Beaver stopping to check out Mt Zion Park "if there's time".

    Day 2-Drive to Moab and tour Canyonlands

    Day 3-Tour Arches Park and then "drive scenic route to Cedar City".

    Day 4-Tour Brice Canyon and then drive to his time share in (near?) Vegas.

    We will have a few more days with the time share as home base with day trips planned to Grand Canyon and Sedona. I'm pretty sure on whatever free days we have if any I'm going to be so ****ing tired I'm not going to want to do anything. :p

    Seriously though, I'm looking forward to the scenery and have only driven through the area once years ago in my roadie days but is that itenitary sounding like desert sight seeing overload?
     
  6. xStonr

    xStonr Member

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    On one of my trips out West, I flew into Vegas then went to Utah and visited Zion, Bryce, Moab (Canyonlands and Arches). Then went south to Monument Valley (a must see) and then to the Grand Canyon. On the trip back to Vegas stopped at Sedona.
     
  7. Staticbuster

    Staticbuster Member

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    Arches, Zion, and Brice are some of the most beautiful desert places I've ever seen. Can't go wrong with any, but if I was chosing one, it would be Brice by far. That place is magical.
     
  8. SciFlyer

    SciFlyer Supporting Member

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    Arches, Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, Monument Valley all worth checking out and within a few hours of each other. The 4 Corners region is one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
     
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  9. Bluedawg

    Bluedawg Member

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    A days drive or so for me ... loved Monument Valley and Canyon De Chelly ..... next trip I want to get up into Utah and do those parks ... as well as Mesa Verde and Chaco Culture NHP

    :banana
     
  10. ACfixer

    ACfixer Member

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    I can't recommend Utah enough, any of the National parks there. Truly some of the most stunning scenery on earth. Maybe the best state I've ever motorcycled in as well, just breathtaking.

    Canyon De Chelly was really cool, but no unguided access to the canyon floor if memory serves me and that was disappointing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
  11. lestera34

    lestera34 Member

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    Canyonlands is otherworldly.
     
  12. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    I've done all this on a motorcycle a few times. You should buy an annual pass because you will have to drive thru Zion whether you stop to look around or not and they charge a park entrance fee to get on that road. You will also pass one entrance to Canyonlands on the way to Moab, so you'd be backtracking. IIRC, you will pass Bryce to get to Cedar City, so, again, you'd be backtracking if you don't see Bryce before Cedar City. And then you'd be passing right by Zion again on the way back to Vegas. I went to CC to go see the Mountain Meadow Massacre Memorial, but it was way, way off the beaten path from there and not really worth it.
     
  13. Sidney Vicious

    Sidney Vicious Member

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    I was there in 76 - Utah is beautiful - certainly some of the most striking terrain I have seen traveling around the US.
     
  14. ddhr

    ddhr Member

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    I have been to Canyonlands several times and will be going again in a month or so. Arches park is right outside of Moab. As mentioned above, there are a couple great short hikes and most of the famous stuff can be seen by the road or a short hike (Delicate Arch). I really like Island in the Sky, especially for dawn (Mesa Arch) - right off the road, highly recommended. The Needles is South (about the same distance as Island in the Sky). I would try to see all three. That is what I did on my first trip there (3 days). It is an amazing place.
     
  15. Cool Hand

    Cool Hand Member

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    Been out west twice in the last two years and skipped Canyonlands both times.
    I agree with others who posted, Arches (hike to Delicate Arch), Zion, and especially Bryce Canyon are awesome and absolutely MUST SEE. Make the loop and see them all.
    Mesa Verde was incredible. Grand Canyon was nice but didn't bother the second time I was out there.
    Visited Sedona both times - I could move there in a nanosecond. Dead Horse State Park was OK but not worth the extra drive, especially if you have seen Grand Canyon.
    Also enjoyed Taos and the Pueblo Village there.
     
  16. Norsegod

    Norsegod Member

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    You know, I just checked campsite availability for Devil's Garden campground and it's booked solid through August.
    If you are thinking about camping at any of the popular campgrounds you need to figure it out now and it may already be too late for the main park campgrounds but I only checked Arches because I figured it might well be already booked up.
     
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  17. Norsegod

    Norsegod Member

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    And upon further looking around the other two campgrounds in the park, one in the Needles and the other in Island in the Sky are not reservable and are first come first serve.
    There are other BLM campgrounds around that I haven't been to or looked into.
     
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  18. Stike

    Stike Member

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    If it were me in charge Id be planning a route with less backtracking but my FIL is a bit of a trip bully so he's the boss. :D
     
  19. Norsegod

    Norsegod Member

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  20. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    We just moved here in Feb, from Rochester... Diggin' it so far.
     

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