Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

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hoops777
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Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by hoops777 »

Is it possible to have a decent view of as many national parks as possible driving from Salt Lake City to Vegas in early October arriving on Thursday coming home on Sunday. She’s interested in nice viewpoints no hiking as we both have bad knees and we don’t have a whole lot of time.Start in SLC end in LV.
Thanks
Last edited by hoops777 on Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Vize
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

Post by Vize »

Oooh fun! So, be prepared for some heat, though the fact that you’re mainly driving (not hiking) should help.

Due to time constraints, you should likely avoid eastern Utah. I’m not sure what time you arrive in SLC, but you could do

- Thu night in Torrey, next to Capitol Reef
- Drive Highway 12 (stop at Hells Backbone for a meal) over to Bryce.
- Fri night near Bryce Canyon
- Sat night near Zion
- Book it to Vegas for your return flight Sun (hopefully an afternoon flight or later)

Bryce Canyon and Zion will be busy, but just take it slow, chat with folks, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I’m jealous!
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Watty
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

Post by Watty »

You would want to check on the current conditions but when I was at Zion about two years ago cars were not allowed in much of the park so they had shuttle busses that go through the main part of the park. That would be be worthwhile if you would be OK with doing things like standing in line to wait for the shuttle bus and occasionally walking for five or ten minutes.

We were there in the fall when it was less busy but the hotels near the entrance to the park were very expensive so we stayed at the city of Hurricane which is about a half hour drive but the drive was pretty. Parking was not bad when we were there but there were parking lots and parking meters along the road leading into Zion so it looked like parking would be very difficult on a busy day since you would need to park a long way from the park and take a shuttle to the park. Be sure to research the parking at this time of year and plan on being there very early.

The road leaving the park going east towards Bryce Canyon has a lots of switchbacks and viewpoints which is worth seeing.

I don't recall there being a lot of food options in Zion so it would be good to take sack lunches with you.

As I recall Bryce Canyon had a number of overlooks. Some were near a parking lot but as I recall some would require you to walk several minutes to the overlook. I had mixed feelings about Bryce. It was a cold fall day and we got there late in the afternoon so we were not able to hike. We were able to see the view at a number of viewpoints but it all looked pretty much the same and like the pictures you have seen. It was very nice but we did not get excited about it seeing it that way.

We then headed south so I can't help you with the other parks.

All the national parks will be VERY busy this summer so be prepared for crowds and I vaguely recall hearing something about how you might need reservations even to enter some parks so check to parks website to see if you need reservations to get into the park.
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hoops777
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

Post by hoops777 »

Thanks.
How much of Zion can you see without using the shuttle?
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Watty
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

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hoops777 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:21 am How much of Zion can you see without using the shuttle?
Probably not enough to be worthwhile.

Here is a map of Zion and when you come in from the south you would need to stay on the black road, Highway 9, so you would need to turn to the right not far past the visitor center.

https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/ ... 2021-2.pdf

Highway 9 going out through the east entrance is impressive but this time of year I would be concerned that the turnouts may be full and you would not be able to get out at the scenic viewpoints.

If you qualify for handicap parking you could look to see if there is some sort of special accommodation available.
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hoops777
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by hoops777 »

Sorry.I was in a hurry last night trying to book a SWA flight before the sale ended and forgot to mention the trip is in October.
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fasteddie911
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by fasteddie911 »

Concur with the above mentioned route. Hwy 12 is still one of the most memorable drives I've done. For Zion you can enter the east entrance and before the tunnel there's a small parking lot and you can do an easy "hike" to a lookout. Not sure if it would be too much though. But driving thru is pretty nice anyway. But after you can make a detour to Kolob canyons.
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hoops777
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

Post by hoops777 »

Vize wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:34 pm Oooh fun! So, be prepared for some heat, though the fact that you’re mainly driving (not hiking) should help.

Due to time constraints, you should likely avoid eastern Utah. I’m not sure what time you arrive in SLC, but you could do

- Thu night in Torrey, next to Capitol Reef
- Drive Highway 12 (stop at Hells Backbone for a meal) over to Bryce.
- Fri night near Bryce Canyon
- Sat night near Zion
- Book it to Vegas for your return flight Sun (hopefully an afternoon flight or later)

Bryce Canyon and Zion will be busy, but just take it slow, chat with folks, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I’m jealous!
Thank you. We get in at noon. Since we are going in October I assume this is still your recommendation.
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hoops777
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by hoops777 »

I was looking at highway 12 and it looks like there is a separate road to take to hell’s backbone? My wife does not like narrow winding roads with drop offs.
Is there a way to avoid the worst of these ?
Thanks.
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by White Coat Investor »

hoops777 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:26 pm Is it possible to have a decent view of as many national parks as possible driving from Salt Lake City to Vegas in early October arriving on Thursday coming home on Sunday. She’s interested in nice viewpoints no hiking as we both have bad knees and we don’t have a whole lot of time.Start in SLC end in LV.
Thanks
Yes, you can go to some viewpoints in that time period. Zion is closest to your itinerary, but you could probably do a drive in Bryce too. I'd also include a drive around the Red Rock loop just West of Vegas.

The Moab parks (Canyonlands, Arches) and probably too far out of the way. Maybe you could also drive around the Grand Canyon and take in the view from the rim, but that's probably too much for such a short time period. Bryce, Zion, Red Rock. That's what I'd probably try.
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

Post by White Coat Investor »

hoops777 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:21 am Thanks.
How much of Zion can you see without using the shuttle?
Very little. I mean, you can't see much WITH the shuttle. If you really want to see Zion, you've got to hike. Sorry. But you can see a lot more with the shuttle than without it. I wouldn't bother going to the main park if you're not going to get on the shuttle. You could go to the Kolob side though.
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DoubleComma
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by DoubleComma »

Not a National Park, but Valley of Fire state park between Zion and Vegas is visually stunning. A fair amount to be seen from the road and trail head parking lots, of course a lot more can be seen from the trails but understand your limitation.
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Watty
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by Watty »

hoops777 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:35 am Sorry.I was in a hurry last night trying to book a SWA flight before the sale ended and forgot to mention the trip is in October.
I just looked it up and I was there in 2019 from October 22 through the 24th. We had beautiful cool weather at Zion. We had not planned it but we got lucky and in Zion we got lots of great fall colors mainly with yellow trees against the red rock walls.

Bryce Canyon is at a lot higher elevation and it was a lot colder there. When you are looking at places to go be aware of what elevation they are at.
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

Post by HawkeyePierce »

White Coat Investor wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:03 pm
hoops777 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:21 am Thanks.
How much of Zion can you see without using the shuttle?
Very little. I mean, you can't see much WITH the shuttle. If you really want to see Zion, you've got to hike. Sorry. But you can see a lot more with the shuttle than without it. I wouldn't bother going to the main park if you're not going to get on the shuttle. You could go to the Kolob side though.
Even better, IMO, is to bike the canyon. It's quite safe during shuttle season since private cars aren't allowed up the canyon.
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hoops777
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by hoops777 »

I booked a hotel next to Capitol Reef Thursday, Cedar City Friday and next to Zion Saturday.
I guess the best part will be the drive on Highway 12 from Capitol Reef to Bryce. I still would like to know how white knuckles that drive is. I was reading something that seemed to say there is a turnoff to take the Hells Backbone stretch so I was wondering if that can be avoided.
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

Post by White Coat Investor »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:06 pm
White Coat Investor wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:03 pm
hoops777 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:21 am Thanks.
How much of Zion can you see without using the shuttle?
Very little. I mean, you can't see much WITH the shuttle. If you really want to see Zion, you've got to hike. Sorry. But you can see a lot more with the shuttle than without it. I wouldn't bother going to the main park if you're not going to get on the shuttle. You could go to the Kolob side though.
Even better, IMO, is to bike the canyon. It's quite safe during shuttle season since private cars aren't allowed up the canyon.
Shuttle season is nearly the entire year now. Bring a bike lock if you plan to hike anything off the road. But I think the OP isn't interested in hiking or biking.
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ram
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by ram »

DoubleComma wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:18 pm Not a National Park, but Valley of Fire state park between Zion and Vegas is visually stunning. A fair amount to be seen from the road and trail head parking lots, of course a lot more can be seen from the trails but understand your limitation.
Agree.
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hoops777
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas

Post by hoops777 »

White Coat Investor wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:11 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:06 pm
White Coat Investor wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:03 pm
hoops777 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:21 am Thanks.
How much of Zion can you see without using the shuttle?
Very little. I mean, you can't see much WITH the shuttle. If you really want to see Zion, you've got to hike. Sorry. But you can see a lot more with the shuttle than without it. I wouldn't bother going to the main park if you're not going to get on the shuttle. You could go to the Kolob side though.
Even better, IMO, is to bike the canyon. It's quite safe during shuttle season since private cars aren't allowed up the canyon.
Shuttle season is nearly the entire year now. Bring a bike lock if you plan to hike anything off the road. But I think the OP isn't interested in hiking or biking.
Yea.Both of us recovering from torn meniscus injuries :oops:
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fasteddie911
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by fasteddie911 »

I don't recall hwy 12 being a white knuckle drive at all.
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by quantAndHold »

fasteddie911 wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:21 am I don't recall hwy 12 being a white knuckle drive at all.
We did it in the motorhome, and I don’t remember it being white knuckle either. It was a memorably entertaining drive. Highly recommended.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
quantAndHold
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by quantAndHold »

Make time to pick some fruit in Capitol Reef. Even with bad meniscusses, you should be able to enjoy that.
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hoops777
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Re: Quick road trip salt lake to vegas early October

Post by hoops777 »

quantAndHold wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:35 am
fasteddie911 wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:21 am I don't recall hwy 12 being a white knuckle drive at all.
We did it in the motorhome, and I don’t remember it being white knuckle either. It was a memorably entertaining drive. Highly recommended.
That is great. I was reading some reviews I think on TripAdvisor and several people mentioned it. I also saw a picture of some bridge and the caption was not for the feint of heart. Happy to hear it is not a big deal.
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