5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

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tongy

 
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5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

by tongy » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:08 pm

hi Summit Post experts!

My friends and I are planning a 5-day camping trip to Zion National Park. Page, and Grand Canyon during Thanksgiving time. This is our first time visiting this area. We plan to fly to Vegas to pick up a rental car and go from there. We'd love to hear your ideas about the trip:

1. Since we only have 4 nights and 5 days. How to best utilize our time for two national parks and Page (Antelope Canyon)?

2. Any must visits spots/trails? Does 2 nights in Zion, 1 in Page, and 1 in Grand Canyon sound right? Or should we just do half-day in Page, and spend two nights in Grand Canyon?

4. We heard it could be both hot and cold during this time of the year, how should we prepare for the weather?

5. At this time of the year, should we get camping permits ahead of time, or we can just get them when we get there?

Thank you!

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darinchadwick

 
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Re: 5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

by darinchadwick » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:44 am

First time in Zion? 2 nights? Oh, this just hurts.

Zion: Angel's landing is a must if it isn't snowy or wet. The narrows and other slots will be out of the question, unless it's unseasonably warm and dry.

Grand Canyon: It's a matter of which side you try to visit. I'm assuming you're aiming for the South Rim since you are planning on stopping at Page on the way. Either way, Thanksgiving is a perfect time of year to drop down to the bottom, preferably from a south rim route as it's shorter and warmer. I like S. Kaibab better than Bright Angel.

Page: It's a hard place to see on the way between the parks. From Zion you must get up really early in the morning and drive like mad, or take a leisurely drive and end up staying the night there to see Antelope.

Clothing: It's really hard if you're flying in, and have limited luggage. A big puffy down jacket is totally appropriate. Don't worry too much about layering. I've gone from shivering in a down jacket to just T-shirts and shorts in a couple of hours.

Good luck.

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Scott

 
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Re: 5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

by Scott » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:19 pm

1. Since we only have 4 nights and 5 days. How to best utilize our time for two national parks and Page (Antelope Canyon)?

2. Any must visits spots/trails? Does 2 nights in Zion, 1 in Page, and 1 in Grand Canyon sound right? Or should we just do half-day in Page, and spend two nights in Grand Canyon?


I'd skip Page altogether. Antelope Canyon is nice, but it's an extreme tourist trap, out of the way, and there are plenty of canyons in the region similar to it without all the bus loads of tourists.

Five days isn't enough to see all three areas. Focus one or the other.

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darinchadwick

 
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Re: 5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

by darinchadwick » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:45 am

Scott wrote:
1. Since we only have 4 nights and 5 days. How to best utilize our time for two national parks and Page (Antelope Canyon)?

2. Any must visits spots/trails? Does 2 nights in Zion, 1 in Page, and 1 in Grand Canyon sound right? Or should we just do half-day in Page, and spend two nights in Grand Canyon?


I'd skip Page altogether. Antelope Canyon is nice, but it's an extreme tourist trap, out of the way, and there are plenty of canyons in the region similar to it without all the bus loads of tourists.

Five days isn't enough to see all three areas. Focus one or the other.


Yep, what Scott said. If anyone is the expert on the SW here in Summitpost world, it's him. When I first started exploring these areas, I did a couple survey style trips. Did Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon during a weeklong spring break. But now we travel less and see more. For example, our last trip we were planted in Cannonville, between Escalante and Bryce. We were there for 10 days and didn't even see 5% of the area, and that's of the known sights. But I understand the "see it all" mentality of the first couple of trips, since I did the same thing myself when I got started. You could burn through 5 nights in Grand Canyon or Zion and never be bored.

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sierraguy

 
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Re: 5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

by sierraguy » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:05 pm

As for Antelope Canyon, if your a "tourist", it might be something to skip. If your a photographer, I would make the stop. The upper canyon can be tougher to get a tour ticket. The lower canyon is usually easier to get into. Both canyons take advanced reservations. Also, if you are a photographer, take the photographers tour in the lower canyon, its couple of extra $$ but worth it.

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Tonka

 
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Re: 5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

by Tonka » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:38 pm

Are you planing on the big loop around the south side of the canyon and if so what direction were you planing on going? That's a lot of driving but with multiple people you could travel on off hours.

Weather could dictate so I'd keep your plans flexible. If the weather is good why don't you look at saving some driving miles and not looping all the way south. You couldn't stay at the North Rim as the road is only open for day use in Nov but the views are spectacular and you could swing through Page (not sure what is driving you to go there) if you want. You could also do something like Zion, North Rim and Bryce which keeps everything a little closer. You could spend an entire summer just in Southern Utah.

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Bill Reed

 
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Re: 5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

by Bill Reed » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:47 pm

tongy wrote:hi Summit Post experts!

My friends and I are planning a 5-day camping trip to Zion National Park. Page, and Grand Canyon during Thanksgiving time. This is our first time visiting this area. We plan to fly to Vegas to pick up a rental car and go from there. We'd love to hear your ideas about the trip:

1. Since we only have 4 nights and 5 days. How to best utilize our time for two national parks and Page (Antelope Canyon)?

2. Any must visits spots/trails? Does 2 nights in Zion, 1 in Page, and 1 in Grand Canyon sound right? Or should we just do half-day in Page, and spend two nights in Grand Canyon?

4. We heard it could be both hot and cold during this time of the year, how should we prepare for the weather?

5. At this time of the year, should we get camping permits ahead of time, or we can just get them when we get there?

Thank you!


First of all, Welcome to Summit Post!! Lots of good advice/suggestions all ready given.

My main suggestion for you would be the same as Scott's-Pick one place instead of rushing around to two or three. I'd pick Zion.

I've never been to Page so I can't speak to that part of your plan.

Unless you go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon or down to Phoenix you will not encounter hot weather. You're going around Thanksgiving which is basically the end of November. Zion is at about 4,000 ft, Page is at 4,100, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is at 6,800 and the North Rim, which I believe will be inaccessible, is nearly 8,000 ft above sea level. I'd lean toward the cool side in your preparations.

As far as camping permits, I'd suggest checking with the folks at whatever destination you choose. As late as your going you might not need them but it's worth a quick check to make sure. I'm amazed at how many people are out there after Labor Day, especially this year, doing the same thing I'm trying to do. Also, lots of facilities and services shut down between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Good luck, hope you have a great trip!

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MoapaPk

 
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Re: 5-day road trip to Zion and Antelope Canyon, ideas?

by MoapaPk » Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:18 pm

Look here for info:
http://www.zionnational-park.com/

When one says "Zion," Most people think of the Springdale area, about 4000' elevation, more humid and similar in temperature to Saint George (but still dry overall). But a lot of Zion is 6000-8000', and can be quite cool in fall. In my memory, there were recent Thanksgivings that were warm, and others that were bitterly cold.

The main canyon has lots of popular trails, e.g. Observation Point and Angel's Landing. The Narrows will probably be far too cold for anything but on-trail hiking. But overall, Zion has more wild backcountry than most parks that size. The east and west rim trails are essentially walking routes, and some folks get backcountry permits for a backpack joining the two. Once you get off-trail, a lot of the "hikes" in Zion are pretty demanding (http://hwstock.org/zion12/html/DSCN1041c.htm).

The west side Kolob Terrace road crosses into BLM territory in places, where primitive camping is free (the places are not that obvious -- the less said, the better). At the end of the driveable Kolob Terrace road is a campground above 8000', and that gets really cold. They have been working on that road off and on, and I don't know what the current schedule is.

Else South and Watchman campgrounds are the popular developed sites in the valley. Watchman has some reserveable spaces, but I'm guessing they have already been taken for Thanksgiving time. There is a for-fee privately run campsite near the north end of Springdale, mainly used by RVs, but I have tent-camped there 3 times. It's a popular area.


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