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20 minutes ago, dgreen said:

I've lived 4 hours away for 40+ years and never been. If I was into camping, I'm guessing a site on the beach would be fun. I think you can get a permit to drive along the beaches, which could be fun for those with the right kind of vehicle. All the camping is in the MD portion of Assateague and the beach driving may be, too. There are different rules based on whether you are in the MD or VA portion. Being there for a rocket launch at Wallops Island would be cool. Other than that, as far as I know, it's an undeveloped beach with wild ponies.

I get the ORV pass every year to surf-fish in the spring and fall. The 6 big advantages to Assateague compared to other local beaches are...

  1. You can have a whole huge section of beach to yourself (anyone who frequents the NJ or DelMarVa beaches knows how rare this is).
  2. You can surf wherever you want.
  3. You can surf-fish wherever you want. 
  4. You can drink beer :banned:
  5. You can have your dog on the beach.
  6. You can have beach fires.

If none of these things appeal to you, Assateague probably isnt for you. The camping isnt that great (hot, sandy, windy, bugs) and the ponies get old pretty quick.

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Just returned from our trip out west and figured Id leave a review for anyone considering this trip in the future. Keep in mind that we did this early June, so conditions will be different depending o

Just finished the trip to Bryce, Page, and Moab via Vegas.  I did my proposed itinerary to a tee. A lot has already been covered on these locations, so I'll just cover what was a surprise vs. expectat

Assuming you're gong to the Grand Canyon I'd also include Zion Nat'l Park and Bryce Canyon while you're in the neighborhood....

43 minutes ago, dgreen said:

@ThreeThousand @The General

Thanks for the great advice. Rainier was awesome. A couple things to add, though. On a nice weekend, get there early or late or be prepared to wait in line. I waited about 45 minutes to get into the Sunrise entrance because the parking lot was full up top. Also, those flies are freaking annoying. 

Glad you made it up. Well done! Sorry about the parking lot, didn’t think of that. Enjoy the rest of the week in Seattle, it’s gonna be hot.

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  • 2 months later...

I'll be in Vegas a few days for a conference. I'll have a whole afternoon/evening that I want to do something outdoorsy. I did a morning at Valley of Fire (Wave Trail and White Domes Trail) in June and definitely want to go back and do some other trails but wanted to check in here to see if there are other suggestions in the area for me to consider. I'd love to hit Death Valley sometime but probably a little too far for this trip. Red Rock Canyon? Sloan Canyon? Something else?

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3 minutes ago, dgreen said:

I'll be in Vegas a few days for a conference. I'll have a whole afternoon/evening that I want to do something outdoorsy. I did a morning at Valley of Fire (Wave Trail and White Domes Trail) in June and definitely want to go back and do some other trails but wanted to check in here to see if there are other suggestions in the area for me to consider. I'd love to hit Death Valley sometime but probably a little too far for this trip. Red Rock Canyon? Sloan Canyon? Something else?

Red Rock Canyon is close and pretty cool.  Sloan Canyon is someplace I didn’t have enough time to go to back in May when I was there.  Death Valley really isn’t that far and worth it even if you only see the stuff on the eastern half.  Well worth it imo.

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This Summer, we learned about the Work Progress Administration (WPA) National Park pictures. They have posters, but we are just buying the postcards at each park we go to.

There are some other postcards that look similar but are not the "official" WPA ones. Both kinds seem to be in just about every visitor center I've been in this year. They can also be found online. At each park, you can get an individual postcard for the park you are in or buy packs of 16, I think, of various parks. But, I haven't seen individual cards for a park when you aren't at that park.

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  • 3 months later...

Just blocked the last week of February to do a solo hiking + photography escape trip to Southern Utah.  Already booked to fly in/out of Vegas due to $, so I will ignore 'why didn't you fly out of SLC' comments.  I've already been to Valley of Fire and Zion but none of the other spots. I don't mind a lot of driving and I plan to be up pre-dawn most days. Here's my rough plan:

Monday
Arrive Vegas 11AM. Drive to Bryce 4 hours
Stay Bryce

Tuesday
AM: Drive to Page 2.5 hours
Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
Stay Page

Wednesday
late AM: Drive to Moab 4.5 hours
Stop at Monument Valley

Stay Moab


Thursday
Arches and Canyonland
Stay Moab

Friday
Arches and Canyonland
Stay Moab

Saturday 

Drive to Vegas 6.5 hours

7PM flight from LAS

Does the above seem doable?  On the occasions that I'm solo, I can plow through hikes and the sights pretty damn fast. 

I realize I'm rushing to Moab, but I want to ensure that I have the most time there. It's not easy to get there and I'm less likely to get back there than Zion/Bryce.  I will have the flexibility to leave Moab Friday afternoon and have more time at Bryce or Zion if I desire.  Since this time of year is slow, the only thing I really need to pre-plan is the Antelope Canyon tour so I need to pick a date for there and was thinking Tuesday AM. 

Having done some driving in that area in the past, I'm planning on trying to drive daytime only unless I'm on major highway.  Correct me if I'm not thinking about this right. 

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6 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

@Brony I have been to almost every place within 45 minutes of vegas to hike. If you end up with some extra time and want to check something out around there I would be happy to give you some ideas. 

thanks GB.  I go to Vegas nearly every year and this will be the least Vegas-esque Vegas trip I will ever do. 

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Just now, Brony said:

thanks GB.  I go to Vegas nearly every year and this will be the least Vegas-esque Vegas trip I will ever do. 

I make all of my vegas trips non vegas-esque. We always rent a car. I always do at least two day hikes. This past trip I didnt play any table games at all. Just sports betting. We go to total wine and stock up on local beer and carry our own in when we sit in the book. Bally's is the only I have seen with a posted sign about not carrying in. 

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54 minutes ago, Brony said:

Just blocked the last week of February to do a solo hiking + photography escape trip to Southern Utah.  Already booked to fly in/out of Vegas due to $, so I will ignore 'why didn't you fly out of SLC' comments.  I've already been to Valley of Fire and Zion but none of the other spots. I don't mind a lot of driving and I plan to be up pre-dawn most days. Here's my rough plan:

Monday
Arrive Vegas 11AM. Drive to Bryce 4 hours
Stay Bryce

Tuesday
AM: Drive to Page 2.5 hours
Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
Stay Page

Wednesday
late AM: Drive to Moab 4.5 hours
Stop at Monument Valley

Stay Moab


Thursday
Arches and Canyonland
Stay Moab

Friday
Arches and Canyonland
Stay Moab

Saturday 

Drive to Vegas 6.5 hours

7PM flight from LAS

Does the above seem doable?  On the occasions that I'm solo, I can plow through hikes and the sights pretty damn fast. 

I realize I'm rushing to Moab, but I want to ensure that I have the most time there. It's not easy to get there and I'm less likely to get back there than Zion/Bryce.  I will have the flexibility to leave Moab Friday afternoon and have more time at Bryce or Zion if I desire.  Since this time of year is slow, the only thing I really need to pre-plan is the Antelope Canyon tour so I need to pick a date for there and was thinking Tuesday AM. 

Having done some driving in that area in the past, I'm planning on trying to drive daytime only unless I'm on major highway.  Correct me if I'm not thinking about this right. 

Seems doable to me. I wouldnt worry about driving at night. There aren't really any/many "backroads" there, so pretty much all of the roads you travel will be "major highways" and are easily navigable with GPS.

You mentioned Zion, but I dont see it on your itinerary? The 3 (actually 4, but Arches and Canyonland are similar) parks you mention are fairly different in how you can tour them.

Zion - The hardest of the 4 to tour. To get to the upper hikes (including the Narrows and Angels Landing - two of the best) you need to park in Springdale and take the public Park bus. When we went in June, you had to get there early just to get a parking spot and it was like an hour+ wait in line to get on the bus. Should be much less crowded in Feb though, and they may even allow you to drive the private road in the off-season?

Bryce - The easiest of the 4. Its just really one big canyon. You park at any of the lots and walk around the rim (or down in if you're doing that), but everything is pretty much right there in one spot.

Arches and Canyonlands - Each attraction/destination in the park has its own trailhead and parking lot, so you drive to each one you want to see, park, and then hike. 

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On 10/16/2018 at 10:34 AM, dgreen said:

This Summer, we learned about the Work Progress Administration (WPA) National Park pictures. They have posters, but we are just buying the postcards at each park we go to.

There are some other postcards that look similar but are not the "official" WPA ones. Both kinds seem to be in just about every visitor center I've been in this year. They can also be found online. At each park, you can get an individual postcard for the park you are in or buy packs of 16, I think, of various parks. But, I haven't seen individual cards for a park when you aren't at that park.

These are very cool. I used the post card versions you mentioned and frame them as a gift for my Dad in the parks we have hiked/camped in.

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1 hour ago, Brony said:

Tuesday
AM: Drive to Page 2.5 hours
Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
Stay Page

Wednesday
late AM: Drive to Moab 4.5 hours
Stop at Monument Valley

Stay Moab

You may or may not lose an hour due to time change, too, when you drive from Page to Moab. When I drove from Flagstaff to Moab in June, we lost an hour. But I know AZ does some different things with their time, so maybe they are the same time as UT this time of year?

Quote

Wednesday
late AM: Drive to Moab 4.5 hours
Stop at Monument Valley

Stay Moab


Thursday
Arches and Canyonland
Stay Moab

Friday
Arches and Canyonland
Stay Moab

Dead Horse Point State Park was suggested to us when we in Moab, but we weren't there long and only did Arches. It looks like a short detour from Canyonlands so you might want to consider including it.

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29 minutes ago, E-Z Glider said:

Seems doable to me. I wouldnt worry about driving at night. There aren't really any/many "backroads" there, so pretty much all of the roads you travel will be "major highways" and are easily navigable with GPS.

You mentioned Zion, but I dont see it on your itinerary? The 3 (actually 4, but Arches and Canyonland are similar) parks you mention are fairly different in how you can tour them.

Zion - The hardest of the 4 to tour. To get to the upper hikes (including the Narrows and Angels Landing - two of the best) you need to park in Springdale and take the public Park bus. When we went in June, you had to get there early just to get a parking spot and it was like an hour+ wait in line to get on the bus. Should be much less crowded in Feb though, and they may even allow you to drive the private road in the off-season?

Bryce - The easiest of the 4. Its just really one big canyon. You park at any of the lots and walk around the rim (or down in if you're doing that), but everything is pretty much right there in one spot.

Arches and Canyonlands - Each attraction/destination in the park has its own trailhead and parking lot, so you drive to each one you want to see, park, and then hike. 

Thanks for the feedback.   I booked tours in Page AZ for late Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday for Antelope Canyon.  I can cancel a few days ahead of time if necessary, but these tours sell out even in Feb. 

I'm not planning on Zion as I've already been there including Narrows and Angel Landing.  It's an awesome place, but since I'm solo, I'm prioritizing the places/stuff that the family would not want to do if we were to return. 

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@Brony

We didn't pay to do the Monument Valley loop. There are several areas to pull off the side of the road along 163 to take pictures. The spots north of the monuments give the best views, IMO.

Just up the road is Mexican Hat. Again, I think you can pay to get closer, but you can see the rock from the road.

We stopped at Twin Rocks Café in Bluff, UT, for lunch. My youngest said it was the best burger he's ever had. I doubt that, but I opted for the Navajo Taco which was something we really wanted to try on our trip. It was good.

As you head up 191, a little before you get to Moab, there's Wilson's Arch on the right side. It's an easy pull off and climb up.

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1 minute ago, dgreen said:

@Brony

We didn't pay to do the Monument Valley loop. There are several areas to pull off the side of the road along 163 to take pictures. The spots north of the monuments give the best views, IMO.

Just up the road is Mexican Hat. Again, I think you can pay to get closer, but you can see the rock from the road.

We stopped at Twin Rocks Café in Bluff, UT, for lunch. My youngest said it was the best burger he's ever had. I doubt that, but I opted for the Navajo Taco which was something we really wanted to try on our trip. It was good.

As you head up 191, a little before you get to Moab, there's Wilson's Arch on the right side. It's an easy pull off and climb up.

Thank you - this is just the kind of info I'm looking for.  I will also look into Dead Horse State Park.  Seems like I could spend months doing the tour I'm doing. 

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20 minutes ago, The General said:

These are very cool. I used the post card versions you mentioned and frame them as a gift for my Dad in the parks we have hiked/camped in.

Thanks for the bump of that post. It reminded me to order an Acadia postcard since we didn't know about these when went there in 2013.

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6 minutes ago, Brony said:

Thanks for the feedback.   I booked tours in Page AZ for late Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday for Antelope Canyon.  I can cancel a few days ahead of time if necessary, but these tours sell out even in Feb. 

Did you apply for the lottery permit for The Wave? Its a longshot, but might as well try since you're there. You have a better shot of getting it by being solo.

More of an annoyance than a big deal, but the Dead Horse in Moab is a State Park so entrance is not included with your National Parks pass. 

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14 minutes ago, E-Z Glider said:

Did you apply for the lottery permit for The Wave? Its a longshot, but might as well try since you're there. You have a better shot of getting it by being solo.

More of an annoyance than a big deal, but the Dead Horse in Moab is a State Park so entrance is not included with your National Parks pass. 

I missed the window on this.  No worries. 

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1 hour ago, dgreen said:

You may or may not lose an hour due to time change, too, when you drive from Page to Moab. When I drove from Flagstaff to Moab in June, we lost an hour. But I know AZ does some different things with their time, so maybe they are the same time as UT this time of year?

Yeah, AZ doesn't do DST, but Navajo Nation does, so you can bounce back and forth between MST and MDT depending on the time of year.  Right now I think UT and all of AZ should be on Mountain Standard time.  It's from March to November that things get wacky. (Page is just outside the Navajo region so no DST there)

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One thing to consider about Canyonlands is that there are three distinct parts to the park, Island in the Sky, The Needles, and the Maze.  You won't be visiting the Maze as it is too remote and more for backpacking excursions than anything, but just know that you can't access one part of the park directly from another.  You have to drive out and around and enter from a different point.  Last summer the family and I did a quick stop at Island in the Sky as we headed into Moab from Capitol Reef.  Dead Horse is on the way in towards Island in the Sky, so that may be the best fit for your schedule if you are trying to get both of those in on your trip.  Regardless, have a great time.  I love that part of the southwest.

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On 10/16/2018 at 1:34 PM, dgreen said:

This Summer, we learned about the Work Progress Administration (WPA) National Park pictures. They have posters, but we are just buying the postcards at each park we go to.

There are some other postcards that look similar but are not the "official" WPA ones. Both kinds seem to be in just about every visitor center I've been in this year. They can also be found online. At each park, you can get an individual postcard for the park you are in or buy packs of 16, I think, of various parks. But, I haven't seen individual cards for a park when you aren't at that park.

These are definitely cool.

Each park also has tokens/coins that you can get that are pretty cool.

Link

And for the kids (tip: adults can actually get them too), they can complete the Junior Ranger packets for each park and get a badge.

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On 10/16/2018 at 10:34 AM, dgreen said:

This Summer, we learned about the Work Progress Administration (WPA) National Park pictures. They have posters, but we are just buying the postcards at each park we go to.

There are some other postcards that look similar but are not the "official" WPA ones. Both kinds seem to be in just about every visitor center I've been in this year. They can also be found online. At each park, you can get an individual postcard for the park you are in or buy packs of 16, I think, of various parks. But, I haven't seen individual cards for a park when you aren't at that park.

I have a bunch of those up in my classroom.  Some of my students will notice new ones that go up once I visit a new park and they will ask me about them, which is a smart way for them to get me off task.

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This is my first time using Google Maps Satellite view for scoping out these places.  It is incredibly helpful and cool.  I had used Google Earth a few years back, but it's come a long way.  If you haven't tried this, pull up Google Maps, switch to Satellite view and then hold the CTRL key while moving your mouse to change the angle of view.  You can do fly-by's at whatever height, angle that you want in very good detail. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just finished the trip to Bryce, Page, and Moab via Vegas.  I did my proposed itinerary to a tee. A lot has already been covered on these locations, so I'll just cover what was a surprise vs. expectations.

Bryce - I looked ahead of time, but there was no notice that all of the trails below the rim were closed (due to snow).  It wasn't shocking with the snow they got and i don't know if I would have changed my plans if I had known that anyways. But, Bryce was the lowlight of the trip. It was just a short walk across packed snow to a vantage point - click the camera and back to the car. That said, it was beautiful and I caught a great sunrise.  Well worth the trek even at 0F. A guy there offered a ticket to the wave (coyote bluff), but my timeline was tight and wasn't so sure about the drive in/out.

Page - perfect for the 24 hours I was there.  I don't think I would stay there longer in the winter, but I would love to get back in warmer weather to boat on Lake Powell and explore stuff a little further from town. I did both Upper and Lower Antelope - both equally good IMO and if I could do only one, I would probably go Lower (unless one was set on replcating one of the iconic photos at Upper).   I wish I knew that Lower doesn't allow camera bags - I would have packed a camera strap.  I survived nonetheless I did manage Horseshoe Bend which was cool view, but was not a good idea at all for someone apprehensive of heights.  I was on edge the entire time and it wasn't fun (pun unintentional).

Drive from Page to Moab - I wanted to get to Moab/Arches with some daylight, so I skipped Monument Valley and I did see some great views from the highway (plenty of pull off points). But... a guy I met who did the same drive/same day said "I didn't get the big deal about Monument Valley until I went into the park and saw it from the vantage point in the official park".   Oh well. 

Moab - glad I spent the most time here.  It's awesome.  A lot of similarities to Sedona, but bigger formations, more formations and more condensed (in a good way; didn't have to drive 25 minutes to the next trailhead).  Had great weather and the parks were virtually empty. I did the stereotypical Mesa Arch @ Canyonlands for sunrise (only 4 tripods) and Delicate Arch for sunset (around a dozen photo guys, way way less than normal). Although  I was exhausted by the end of my time in Moab, i could see spending more time here and renting mountain bike and/or ATV.  I did wind up doing Dead Horse State Park - which was beautiful, but I don't know if it was dramatically different than Canyonlands.  By starting at 6AM at Mesa Arch, I was done with canyonlands and Dead Horse by noon including several hikes. 

Driving - It wasn't too bad driving at night there - I didn't do any going from city to city, but I did need to based on sunrise/sunset photography.   I realize there are free roaming cows, but as long as you are responsible, it didn't seem problematic.  Though my timeline involved a lot of windshield time, it was scenic nonstop.  I have zero regrets about how I scheduled driving times.

Highlights (and these are all HFS moments):  Walking into Antelope Canyon for first time.  Canyonlands Grand View Point.  Nighttime in Arches- I knew to expect a lot of stars, but I wasn't expecting how ####ing cool it is.  Blown away.  I definitely need to do that again with the kids.

My pictures are here.  Still working my way throw a lot of pictures. 

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26 minutes ago, Brony said:

Just finished the trip to Bryce, Page, and Moab via Vegas.  I did my proposed itinerary to a tee. A lot has already been covered on these locations, so I'll just cover what was a surprise vs. expectations.

Bryce - I looked ahead of time, but there was no notice that all of the trails below the rim were closed (due to snow).  It wasn't shocking with the snow they got and i don't know if I would have changed my plans if I had known that anyways. But, Bryce was the lowlight of the trip. It was just a short walk across packed snow to a vantage point - click the camera and back to the car. That said, it was beautiful and I caught a great sunrise.  Well worth the trek even at 0F. A guy there offered a ticket to the wave (coyote bluff), but my timeline was tight and wasn't so sure about the drive in/out.

Page - perfect for the 24 hours I was there.  I don't think I would stay there longer in the winter, but I would love to get back in warmer weather to boat on Lake Powell and explore stuff a little further from town. I did both Upper and Lower Antelope - both equally good IMO and if I could do only one, I would probably go Lower (unless one was set on replcating one of the iconic photos at Upper).   I wish I knew that Lower doesn't allow camera bags - I would have packed a camera strap.  I survived nonetheless I did manage Horseshoe Bend which was cool view, but was not a good idea at all for someone apprehensive of heights.  I was on edge the entire time and it wasn't fun (pun unintentional).

Drive from Page to Moab - I wanted to get to Moab/Arches with some daylight, so I skipped Monument Valley and I did see some great views from the highway (plenty of pull off points). But... a guy I met who did the same drive/same day said "I didn't get the big deal about Monument Valley until I went into the park and saw it from the vantage point in the official park".   Oh well. 

Moab - glad I spent the most time here.  It's awesome.  A lot of similarities to Sedona, but bigger formations, more formations and more condensed (in a good way; didn't have to drive 25 minutes to the next trailhead).  Had great weather and the parks were virtually empty. I did the stereotypical Mesa Arch @ Canyonlands for sunrise (only 4 tripods) and Delicate Arch for sunset (around a dozen photo guys, way way less than normal). Although  I was exhausted by the end of my time in Moab, i could see spending more time here and renting mountain bike and/or ATV.  I did wind up doing Dead Horse State Park - which was beautiful, but I don't know if it was dramatically different than Canyonlands.  By starting at 6AM at Mesa Arch, I was done with canyonlands and Dead Horse by noon including several hikes. 

Driving - It wasn't too bad driving at night there - I didn't do any going from city to city, but I did need to based on sunrise/sunset photography.   I realize there are free roaming cows, but as long as you are responsible, it didn't seem problematic.  Though my timeline involved a lot of windshield time, it was scenic nonstop.  I have zero regrets about how I scheduled driving times.

Highlights (and these are all HFS moments):  Walking into Antelope Canyon for first time.  Canyonlands Grand View Point.  Nighttime in Arches- I knew to expect a lot of stars, but I wasn't expecting how ####ing cool it is.  Blown away.  I definitely need to do that again with the kids.

My pictures are here.  Still working my way throw a lot of pictures. 

Sweet pics.

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45 minutes ago, Brony said:

Just finished the trip to Bryce, Page, and Moab via Vegas.  I did my proposed itinerary to a tee. A lot has already been covered on these locations, so I'll just cover what was a surprise vs. expectations.

Bryce - I looked ahead of time, but there was no notice that all of the trails below the rim were closed (due to snow).  It wasn't shocking with the snow they got and i don't know if I would have changed my plans if I had known that anyways. But, Bryce was the lowlight of the trip. It was just a short walk across packed snow to a vantage point - click the camera and back to the car. That said, it was beautiful and I caught a great sunrise.  Well worth the trek even at 0F. A guy there offered a ticket to the wave (coyote bluff), but my timeline was tight and wasn't so sure about the drive in/out.

Page - perfect for the 24 hours I was there.  I don't think I would stay there longer in the winter, but I would love to get back in warmer weather to boat on Lake Powell and explore stuff a little further from town. I did both Upper and Lower Antelope - both equally good IMO and if I could do only one, I would probably go Lower (unless one was set on replcating one of the iconic photos at Upper).   I wish I knew that Lower doesn't allow camera bags - I would have packed a camera strap.  I survived nonetheless I did manage Horseshoe Bend which was cool view, but was not a good idea at all for someone apprehensive of heights.  I was on edge the entire time and it wasn't fun (pun unintentional).

Drive from Page to Moab - I wanted to get to Moab/Arches with some daylight, so I skipped Monument Valley and I did see some great views from the highway (plenty of pull off points). But... a guy I met who did the same drive/same day said "I didn't get the big deal about Monument Valley until I went into the park and saw it from the vantage point in the official park".   Oh well. 

Moab - glad I spent the most time here.  It's awesome.  A lot of similarities to Sedona, but bigger formations, more formations and more condensed (in a good way; didn't have to drive 25 minutes to the next trailhead).  Had great weather and the parks were virtually empty. I did the stereotypical Mesa Arch @ Canyonlands for sunrise (only 4 tripods) and Delicate Arch for sunset (around a dozen photo guys, way way less than normal). Although  I was exhausted by the end of my time in Moab, i could see spending more time here and renting mountain bike and/or ATV.  I did wind up doing Dead Horse State Park - which was beautiful, but I don't know if it was dramatically different than Canyonlands.  By starting at 6AM at Mesa Arch, I was done with canyonlands and Dead Horse by noon including several hikes. 

Driving - It wasn't too bad driving at night there - I didn't do any going from city to city, but I did need to based on sunrise/sunset photography.   I realize there are free roaming cows, but as long as you are responsible, it didn't seem problematic.  Though my timeline involved a lot of windshield time, it was scenic nonstop.  I have zero regrets about how I scheduled driving times.

Highlights (and these are all HFS moments):  Walking into Antelope Canyon for first time.  Canyonlands Grand View Point.  Nighttime in Arches- I knew to expect a lot of stars, but I wasn't expecting how ####ing cool it is.  Blown away.  I definitely need to do that again with the kids.

My pictures are here.  Still working my way throw a lot of pictures. 

Thanks for the update!

Is that Balanced Rock in that night photo? Was that your lighting on the rocks or someone else's? What kind of gear did you use to get that?

It's an awesome photo. I have that photo already on my itinerary for this summer and added to PhotoPills (awesome app for planning photos).

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11 hours ago, The General said:

That last pic is from Big Bend right?

That one is horseshoe bend near page AZ. The place where some people are doing one legged selfies from the edge while I'm lying down crawling to the edge for my pic. 

As a result, I skipped goosenecks park near Mon Valley. But.. Dead horse state Park has similar Vistas without the ledge. 

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11 hours ago, GroveDiesel said:

Thanks for the update!

Is that Balanced Rock in that night photo? Was that your lighting on the rocks or someone else's? What kind of gear did you use to get that?

It's an awesome photo. I have that photo already on my itinerary for this summer and added to PhotoPills (awesome app for planning photos).

Thanks man. Yes that is balanced rock. For my first night pics, it was a super easy location to get to. As a result, there were occasional cars that went by lighting up the rock incl the pic on Flickr . I did bring a flashlight that resulted in worse pics. 

Next time, I would go to double arch and bring a light with a range of color temperatures. 

The park is completely empty once the sun goes down. 

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1 hour ago, Brony said:

Thanks man. Yes that is balanced rock. For my first night pics, it was a super easy location to get to. As a result, there were occasional cars that went by lighting up the rock incl the pic on Flickr . I did bring a flashlight that resulted in worse pics. 

Next time, I would go to double arch and bring a light with a range of color temperatures. 

The park is completely empty once the sun goes down. 

Honestly, the car headlights hitting the rocks looks great IMO. You can still easily see the starts but you get the rocks highlighted as well.

Yeah, I'm wondering how many people will be there at night during the summer. Hopefully I'll get lucky.

I think I'm going to get lucky with a minimal moon while I'm there and should be able to get the Milky Way behind it. I have a head lamp with a red setting that I may try as a spotlight on the rocks.

And man, Antelope really is cool. I may have to re-think my drive/itinerary between Moab and Bryce.

ETA: Ok, nevermind. No way Antelope works for my itinerary. Bummer. Will have to be another time.

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On 2/6/2019 at 11:14 AM, E-Z Glider said:

Seems doable to me. I wouldnt worry about driving at night. There aren't really any/many "backroads" there, so pretty much all of the roads you travel will be "major highways" and are easily navigable with GPS.

You mentioned Zion, but I dont see it on your itinerary? The 3 (actually 4, but Arches and Canyonland are similar) parks you mention are fairly different in how you can tour them.

Zion - The hardest of the 4 to tour. To get to the upper hikes (including the Narrows and Angels Landing - two of the best) you need to park in Springdale and take the public Park bus. When we went in June, you had to get there early just to get a parking spot and it was like an hour+ wait in line to get on the bus. Should be much less crowded in Feb though, and they may even allow you to drive the private road in the off-season?

Bryce - The easiest of the 4. Its just really one big canyon. You park at any of the lots and walk around the rim (or down in if you're doing that), but everything is pretty much right there in one spot.

Arches and Canyonlands - Each attraction/destination in the park has its own trailhead and parking lot, so you drive to each one you want to see, park, and then hike. 

Saw this comment and just wanted to add for anyone who might stumble on this conversation...

i am touring the SW right now with little planning. I went to Zion on the 1st of March (Friday) and camped overnight at Watchman. There were plenty of campsites available and the buses are only running on the weekend so I was able to drive myself up the scenic road. I hiked Angels Landing and it was crowded but nothing like the horror stories I’ve since read about the place. It was covered in snow, though, and had me scared ####less going up and even more so going down. I slipped and slid down at one point but was able to hang on to the chain and catch my foot against a pole to stop myself. 

Zion is amazing. Favorite part of my trip. Judging by other comments I’ve read it might be best to try and get to the park in late Feb/early March. Sounds like a disaster during the busy season. 

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I'm thinking about taking the family to Niagara Falls this Summer. I assume Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds are worth doing? I see they have bike rentals which could be a fun way to get around. How much time can we spend there? Other stuff to do in the area? As of now, I'm considering staying in Buffalo because I can get a good deal at the Embassy Suites there which works well for my family size (5).

We'll be driving from the DC area, but I'm not opposed to going out of the way a bit. For example, is Cuyahoga worth a detour?

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Great shots, @Brony. Is that the Needle district I see in there? A lot of people skip that and they should not. Also, I'm a huge fan of the road past the potash plant outside Moab. You can get a whole other look at the park, as it's BLM land and you can drive wherever. Used to camp back there occasionally, with a few times under Dead Horse Point. Such a stunning area, particularly on moonless nights. Overwhelming at times.

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1 hour ago, dgreen said:

I'm thinking about taking the family to Niagara Falls this Summer. I assume Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds are worth doing? I see they have bike rentals which could be a fun way to get around. How much time can we spend there? Other stuff to do in the area? As of now, I'm considering staying in Buffalo because I can get a good deal at the Embassy Suites there which works well for my family size (5).

We'll be driving from the DC area, but I'm not opposed to going out of the way a bit. For example, is Cuyahoga worth a detour?

1-2 days max at the falls. All of the tours are decent. Canadian side is better. The shuttle bus system is very convenient. If you want to ride bikes, go to Niagra On The Lake (Canada). It's a really nice little town and they have self-guided wine tours by bike (if you're into that sort of thing).

In Buffalo, Anchor Bar is the home of the original Buffalo Wing and the Lake Effect Diner was on DDD's and is awesome. Pretty much have to get a beef on weck from somewhere while you're there. There used to be a whole thread on it at one time. 

Enjoy! :thumbup:

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10 minutes ago, E-Z Glider said:

1-2 days max at the falls. All of the tours are decent. Canadian side is better. The shuttle bus system is very convenient. If you want to ride bikes, go to Niagra On The Lake (Canada). It's a really nice little town and they have self-guided wine tours by bike (if you're into that sort of thing).

In Buffalo, Anchor Bar is the home of the original Buffalo Wing and the Lake Effect Diner was on DDD's and is awesome. Pretty much have to get a beef on weck from somewhere while you're there. There used to be a whole thread on it at one time. 

Enjoy! :thumbup:

Thanks. Since only 1 of the 5 of us currently have a passport, I'm not sure I'm up for paying for 4 passports for this trip with no other use for them on the horizon so we'd likely skip the Canada side.

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1 hour ago, dgreen said:

I'm thinking about taking the family to Niagara Falls this Summer. I assume Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds are worth doing? I see they have bike rentals which could be a fun way to get around. How much time can we spend there? Other stuff to do in the area? As of now, I'm considering staying in Buffalo because I can get a good deal at the Embassy Suites there which works well for my family size (5).

We'll be driving from the DC area, but I'm not opposed to going out of the way a bit. For example, is Cuyahoga worth a detour?

I was probably around 10 years old when I went.  I remember the whirlpool by there being worth checking out too.  There's a cable car that goes over it.

For driving up, I took a vacation a couple of years ago to Nemacolin, which would probably be on the way.  Nice resort, but pricier budget wise.  Some cool attractions around there like Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, Fort Necessity battlefield, Ohiopyle State Park, and the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville, PA.

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4 hours ago, dgreen said:

I'm thinking about taking the family to Niagara Falls this Summer. I assume Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds are worth doing? I see they have bike rentals which could be a fun way to get around. How much time can we spend there? Other stuff to do in the area? As of now, I'm considering staying in Buffalo because I can get a good deal at the Embassy Suites there which works well for my family size (5).

We'll be driving from the DC area, but I'm not opposed to going out of the way a bit. For example, is Cuyahoga worth a detour?

I enjoyed our visit here, but I dont think it is worth too much of a detour. 

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8 hours ago, Apple Jack said:

Great shots, @Brony. Is that the Needle district I see in there? A lot of people skip that and they should not. Also, I'm a huge fan of the road past the potash plant outside Moab. You can get a whole other look at the park, as it's BLM land and you can drive wherever. Used to camp back there occasionally, with a few times under Dead Horse Point. Such a stunning area, particularly on moonless nights. Overwhelming at times.

I did not get to the Needles part of Canyonlands... just stuck to Island in the Sky section.  I wanted to hit Mesa Arch in particular and given the amount of driving I was already doing, hitting Needles was gonna be a bit much.  I did get a strong recommendation to do Corona Arch which is off the Potash road, but I was running out of time and that is a strenuous hike (my left leg was cashed by the end of the week)   Guess I gotta go back(!)

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  • 1 month later...

I'm super jealous of some of the itineraries ITT and even more jealous of you guys who live out west and can knock out parks on easy weekend trips. It makes me wonder how awesome America would be if John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt had been born earlier and we got this stuff figured out before we did.

I just booked a one-nigher in Rocky Mountain. My plan is to fly in on Friday, head to the park to pick up my back country permit, do the afternoon +night in denver with several craft brews and a Rockies game and a gummy maybe to end the night, get to the park at daybreak, fish+hike+camp, spend most of Sunday in park until duskish, and then either camp the Sunday night in Arapaho national forest (I usually think nat'l forest > National Parks when camping) or Boulder depending on a bunch of factors with weather being chief (I'll most likely let the rain goddesses decide). Not trying to bag any 14ers or anything on this trip. A low-cost airline is moving in that flies to DEN, so maybe in the future. Big FU to Bin Laden since you can't really carry on tent gear.

I hope we can keep this thread active. If anybody has pics, travel plans, or travel reports they're on the fence about posting because they aren't sure if anybody cares, I promise I will think it's awesome.

I did city vacations for awhile and grew up in a rural area where camping, hiking, floating, hunting, and fishing were commonplace. My new goal is to do cool national park vacations + cities. Like Vegas + Zion + Grand Canyon + Phoenix. Or Salt Lake City + Yellowstone + Jackson Hole. I think it's an awesome opportunity for credit card churners who like to spend time away.

 

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On 7/18/2018 at 12:57 PM, E-Z Glider said:

I get the ORV pass every year to surf-fish in the spring and fall. The 6 big advantages to Assateague compared to other local beaches are...

  1. You can have a whole huge section of beach to yourself (anyone who frequents the NJ or DelMarVa beaches knows how rare this is).
  2. You can surf wherever you want.
  3. You can surf-fish wherever you want. 
  4. You can drink beer :banned:
  5. You can have your dog on the beach.
  6. You can have beach fires.

If none of these things appeal to you, Assateague probably isnt for you. The camping isnt that great (hot, sandy, windy, bugs) and the ponies get old pretty quick.

Are the bugs bad right on the beach or just on the inland side of the dunes?

Have thought about dragging the fam there on a nice weekend in October after the first frost.

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On 4/21/2019 at 9:14 PM, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

Are the bugs bad right on the beach or just on the inland side of the dunes?

Have thought about dragging the fam there on a nice weekend in October after the first frost.

The bugs can be anywhere. Really depends more on the wind. High winds off the ocean and you wont see any. Light breeze from the inland side with high humidity and it could be bad (mainly in the evenings). I've heard they're much worse in the summer (I only go in Spring and Fall), but October is a great time to go. Best month of the year for surf-fishing.

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Glad to see this thread bumped.  

Have a family trip (me, wife, my mom, and my dad) planned for September.  We all live in Oklahoma.  

Day 1 - Drive 13 hrs to Rapid City, SD, staying in a hotel

Day 2 - Visit Mt Rushmore, drive 6 hrs to Red Lodge, MT, staying in a cabin outside town

Day 3 - Drive Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone, staying in West Yellowstone, MT in a cabin

Day 4/5 - Yellowstone days, West Yellowstone cabin

Day 6 - Head out of Yellowstone through Grand Tetons to Jackson, WY, staying in a hotel

Day 7 - Jackson, WY and Grand Tetons, hotel in Jackson

Day 8 - Departing Jackson for Colorado

Day 9 - Leaving Colorado, driving 12 hours home to Oklahoma 

Wife and I spent a few days last year in Jackson/Grand Tetons/Yellowstone as my work travel had us in Jackson, WY.  We want to see more of Yellowstone and my folks want to see Jackson.  

I'm really hoping the crowds are lighter in Tetons and Yellowstone in September.  I've heard it is a great time to visit these areas.  We were there last year in early May and the crowds were manageable, but I hear it is crazy in the summertime.  

A few questions...  1) Is a few hours enough for Mt. Rushmore?  I really only added this because from Oklahoma to Montana is a LONG drive and when will we ever get near Rushmore again?  2) We've all been to a lot of the popular places in Colorado, including RMNP.  It is only 6ish hours from Jackson to RMNP, should we try to see parts RMNP and then stay in Ft. Collins the last night or does someone have a better suggestion?  I also get to Denver 6ish times/year for work, so nothing about Denver really excites me for vacation (sorry).  

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IMO, about 30 minutes is all you need for Mt. Rushmore. (If you want to spend time reading about it, etc you can spend more).

But honestly, it's mostly just get out of your car, look at it, nod your head "Yup, that sure does look like 4 heads carved on a mountain", get back in car.

The Black Hills area is a nice area though with other things to do as well.

 

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5 minutes ago, GroveDiesel said:

IMO, about 30 minutes is all you need for Mt. Rushmore. (If you want to spend time reading about it, etc you can spend more).

But honestly, it's mostly just get out of your car, look at it, nod your head "Yup, that sure does look like 4 heads carved on a mountain", get back in car.

The Black Hills area is a nice area though with other things to do as well.

 

This is what I assumed.  Thanks.

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