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7 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.

 

Seconded.  There is a museum there and as I recall, a short hike that loops you toward the mountain and back.  30 minutes I'd say is a little light, but certainly less than 2 hours. 

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Agree that don't need a lot of time for Rushmore itself.  Lots of stuff to do in the Black Hills area (see the buffalo in Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, Devils Tower, Wind Cave, Needles Highway, Badlands). I spent about a week just in the Black Hills awhile back.

If you are looking for hotel recs, I stayed in the Alex Johnson Hotel in downtown Rapid City, and the K Bar S Lodge near Mount Rushmore (latter has views of Mount Rushmore).  ETA: Also stayed at the Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, for something a little different.

Edited by Don Quixote
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42 minutes ago, Poke_4_Life said:

This is what I assumed.  Thanks.

 

I do not think it is worth it to drive that far out of the way for only mount rushmore. The attraction of the black hills is that there are many different things to visit: Bad Lands, Crazy Horse, various caves, Deadwood, devil's tower, mount rushmore, etc.

 

To just visit one of those is not worth it. (EDIT: I see that Don Quixote says something similar.)

 

I would also not recommend the drive that google does. It would be better to go from Rapid City to Sheridan, Sheridan to Burgess Junction, south at Burgess Junction to Shell. Visit Shell falls, and then North on 310 to Red Lodge. This makes the drive longer, but at least you are not spending 6 hours driving through the ugliest part of the country.

 

My references is that I have lived in:

Gillette, Wyoming

Sheridan, Wyoming

Powell, Wyoming

Greybull, Wyoming

Bozeman, Montana

 

I moved to  Houston area when I was 30.

 

Edited by MTskibum
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19 hours ago, Don Quixote said:

Agree that don't need a lot of time for Rushmore itself.  Lots of stuff to do in the Black Hills area (see the buffalo in Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, Devils Tower, Wind Cave, Needles Highway, Badlands). I spent about a week just in the Black Hills awhile back.

If you are looking for hotel recs, I stayed in the Alex Johnson Hotel in downtown Rapid City, and the K Bar S Lodge near Mount Rushmore (latter has views of Mount Rushmore).  ETA: Also stayed at the Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, for something a little different.

I get everyone's point about the Black Hills, and knowing how my wife and I operate that is something we will consider in the future.

However, it is only an extra hour drive time for us to be able to stop in Rapid City and see Rushmore.  Not like we're going half a day out of our way.  

19 hours ago, MTskibum said:

I would also not recommend the drive that google does. It would be better to go from Rapid City to Sheridan, Sheridan to Burgess Junction, south at Burgess Junction to Shell. Visit Shell falls, and then North on 310 to Red Lodge. This makes the drive longer, but at least you are not spending 6 hours driving through the ugliest part of the country.

I was already planning this.  I'm relatively familiar with Wyoming, it is an oddly charming state.  Parts are as pretty as West Kansas, the other parts are some of the most beautiful sites in the country.    

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  • 1 month later...

Talk to me about Mammoth Cave National Park. Tours to exploit or avoid? Which tour is the best overall? Which tour is the best bang for the buck? Which tours totally suck and aren't worth it?

And are there other things to do/see other than cave tours?

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Need some help, this seems like a good thread to ask for it. I would like to go to Yellowstone (and the Grand Tetons as a secondary) this Fall (specifically September 3rd or 4th week). I'm probably at the tail end of availability so booking something now is pretty important. Need some recommendations on where to fly into and stay. Caveat: I have a $2500 budget for everything but airfare (that's free).

GO!

PS - Also will accept secondary recommendations if I'm past the point of being able to book something for Yellowstone. I want to see something grand & majestic, go from there.

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1 hour ago, beer 30 said:

Need some help, this seems like a good thread to ask for it. I would like to go to Yellowstone (and the Grand Tetons as a secondary) this Fall (specifically September 3rd or 4th week). I'm probably at the tail end of availability so booking something now is pretty important. Need some recommendations on where to fly into and stay. Caveat: I have a $2500 budget for everything but airfare (that's free).

GO!

PS - Also will accept secondary recommendations if I'm past the point of being able to book something for Yellowstone. I want to see something grand & majestic, go from there.

I'm not sure if there are any parameters on your flight, but flying into Jackson Hole puts you nice and close. If it has to be a major airport, Salt Lake City is your best bet followed probably by Denver. They're both decent drives though, so take that into account.

Lodging inside the parks is already pretty scarce. There's definitely stuff still available right now though and sometimes things open up as people cancel. So it pays to check often. You'd be looking at around $225-400 a night for most lodging in the park (with some lodging much more than that as well).

Staying somewhere central in Yellowstone like the Canyon area or the Lake area can give you the ability to see more of the park with less of a drive. Or you can move around to different lodges/cabins depending on what you want to see.

Grand Teton has some lodging available too in about the same price range. I would try to stay in/near whatever park you plan on spending time in that day. Driving can be slow in the parks and they are HUGE, so planning to drive across a park to do something in a day isn't very realistic.

You could also stay in Jackson Hole $$$ for Grand Tetons. Or West Yellowstone or Cody for Yellowstone (may be able to get cheaper lodging, but will have more time driving).

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We leave for our trip through Utah and the Yellowstone/GT area in about a week. Right now, Zion has a bunch of areas closed due to snowmelt causing high river levels and rockslides, and Yellowstone just got 8" of snow today. 

So, yeah.

I've got about 2.5 weeks before we hit Zion and 3 before Yellowstone, so crossing fingers.

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On ‎10‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 6:21 PM, GroveDiesel said:

St. Louis Arch

For some reason, I was expecting this to be ho-hum but I found it to be very impressive. The ride up in the tiny space pods might be the best part. I was kind of surprised there wasn't a claustrophobia warning.

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On 6/21/2019 at 2:40 PM, beer 30 said:

Need some help, this seems like a good thread to ask for it. I would like to go to Yellowstone (and the Grand Tetons as a secondary) this Fall (specifically September 3rd or 4th week). I'm probably at the tail end of availability so booking something now is pretty important. Need some recommendations on where to fly into and stay. Caveat: I have a $2500 budget for everything but airfare (that's free).

GO!

PS - Also will accept secondary recommendations if I'm past the point of being able to book something for Yellowstone. I want to see something grand & majestic, go from there.

Check to see if you can get into Billings or Bozeman Montana- then drive down. Drive from Billings to the Park through Red Lodge is epic.(Google Red Lodge beartooth pass and look at images) If you can't get lodging in the park see about West Yellowstone - it is closest drive into park with a simple drive to the major geyser basins (Norris and Old Faithful). Do an upper loop for a day. Then a lower loop for a day. Then drive across to Canyon. The Lake is great if pressed for time I'm not so sure it's as cool as geysers and the falls. As a Coloradoan - Grand Teton was not as cool because we had lovely mountains in the our state - not as epic as the main Teton range looks but damn close and you really can't get up in them without some major major planning and work and lots of big hikes- so I put it lower on the list if you are limited in time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So after flying into Denver and then spending a few days in Moab before we continue on our trip, here are a few quick thoughts:

-Colorado and Utah are absolutely gorgeous. Going from NJ to Denver to Moab in a span of about 36 hours was a great reminder of just how different areas of our country are and how that affects the way people live.

-Canyonlands and Arches are just incredible. Words barely describe it. The views in Canyonlands are stunning and the hikes in Arches are tons of fun. 

-Getting up early to hit the trails makes a HUGE difference. On our first day we got up insanely early to get to Landscape Arch for sunrise. We were the first ones at Devil's Garden and we didn't see anybody on the entire trail for an hour and a half. We spent a good 2-2.5 hours in Devil's Garden and saw a couple dozen people maybe. By 9am the parking lot was just about full and there were probably 3-400 people there. 

-Taking the slightly more difficult trails can significantly reduce crowds as well. Yesterday we slept in a bit since we had been up at 4:15 the morning before and stayed up to see the Milky Way at Balanced Rock. We knew it would be more crowded by the time we got to Arches, but we want from driving straight into the park to waiting in a half hour line to get through the entrance. Parking lots were so full you had to circle the lots waiting for a spot to open. Trails were packed with people. But at the incredibly popular Windows area, we hiked the Primitive Trail which was only about 1.2 miles and Easy to Moderate. We saw maybe a dozen people while hiking the Primitive Loop. Most of the time it was just the 3 of us an Mother Nature. Pretty incredible compared to the hundreds of people on the other side.

-People can be the worst. We saw all sorts of stupid behavior. People walking way off trail destroying the crytobiotic soil that is crucial to sustaining the desert ecosystem there. People climbing trees and branches for photo ops. Some stupid woman standing up out of her sunroof taking video while her boyfriend drove 45-50 MPH through the winding roads of the park. Folks stopping right in the middle of the road to take pictures instead of using the abundant pulloffs. Parents who were more interested in getting pictures than watching their young kids who were doing unsafe things or damaging the park. I was certainly glad to be away from people as much as I could because someone inevitably made me very angry.

-My family is pretty awesome. Despite some significant limitations for my wife and daughter, they both really pushed themselves and did great. I am super proud of them. My daughter was especially thrilled because she was the one that spotted the mule deer with her baby at Landscape Arch. She was equally thrilled to complete the Jr Ranger book and get her Jr Ranger badge, something I HIGHLY recommend doing at National Parks that offer it.

Onward to Capitol Reef and Bryce over the next few days.

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1 minute ago, Apple Jack said:

I heard that you can no longer hike up to Delicate Arch. Is that right? That would be a drag as that was the highlight of Arches.

We didn't actually hike that one as the 3 mile out and back and some more strenuous hiking would have been pushing it for my wife's MS.

But we went to the Delicate Arch Upper Viewpoint last night and could see tons of people up under Delicate Arch. So I would say either you're still allowed or loads of people just ignored it.

I know the one arch that used to be accessible but is now closed to walking right up under is Landscape Arch. But that's been 30 years after a 30 ton chunk of rock fell off and almost killed some hikers.

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47 minutes ago, Andy Dufresne said:

Trying to decide if we should visit Arches or Tahoe/Yosemite for our next trip.

Or, on the opposite side of the country..Shenandoah Valley. Anyone been there?

Lots of us have been to Shenandoah and it’s wonderful. Here’s @TheIronSheik‘s thread link on the subject.

Edited by Osaurus
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On 7/7/2019 at 1:06 PM, Andy Dufresne said:

Trying to decide if we should visit Arches or Tahoe/Yosemite for our next trip.

Or, on the opposite side of the country..Shenandoah Valley. Anyone been there?

Arches and Canyonlands are really a 3-4 day trip IMO unless you are either really into hiking and want to hit every square inch of trails or you plan on dropping lots of $$$ and doing some of the other activities around Moab like renting ATVs or Jeeps and going offroading, rafting, or doing some of the touristy stuff like fossil or gold hunting.

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On ‎7‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 9:13 AM, Apple Jack said:

I heard that you can no longer hike up to Delicate Arch. Is that right? That would be a drag as that was the highlight of Arches.

We were there in April and hiked up to Delicate. 

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The drive between Capitol Reef and Bryce on Route 12 through the Dixie National Forest was incredible. Kind of wish we had known how beautiful it was and planned a day of some hikes there as it looked like it would have been amazing hiking.

Bryce has been our favorite park so far. The hoodoos are awesome and the views amazing. I totally underestimated just how cold or gets at night and is in the morning. 43 degrees yesterday morning was no joke. 

If you plan far enough advance and don't mind a bit of a price premium, the cabins in the park are fantastic. Really nice log cabins with gas fireplaces and in the heart of the main part of the park. We booked super early and requested a cabin near the rim trail. We are about 100 yards from the rim and less than 1/4 mile from each of two of the most popular viewpoints and trailheads (Sunrise Point and Sunset Point). We have had mule deer about 20 yards from our front door and golden-mantled ground squirrels running right up onto our porch. Hoping our cabin at Zion will be similar!

Bryce Photos

Edited by GroveDiesel
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42 minutes ago, GroveDiesel said:

The drive between Capitol Reef and Bryce on Route 12 through the Dixie National Forest was incredible. Kind of wish we had known how beautiful it was and planned a day of some hikes there as it looked like it would have been amazing hiking.

Bryce has been our favorite park so far. The hoodoos are awesome and the views amazing. I totally underestimated just how cold or gets at night and is in the morning. 43 degrees yesterday morning was no joke. 

If you plan far enough advance and don't mind a bit of a price premium, the cabins in the park are fantastic. Really nice log cabins with gas fireplaces and in the heart of the main part of the park. We booked super early and requested a cabin near the rim trail. We are about 100 yards from the rim and less than 1/4 mile from each of two of the most popular viewpoints and trailheads (Sunrise Point and Sunset Point). We have had mule deer about 20 yards from our front door and golden-mantled ground squirrels running right up onto our porch. Hoping our cabin at Zion will be similar!

Bryce Photos

We did this a year ago. Fantastic!

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On 6/21/2019 at 1:40 PM, beer 30 said:

Need some help, this seems like a good thread to ask for it. I would like to go to Yellowstone (and the Grand Tetons as a secondary) this Fall (specifically September 3rd or 4th week). I'm probably at the tail end of availability so booking something now is pretty important. Need some recommendations on where to fly into and stay. Caveat: I have a $2500 budget for everything but airfare (that's free).

GO!

PS - Also will accept secondary recommendations if I'm past the point of being able to book something for Yellowstone. I want to see something grand & majestic, go from there.

Have you booked things?  I'm doing this area around the same time.  Staying at Red Lodge one night, West Yellowstone three nights, then Jackson for two nights.  VRBO in Red Lodge and West Yellowstone, Marriott in Jackson (points from work travel).

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Zion is awesome, but if you want the most out of it, you definitely need to be capable of hiking the more difficult trails. There are a few great easy-ish trail, but most are at least moderate difficulty and the best are hard. With my wife and daughter's limitations, Zion was great, but I left wanting more. We were able to do about a half mile of The Narrows before my wife lost her balance and dinged her knee and we had to turn back.

Was also bummed that the first 2 nights had amazing sunsets that I wasn't able/chose not to shoot and our last night ended up being lousy with lots of cloud cover. Got a few cool shots though and a double rainbow I'll post eventually.

ETA: The deer and squirrels at Zion are way too used to people. There were 5-8 deer on the front lawn of the lodge every night and they were within feet of people. I walked passed a squirrel that was clearly hoping for some food and was on a wall next to the trail. I am 100% positive I could have reached out and grabbed him (and probably got bit). We did see a red fox run around the front lawn the first night which was pretty cool.

Cellphone Photos

Edited by GroveDiesel
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Hey @beer 30

Just saw your Yellowstone note.  Spent four full days inside the park a while back...

The main attractions are all solid:  Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic, Lake Yellowstone, Yellowstone Canyon, Mammoth.  Do all the little walkways around them. 

If you're going to do a hike in the park there's one that runs along the rim of the Canyon that's spectacular.  You'll see Artist's Point there. 

Mammoth is a quick hit -- like a couple hours. 

The big yellow Yellowstone Lake Hotel(?) is worth a night, but it's probably pretty pricey too.  The common area there is a throwback in time.  Old Faithful Inn is incredible architecture inside -- have lunch on the deck.

If I had a do over I'd also plan to spend a full day (or more) just driving around on safari.  We saw some incredible wildlife and I wish we'd dedicated more time to just that.  Not sure what your budget is, but a good spotting scope would be worth every penny if you can spring for one.

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Love the Utah parks, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Canyon and Smokeys each for different reasons. They are all great. Just got back from a trip through Death Valley, Joshua Tree and Alabama Hills State Park in California. Will post something longer soon, but really enjoyed them.

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2 hours ago, GroveDiesel said:

ETA: The deer and squirrels at Zion are way too used to people. There were 5-8 deer on the front lawn of the lodge every night and they were within feet of people. I walked passed a squirrel that was clearly hoping for some food and was on a wall next to the trail. I am 100% positive I could have reached out and grabbed him (and probably got bit). We did see a red fox run around the front lawn the first night which was pretty cool.

At the Grand Canyon, a squirrel hopped onto my nephew’s lap wanting food. 

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Didn't die in Yellowstone. Saw loads of bison, a couple of wolves (very far away), a ton of elk at Mammoth and several black bears. Unfortunately, no grizzly bears spotted. Missed 3 of them by about a half hour at one point. Yellowstone really is unreal though. All the different environments in one area, all the beautiful peaceful areas (away from the infuriating people), all the amazing things found nowhere else. I could easily spend months here. The hardest park to leave so far.

Just got to Grand Teton today and tomorrow is our only full day. Could easily have spent a lot more time here too. The mountains are mesmerizing, the lakes and river offers a ton to do and the wildlife is awesome. Seeing a momma Moose with her calf in the river was one of the highlights of our entire trip I think. 

I got so enamored with hiking and with taking shots on my camera that I don't have many from either park on my phone (no worries there as my wife has taken literally something like 16,000 photos on our trip on her phone).

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Photos

As an aside, man, I got really frustrated with the limitations of my camera/lenses multiple times. Now I know why people start getting into a ton of money with these things...

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Just a random rant: I honestly have no idea what some people are doing in the parks...like why they're even here. I've been on a number of scenic drives (drives with limited to no trailheads) over the last few weeks where the speed limits are pretty low both for safety and because there's honestly just no reason to be speeding through. And yet, I'll inevitably end up with someone riding my bumper who either passes me as soon as they have an opportunity or passes me when I find a pulloff and let them by because I'm tired of them riding my bumper. 

I just don't understand why someone would go to a national park and go to a scenic drive where the sole purpose is to leisurely enjoy the scenery and then go tearing through it like Dale Earnhardt. Talk about missing the entire point.

As amazing as the nature we've seen has been, the ignorance and stupidity of people has been almost as amazing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So sadly, my dream of seeing Yellowstone before it blows up and kills all of us has come to an end. I procrastinated too long and the window of opportunity to book anything remotely affordable has passed. Plan B is the Grand Canyon & Sedona (along with anything else in that area, Petrified Forrest, etc).

My plan is to fly into Phoenix, rent a car, drive to Flagstaff and stay for 4 days to hit the Grand Canyon and whatever else around there. Second half of trip is 3 days in Sedona to bop around then head back to Phoenix. Planning on going out in September, any tips/advice appreciated.

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4 hours ago, beer 30 said:

So sadly, my dream of seeing Yellowstone before it blows up and kills all of us has come to an end. I procrastinated too long and the window of opportunity to book anything remotely affordable has passed. 

I thought for a second it had blown up and killed us all.

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13 hours ago, BeTheMatch said:

I thought for a second it had blown up and killed us all.

Nah, we still have some time but those folks who booked rooms a year out might not be so lucky :D

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On 8/5/2019 at 2:53 PM, beer 30 said:

So sadly, my dream of seeing Yellowstone before it blows up and kills all of us has come to an end. I procrastinated too long and the window of opportunity to book anything remotely affordable has passed. Plan B is the Grand Canyon & Sedona (along with anything else in that area, Petrified Forrest, etc).

My plan is to fly into Phoenix, rent a car, drive to Flagstaff and stay for 4 days to hit the Grand Canyon and whatever else around there. Second half of trip is 3 days in Sedona to bop around then head back to Phoenix. Planning on going out in September, any tips/advice appreciated.

Don't waste your time....go to the Painted Desert instead.

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On 7/18/2019 at 8:01 PM, GroveDiesel said:

Just a random rant: I honestly have no idea what some people are doing in the parks...like why they're even here. I've been on a number of scenic drives (drives with limited to no trailheads) over the last few weeks where the speed limits are pretty low both for safety and because there's honestly just no reason to be speeding through. And yet, I'll inevitably end up with someone riding my bumper who either passes me as soon as they have an opportunity or passes me when I find a pulloff and let them by because I'm tired of them riding my bumper. 

I just don't understand why someone would go to a national park and go to a scenic drive where the sole purpose is to leisurely enjoy the scenery and then go tearing through it like Dale Earnhardt. Talk about missing the entire point.

As amazing as the nature we've seen has been, the ignorance and stupidity of people has been almost as amazing.

Had someone go around me across a double yellow because I had the nerve to drive the speed limit near Tuolumne Meadows earlier this week.  Just had to shake my head and hope the idiot didn't hit a hiker or an animal before getting to his destination.  So stupid, especially in that part of Yosemite.

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4 hours ago, beer 30 said:

I'm assuming a few of you have been to Antelope Canyon, looking for any tips like when is best to be there. Scheduling a tour for both upper & lower canyon and there are different times available. TIA

Yep, we did that when we were there in April.  Awesome time.  We just did one of the two (I believe we did upper without checking) so I can't compare/contrast the two, but it was a really cool experience for a couple hours.  Pro tip - if you have an iPhone, to get the super cool reddish colored pictures with all the varying lines on them, turn on your camera filters.  I believe we set ours to "warm" and it really brought out the color of the canyon.  Our Navajo guide showed us how to do this, as you might imagine he was very experienced at taking pictures in the canyon and knew exactly, on all phone models, how to get the best pictures.

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Any recommendations for parks in the Southeast?  I’m trying to hit all the state parks in Georgia as I’ve really gotten in to hiking and camping the last couple of years.  Would love to find more places to visit that I could somewhat easily get to for a 3/4-day road trip.

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On 10/9/2017 at 5:21 PM, GroveDiesel said:

SeeOne of my favorite memories as a kid was when my family drove across the US for 3 weeks and visited a bunch of national parks including Mt Rushmore, Badlands, Yellowstone, Pike's Peak, Grand Canyon and a few other landmarks like the St. Louis Arch, the Mississippi, 4 Corners, and a few others.

I'd like to take my family on a similar trip and am planning a couple of years out. My time frame is a little more compressed. Probably 2 to 2.5 weeks total. We'll be starting from NJ.

So what I want to know, is what are your top recommendations for parks, national and state, and landmark type places? With the timeframe, I can't imagine making it all the way to California. That may be a future trip to itself. Areas with easy accessibility and/or easy hikes to things are preferable due to my wife's MS.

Lots of great places in the Rocky Mountains. I like several Californis spots and Olympic in Washington, the northernmost rain forest here. The Grand Tetons in WY too, not too far south from Yellowstone.

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On 7/13/2019 at 6:16 PM, GroveDiesel said:

Zion is awesome, but if you want the most out of it, you definitely need to be capable of hiking the more difficult trails. There are a few great easy-ish trail, but most are at least moderate difficulty and the best are hard. With my wife and daughter's limitations, Zion was great, but I left wanting more. We were able to do about a half mile of The Narrows before my wife lost her balance and dinged her knee and we had to turn back.

Was also bummed that the first 2 nights had amazing sunsets that I wasn't able/chose not to shoot and our last night ended up being lousy with lots of cloud cover. Got a few cool shots though and a double rainbow I'll post eventually.

ETA: The deer and squirrels at Zion are way too used to people. There were 5-8 deer on the front lawn of the lodge every night and they were within feet of people. I walked passed a squirrel that was clearly hoping for some food and was on a wall next to the trail. I am 100% positive I could have reached out and grabbed him (and probably got bit). We did see a red fox run around the front lawn the first night which was pretty cool.

Cellphone Photos

Second this.

Zion is incredible, as well as Bryce. I went a few weeks back.

A couple of things, if going to Zion in the near future, there are some trails closed due to the rock slides. However, the two most popular sites are still open, Angels Landing (hike along a razors edge 1500 feet above the canyon floor) and The Narrows (hike through the Virgin river while surrounded by 2000 foot walls of limestone). Being the most popular trails, if you go, you want to catch the first bus in the canyon as it gets extremely crowded.

There's also some great spots 2 hours southeast of Zion, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.

Here are some photos from those sites I took if interested.

Edited by R Dizzle
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1 hour ago, ThreeThousand said:

Yep, we did that when we were there in April.  Awesome time.  We just did one of the two (I believe we did upper without checking) so I can't compare/contrast the two, but it was a really cool experience for a couple hours.  Pro tip - if you have an iPhone, to get the super cool reddish colored pictures with all the varying lines on them, turn on your camera filters.  I believe we set ours to "warm" and it really brought out the color of the canyon.  Our Navajo guide showed us how to do this, as you might imagine he was very experienced at taking pictures in the canyon and knew exactly, on all phone models, how to get the best pictures.

Signed up for this one https://www.dothecanyon.com/antelope-canyon-horseshoe-bend

Horseshoe Bend & Lower Antelope Canyon same day. Pretty excited to see both :thumbup:

2 hours ago, The Commish said:

Don't waste your time....go to the Painted Desert instead.

Is that on Indian land? If so do you need a permit to go there?

Stoked about seeing the Milky Way as well, any tips on good observation areas other than drive way far out of the city?

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15 minutes ago, beer 30 said:

Signed up for this one https://www.dothecanyon.com/antelope-canyon-horseshoe-bend

Horseshoe Bend & Lower Antelope Canyon same day. Pretty excited to see both :thumbup:

Is that on Indian land? If so do you need a permit to go there?

Stoked about seeing the Milky Way as well, any tips on good observation areas other than drive way far out of the city?

This is a prime example of what I'm talking about with the filter.  The far left picture looks like it doesn't have a filter on, and it is much more tan.  The far right picture looks like it does have a filter on and it looks like the reddish color. 

 

BTW, I wasn't impressed with Horseshoe Bend.  They were doing construction on the entrance (perhaps it's done now) so we had to park a couple miles away and bus over.  After you got off the bus, it was a good half mile hike up and over a hill to see Horseshoe Bend.  When you got there it was sort of like the Mount Rushmore comment above - "yep, that's a river, with a bend in it.  Let's take a picture, then turn around and head back."

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22 minutes ago, ThreeThousand said:

This is a prime example of what I'm talking about with the filter.  The far left picture looks like it doesn't have a filter on, and it is much more tan.  The far right picture looks like it does have a filter on and it looks like the reddish color. 

 

BTW, I wasn't impressed with Horseshoe Bend.  They were doing construction on the entrance (perhaps it's done now) so we had to park a couple miles away and bus over.  After you got off the bus, it was a good half mile hike up and over a hill to see Horseshoe Bend.  When you got there it was sort of like the Mount Rushmore comment above - "yep, that's a river, with a bend in it.  Let's take a picture, then turn around and head back."

Antelope Canyon: It mostly depends on the time of day with the light coming into the canyon, you won't need a filter if you are there during the peak sun hours. Also if you're using an iPhone download the Halide app and get used to working with the ISO and shutter speed to capture the most natural light you can. The light in the canyon can produce browns, reds, oranges and pinks in your images, it's pretty awesome. Get a wide angle lens on Amazon for your phone if you want the best shots. There will also be quite a few people in the canyon, with the groups hustling through quickly so be prepared for that.

Agree with Horseshoe Bend, its cool to see but it's not worth more than walking out there, taking a pic and walking back. The construction is done and it's $10 per vehicle to get in. I wouldn't suggest going with a tour group for that, it's really nothing more than a 3 quarter mile walk in the sand. 

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2 hours ago, beer 30 said:

Is that on Indian land? If so do you need a permit to go there?

Stoked about seeing the Milky Way as well, any tips on good observation areas other than drive way far out of the city?

Last time I was there I was 16.  I went to both places and the PF was an absolute disappointment.  I don't remember what is necessary to get in.  I thought it was part of PF National Park, but I might be wrong.

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5 hours ago, beer 30 said:

Stoked about seeing the Milky Way as well, any tips on good observation areas other than drive way far out of the city?

My guess is the 3 main factors are your distance from city lights, cloud cover, and moon stage. When I was in the Arches last year, we had a half moon and that was enough to keep us from seeing the Milky Way. Saw way more stars than near my house, obviously, but it didn’t end up being the experience I had hoped for. 

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13 hours ago, dgreen said:

My guess is the 3 main factors are your distance from city lights, cloud cover, and moon stage. When I was in the Arches last year, we had a half moon and that was enough to keep us from seeing the Milky Way. Saw way more stars than near my house, obviously, but it didn’t end up being the experience I had hoped for. 

Yep, picked the week of the full moon over Flagstaff/Sedona so probably not going to get what I want but the dark site finder page shows the area around there is one of the darker in the country so will still be worlds better than anything I see in SC. Just had a friend that was out there last week and she said, "I've never seen dark like the dark is out there."

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I apologize for doing a lousy job of ordering these photos and not labeling them, but these are what I would judge as the best photos I took from our national parks vacation in July. There were definitely some moments along the way that I wish I had another shot at and some times I cursed the limitations of my gear, but we got to see a ton of cool stuff:

Link

ETA: I do have to say that one of the things I LOVED was the Peak Design Clip that I bought and put on my backpack strap. It was awesome and I had multiple people ask about it.

Edited by GroveDiesel
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10 hours ago, GroveDiesel said:

I apologize for doing a lousy job of ordering these photos and not labeling them, but these are what I would judge as the best photos I took from our national parks vacation in July. There were definitely some moments along the way that I wish I had another shot at and some times I cursed the limitations of my gear, but we got to see a ton of cool stuff:

Link

ETA: I do have to say that one of the things I LOVED was the Peak Design Clip that I bought and put on my backpack strap. It was awesome and I had multiple people ask about it.

Awesome pics!

And I just ordered a clip, that looks great!

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Probably too late since you booked your tour already, but I did both lower and upper Antelope Canyon.  They are similar in many ways.  If you only have time or $ for one, you aren't missing much by doing one vs. the other.  Depending on the time of year, you can get sun rays at Lower and I think that is a substantial difference.  Otherwise, both are awesome for photography and you get different types of slot canyon pictures.  I believe the Lower one is a bit more open, but also has a ####load more people.  I wouldn't say one is way better than the other.  If I could do it again, I'd probably do both, but do one of them at night. 

Don't expect to enjoy Horseshoe bend if you have fear of heights(!)

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