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For anyone planning on heading to any of the national parks of the West, I highly recommend Fodor’s The Complete Guide To The National Parks of the West

It’s loaded with great info on the parks, trail/drive/view point recommendations, food and lodging recommendations, crowd and weather advice, etc. Was one of the best resources I had when planning our trip last year

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8 hours ago, CletiusMaximus said:

In Wisconsin, our state parks are completely booked on the weekends and much of the weekdays at the good ones into winter.  Its one of those Covid ripple effect things that perhaps not everyone saw coming.  My neighbor works in sporting goods sales, and told me yesterday several of his clients are doing 2x last year's sales or more - hunting, fishing, kayaks, guns, tents, bikes - they can't keep any of this stuff on the shelves.

 

I know many outdoorsy people complain about this, but I like to see this.  In an era where many complain about people spending too much time on laptops and phones, it's a good sign to see many reconnect with the outdoors. 

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On 9/22/2020 at 8:41 AM, GroveDiesel said:

 

On 9/22/2020 at 8:37 AM, Don Quixote said:

Heading into Shenandoah National Park today. Staying at a cottage on a farm near the park. Works great for a social distant vacation.

That was actually my first choice for national park trip in November but unfortunately NC and Tenn [and VA] are both in the NJ quarantine list. Sounds like an awesome time, enjoy and let us all know which areas you saw and recommendations!

 

I don’t have that exhaustive of a trip report, as mostly stayed to Skyline Drive in the park.  The farm that we stayed at was in Stanardsville near the Swift Run Gap entrance.  Went north from there to the Pinnacles Peak overlook and back. Stopped at most of the overlooks along the way, as well as the Byrd Visitor Center. I was traveling with a 4 year old; so, did not do any hiking.  4 year old peed his pants on the first leg of the Skyline Drive due to a refusal to use the portable potty that we bought and before we made it to the Visitor Center.  He then puked on the back leg due to motion sickness. So, I then spent most of the evening cleaning puke out of the nooks and crannies of his car seat.

I did enjoy the night sky in the area. I recently bought a Celestron 130EQ telescope, and brought that with me. Some great views from there. As someone who has spent the six months stuck in light pollution areas, it was great to see the Milky Way.

We also spent one day apple picking at Chiles Peach Orchard in Crozet.  My kid called that the highlight. Another morning doing mini golf. Farm was nice as had a hammock for reading/relaxing, and a pool too (although water was a bit too chilly to enjoy).

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My wife learned about the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area in the Cranberry Wilderness in West Virginia. We are going for two days, one night this week. A little concerned we are too late for peak red color of the cranberries, but we had too many conflicts the last couple weeks.

Going to probably add on Bear Rock Preserve in the Dolly Sods Wilderness and Beartown State Park. We are staying in a cabin in Watoga State Park. Considered hitting New River Gorge area, but I don't think we'll make it that far down. I'd like to hit Seneca Rocks (near Dolly Sods) but the YouTube videos we watched of it scared my wife :lmao:. She actually does have legit concerns about our 13 year old up on Seneca Rocks. He's very confident in his ability to climb rocks and jump around. My bigger concern would be my fat dog's ability to make the climb even to the base of the rocks. Maybe I'll take the kids back there sometime without the wife.

Looking forward to it. Don't spend nearly enough time in West Virginia.

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1 hour ago, Osaurus said:

Headed to Shenandoah NP on Friday, but might consider some other places in the area I may have overlooked? Anyone?

What kind of alternative would you be looking for? Interests (similar outdoor recreation? History? Wineries?), and who are traveling with (spouse/kids)? 

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1 minute ago, Don Quixote said:

What kind of alternative would you be looking for? Interests (similar outdoor recreation? History? Wineries?), and who are traveling with (spouse/kids)? 

Other parks/good hiking spots and good wineries for sure. Just me and the wife as always on this trip. 

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51 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

North..Winchester 

Winchester has a nice downtown. 
 

The hiking gets better as you go south so I’m not sure what’s good north of the park. Harpers Ferry might be good if it’s not too much of a detour for you. Maryland Heights is a nice hike with a good view.  
 

There are several caverns around. Luray is the biggest and most popular. There’s several others: Skyline, Shenandoah, Endless. Probably some more I’m forgetting. I have no idea what cavern tours are doing with Covid, though. 
 

For cheap eats, we like Spelunkers in Front Royal. It’s just a couple minutes from the northern entrance of SNP. 

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Agree on dgreen on hiking better in the south, and caverns some good alternatives.

Doukenie Winery not far from Winchester, if looking in that area.  Bluemont another good winery.  There’s a lot of wineries toward Warrenton, like Gray Ghost, that are good too.  Linden is around there and often said to have the best wine in Virginia, but they are a bit snooty about it (only “club” members are allowed to actually get past the tasting room).

While dgreen gave you the cheap eat, if you are feeling like you want to go all out for a romantic dinner experience that will never forget, there’s The Inn at Little Washington. It will cost you an arm and leg, but it is amazing (it may be easier to get a table than it used to be with Covid taking down travel, but I don’t know). I spent one night there earlier this year, and it is incredible (but, like I said, your pocketbook will a lot lighter for it).

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I think we’re going to head north from the Thornton Gap entrance on Friday (or maybe Swift Run). I’ve been to Luray Caverns before, but I’ll take the wife to check it out plus maybe one other. We’re going to hit the southern half of the park on Saturday. Sunday is still wide open, but we’re storming the night near Dulles. 

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Trying to get in a trip this year to use some PTO. Tried to rope a friend into Big Bend, but we may have to wait until Jan/Feb for that with his schedule.  Trying to look into a solo drivable trip from NC. Shenandoah  may not be bad if it doesn't get too cold this December. 

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5 hours ago, Desert_Power said:

Trying to get in a trip this year to use some PTO. Tried to rope a friend into Big Bend, but we may have to wait until Jan/Feb for that with his schedule.  Trying to look into a solo drivable trip from NC. Shenandoah  may not be bad if it doesn't get too cold this December. 

Virginia Decembers aren’t too bad. I guess it could be different 3000-4000 feet up, but Shenedoah isn’t a park like other northern parks that regularly has to close roads during the winter. 

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On 10/10/2017 at 4:50 PM, FreeBaGeL said:

If Yellowstone is a must then it seems like your choices are either to head north and do Glacier/Banff or head south and do the Utah parks and maybe Grand Canyon.

I live in SLC and was just down in Sedona yesterday.  The drive back from Sedona to SLC was just incredible scenery the whole way.  Also went right past Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Lake Powell, Page, and Kanab which are all incredible spots to spend some time, and that's not counting a detour to Moab which seems like a must.

Everyone should see Southern Utah in their lifetime.

Either way if you are doing Yellowstone make sure to spend a day at the Tetons which are basically attached to it and are probably the most visually majestic mountains in the US.

Anyone ever been to Banff? Probably near the top of my bucket list, have been wanting to go / never got around to it for the last couple decades. Prefer to go in summer bc I love to play the Stanley Thompson courses but that and Jasper are more about the natural beauty anyways.

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52 minutes ago, BobbyLayne said:

Anyone ever been to Banff? Probably near the top of my bucket list, have been wanting to go / never got around to it for the last couple decades. Prefer to go in summer bc I love to play the Stanley Thompson courses but that and Jasper are more about the natural beauty anyways.

I have been to Banff in both summer and winter. Loved both. On my phone now but I can type up more or am happy to answer any questions when I get back to my pc later. 

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On our way home from WV yesterday, we drove the northern portion of Skyline Drive. I approached an area with a lot of cars parked along the side of the road. At first, I just assumed it was a trailhead. But then we noticed a lot of people out of their car, looking up, and taking pictures. There was a mom bear and two cubs up in a tree right on the side of the road. I pulled over. We took some pictures from inside the car and then a few of us got out for better look/pictures. Then a ranger came by telling everyone to get back in their cars and clear the are because it wasn’t safe. It was amazing that none of us seemed to be thinking about that. We were all treating it like we were at a zoo, but there was nothing physically stopping this bear from coming down. There were parents with small children easily within 15 yards of the tree. There were a few people right at the base of the tree looking up and taking pictures. Once the ranger told me to go back to my car, I immediately thought, “Yeah, probably wasn’t the best idea to get out of the car.”

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Went to the Oleta River State Park outside of Miami a few years back, it's a pretty nice park that's legitimately across the bay from downtown Miami. Cabins, trails, beaches, stuff you'd never expect to see in a big city. Traffic to it is a nightmare, because Miami traffic is awful as a rule.

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2 hours ago, BobbyLayne said:

Anyone ever been to Banff? Probably near the top of my bucket list, have been wanting to go / never got around to it for the last couple decades. Prefer to go in summer bc I love to play the Stanley Thompson courses but that and Jasper are more about the natural beauty anyways.

Im considering going back this winter for a few days .
Anything general or specific questions or things you want me to look into? 

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I saw about a 5 mile backup getting into Shenandoah NP at around 1 pm today at the north gate (Front Royal). Why would you even bother going in that late? We went in at Swift Run to the south around 9 am with a minimal wait to get in. Skyline Drive was uber busy and forget trying to park at any trailhead. 
 

ETA: Glad we went yesterday and had half the place to ourselves.

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2 hours ago, Osaurus said:

I saw about a 5 mile backup getting into Shenandoah NP at around 1 pm today at the north gate (Front Royal). Why would you even bother going in that late? We went in at Swift Run to the south around 9 am with a minimal wait to get in. Skyline Drive was uber busy and forget trying to park at any trailhead. 
 

ETA: Glad we went yesterday and had half the place to ourselves.

Weather tomorrow looks awful. 

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On 10/24/2020 at 5:50 PM, Osaurus said:

We’re heading back to near Dulles tomorrow. No plans other than sleeping in and hanging out. 

I may be too late with this suggestion, but if you are hanging out near Dulles, you can check out Ocelot Brewing. It is only a few minutes away from there.  I'm not sure if you have seen mentioned in the beer thread, but it is owned by Sebowski's brother.

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On 10/24/2020 at 11:34 AM, BobbyLayne said:

Anyone ever been to Banff? Probably near the top of my bucket list, have been wanting to go / never got around to it for the last couple decades. Prefer to go in summer bc I love to play the Stanley Thompson courses but that and Jasper are more about the natural beauty anyways.

Yes.  You have to go in the summer.

Biked (bicycle) around the Canadian Rockies in my twenties and it was the single greatest thing I ever did.  Beauty beyond description.  If you go to Banff you have to also see Lake Louise and head north to Jasper, not that far.  Also I HIGHLY suggest heading to Radium Hot Springs and taking a soak. 

AND if you can squeeze it in head West to the ancient Selkirk mountain range that isn't too far.  They are geologically older than the Canadian Rockies and I remember how cool they were.  I was blown away that a completely different mountain range existed and was soo close to the Rockies.  

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1 hour ago, Don Quixote said:

I may be too late with this suggestion, but if you are hanging out near Dulles, you can check out Ocelot Brewing. It is only a few minutes away from there.  I'm not sure if you have seen mentioned in the beer thread, but it is owned by Sebowski's brother.

Thanks, but we went the back way from Winchester and pretty much stayed at the hotel since it was pretty crappy out. We only ate on location at 1 restaurant and drank at 1 cider mill the entire time we we up there.  A nice trip over all. I imagine we’ll be back again some time in the future 

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On 1/22/2018 at 9:13 PM, ProstheticRGK said:

Northern Cali, up thru Washington state is gorgeous. Richardson Grove state Park in CA has the redwoods, and is beautiful camping. Smith River is another great park with camping, up near the Oregon Border.

If you want to do camping out by the NorCal beaches, there is an amazing camp site where you can stay right on the beach- Mattole Campground in Humboldt County. One of my favorite all time spots, and usually deserted. It is very far out of the way, though.

If ur interested, i’ll post more. There are dozens of excellent spots to see.

Just booked 3 nights at Richardson Grove for Memorial Day Weekend.  Never been to the Redwoods before, so any tips on where to go, what to see, etc would be greatly appreciated.  Figure we can use Richardson Grove as a base of operations if we need to drive anywhere to explore.  

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4 hours ago, General Malaise said:

Just booked 3 nights at Richardson Grove for Memorial Day Weekend.  Never been to the Redwoods before, so any tips on where to go, what to see, etc would be greatly appreciated.  Figure we can use Richardson Grove as a base of operations if we need to drive anywhere to explore.  

Honestly, there is not a ton around Richardson Grove. It is pretty secluded. Great camping and the Eel river is right there for swimming. Bring bug spray and mosquito candles/zappers. There were companies that used to book tubing and rafting trips down the Eel, I don't know any more, but that was fun. Founders' Grove is right there, too, which is a cool spot to see some immense redwoods and an easy hike.

In the area there are a bunch of roadside Big Foot shops- worth a half hour, to stretch your legs and walk around and check out all the wood carvings and touristy, kitschy crap. The Benbow Inn is close, which you'll pass on the way. Cool old Georgian style hotel/inn and resort. The closest "city" is Garberville, but I wouldn't recommend anything about it, beside being the most convenient place to go to a real grocery store and stock up on beer, ice, and food. And firewood.

If you want a list of places to stop, places to eat on your drive down, let me know. You're gonna pass through God's country.

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52 minutes ago, ProstheticRGK said:

Honestly, there is not a ton around Richardson Grove. It is pretty secluded. Great camping and the Eel river is right there for swimming. Bring bug spray and mosquito candles/zappers. There were companies that used to book tubing and rafting trips down the Eel, I don't know any more, but that was fun. Founders' Grove is right there, too, which is a cool spot to see some immense redwoods and an easy hike.

In the area there are a bunch of roadside Big Foot shops- worth a half hour, to stretch your legs and walk around and check out all the wood carvings and touristy, kitschy crap. The Benbow Inn is close, which you'll pass on the way. Cool old Georgian style hotel/inn and resort. The closest "city" is Garberville, but I wouldn't recommend anything about it, beside being the most convenient place to go to a real grocery store and stock up on beer, ice, and food. And firewood.

If you want a list of places to stop, places to eat on your drive down, let me know. You're gonna pass through God's country.

Awesome, thanks for the info! 

Should we amend the itinerary to camp at another spot?  Is there an actual Redwood National Park we should try to stay in or near (I can Google a bit - just booked this on a whim). 

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2 hours ago, General Malaise said:

Awesome, thanks for the info! 

Should we amend the itinerary to camp at another spot?  Is there an actual Redwood National Park we should try to stay in or near (I can Google a bit - just booked this on a whim). 

It's great camping there, especially with the river basically in your backyard, but it's just camping.

If you want more options for a three-day weekend, book at Penn Creek in Trinidad. It's actually two hours closer drive, and there are a ton of different things to do. That is part of the Redwoods National Park system up at Patrick's Point. I'd be able to fill up a week with places to go that are kid friendly and cool as hell.

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On 10/24/2020 at 11:34 AM, BobbyLayne said:

Anyone ever been to Banff? Probably near the top of my bucket list, have been wanting to go / never got around to it for the last couple decades. Prefer to go in summer bc I love to play the Stanley Thompson courses but that and Jasper are more about the natural beauty anyways.

Bicycled and camped around the Canadian Rockies.  Hit Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise.  Amazing.  You have to do a loop and check out Radium Hot Springs (take a soak it is worth it) and Golden and do a trek to the Selkirk Mountains.  So much to see and it would be a shame not to take time and do it right.

15 hours ago, Osaurus said:

Heading to Denali and Kenai Fjords in late May. 

If COVID still allows it then you have to do the bus ride in to the park.  Its long and bumpy but it is like going back in time to a wild place.  The park is larger than New Hampshire and has one road and private vehicles can only go so far into the park.  If you go in May you cannot go all the way into the park on the bus but can take the Spring 'Tundra Tour' bus ride.

Hopefully you'll have a clear view of the 'High One'.  Denali has the highest vertical rise of ANY MOUNTAIN in the world.  Two miles high.  To see it clearly is truly breathtaking.  

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On 11/30/2020 at 9:36 PM, ProstheticRGK said:

It's great camping there, especially with the river basically in your backyard, but it's just camping.

If you want more options for a three-day weekend, book at Penn Creek in Trinidad. It's actually two hours closer drive, and there are a ton of different things to do. That is part of the Redwoods National Park system up at Patrick's Point. I'd be able to fill up a week with places to go that are kid friendly and cool as hell.

I'm going to keep the 3 nights at Richardson.  We'll find things to do and the Eel sounds inviting for just splashing around.  We'll use our campsite as a base of operations to explore.
 

Going to camp near Crater Lake, OR midweek before driving down to Richardson.  I've got one open night and would like a hotel/motel place to stay so we can shower and enjoy a nice bed between sleeping on the ground.  Any thoughts on where we should hunker down for a night?  Near Trinidad?  Could explore the area in the morning/early afternoon before heading south to Richardson.


Thanks for all your help.  Can't wait to explore this summer.

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23 minutes ago, General Malaise said:

I'm going to keep the 3 nights at Richardson.  We'll find things to do and the Eel sounds inviting for just splashing around.  We'll use our campsite as a base of operations to explore.
 

Going to camp near Crater Lake, OR midweek before driving down to Richardson.  I've got one open night and would like a hotel/motel place to stay so we can shower and enjoy a nice bed between sleeping on the ground.  Any thoughts on where we should hunker down for a night?  Near Trinidad?  Could explore the area in the morning/early afternoon before heading south to Richardson.


Thanks for all your help.  Can't wait to explore this summer.

 

From a distance perspective Trinidad looks right. But you way want to consider staying further north, maybe Crescent City.

Then you can use the day driving to Richardson to hit some of the Redwood National Park sites. It will make for a longer day but there are some great hikes.

I was there last summer and would recommend these shorter hikes for a day where you're driving to set up camp at Richardson:

Lady Bird Johnson Grove - Just north of Orick. Easy walk, wide well maintained trail. Lots of big trees to see

Fern Canyon @ Gold Bluffs Beach - It is a rough rode down there and takes a little bit of time, but this was one of the coolest hikes we did.

Prairie Creek Visitor Center - There are a web of trails from this visitor center. Great for seeing lots of trees and setting a trail length that fits your schedule

 

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5 hours ago, General Malaise said:

I'm going to keep the 3 nights at Richardson.  We'll find things to do and the Eel sounds inviting for just splashing around.  We'll use our campsite as a base of operations to explore.
 

Going to camp near Crater Lake, OR midweek before driving down to Richardson.  I've got one open night and would like a hotel/motel place to stay so we can shower and enjoy a nice bed between sleeping on the ground.  Any thoughts on where we should hunker down for a night?  Near Trinidad?  Could explore the area in the morning/early afternoon before heading south to Richardson.


Thanks for all your help.  Can't wait to explore this summer.

Cool. Post about your trip to Crater Lake. I need to make a drive up to Portland and Washington State with my kid this summer. I'd love to plan out some camping spots along the way. I was there a million years ago, but don't remember much.

If I was driving down, I'd head to Eureka for a hotel for the night. Way more restaurants and hotels. The Lost Coast Brewery has really good beers, and great wings and is kid-friendly. Plus, beer. The Best Western is a good hotel there and has a good pool. or Bayview Motel- clean, big rooms and the owners are really nice.

Eureka can be a little meth-y in spots. Crescent City is a dump. Trinidad is a much nicer town, but I don't know hotels up there- mostly Bed and Breakfast kinda places. Fern Canyon is a great hike, and that is up near Trinidad. It's where they filmed a lot of movies: Jurassic Park, the Star Wars shots of the Ewoks, etc. It is a little harder to get to, and more time-consuming, but is one of the coolest places ever. Also, The Trinidad Head beach is a cool hike with ocean views. Perfect for a short day hike. 

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@Osaurus, I spent a week at North Face Lodge and would recommend it (or the cabins at the same place, Camp Denali) to anyone.  It's the only lodging in the park, IIRC.  They do it by the week or half-week, but it's been awhile now.  It's not cheap, but you'll have a daily hike or wilderness safari each day.  Saw several grizzly (including one with two cubs up super close), wolves, a lynx, Moose, swans, tons of Caribou, Dall Sheep.  And the scale and scenery is ridiculous.  It snowed in August about 2000 feet above the lodge though -- so be prepared. 

If you've only got a day, you won't regret the RT bus tour in and out of the park.  Obviously more hit or miss with wildlife if you only do one day, but it's definitely worth the trip.

Edited by Dinsy Ejotuz
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3 hours ago, ProstheticRGK said:

Eureka can be a little meth-y in spots. Crescent City is a dump. Trinidad is a much nicer town, but I don't know hotels up there- mostly Bed and Breakfast kinda places. 

What cities or towns in the far north of CA are nice/livable?

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3 hours ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

What cities or towns in the far north of CA are nice/livable?

I’m not sure if this is rhetorical.

Far northern CA has a lot of small towns that have fallen on economic hard times. Lumber and commercial fishing both were mainstays of their economies and environmental issues have led to downturns, so they’re hurting. Loleta and Fenrdale and Fortuna are great. Arcata and McKinleyville, Trinidad. I am sure there are a lot more.

Eureka is a great place to live, but homelessness and meth problems appear pretty bad in large spots of town. There are awesome neighborhoods and the closeness to so much outdoor activity is a huge draw. Crescent City seems worse to me, and I think that has to do with Pelican Bay being a major source of income from jobs and visitation. Just outside of Crescent City there are spots like Gasquet that are great places to live, just a little remote.

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Since we can fly from MSP to Las Vegas for about $65/person, we're thinking of going to Zion then to Moab and back again on a Sun-Thursday or so trip.

Is that too aggressive? Is there a lot to see even on the drive so that it would be worth it? Maybe just do Zion & Bryce?

Any decent, out of the norm, places to stay? 

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On 1/18/2021 at 7:38 AM, Andy Dufresne said:

Since we can fly from MSP to Las Vegas for about $65/person, we're thinking of going to Zion then to Moab and back again on a Sun-Thursday or so trip.

Is that too aggressive? Is there a lot to see even on the drive so that it would be worth it? Maybe just do Zion & Bryce?

Any decent, out of the norm, places to stay? 

Zion is approx 2.5 hours out of Vegas. I'd say Sun-Thurs is realistic depending on how much hiking/sightseeing you want to do. I'm unsure about MOAB but Zion/Bryce would be a doable combo for sure.

I strongly recommend the Zion Mountain Ranch - it's located just outside the West entrance to the park. It's mostly individual cabins of various sizes that you can choose from. They are in the middle of a range filled with Buffalo so the setting is really cool. The cabins are nice and well appointed. Good luck!

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1 hour ago, soothsayer said:

Zion is approx 2.5 hours out of Vegas. I'd say Sun-Thurs is realistic depending on how much hiking/sightseeing you want to do. I'm unsure about MOAB but Zion/Bryce would be a doable combo for sure.

I strongly recommend the Zion Mountain Ranch - it's located just outside the West entrance to the park. It's mostly individual cabins of various sizes that you can choose from. They are in the middle of a range filled with Buffalo so the setting is really cool. The cabins are nice and well appointed. Good luck!

Yeah, I would say that if your primary goal is sightseeing and you haven’t been to Bryce, it’s probably easier to double up Zion and Bryce than it is Zion and Moab. Moab has a good bit more to do outside the parks than Bryce, but if your goal is sightseeing, I actually personally preferred Bryce over Arches. They’re both incredibly unique so you can’t go wrong with either one though. 

And yeah, the drives between all of those parks are pretty great, especially if when you are on Byway 12.

As for places to stay, I’m not sure when you’re planning on going as that affects when they are operating, but the cabins in Bryce Canyon are pricey but a pretty great experience. They are very nicely appointed, fairly roomy (comparable to a typical hotel room), and super close to the edge of the canyon (which is not really a canyon). It was awesome to grab a cup of coffee, walk 200 feet out my door and be sitting on one of the benches watching the sunrise over the canyon in the morning. Had a mule deer clamor up out of the canyon about 8 feet from me the one morning scaring the crap out of me.

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On 1/18/2021 at 9:38 AM, Andy Dufresne said:

Since we can fly from MSP to Las Vegas for about $65/person, we're thinking of going to Zion then to Moab and back again on a Sun-Thursday or so trip.

Is that too aggressive? Is there a lot to see even on the drive so that it would be worth it? Maybe just do Zion & Bryce?

Any decent, out of the norm, places to stay? 

Basically same trip I’m planning but including Grand Canyon as well. A lot for Sun-Thurs for sure; I would lean Zion/Bryce only. 

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On 1/18/2021 at 10:38 AM, Andy Dufresne said:

Since we can fly from MSP to Las Vegas for about $65/person, we're thinking of going to Zion then to Moab and back again on a Sun-Thursday or so trip.

Is that too aggressive? Is there a lot to see even on the drive so that it would be worth it? Maybe just do Zion & Bryce?

Any decent, out of the norm, places to stay? 

Stop at the Valley of Fire State Park between Vegas and Zion.

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1 hour ago, GroveDiesel said:

Yeah, I would say that if your primary goal is sightseeing and you haven’t been to Bryce, it’s probably easier to double up Zion and Bryce than it is Zion and Moab. Moab has a good bit more to do outside the parks than Bryce, but if your goal is sightseeing, I actually personally preferred Bryce over Arches. They’re both incredibly unique so you can’t go wrong with either one though. 

And yeah, the drives between all of those parks are pretty great, especially if when you are on Byway 12.

As for places to stay, I’m not sure when you’re planning on going as that affects when they are operating, but the cabins in Bryce Canyon are pricey but a pretty great experience. They are very nicely appointed, fairly roomy (comparable to a typical hotel room), and super close to the edge of the canyon (which is not really a canyon). It was awesome to grab a cup of coffee, walk 200 feet out my door and be sitting on one of the benches watching the sunrise over the canyon in the morning. Had a mule deer clamor up out of the canyon about 8 feet from me the one morning scaring the crap out of me.

Wha would you recommend in Moab outside the parks?

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2 hours ago, 3 hour lunch said:

Wha would you recommend in Moab outside the parks?

There’s lots of outdoor activities in the warmer months. Mountain bike riding on the slickrock, driving dune buggies, tons of hiking. There are a bunch of bars, restaurants and quirky shops in Moab too. And if you like the tourist trap stuff, they have that there as well.

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