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Old 07-28-2015, 02:15 PM   #1
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Best Southwestern National Parks in November

We are looking at taking a long vacation this November. Destination, dates and length are still pretty flexible, anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks starting mid to late October into November.
We are interested in checking out the National Parks in California (Seqouia, Redwoods, Joshua Tree etc) or even Grand Canyon, and the Utah National Parks. Really it's just an area of the country we haven't explored and we're up for anything.
Anyone have any suggestions on places they loved or to avoid that late in the fall? This would be the first extensive trip with long drives that I'll be planning and I feel like I ought to get started but I can't even decide on a destination so far. All the possibilities are overwhelming. Starting to research, I'm concerned about taking the airstream at all if its going to get snowy.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:56 PM   #2
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Jedediah Smith State Park (northern California redwoods; great campground and super hiking trails) and Capital Reef National Park ($5 personal fruit pies and great slot canyon hiking) are two I will visit again. All five national parks in Utah, and most points in between them are worth the three to four weeks spent there.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:49 PM   #3
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I agree with "the ponz" on the choice of parks! Capital Reef is great, you will want to keep an eye out on weather (especially rain)... I would also recommend Great Basin National Park in Nevada. A trip across Nevada on Hwy 50 (the loneliest road in America) is a great drive and a good way to traverse Nevada! You might also want to check out Joshua Tree National Park in California. Some parks will have limited camping during winter, depending on the location so do a little homework and be sure they will be open to accommodate your stay! You might also check out Kings Canyon National Park in California. In Utah, Zion is lovely as well as Bryce. So many choices, so little time!

Head out, have fun! Be adventurous!
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:19 PM   #4
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Watch the weather. It can be snowy in Sequoia and Kings Canyon in late October and early November. These parks are our favorites but they're up in the Sierras and are best left for trailering in the warmer months.


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Old 07-28-2015, 05:22 PM   #5
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Death Valley. November is a good time to go.


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Old 07-28-2015, 05:58 PM   #6
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You can run into snowstorms in the mountains in late October/early November. Consider that the ski resorts hope to open by Thanksgiving! Then consider your November return route, as well, when any of the high-elevation or northern states can have early snowstorms lower down. Also you're probably OK on your water system with a mild freeze just at night, but the national parks all have monthly weather averages posted on-line, so you can avoid or plan for any of the colder ones for earlier in your trip.

So by all means, have a wonderful trip (we may see you down there!) but just be cautious about the weather forecasts.

For mid-October, any of the Utah parks should be great. Bryce Canyon is one of the most beautiful, but its elevation is high, so maybe plan that one early on. Zion National Park is at a low elevation, and November can be very pleasant. These plus Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks are great places, plus Natural Bridges National Monument and Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah. We'd also second the Great Basin NP in Nevada, but it might be one of the cold spots in late autumn.

Capitol Reef is beautiful and has the advantage of being less crowded, but we were there in early April when the nights were very cold and windy.

The Utah national parks have gotten awfully crowded as of late, including in October, so you may want to book ahead for your national park or RV park campground; particularly around Zion and Moab (Arches/Canyonlands.)

Mostly these park campgrounds will be boondocking sites only, but with available water taps, sani-dumps, and restrooms (no showers.) However, the Watchman CG in Zion and Furnace Creek in Death Valley have some electrical sites. The gateway communities all have RV parks.

If you're seniors (63+) have you got a seniors pass for the national parks and other federal lands? At $10 for life for free admission and half-price camping, it's a steal.

We've been to Death Valley (Furnace Creek) twice now, in February and March, and really love it! November might be a good time to visit, as it's not so blazing hot then.

We visited Joshua Tree NP last March and really liked it, but it was a little too close to the southern California's big cities for our liking, and was crowded on the weekend. But close to Palm Springs if you like the So Cal lifestyle.

We are planning a southwestern trip in October, then will deposit the Bambi in someplace like Pahrump, NV or St. George, UT for storage, then spend next February in and around Death Valley. That way we only have to worry about us and the truck for a long winter drive, till we get into a warmer climate. We would work our way back north in early April via Zion.

If your trip will be later in the autumn, the lower-elevation, warmer Zion NP and Death Valley NP are not so far apart, and you could also take in two beautiful state parks: Snow Canyon near St. George, and Valley of Fire near Lake Mead in Nevada.
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:22 PM   #7
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Best Southwestern National Parks in November

"For mid-October, any of the Utah parks should be great. Bryce Canyon is one of the most beautiful, but its elevation is high, so maybe plan that one early on. Zion National Park is at a low elevation, and November can be very pleasant. These plus Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks are great places, plus Natural Bridges National Monument and Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah. We'd also second the Great Basin NP in Nevada, but it might be one of the cold spots in late autumn."

I second the above. These are among our favorite fall camping destinations. Cooler weather, fewer people. We stretch the season even at the risk of a bit of snow catching us as we return to Durango.


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Old 07-28-2015, 09:35 PM   #8
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What? No mention of Grand Canyon? (Or did I miss it?) If you're anywhere near this area, Grand Canyon is a must see. It will take your breath away!
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:48 PM   #9
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I don't know if Big Bend qualifies as being in the southwest, but it is a favorite of mine. Mountains, desert, canyons, white water canoeing/rafting, hiking, biking, hot springs and vistas out the wazoo.
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Old 07-28-2015, 10:01 PM   #10
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Any of Utah's Mighty 5 get my vote, though I'm partial to Zion. The hike to Angel's Landing is in my personal top five.

http://www.visitutah.com/places-to-g...s/the-mighty-5

I also recommend Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument which is close by as well.

Highway 12 through Garfield County takes you through some beautiful country. http://video-d.utah.com/highway1215sec3-768kb.mp4
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Old 07-29-2015, 03:28 PM   #11
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I also vote for the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is one of our favorite places to camp in the Fall and Spring. There are great bicycling and hiking opportunities as well as sightseeing. We’re lucky to live only 2 hours from the South Rim and we get to the canyon serval times a year. We will be camping at the North Rim in September, but they close in October for the winter.
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:06 PM   #12
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I also vote for the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is one of our favorite places to camp in the Fall and Spring. There are great bicycling and hiking opportunities as well as sightseeing. We’re lucky to live only 2 hours from the South Rim and we get to the canyon serval times a year. We will be camping at the North Rim in September, but they close in October for the winter.
AIRTRVL... we're in your back yard for a few days. Shake-down cruise with the new coach. Staying at Point of Rocks.

What campgrounds do you recommend while at the South Rim? Living in central AZ, I think we're going to want to do regular Fall & Spring visits there ourselves.
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:27 PM   #13
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For the Capitol Reef area, I like Thousand Lakes RV Park (open til 10/25).

When we visited Bryce Canyon this year, we stayed at Kodachrome Basin State Park. It is open year round and has large, roomy sites and gorgeous views. It is out of the way, but definitely worth it because of the scenery. Only downside is zero cell service.
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:13 PM   #14
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I second the Death Valley recommendation. Northern California can be beautiful in November but we're hoping El Nino is finally going to bring us rain & snow this winter.
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