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Old 06-03-2018, 09:05 AM   #1
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Late Summer Trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon Natl. Parks

We are planning a trip in our 2004 25-foot Safari SS to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks to spend three full days at each during September 19 ó 27 of this year. We will be approaching from California via Interstate 15 and then leaving via U.S. Route 89 to Interstate 70 (eventual destination Cincinnati, Ohio). I would appreciate any and all info that readers can give me regarding reservation recommendations, alternate (outside of the parks) places to stay, campground info, things to see, things to do, places to eat ó anything at all!

Thank you!
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Old 06-03-2018, 10:32 AM   #2
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We stayed at Ruby's just outide of Bryce at about the same time of year. We were very happy there and enjoyed our stay. Rubys advertises that they are close to Zion as well. I think that all depends on what your definition of "close" is.
In Zion, we walked through the campground (I think it is Watchman) and will try and stay there on our next trip. If your looking for a thrilling hike, try Angels landing.
Both parks are spectacular. Enjoy your trip!
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:14 PM   #3
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Yes, Ruby's is nice and close. We'd suggest Bryce Canyon Pines [37.71134, -112.21869] just up the road a bit. Spacious sites, less crowding, quiet at night. Easy drive into Bryce.

When "doing" Bryce, drive all the way to the end of the scenic route and work your way back toward the Lodge, starting in the morning. You'll avoid some of the crowds, and the views just get better and better as you approach the Lodge end.

A drive down to Zion from the Pines is not too bad if you want to camp once, tour many.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:20 PM   #4
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Having taken a trip from Cincinnati, OH to Zion and Bryce back in 2016, here's my two cents worth.

For the visit to Zion, I stayed at the Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort in Springdale, UT, just outside the southwest entrance to the park. It is co-located with a motel facility, with the registration desk, laundry room, and pool being shared facilities. The bath house was modern and well kept; the showers required tokens they gave out
when checking in (one per person per day) but were open except when being cleaned. The campground backed up to the Virgin River, which many people were wading in. The Watchman formation is literally just to the east across the river, towering above the campground and casting long shadows in the morning hours. There are hookups at most sites, though no sewer hookups at the sites nearest the river. At the northeast edge of the campground, the river takes a bit of jog, and you could wade north across the river into B loop of the park's Watchman Campground.

It is about a ten minute walk from the campground to the pedestrian entrance to the park and the visitor center just beyond, or one can ride the town's shuttle to the parking lot just outside the pedestrian entrance. If you want to sample the restaurants in town, they're mostly south of the campground, no more than twenty minutes walk away (or ride the town shuttle bus). The park's shuttle buses can be readily accessed from the visitor center, but during busy times the wait for a bus can be long. Alas, the norther reaches of Zion Canyon are accessible only by park bus, foot, or bicycle during the summer season, so sometimes the park shuttle bus is a necessity.

At Bryce, I stayed at the North Campground, inside the park. There were no hookups. The campground restrooms were cold water only, and had no showers. There were pay showers a short distance away at the general store, but with restrictive hours. The campground was only a little way back from the rim so it was very convenient for hiking. Bryce has a shuttle bus system similar to Zion's, but it does not extend all the way south to Rainbow Point, so cars are allowed on the entire road system.

Of the two, I found Bryce the more impressive, though both are amazing places. Avoiding holidays if possible is definitely a good idea, though. The first day and a half I spent in Zion was during Memorial Day weekend, and it was packed. It was much less crowded the next day. (Similar experiences at Shenandoah over Memorial Day and July 4 holidays suggest this is a common pattern. Big Meadows Campground has 200+ sites and the Sunday evening before Memorial Day it was completely occupied; by early afternoon of Memorial Day the park was half empty and in evening there were maybe five occupied sites in the campground.)

I-70 is probably your best bet to get from that area of Utah to Cincinnati. I-70 through the Rocky Mountains is one of the most scenic drives I've been on, especially the bit through Glenwood Canyon, and it is not a long detour if you want to add Rocky Mountain National Park to your itinerary. If you don't want the extra few hours from that detour, but do want to take a bit of a break and stretch the legs, Lookout Mountain Park in the mountains just west of Denver can be fun. Or for something completely different, there's the Georgetown Loop Railroad a bit west of Denver, at Georgetown and Silver Plume.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for sharing that info. I will likely be travelling your same route to see the parks after visiting my son, Sean, in Cinci!
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Old 06-03-2018, 01:23 PM   #6
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Late Summer Trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon Natl. Parks

Following. We want to do the same trip in October after the Balloon Fiesta. How many days for each would you recommend?
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:14 PM   #7
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Following. We want to do the same trip in October after the Balloon Fiesta. How many days for each would you recommend?
It depends upon how much hiking/biking/photographing you want to do. At absolute minimum, I'd say two days at Zion and one day at Bryce.

The scenic highlights of Bryce can easily be seen in a day by car, and still leave enough time for a few hours to walk or hike about, without feeling very hurried. If you want to catch someplace in different lighting conditions, take a hike down into the canyon to walk among the hoodoos, catch ranger programs, etc. definitely plan on two days. Three would not be outrageous, since it is very pleasant, and even just walking along the mostly-gentle Rim Trail can be very visually rewarding. The bulk of the Bryce facilities (camping, lodging, dining, visitor center, roads, etc.) are on the mostly-forested plateau at elevations between 8009' and 9000', with the viewpoints looking down and out across the vast array of colorful hoodoos. It can be a pleasant respite from the heat. Once you walk down into the canyon, though, shade gets scarce and you're more exposed to the sun.

Zion I would try to allocate at least two days to, in part because of the crowds. Much of the splendor of the main portion of the park can be found in the northern reaches that isn't generally open to private vehicles. This leaves one at the mercy of the shuttle bus system, which if the park is very crowded can lead to waiting through several buses passing by with no room, thus making it take longer than it might otherwise. If you're an avid bicyclist it might not be so bad, since there's a hike-bike trail from town and the park campgrounds up to the road junction where the dead-end road up the canyon joins the road through the park. If you're a fan of hiking or biking, giving this park three, four, or even five days is quite reasonable.

I did the minimum, mostly because it was at the farthest point of the journey, and I wanted to squeeze some short park visits in on the way back to break up the return leg. After Bryce, I spent about six hours at Capitol Reef the next day, and another five hours the day after that in Rocky Mountain National Park (my fifth visit).
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:19 PM   #8
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Caution - we hit the highway to the East of Bryce about the time a rain storm passed through. The run off built fast and nearly took out the road. An eye to the weather and mind how you go. Pat
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:33 AM   #9
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Donít miss the dinner show at Rubyís, itís a hoot
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:38 AM   #10
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Campground near Zion

We always stay at Bauers campground http://www.bauersrv.com/index.html It is between both parks in Glendale,Ut.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:03 AM   #11
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No matter what time you have to wake up, DO NOT miss sunrise at Bryce Canyon.



If it were me, I would take one of the days you were going to spend at either Bryce or Zion, skip Highway 89 and do a day at Capitol Reef instead. You can travel up and over the Boulders on Utah Hwy 12 (which is beautiful). Head east on Utah 24 and pick up I-70 just west of Green River Utah.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:53 AM   #12
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For Zion, we liked the Zion River Resort. It is a few miles from Springdale but paved roads, clean and well-maintained. We preferred the grassy sites as opposed to the sites along the river. There is a berm between the sites and the river, so you really cannot hear or see the river. Also, the adjacent site fire-pits are close and you could be smoked out and the pad is gravel. The pull through sites have concrete pads and grass.


Personally, we liked the sites along the pool area. The pool closes and it is quite. Avoid site 101 as it is a traffic lane to the restrooms.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StreaminGeo View Post
We are planning a trip in our 2004 25-foot Safari SS to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks to spend three full days at each during September 19 ó 27 of this year. We will be approaching from California via Interstate 15 and then leaving via U.S. Route 89 to Interstate 70 (eventual destination Cincinnati, Ohio). I would appreciate any and all info that readers can give me regarding reservation recommendations, alternate (outside of the parks) places to stay, campground info, things to see, things to do, places to eat ó anything at all!

Thank you!
I have been to Zion many times but not with trailer. I would suggest you call are otherwise check on the requirement for taking an RV through the tunnel going east out of Zion NP toward Hwy 89.. I have been told that it requires a special permit or something and requires an escort vehicle since the tunnel is low clearance on the edges, so only one way traffic is allowed when RVs go through. I believe there is a small fee. It is a beautiful drive, but does require planning.

Enjoy the trip.
Abe
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:06 PM   #14
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I have been to Zion many times but not with trailer. I would suggest you call are otherwise check on the requirement for taking an RV through the tunnel going east out of Zion NP toward Hwy 89.. I have been told that it requires a special permit or something and requires an escort vehicle since the tunnel is low clearance on the edges, so only one way traffic is allowed when RVs go through. I believe there is a small fee. It is a beautiful drive, but does require planning.

Enjoy the trip.
Abe
additional info: I just found this link to the Mt Carmel tunnel passage.
Hope it helps.

https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvis...mel-tunnel.htm

Abe
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