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Old Jan 8, 11, 4:37 pm   #1
 
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I Need Suggestions for a Road Trip Out of SLC

Here is the plan. I will fly into SLC with Mrs. INK and we will stay a bit up at the Park City WA. It is then our plan to drive for a few days and see the sights in the northern Rocky Mountains. The trip will be in July, we want to try to find cool mountain weather, and I would like to play a little golf but, I am not married to that idea. We will be using National free days, so a drop off at another airport does not matter. It will need to be a WN airport as that is my free air (Denver, Boise, Spokane, Portland, Seattle, Reno or even back to SLC all qualify.) By the way, if there is a way to search Hilton properties over a large area and not the 50 mile limit of the reservations page that would make it a lot easier for me to do it myself.

I have tried searching specific cities for Hilton properties, but nothing like the the resort at Park City pops up. We can head east towards Denver. We can head north towards Boise. Or, we can go west towards Spokane. We do not care, we just want to stay in nice places and see new areas. Neither of us has been to this area except for very brief business stays in SLC an Seattle.

I have have 5 free night certs and 500K+ points to spend, so do not worry about keeping the point spend low.

Thanks! And I am looking forward to your suggestions!
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Old Jan 8, 11, 5:47 pm   #2
 
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I'm personally fond of Southern Utah's parks and scenery. Plenty of golf too. A few Hilton properties on the way to Las Vegas. St. George, in particular, is in a nice area. Not big on the tourist glitz, though. And the hotels are on the "basic" end: Hamptons and HGIs. So, if this trip is to have anything of an indulgent or hedonistic bent, probably not.

Spokane has a good Doubletree, and the city is nice-enough, if inelegant. Good riverfront and parks. But nothing to compare to Seattle or Denver. Dining options tend toward the folksy, rather than elegant or gourmet.
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Old Jan 8, 11, 5:57 pm   #3
 
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Quick additional thought: don't shortchange Salt Lake City itself. There are actually some nice restaurants and worthwhile cultural events. The downtown Homewood is good, and there's a Hilton (...that I don't like quite so much) right in the center of things.
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Old Jan 8, 11, 6:32 pm   #4
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Southern Utah is about my favorite part of the country for breathtaking amazing scenery.

Here's what I'd do:

1) To Moab Hampton Inn. Arches National Park

2) To Kayenta Hampton Inn (through Monument Valley. Pretty amazing place. The Kayenta Hampton Inn is one of the nicest I have ever been in. And Kayenta has the not-to-be-missed Amigo Cafe)

3) To St. George UT where there is both a Hampton and an HGI; both are nice properties.

4. To Richfield Utah (another Hampton) via Highway 12 through Escalante (the NY Times has called this one of the most scenic drives in America and I concur).

5. Back to SLC

A link to a Google Map is HERE
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Old Jan 8, 11, 8:30 pm   #5
 
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I'll be at the WA Park City in early March skiing

My wife and I have toyed with the idea of moving our family to Utah because of how gorgeous the state is.

Certainly, you can't go wrong with the skiing and Zion and Capitol Reef are beautiful.

The drive (through the Escalante) from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef is probably the most beautiful car trip I've ever taken.
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Old Jan 9, 11, 12:29 pm   #6
 
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I would also add for golf you can not beat St. George, UT and Mesquite, NV. Some of the most amazing and relatively low priced golf anywhere. The only issue in July is it might be around 100F+ so plan an early tee time. Mesquite is only 30 minutes from St. George and the Virgin River Gorge is also a nice drive, if not a little harrowing.
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Old Jan 10, 11, 12:51 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by sawtooth View Post
My wife and I have toyed with the idea of moving our family to Utah because of how gorgeous the state is.

Certainly, you can't go wrong with the skiing and Zion and Capitol Reef are beautiful.

The drive (through the Escalante) from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef is probably the most beautiful car trip I've ever taken.
+1. It is truly a spectacular drive.

Bobette
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Old Jan 10, 11, 1:38 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by InkUnderNails View Post
Here is the plan. I will fly into SLC with Mrs. INK and we will stay a bit up at the Park City WA.
I would look into going down to Moab and doing Arches and Canyonlands NPs.

There's a Hampton Inn there that we used last year.

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Old Jan 11, 11, 4:23 pm   #9
 
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Do the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway drive. The starting point, the town of Kamas, is just east of Park City. If you want mountains, this drive will give them to you.
http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2007/
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Old Jan 11, 11, 5:55 pm   #10
 
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It's pretty clear that I need to do some more exploring here in Utah rather than everywhere else. I've got family in St George and Richfield and have seen those areas, but these seem like a lot of fun!
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Old Jan 11, 11, 5:58 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by amanuensis View Post
Do the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway drive. The starting point, the town of Kamas, is just east of Park City. If you want mountains, this drive will give them to you.
http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2007/
I appreciate all of the suggestions, but this looks nice. We are almost certain to do SLC to DEN. This gets us up to I80, but I think we might head east for just a bit and then head back south and go to Denver VIA US40. I may try to get a couple of nights at the Hilton Vacation club in Breckenridge before going to Denver.

Are any of you familiar with this US 40 route? It looks good on the map.
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Old Jan 12, 11, 9:42 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by InkUnderNails View Post
I appreciate all of the suggestions, but this looks nice. We are almost certain to do SLC to DEN. This gets us up to I80, but I think we might head east for just a bit and then head back south and go to Denver VIA US40. I may try to get a couple of nights at the Hilton Vacation club in Breckenridge before going to Denver.

Are any of you familiar with this US 40 route? It looks good on the map.
I have driven from SLC to DEN several times. There are three basic ways to do it.

The fastest way is to drive from SLC to Laramie, WY on I-80 and then take US-287 to Fort Collins, and I-25 the rest of the way to DEN. A variation is to go from SLC to Kamas and then to Evanston, WY via the Mirror Lake Highway and thus back to I-80. This variation adds significant scenery -- and time. And can only be done during warm weather months -- the Mirror Lake Highway is closed once snow falls.

The second way is to take US-40 from Park City to Denver. This is the slow boat route. It is not particularly scenic until you get to Colorado. As a variation, you can take I-80 (with or without the Mirror Lake Highway jaunt) to Green River and then head south through the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area on US-191 to US-40. Flaming Gorge is very scenic. Also, this will result in you bypassing the boring US-40 Utah portion. You get back on US-40 just in time to see Dinosaur National Monument (which is on the Utah/Colorado border). Besides seeing the obvious there, there are also some interesting nature hikes there.

Another variation on the second way is to go from Park City to Kamas and then NOT take the Mirror Lake Highway but instead State Highway 35 to Duchesne, where you get on US-40. As with the Mirror Lake Highway, Highway 35 is not open during winter. This route also has lots of mountain scenery, the highlight of which is Wolf Creek Pass. This drive is at its best in early Fall when the leaves change.

The third way to Denver is to go from SLC south on I-15 to Spanish Fork, where you take US-6 south-eastward until you get to Green River, Utah, from whence you head east on I-70 to Denver. This is the shortest route but is a little longer in time than going through Wyoming on I-80 because you cannot drive as fast. The portion of the US-6 drive from Spanish Fork to Price is interesting, and US-6 from Price to Green River is boring. I-70 is boring from Green River to Grand Junction, Colorado, and very interesting the rest of the way.

You can easily drive from SLC to DEN in a day using any of the three routes IF you do not do any variations and IF you do not stop other than for gas and food. But if your goal is to enjoy the journey, then plan to do it in two days so that you have time for side trips, hiking, fishing at Flaming Gorge, or whatever.
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Old Jan 12, 11, 2:20 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by amanuensis View Post
I have driven from SLC to DEN several times. There are three basic ways to do it.

The fastest way is to drive from SLC to Laramie, WY on I-80 and then take US-287 to Fort Collins, and I-25 the rest of the way to DEN. A variation is to go from SLC to Kamas and then to Evanston, WY via the Mirror Lake Highway and thus back to I-80. This variation adds significant scenery -- and time. And can only be done during warm weather months -- the Mirror Lake Highway is closed once snow falls.

The second way is to take US-40 from Park City to Denver. This is the slow boat route. It is not particularly scenic until you get to Colorado. As a variation, you can take I-80 (with or without the Mirror Lake Highway jaunt) to Green River and then head south through the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area on US-191 to US-40. Flaming Gorge is very scenic. Also, this will result in you bypassing the boring US-40 Utah portion. You get back on US-40 just in time to see Dinosaur National Monument (which is on the Utah/Colorado border). Besides seeing the obvious there, there are also some interesting nature hikes there.

Another variation on the second way is to go from Park City to Kamas and then NOT take the Mirror Lake Highway but instead State Highway 35 to Duchesne, where you get on US-40. As with the Mirror Lake Highway, Highway 35 is not open during winter. This route also has lots of mountain scenery, the highlight of which is Wolf Creek Pass. This drive is at its best in early Fall when the leaves change.

The third way to Denver is to go from SLC south on I-15 to Spanish Fork, where you take US-6 south-eastward until you get to Green River, Utah, from whence you head east on I-70 to Denver. This is the shortest route but is a little longer in time than going through Wyoming on I-80 because you cannot drive as fast. The portion of the US-6 drive from Spanish Fork to Price is interesting, and US-6 from Price to Green River is boring. I-70 is boring from Green River to Grand Junction, Colorado, and very interesting the rest of the way.

You can easily drive from SLC to DEN in a day using any of the three routes IF you do not do any variations and IF you do not stop other than for gas and food. But if your goal is to enjoy the journey, then plan to do it in two days so that you have time for side trips, hiking, fishing at Flaming Gorge, or whatever.
Thanks for an incredibly superb reply. Now I just need to choose my route. I had planned on two days to get over to Breckenridge, so one of the US40 routes will work nicely. I will be going in July so the requisite weather should be good. I need to now go over my maps (I am old school on this) and pick a path. Thanks to everyone. I mainly did not want to get on a marked road that no longer exists and have to do a lot of correction back tracking.
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Old Apr 16, 11, 9:59 am   #14
 
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Bump! Bump! Bump! Bump!

Thanks for all of your suggestions! Route is set, sort of. Denver to see friends, west on US40 through Steamboat Springs with an overnight in Craig. North on US191 to Green River, WY, for another stopover. West to Park City VIA the Mirror Lake route mentioned above, SR150. We have four nights scheduled for the WA in Park City and one night in Salt Lake City at the HGI that just won the top three HGI award, before we catch our flight out of SLC.

We are going to play this by ear and have no set stops. Just drive and see. Are there any must see, do not miss, places on or close to my route? We have built in a lot of leisure time so as not to be rushed.

Thanks again for your help. We are really looking forward to this trip.
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Old Apr 17, 11, 9:26 am   #15
 
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Bump! Bump! Bump! Bump!
Thanks again for your help. We are really looking forward to this trip.
And we'll be looking forward to your report after the trip.

Bobette
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