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Zion and Bryce from Las Vegas

Zion and Bryce from Las Vegas

Old Jul 24, 16, 9:26 am
  #1  
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Zion and Bryce from Las Vegas

Would like any advice anyone can give.

Have 5 days to hike Bryce and Zion.

Coming into LAS, best to fly out LAS or SLC??

Renting a car in LAS.

Suggestions on route, hikes, any tips, must-do or must sees?

Flying in on a Fri am, out following Wednesday in October.

Thanks very much!!
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Old Jul 24, 16, 10:26 am
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Check flights out of the regional Cedar City (CDC) and St George (SGU) airports first. If those are too expensive then Las Vegas would likely be better than Salt Lake (LAS is about 80 miles closer depending on exactly where you start from). The construction project on the Arizona part of I-15 was completed a few weeks ago so that's not an issue anymore.

Also estimate how many different parks you'll need to pay admission to and whether it'd be better to get an annual pass. An annual national parks pass is $80 for 12 months and is good at all national parks (so think about any other parks you might visit in the next year).

You can buy it ahead of time, but it'd probably be easier to get it at the first entrance gate you pass through. Mine has paid for itself several times over already.

Last edited by Lost; Jul 24, 16 at 10:40 am
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Old Jul 24, 16, 9:36 pm
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I'm an avid hiker who's visited various parks in Utah numerous times each. I suggest:

1) Fly via SLC or LAS, whichever is better from a standpoint of cost and schedule. The travel time is not hugely different compared to flight schedule and cost factors-- which can vary significantly on where you're coming from, and when. Be sure to include car rental costs as part of your cost calculation.

1a) I respectfully recommend against spending a lot of time researching fares into the tiny airports of CDC and SGU. These will almost certainly require a connection that consumes more travel time than booking a nonstop (ideally) to SLC or LAS and driving from there. Plus, they're likely to be a lot more expensive.

2) The best-- as in, fastest-- routes to get around are no secret. Pick any mapping service, or read a map yourself. Now, if you've got time for some scenic driving, that's a different matter! Also, if you'll have a vehicle suitable for dirt roads driving, that's a different, matter, too!

3) Major hiking routes are pretty well documented. These are national parks we're talking about, here. They get millions of visitors per year. Also, these millions of visitors have physical abilities that are all over the map (no pun intended). Start by considering what you are capable of, then browse the descriptions offered online at the park service site, http://www.nps.gov. You'll get more helpful answers here once you can narrow down your question a bit.

4) National parks are obviously the crown jewels of the public parks system, and Zion and Bryce are two impressive jewels. But there are also other parklands worth seeing in the area. Take a look at your map and see what's nearby and/or on your route.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
Check flights out of the regional Cedar City (CDC) and St George (SGU) airports first. If those are too expensive then Las Vegas would likely be better than Salt Lake (LAS is about 80 miles closer depending on exactly where you start from). The construction project on the Arizona part of I-15 was completed a few weeks ago so that's not an issue anymore.

Also estimate how many different parks you'll need to pay admission to and whether it'd be better to get an annual pass. An annual national parks pass is $80 for 12 months and is good at all national parks (so think about any other parks you might visit in the next year).

You can buy it ahead of time, but it'd probably be easier to get it at the first entrance gate you pass through. Mine has paid for itself several times over already.
The last time I looked at the cost of flying into St George I found it was both cheaper and faster to land at LAS and rent a car. I have never investigated Cedar City but I would expect to find the same thing.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 5:50 pm
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I think you'll find LAS cheaper for both air and rental car. Plus, the drive is more scenic coming up from LAS than down from SLC.
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Old Jul 27, 16, 3:46 pm
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Bryce is at 8000 feet and will be cooler than Zion, where the canyon floor is at 4000 feet.

At Bryce, the classic hike would be the combination Peek-a-Boo and Navajo Loops. An easier option would be just the Navajo Loop portion, and the easiest below-the-rim trail would be the Queen's Garden Trail, which has less elevation loss and gain. Another good trail would be the rim trail along the top of the amphitheatre.

At Zion, perhaps the classic hike would be the Angel's Landing Trail; arguably a shorter and easier version of Yosemite's Half Dome, complete with cables at the top....not for the faint of heart. An easy trail would be the 1-mile walk at the end of the road to the beginning of the narrows (level). Zion is hot in summer, so early morning starts are best; October should be a perfect time.

As a special bonus, consider visiting the nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument, which has a number of roadside views of an amphitheatre bowl (like Bryce), but with different colors.
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Old Jul 29, 16, 2:48 pm
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Thanks!

Thanks to all to those who took the time to answer!

J.
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Old Jul 30, 16, 3:17 pm
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At Zion, if you are up for it and you have the gear, I highly recommend The Narrows. It starts at the Temple of Sinawava. There is no real trail, you walk, wade, and possibly swim up the Virgin River. The water is cold, the rocks can be slick, and there is a current so be prepared. It's worth it.

Another rec to fly in and out of LAS.

A note on Bryce, be mindful of the altitude. It's easy to get into trouble.

It's amazing there. Enjoy!
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Old Jul 30, 16, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by AMflier View Post
At Zion, if you are up for it and you have the gear, I highly recommend The Narrows. It starts at the Temple of Sinawava. There is no real trail, you walk, wade, and possibly swim up the Virgin River. The water is cold, the rocks can be slick, and there is a current so be prepared. It's worth it.

Another rec to fly in and out of LAS.

A note on Bryce, be mindful of the altitude. It's easy to get into trouble.

It's amazing there. Enjoy!
I've heard good things about the Narrows. It doesn't start at the Temple of Sinawava, though--that's simply as far as the road can go. You still have to take the river walk from the Temple to the Narrows.
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Old Jul 30, 16, 10:09 pm
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My wife and I flew in and out of LAS. We rented a car, car camped and day hiked Zion for a few days. Amazing place! We spent a couple of nights after Zion in LAS, so we could enjoy a warm bath and comfy bed before going home.
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Old Aug 1, 16, 3:15 pm
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My favorite day hike at Zion is from the East Entrance to the Grotto. Follows the East Rim starting at the East Entrance Ranger Station. Head down to the canyon floor through the Grotto. Local companies will drop you off and you can take the shuttle bus back to town.
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Old Aug 1, 16, 4:18 pm
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The town Springdale at Zion can be fun if you are looking to do something in the evening. There is nothing at Bryce.
I visited both and thought Zion was the better park as well.
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Old Aug 11, 16, 8:35 pm
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zionnational-park.com and http://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/ are the best online resources. I know both authors and they have hiked everything they describe.

Bryce is most photogenic shortly after sunrise, which is also the most quiet time there. Bryce is on the east side of a plateau; on the west side is Red Canyon. There is a visitor center there. 70% of the beauty of Bryce with 5% of the visitation - and if you are coming from Zion area saves you 45 minutes drive each way.

Countless hikes in Zion. Angels Landing is great, but do it very early in the AM, try to catch one of the first shuttles. It becomes a people zoo and sometimes dangerous as a result later in the day. The Narrows are a must. I am very very fond of the East Zion slickrock country.

St. George is a 2 hr drive from LAS. It's about 45 mins from the park and a good option if you want small city conveniece and dislike the tourist atmosphere of the national park gateway city. If you prefer that, Springdale is your best bet.

Many many more hiking options in Zion than Bryce. I've spent at least 6 weeks hiking in Zion and I always have new places to go.
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Old Aug 13, 16, 12:33 am
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Great info here. I live in Las Vegas and enjoy hiking but have spent very little time in Utah.

I'd say Red Rock Canyon just west of Las Vegas is a must see if you haven't been there. There's a scenic drive and some good day hikes.
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Old Aug 16, 16, 4:15 pm
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It will always be less expensive to rent and return from the same location, rather than doing a one-way drop. The exception would be seasonal times when you see special rates because there's a glut of cars, say at PHX at the end of winter.
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