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Old 12-08-2011, 08:30 PM
 
230 posts, read 368,597 times
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Default long weekend Utah national park trip in April

While DH is working out there with his man cave base of operations, I'm hoping to take advantage of the location to see some parts of the west that I've not seen. I'd like to do something in April so I'm thinking some Utah canyon national parks would be a good place to go vs. a drive to Grand Teton or Yellowstone. I can't bring myself to go into a winter wonderland after six months of Minnesota winter.

What would you recommend if I was planning say a 4-5 day driving trip from SLC? Where to go, what to see, what to do? I don't do major hiking since I'm an above knee amputee (though walking up to an hour on reasonable terrain is do-able) and I'm not fond of hoards of tourists but I realize that may come with the territory in national parks. I also don't care for blazing heat but I think it's not too bad yet at this time of year. Some warmth is welcome after the long, cold, dark winter.

What say you Utah experts?
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Herriman, UT.
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April in the Rocky Mountain region is a real wild card some years. Sometimes it is truly Spring and a melt down, other times we get our wettest and most snowy month of the year in April. Just depends. So if you are a gambling spirit I'd say go for it. Just come on out to Southern Utah 1st via the southern route like I-40. Take in The Grand Canyon, then move north to Zion, Bryce and Canyonlands Natl. Parks. This trip is of course a LOT longer than a weekend type of trip for anyone let alone from Minnesota. Something to consider. The tourist load is fairly low at that time (up to about late May) then it all breaks loose. So that's a good time to do it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:25 AM
Status: "Attacks in self-defense only." (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Salt Lake City
13,892 posts, read 9,543,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibby3000 View Post
While DH is working out there with his man cave base of operations, I'm hoping to take advantage of the location to see some parts of the west that I've not seen. I'd like to do something in April so I'm thinking some Utah canyon national parks would be a good place to go vs. a drive to Grand Teton or Yellowstone. I can't bring myself to go into a winter wonderland after six months of Minnesota winter.

What would you recommend if I was planning say a 4-5 day driving trip from SLC? Where to go, what to see, what to do? I don't do major hiking since I'm an above knee amputee (though walking up to an hour on reasonable terrain is do-able) and I'm not fond of hoards of tourists but I realize that may come with the territory in national parks. I also don't care for blazing heat but I think it's not too bad yet at this time of year. Some warmth is welcome after the long, cold, dark winter.

What say you Utah experts?
I'd suggest Bryce and Zion. Four to five days would give you time to enjoy both parks. The drive to either park from Salt Lake City is between 4 1/2 and 5 hours. Zion should be comfortable in April (although it may still be chilly in early April). Bryce will be more iffy, because of its high elevation, but if I went to Zion, I wouldn't skip Bryce entirely, even if it's still cold there. It's such an incredible place. Honestly, it's one of my favorite places in the world. You would be able to see a lot there without doing any hiking at all. There's no way you'd want to attempt most of the hikes at Zion, but there are a few you'd probably be fine doing. That's one thing about both parks that's nice. You can really see a lot without killing yourself doing it.

Arches is also a great place to visit and will likely be warmer by April than Bryce (maybe about the same temperatures as Zion). It's also about 5 hours from Salt Lake. It would probably involve a little more actual hiking in order to really see it, though. There's a lot to do nearby, though, in the little town of Moab. If you go there, I'd suggest you arrange for a Hummer ride up over the red rock -- Hell's Revenge is a great experience! You could work in a trip to Capitol Reef at the same time. It's not as spectacular, scenery-wise, as Bryce, Zion or Arches (IMO) but is still a really interesting place with some great easy hikes.

Don't try to to Bryce/Zion and Arches/Capitol Reef on the same trip. It's just too much. You can't go wrong doing one or the other, though. Once you decide, let us know and we'll give you more detailed information.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:13 PM
 
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I think I would probably be out there later in April. If I was going to go to Yellowstone/Grand Teton that would be mid-May. Like I say though, I think I'd rather not go into more winter in May and I really like MN in May. I'd like to go somewhere warmer than MN so maybe I should think about going in the Moab/Arches/Capitol Reef direction. DH keeps talking about Moab so I know he is interested in going there.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:02 PM
 
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The great part of the parks mentioned above is that each of them offers a few easier hikes that would be appropriate for those who are unable to take long hikes.

I have been to all of them and I would have to say that I am prejudiced toward Moab. especially Canyonlands as you can see a lot even without hiking.

In April, I doubt that you will see hordes of tourists as you would in the summer months.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:13 PM
Status: "Attacks in self-defense only." (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Salt Lake City
13,892 posts, read 9,543,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibby3000 View Post
I think I would probably be out there later in April. If I was going to go to Yellowstone/Grand Teton that would be mid-May. Like I say though, I think I'd rather not go into more winter in May and I really like MN in May. I'd like to go somewhere warmer than MN so maybe I should think about going in the Moab/Arches/Capitol Reef direction. DH keeps talking about Moab so I know he is interested in going there.
My only real concern about Arches is that you really do need to get out and like it to see it. That's not quite as much the case with Bryce and Zion. If you do decide on that side of the state, there are a couple of excellent hikes in Arches I would recommend -- provided you think you could do them: Delicate Arch (self guided)and Fiery Furnace (ranger guided). A raft trip down Westwater would be an incredible experience, and basically all you have to do is hang on tight. And as I said before, I would strongly suggest a Hummer trip over Hell's Revenge. There are a lot of good restaurants and shops in Moab, too. The Grand Wash hike in Capitol Reef is so easy. I can't imagine it would give you any trouble at all.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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That time of year in Yellowstone is not ideal visiting anyway. Some roads won't be open, most services won't be open. They usually open gradually all through May, so you are fine to not look that direction.

Like Katzpur said you could get a nice trip in to see either Zion and Bryce, OR Canyonlands and Arches. If you are thinking Moab I think it would be great. You could stay in one place the whole time (which isn't really the best thing for Zion and Bryce), Canyonlands is easy to see from the car. The only hike there worth taking for a short visit might be Mesa Arch. It isn't too long, though I don't know how you'd be able to handle the terrain, but you don't need too go fast.

Dead Horse Point is great and easy enough without a hike. There is lots to see in Arches without hiking. Park Avenue, the Windows areas aren't really hikes, just walking up to the arches and back, Landscape arch in the Devil's garden area is a nice hike, wide fairly level trail.

You could take the scenic road 128 up along the Colorado River to visit Fisher Towers and Castle Valley. Stop at Red Cliffs to walk through the film museum or taste their wine.

A jeep or hummer tour would be fantastic.

I think a river trip would be a little cold in April.

It will not be so crowded you can't enjoy it.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:01 AM
Status: "Attacks in self-defense only." (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Salt Lake City
13,892 posts, read 9,543,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InSandy View Post
Park Avenue, the Windows areas aren't really hikes, just walking up to the arches and back, Landscape arch in the Devil's garden area is a nice hike, wide fairly level trail.
Yeah, I forgot about these.
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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Okay - a lot to ponder here. I also have a national park book of the west and I will study up on all you've shared. There is some appeal to staying in one place especially if I could find a nice VRBO. I better get this figured out - it's only about four months away!
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:05 PM
 
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I found a place I might want to stay in Moab - they have an opening the first weekend in April or the last weekend. Which do you think would be better?
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