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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Nature & Landscapes Talk 
Thread started 09 Aug 2015 (Sunday) 14:54
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Utah National Parks road trip?

 
Grizz1
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Aug 09, 2015 14:54 |  #1

We are planning to drive from Missouri to Utah to visit as many as possible of the five National Parks the state has to offer beginning at Arches and Canyonlands near Moab. Will begin on Sept 11 and will have a week to 10 days.
My question is, since there never seems to be enough time to see it all, I would like to know your opinions on the "must see" places in these areas and for anyone that has been to all five how would you rank them from most favorite to least favorite?
Any scenic byways that you would enjoy driving again given the chance?
Our main interests are Wildlife, Birds and Landscapes.


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Aug 09, 2015 19:38 |  #2

Do you have a 4wheel drive offroad capable vehicle?


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patrick ­ j
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Aug 09, 2015 20:06 |  #3

Arches is great, but crowded.
Canyonlands has some nice overlooks, as does Dead Horse Point State Park, which you'll pass on the way to Canyonlands (north entrance)

Capitol Reef may be my favorite, partly because it is slightly more off the beaten track. You can hit Goblin Valley on the way to Capitol Reef. Can't comment on Bryce or Zion.

The drive on Highway 12, between Boulder and Escalante I think it is, is pretty spectacular. Also try to hike out to Lower Calf Creek Falls, if the water is flowing that is. I did it in spring, by fall it may not be so great.


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Grizz1
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Aug 09, 2015 20:49 |  #4

bsmotril, no we will not have a 4WD, actually will be driving an Impala car.

patrickj, thanks for the comments, just the kind I'm looking for, I will definitely look into your suggestions.


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EnglishBob
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Aug 09, 2015 20:54 |  #5

I also loved Arches and Canyonlands, visited both twice now. While your in the area I'll echo the Dead Horse point recommendation.


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John ­ from ­ PA
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Aug 10, 2015 10:34 |  #6

Does your "week to 10 days" include your travel time from Missouri to Utah? If so be aware that is about 1650 milesor two days of driving minimum.




  
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Grizz1
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Aug 10, 2015 21:02 |  #7

EnglishBob, we are adding Deadhorse Point to our list, thanks for the reply.

John from Pa, I've taken the drive time into consideration and as long as weather permits we will likely stay 7 to 8 days in Utah, normally drive straight through that length as I'm used to buddy driving. This year where I live we haven't enjoyed the outdoors unless you are extremely fond of rain so it has made me hesitant on planning long trips anywhere. Doubt rain will be a problem there but one never knows, it seems to follow me this year.


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IShootThings
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Aug 27, 2015 22:58 |  #8

Rain?!?! Send some of that over here to California, we haven't seen any in months.

A few years ago we drove from CA to Colorado, through AZ and UT. I didn't realize it when we planned the trip but we were going right by Canyonlands and Arches. The places we did stop were Page, AZ (Antelope Canyons & Horeshoe bend) which is not too far down into Arizona and Monument Valley which is right on the UT/AZ border. If you want to make that trip, you could drive down 191, catch 160 up to 89 and hit all of the previous mentioned locations on your way to Zion and The Grand Staircase. It would be an epic trip but you may not have time for all of those places. If you're into reading, you should check out the Photographing the Southwest series by Laurent Martes. They are really good books with a lot of great information about locations in AZ/UT/CO. I hope that helps.

As far as "must see," if you haven't been to Page, it's a must see. I can't wait to go back.


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Aug 28, 2015 06:05 |  #9

Sorry that I did not see this sooner. You have received some great tips so far. I think every place mentioned is worth seeing. But keep in mind that there is a lot of driving between the destinations within southern UT, so depending on how in depth you like to explore an area you will have to make some choices. The good news is that there are no wrong choices!

A great guide to many of the best sites, vistas and other things to see and shoot is "Photographing the Southwest, Volume 1 - Southern Utah" by Laurent Martres. The book provides detailed directions to many of wonderful sites and it very useful.

Moab is a place that DW and I seem to return to. We have been there 4 times since 2007 and we always seem to find new things during each trip. Arches is a favorite. Yes it can (and will) be crowded, but the trick is to get there early to beat the crowds. The Windows section for sunrise is great. Delicate Arch at sunset is a classic (but there will be a lot of other folks there as well). IF you are a hiker try the Devil's Garden loop. I think it is about 8 miles but there are several awesome arches to see, including Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point (as mentioned) are also in the Moab area and provide many great views. Mesa Arch at sunrise is a classic shot, but it is a zoo with all the other photographers in the area. Take the drive along route 128.

Goblin Valley State Park and Little Wild Horse slot canyon are on the route between Moab and Capitol Reef off of route 24 north of Hanksville. Both are very photogenic and well worth seeing.

While there is plenty of critters in the area, don't expect the mega-fauna like you will see in say Yellowstone. You will probably see some pronghorn and mule deer but they are often fleeting (although during our trip last fall we did see a lot of pronghorn along the roadside around Moab and Green River.

Someone else mentioned Scenic Route 12 and it is beautiful. Calf Creek Falls is a lovely hike.

I usually keep a journal of our travels. Here's the link to our 2014 trip to Moab and Green River:

http://ohiohickpresent​s.weebly.com/tr---utah-2014.html (external link)

You can also click the "list of shows" at the top of the page to get the list of other journals (includes our 2011, 2012 and 2013 trips to UT and AZ).

Here's something that may help. This link will take you to a travel article on Trip Advisor that is is a planning guide for touring the Grand Circle but focuses on southern Utah.

http://www.tripadvisor​.com …States:Trip.Pla​nning.html (external link)


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Grizz1
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Aug 29, 2015 23:17 as a reply to  @ IShootThings's post |  #10

Thanks IShootThings for the detailed info, when time permits I'm looking at the map and trying to plot our route considering any and all suggestions. I know it will be impossible to see it all but we have enjoyed previous sites that were suggested by others and a few we just stumbled upon. I will look into the book, heard of those many times but just have not got around to reading them, probably a major mistake on my part.


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Grizz1
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Aug 29, 2015 23:47 as a reply to  @ OhioHick's post |  #11

Thanks OhioHick for the reply and the link. When I have time I will read the journal more and study the map. I appreciate your input and it is quite interesting that I've been following you before and did not know you were a member here. Saw several of your post on tripadvisor and have already been using some of your advice on that forum in my planning. Wish I could be as organized as you are.
We will most likely arrive in Moab first as we enter Utah and begin adventuring from there, though from the sound of things many folks like staying in the area for an extended period of time.
We passed through Utah once on our way home from Yuma AZ and was needing to make good time on the road , unable to stop for long, we were saying to ourselves then that we wanted to return, slow down and enjoy the scenery.
We recently rented a home to former lifelong Utah residents and they have been giving us a long list of ideas, many of which are echoing the advice given here. I can already see that two weeks will not be enough time but it is a start.Thanks and I will try to let you know how our traveling turned out.


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Aug 29, 2015 23:57 |  #12

Bryce Canyon is pretty spectacular...I don't know why no one has mentioned it!

We've been to Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon, to N.Rim of Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce.
Of those 4, I most want to return to Bryce!


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Aug 30, 2015 08:42 |  #13

Grizz1: Yep, same OhioHick as on TA. Glad to hear tah someone finds my posts to be useful! ;-)a Yeah, there is a LOT to see and do in the Grand Circle and southern UT in particularly. No amount of time is enough time to "see it all." We've visited somewhere in the Grand Circle nearly annually for about the past decade and still feel that we are only scratching the surface. It is such a rich region. As for being organized, I can't help myself! Creating the journals, photobooks and just tinkering with the images gives me something to do during the winter and allows me to relive the trips and also share the info with others. Besides, I kinda like it.

Wilt: Agreed, Bryce Canyon is an amazing place; one of many in the region but certainly near the top of my list as well. Over on Trip Advisor, there are many posts from travelers wondering if BC can just be a day trip from Zion or just a stop on the drive through the state; the overwhelming advice is to stay at least a night at Bryce in order to enjoy the sunset, the starry night sky and sunrise. While the park is beautiful all day, sunrise and sunset are by far the best.


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Grizz1
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Aug 30, 2015 22:00 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #14

Wilt, we definitely are planning to make it to Bryce and it's good to know you have it high on your list of favorites.


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Aug 31, 2015 17:07 as a reply to  @ Grizz1's post |  #15

When you are in the park, the shuttle bus offered by NPS from the visitor center ranger station does a 'loop'...actually a straight shot in, where it turns around and goes back out. Everyone rides to the end of the road at Rainbow Point, gets out there, looks around and takes pictures, then jumps back onto the shuttle taking the road to the next stop.
RESIST doing what everyone does, but HIKE from Rainbow Point to the next stop via the hiking trail, which is only about 1.5 easy hike. Gorgeous.


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Utah National Parks road trip?
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