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#4481325 - 08/06/17 10:06 PM Visiting Utah mid-September
asiancivicmaniac Offline


Registered: 01/12/05
Posts: 4313
Loc: FL
Hi all,

I will be visiting Utah from 9/15-9/22. I will be doing Ford's ST Academy for 2 days and plan on using the remaining time I have there at one of the national parks and Salt Lake City. I will be flying into SLC around noon on 9/15 and renting a car.

I need help choosing which of the national parks to go to since I've never been to any of them and I have limited time. I believe my choices are Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Arches national parks. I like camping and would like to do that. As of right now, I'm leaning towards Zion just from the pictures I've seen. Any input appreciated.
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#4481332 - 08/06/17 10:17 PM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
TheKracken Offline


Registered: 04/18/17
Posts: 515
Loc: Fort Worth TX
My wife and I visited a little over a month ago, it was amazing and beautiful state. I highly recommend visiting Temple Square, it is free and is a really nice and beautiful experience. Lots of history about the LDS church that even non mormons like my wife and I could enjoy.

Zion national park and MOAB is great.
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#4481334 - 08/06/17 10:24 PM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
y_p_w Offline


Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 3650
Loc: SF Bay Area
Delicate Arch is possibly the most amazing thing I've ever seen with my own eyes. If I were to choose, it would be going to the Moab area and a combination of Arches and Canyonlands. Zion and Bryce Canyon were still awesome, but Arches was absolutely amazing.

Mesa Arch at Canyonlands NP is probably their best known feature.


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#4481336 - 08/06/17 10:28 PM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
Electrajoe Offline


Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Texas
If you are a senior - 65+, be sure to get National Parks card. It will save you a bunch $$
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#4481348 - 08/06/17 10:39 PM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: Electrajoe]
y_p_w Offline


Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 3650
Loc: SF Bay Area
Originally Posted By: Electrajoe
If you are a senior - 65+, be sure to get National Parks card. It will save you a bunch $$

62, but only for US citizens or permanent residents. And the price is going up at the end of the month. It's a lifetime pass for $10 now, but goes up to $80 on Sept 1. It's also for nearly all federal recreation areas, including the Forest Service, BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers, FWS, and NPS. My parents each have the earlier version, and theirs says Tennessee Valley Authority on it. There are a bunch of places that have it.

https://store.usgs.gov/sites/default/files/PassIssuanceList.pdf

There will be a $20 annual senior pass starting in September. I heard that buying the fourth would mean getting the lifetime pass in exchange for the previous four.

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#4481373 - 08/06/17 11:14 PM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
asiancivicmaniac Offline


Registered: 01/12/05
Posts: 4313
Loc: FL
I'm 29 so I do not qualify for any discounts. As of right now, campsites at Zion are filled up for the dates I am staying, so I'm considering Arches as recommended.
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#4481386 - 08/06/17 11:58 PM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
HawkeyeScott Offline


Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 785
Loc: El Oeste
The West is stunning. I don't think you could possibly go wrong with any of what you've mentioned, Safe travels and enjoy!

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#4481406 - 08/07/17 01:00 AM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
02SE Offline


Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 2731
Loc: The Canyons
They are all worth seeing, but unfortunately the word is out. So any time short of the dead of Winter, they are likely to be overrun with tourists. To the point that they might not let you into the parks due to overcrowding, if you don't arrive very early.

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#4481409 - 08/07/17 01:05 AM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
y_p_w Offline


Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 3650
Loc: SF Bay Area
Originally Posted By: asiancivicmaniac
I'm 29 so I do not qualify for any discounts. As of right now, campsites at Zion are filled up for the dates I am staying, so I'm considering Arches as recommended.


If you want to go to Zion, you could just stay in Springdale, although I'm thinking you probably already researched that. There's an "RV park" that actually has tent sites.

Moab has a lot of options. There's camping in Arches, Canyonlands, private campgrounds, BLM, and Forest Service, but only a limited sites that can be reserved. A lot of people just go and see if they can find an available campsite. I don't think September is the prime season, so if you can't find a campsite you can just check into a motel for the night.

The entrance fees seem to be going up and up. When I went in 2006 the entrance fee for Arches was $10 per car and the same for Canyonlands. Zion was $10 per person on foot but $20 per car. Now Arches is $25 and Zion is $30 per car/$15 per person. I think the shuttle is still running in September where you have to enter on foot and take the shuttle through Zion Canyon, and the per car fee only applies to entrance when you enter in a car.

You might consider getting the interagency annual pass. It's $80 but valid for entrance to any NPS/Forest Service/BLM/FWS/Bureau of Reclamation/Army Corp fee area, as well as some places with parking fees that are supposed to be paid in a locked box. For those you're supposed to get hang tag to display the pass on the rear view mirror.

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#4481539 - 08/07/17 07:55 AM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
The_Eric Offline


Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 5354
Loc: Iowa
If your route allows, stop at Tanner's Flat just outside of the Sandy/Salt Lake City area. Beautiful campground! (at least the tent sites- not sure about the RV sites.

Looking at our tent (rolled in late, just barely got done before dark)


Looking beyond the tent


Looking at the creek that was a few feet away from our campsite (tent would have been to the left in the photo)
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#4481551 - 08/07/17 08:14 AM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 35897
Loc: Great Lakes
+1 for Arches NP.
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#4481565 - 08/07/17 08:29 AM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
Rhymingmechanic Offline


Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 1328
Loc: VA
I haven't been to Zion or Bryce, but it would be hard to beat a few days at Arches and Canyonlands. Mesa Arch pictured above is on the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands, closest to Moab. The Needles district is about 1.5 hours from town but has a bigger campground and more hiking trails. At Arches, the Devil's Garden and Delicate Arch trails are good for getting you out of the car. Try to be at Delicate Arch for sunset if you can. (I think the Mesa Arch photo was taken at sunrise.)

There are several BLM campgrounds in the area. It's been a long time since my last trip, but I've always been able to find a site along Highway 128 north of Moab.
http://www.discovermoab.com/campgrounds_blm.htm

Also: Drink lots of water, and have fun. You'll probably be planning your next trip before you even get home.

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#4481572 - 08/07/17 08:37 AM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: Electrajoe]
madRiver Offline


Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3545
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: Electrajoe
If you are a senior - 65+, be sure to get National Parks card. It will save you a bunch $$


If you have a fourth grader they get you free admission for their school year. Made Acadia park visit free.

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#4481597 - 08/07/17 09:16 AM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
Indydriver Offline


Registered: 03/20/11
Posts: 2156
Loc: Indiana
I've done Zion/Bryce twice. Went back a second time because I wasn't properly prepared the first time.

Misc thoughts:

1. It's a long ways from SLC and you have limited time. Bryce is a good day trip from Zion. It would take weeks to fully explore all of Zion.
2. I didn't camp. There are decent and reasonable accommodations available in Springdale just outside the southern entrance to Zion. Don't be afraid to take a chance on one of these. You won't be spending much time in your room anyway. There is a nice inn at Bryce but will probably be sold out. You can do both from a base at Zion (about two very scenic hours apart).
3. This is a hiking/photography trip. Make sure you invest in good gear. Hiking requires good dedicated hiking shoes (i.e. Merrill etc). Must have a water reservoir like Camelback or a backpack where you can haul several bottles. Get your legs in shape before you go. You'll be sorry if all you have is a cell phone to take pictures. Take your best digital camera and lens.
4. From Zion south entrance, you begin on the desert floor (hot) and hike up (cool). Bryce is the reverse-you start on the plateau and hike down into the heat. Trails are generally much shorter at Bryce but more vertical as it is a single, relatively small canyon. Be prepared for big swings in temperature as you hike. All trails are mapped and graded for time/difficulty so, pick your poison.
5. You can't really do much in 3 days so be prepared to want to go back. But, you will be blown away by what you see. You really haven't seen America until you've spent time in southern Utah. Enjoy!
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#4481722 - 08/07/17 11:32 AM Re: Visiting Utah mid-September [Re: Indydriver]
y_p_w Offline


Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 3650
Loc: SF Bay Area
Originally Posted By: Indydriver
I've done Zion/Bryce twice. Went back a second time because I wasn't properly prepared the first time.

Misc thoughts:

1. It's a long ways from SLC and you have limited time. Bryce is a good day trip from Zion. It would take weeks to fully explore all of Zion.

I believe more visitors to Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP fly into Las Vegas.

SLC is isn't really that close to the national parks in Utah. Heck - I looked up driving directions, and from SLC, Grand Teton National Park is closer than Zion. It might not be from the location of the driving school though.


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