How to enjoy and visit multiple parks in a week – Banning style! The Mighty Five of Utah, North Rim of the Grand Canyon and others.
The goal of a Banning style trip is to see and do as much as possible without overdoing it and wearing yourself out. Fortunately, our direct flight to Las Vegas was late Friday evening, allowing us to spend the night and get an early start on Saturday. Fortunately, we have seen the sights of Vegas, and we don’t gamble; therefore, our time in Vegas was purely driving through.
Saturday – Day #1: Zion National Park Kolob Canyon entrance, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Bryce Canyon National Park. (Tropic, Utah)
Drove to St. George, groceries at Walmart. Drove to Kolob Canyon/Zion National Park. Drove to Cedar Breaks, NM, and hiked part of Alpine Pond Loop Trail. Drove to Tropic, Pioneer Village. Checked into hotel/house. Drove to Bryce Canyon National Park to the end with many pull-offs and short hikes. Watched the sunset. Back to Tropic and ate at Showdowns in Pioneer Village. Went and looked at the stars. Moon out, so not as good as I was hoping, but nicer than at home.
Sunday – Day #2: Bryce Canyon National Park, SR12 scenic road, and Capitol Reef National Park. (Torrey, Utah)
Checked out and off to Bryce Canyon National Park. Hiked into canyon and out – Queens Garden, Navajo Loop, & Rim Traill, 4+/- mile hike. Great weather, really enjoyable hike. Drove SR12 to Escalante and visitor center. Drove SR12 to Escalante, a really scenic road, to Boulder, to Torrey. SR12 was quite the drive, with great windy, curvy roads and scenery. Checked into Torrey Days Inn. Drove to Capitol Reef National Park and drove the scenic drive. Rainy, but had several stops for short hikes and photos. Ate at Chak Balam’s for dinner (Mexican), which was not that good. Back to the hotel for the evening.
Monday – Day #3: Capitol Reef National Park and Arches National Park. (Moab, Utah)
Capitol Reef National Park to Goosenecks Overlook, we owned the place! No one there, hiked around the area, great views beautiful morning. Hiked Hickman Bridge Trail. Drove to Hanksville and Arches National Park. Glad we had reservations to get in! Hiked North & South Window Trails, also Double Arch Trail. Drove to Delicate Arch Viewpoints and short hikes. Drove to Devil’s Gardens area and then to Moab. Stayed at Sleep Inn Suites. We had carry-out pizza from Pasta Jay’s.
Tuesday – Day #4: Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. (Moab, Utah)
Visited Arches National Park and did the Delicate Arch hike. Also hiked to Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Landscape Arch. Drove to Canyonland National Park and had to wait a short time in line to get into the park. Drove throughout the park seeing overlooks and many stops. Hiked Moab Arch trail. Back to Moab. Ate at Zax outside under the roof. Really great meal.
Wednesday – Day #5: Natural Bridges National Monument, Moki Dugway scenic drive, Monument Valley, and Glen Canyon/Lake Powell. (Page, AZ)
Drove to Arches and looked at the stars. They were really good! Went back to the hotel and slept in a little. Drove to Natural Bridges, hiked to all three bridges, and had an enjoyable morning. Drove SR261 to Moki Dugway, a really cool gravel windy road down into the valley. Drove through Monument Valley and to Page. Stayed at Wingate Inn. Drove across Glen Canyon Dam/Lake Powell. Ate dinner outside at Big John’s Texas BBQ. Great food, a good band, nice atmosphere.
Thursday – Day #6: Glen Canyon/Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, Navajo Bridge/Colorado River, and North Rim of the Grand Canyon. (Kanab, Utah)
Went to the east side overlook area and hiked down into Lake Powell/Glen Canyon. Lake was very low! Went to the visitor center, hiked on the dam, and had a nice visit. Drove to Horseshoe Bend and hiked to overlook. A lot of people but worthwhile hike. Took US89 & US89A. Crossed Colorado River at Navajo Bridge. Walked around at the bridge and saw California Condors. Really nice to stop and visit. Drove to Jacob Lake and had lunch. On to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Hiked Bright Angel Point Trail out onto the overlook. Pretty nice site. Drove to Vista Encantada and to Point Imperial. Drove to Kanab and stayed. Ate at Iron Horse.
Friday – Day #7: Zion National Park. (Hurricane, Utah)
Drove to Zion National Park. Arrived at the visitor center before 7 am, and it was really busy (and dark). Rode the bus to Riverside Walk/Narrows and hiked the trail. Hiked Emerald Pools Trail. Drove to Kolob Terrace Road to Lava Point and had lunch. Drove to Kolob Reservoir. Drove to Hurricane and stayed at Super 8. Ate dinner at Rooster Run Cafe.
Saturday – Day #8: Lake Mead National Recreation Area and direct flight from Vegas to Indianapolis.
It was a wonderful trip with many great sites, good restaurants/food, wildlife, and many other exciting places. If you want to know more, just let me know. Always enjoy wandering. Let us hear your favorite places to visit as well.