Author Topic: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)  (Read 876 times)

The 585

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Hey guys, I want to plan a week or so to fly out to Vegas and rent a car to visit the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. Anybody have useful tips and itineraries? Trying to figure out the best order and where to book lodging. I'm aiming for early-mid December. Thanks in advance!

boarder42

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2021, 06:20:35 PM »
Hey guys, I want to plan a week or so to fly out to Vegas and rent a car to visit the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. Anybody have useful tips and itineraries? Trying to figure out the best order and where to book lodging. I'm aiming for early-mid December. Thanks in advance!

We did a similar roadtrip in may 5 years ago to hit the mighty 5. I'm not sure if you're going to be able to get to Bryce that time of year in a rental car. It's high up and there was still snow on the ground when we were there in may. We rented a camper van from escape out of Las Vegas it's the best vacation I've been on and we travel alot. Staying in park saves alot of time. We booked 6 months out but I can't Imagine that's necessary for camping spots in low season. Not sure what advice I can provide on hotels.

The 585

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2021, 08:39:05 AM »
Hey guys, I want to plan a week or so to fly out to Vegas and rent a car to visit the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. Anybody have useful tips and itineraries? Trying to figure out the best order and where to book lodging. I'm aiming for early-mid December. Thanks in advance!

We did a similar roadtrip in may 5 years ago to hit the mighty 5. I'm not sure if you're going to be able to get to Bryce that time of year in a rental car. It's high up and there was still snow on the ground when we were there in may. We rented a camper van from escape out of Las Vegas it's the best vacation I've been on and we travel alot. Staying in park saves alot of time. We booked 6 months out but I can't Imagine that's necessary for camping spots in low season. Not sure what advice I can provide on hotels.

Great point, thank you! I didn't realize Bryce was at such a high elevation and could have weather issues. May need to cut that one out, but still it'll be great to see at least Vegas, Grand Canyon, and maybe Zion if weather will permit.

Does driving around there in December require snow chains or snow tires? Something I didn't even think of!

boarder42

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2021, 09:03:41 AM »
Hey guys, I want to plan a week or so to fly out to Vegas and rent a car to visit the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. Anybody have useful tips and itineraries? Trying to figure out the best order and where to book lodging. I'm aiming for early-mid December. Thanks in advance!

We did a similar roadtrip in may 5 years ago to hit the mighty 5. I'm not sure if you're going to be able to get to Bryce that time of year in a rental car. It's high up and there was still snow on the ground when we were there in may. We rented a camper van from escape out of Las Vegas it's the best vacation I've been on and we travel alot. Staying in park saves alot of time. We booked 6 months out but I can't Imagine that's necessary for camping spots in low season. Not sure what advice I can provide on hotels.

Great point, thank you! I didn't realize Bryce was at such a high elevation and could have weather issues. May need to cut that one out, but still it'll be great to see at least Vegas, Grand Canyon, and maybe Zion if weather will permit.

Does driving around there in December require snow chains or snow tires? Something I didn't even think of!

i have no idea but definitely worth looking into.  As for antelope canyon the photographer tour is awesome if you can get everyone the required DSLR and trip/monopod.  They throw buckets of sand in the air to get you those cool light beam shots.  You'll also want to hit up horseshoe bend while you're at lake powel/page area.  We enjoyed going to see rainbow bridge as well but its a bit pricey and i'd say less awesome than horseshoe or antelope.  If you're into bridges there's navajo bridge close by HS bend as well. 

boarder42

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2021, 09:46:32 AM »
not sure what your rental car costs but i just looked up escape campervans and they are 365 on the cheaper side for a week in december. looks like you get 100 miles a day for 30 bucks so all in for a week with your car and hotels its sub 100 a day.  And this lets you camp in parks and you have a fridge and camp stove for making your own meals.  i'd checkout the national parks camp sites to see if they have them you're probably paying 20-30 a night on top of that so add another 140-200 for the week.

https://www.escapecampervans.com/checkout/step1/

The 585

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2021, 12:24:16 PM »
not sure what your rental car costs but i just looked up escape campervans and they are 365 on the cheaper side for a week in december. looks like you get 100 miles a day for 30 bucks so all in for a week with your car and hotels its sub 100 a day.  And this lets you camp in parks and you have a fridge and camp stove for making your own meals.  i'd checkout the national parks camp sites to see if they have them you're probably paying 20-30 a night on top of that so add another 140-200 for the week.

https://www.escapecampervans.com/checkout/step1/

Incredible recommendation, I'll definitely have to look into that. Do the campsites generally need to be reserved in advance, or can you roll in and pay the nightly fee without reservation? I'd love the added benefit of flexibility!

boarder42

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2021, 12:48:40 PM »
not sure what your rental car costs but i just looked up escape campervans and they are 365 on the cheaper side for a week in december. looks like you get 100 miles a day for 30 bucks so all in for a week with your car and hotels its sub 100 a day.  And this lets you camp in parks and you have a fridge and camp stove for making your own meals.  i'd checkout the national parks camp sites to see if they have them you're probably paying 20-30 a night on top of that so add another 140-200 for the week.

https://www.escapecampervans.com/checkout/step1/

Incredible recommendation, I'll definitely have to look into that. Do the campsites generally need to be reserved in advance, or can you roll in and pay the nightly fee without reservation? I'd love the added benefit of flexibility!

in december i doubt these places are booked out heavily as they are colder - we booked 6 months to the day out to get ours in may during memorial day time.  Also you should call escape as thats a really low season for them and they may offer you a bigger discount.

honeybbq

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2021, 01:20:35 PM »
I'm also heading to Vegas and GC in December! We've mostly been (mentally) preparing for snow and bad weather. Otherwise we plan to do some hiking and hopefully bike riding (rental) and maybe a helicopter flight (not mustachian).


uniwelder

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2021, 02:34:54 PM »
We've used a Jucy camper van (the US company went out of business from what I understand, but employees bought the vehicles and are still renting them out last I checked) and was pretty nice.  They had a location in Las Vegas.  I have no idea of current pricing, but at the time, it was marginally more expensive than a rental car and includes sink, stove, fridge, sleeping room, all built into a Dodge Caravan.

Based on your route, it would be nice to stop shortly at Valley of Fire state park.  It'll be directly on the way out of Las Vegas toward Zion.  We spent the afternoon there and there are some interesting short hikes.  You'll also be relatively close to the Hoover Dam if you're interested in touring it.

I'm pretty sure the northern entrance to the Grand Canyon closes in the winter.  We went just after Thanksgiving and I think the entrance might have been closed at that point.  I think you'd have to drive all the way around to the south end, which is pretty far from your other destinations.

Woodshark

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2021, 06:32:58 PM »
We flew back last month from a 10 day trip to see the Grand Canyon and some of the National Parks out west. Our flight there was from Atlanta to Las Vegas.

So we flew in, picked up the rental car at the airport and headed out. Zion Park was our first experience to the parks out west. Impressive. Temp was 106 in the afternoon so we planned early morning hikes. We stayed in the park itself, in one of the cabins. Morning #1 we were up at 4:45am to be out the door at 5:45. We walked to the shuttle stop in the dark with flashlights & caught the 6:00am shuttle to the head of the trail to the Narrows. We were the first ones on the trail! Hiked one mile in the dark with headlamps until it was light enough to see. Then (with rented water boots and hiking staff) we spent 6 hours hiking the Narrows up and back. Being some of the first ones in the morning, it felt like we had the entire river to ourselves. Well, at least for the first hour or two.

The next morning was almost the same. Up at 4:45am to be out the door at 5:45. Started hiking up the Angels Landing trail in the dark with headlamps. Hiked one mile in the dark with headlamps until it was light enough to see. Once again, we were the first people on the trailhead. About the time we got to the "Walters Wiggles" switchbacks, we started getting passed by younger college-aged kids that were in much better shape and used to the higher attitudes. It's 1,500 from the bottom to the 5,800 feet summit so we were moving slow.

The final 1/2 mile to the summit of Angels Landing is the hardest and scariest. Hundreds of people do it a day, but you have to take it seriously. Since 2000, 13 people have died on the hike, including two in March. The wife took one look at it and said ($#@L no!) She decided to wait at Scouts Landing while I made for the summit. It was a scary 1/2 mile of hanging onto chains and watching every foot placement. (Do a search on YouTube for Angels Landing if you want to see what it's like.) I passed a couple of people who started up, but got part way and just got too scared to go on. Once at the top, I took a couple of pics and watched the sunrise for a few minutes, then headed back down before the narrow summit trail up got too crowded. Met up with a well rested wife and hiked back down

That afternoon we drove down to Springdale and rented e-bikes. Where have these been in our lives! Did 18 miles in the park without breaking a sweat. I would love to buy us a couple, but I don't know where I would store them.

The next morning we drove to Bryce Canyon for two nights. In the morning we watched the sunrise at Sunset point then hiked the Queens Garden Trail.


The next day we drove to Page, Arizona, stopping in the Paria area, where we hiked Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch and into the string of slot canyons they have there. It was about 105 degrees and not a cloud around, so it made for a hot and dusty hike down the dry creek beds.

The next morning we visited Horseshoe Bend and then did the lower Antelope Canyon tour. I chose the 12:00 time slot so the sun was overhead and the light on the canyon walls was very good. Due to Covid hitting the Indian Reservation hard, they cut way back on the number of people allowed on the tours, even spacing them 15 minutes apart. That allowed us a little more time photographing than expected. They no longer allow tripods but by bracing against the walls, it was possible to get clear shots.

Later that afternoon we drove to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We spent 3 night in a cabin on the rim at Bright Angel lodge. The first morning we were up at dawn to catch the sunrise and then we hiked a part of Bright Angel trail. Our last day we were up early to catch the 6:00am shuttle to take us to the trailhead. We hiked South Kaibab past Ooh Ahh point down to Cedar Ridge and back. After a late lunch and a short rest we walked the rim trail then finished the day sharing a bottle of wine at the rim while watching the sunset.

Finally got to sleep in late the next morning. (to 8:30am!) Packed up and drove 4.5 hours back to the Vegas airport to fly home. Total miles on the rental car was almost 1000 miles.

PacificaFog

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Re: Week long trip in Southwest USA? (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah)
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2021, 07:22:27 PM »
Iíve camped at both Zion and Grand Canyon in the winter and didnít have any trouble getting a site, but you should be aware that hiking might be very limited due to icy trails.  Bring a camera and be amazed at the dusting of white snow on the red rock.  I think itís a really magical time to be there!

If youíre considering renting an RV of some sort, you may also want to look at Outdoorsy.  Itís basically AirBNB for RVs.  We used it this summer and had a great experience.

Have an amazing trip!  Itís an incredible part of the country!!