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Re: Bryce/Page, Az question

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Bryce/Page, Az question
April 09, 2016 05:03PM
Planning to visit Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce for the first time this June. The poll on this site a few months ago with many selecting Zion as one of their favorite parks motivated me to plan this trip. Some questions:

1. What's Bryce Canyon lodge Like? is it worth staying there, or should I stay outside? It is one of the grand lodges? We are paying around $240 a night in Grand Canyon and Zion to stay in the park, and trying to decide if we want to once again stay in the park or stay outside. A place named Ruby's is a little bit cheaper.

2. I have always wanted to see Glen Canyon Dam, having been moved by David Brower's story of the loss and his regrets over it. Is it worth adding a night (or 2?) in Page, Az. Maybe see Monument valley? My 14-year old daughter really enjoys kayaking (not whitewater, but calm rivers or lakes). I assume Lake Powell is full of motorized boats, so not peaceful. Any ideas for us to include a vacation spot around there (or on the way there/back from Northern California) that would include calm water boating?

Anything else you decide to add as must-dos in any of those three parks, or that area, would love to hear.

Thanks!
Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 09, 2016 09:53PM
I've stayed in the Bryce Canyon Grand Lodge just outside the main gate many times and always had great service there. Have stayed in Page many times. There is a visitors center at Glen Canyon Dam with great views of the dam or you can just park on either side of the bridge right across from the dam for some good photo op's. I haven't taken a boat/kayak on Lake Powell so I can't help there. Antelope Canyon gets plenty of visitors and might be something to try if you don't mind fighting the crowds. Horseshoe Bend in Page is a popular photo op. Good news it's free. Bad news. It can get really crowded. Monument Valley is quite a drive from Page (another 3 hours east), but maybe worth it if your a photographer or an old western movie fan. smiling smiley
Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 10, 2016 12:32AM
Haven't stayed at the Lodge but I did stay at Ruby's a few years back. It was a nice place, nothing too grand and pretty darn close to the gate I remember.

Regarding Zion, I would definitely recommend checking out the Echo canyon area. You get here on the way up to observation point. It was gorgeous when I stopped by during winter. Also Hidden Canyon is a nice not too crowded hike thats nearby too!

Food wise in around Zion, Meme's was a pretty good cafe for post-hike grub! I think they have a 25% off if you return!
Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 10, 2016 09:40AM
Thanks! Excited to go there.
avatar Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 10, 2016 03:46PM
Ideally, planning to visit any National Park should be done well in advance, months preferably, especially if you wish to stay in the park which you've already done. With respect to Bryce, if you can't stay at the Bryce Canyon Lodge I highly recommend staying at the Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel. If your on a budget then Ruby's is a decent alternative. Ruby's offers comfort food buffet dining which is always packed and a good deal if you have children. Fine dining awaits you at the Bryce Canyon Lodge if that's your preference. Staying inside or outside a national park has its pluses and minuses. Like staying within Disney or outside your experience will be different. If your staying at Bryce for several days I recommend renting an ATV and riding through the Dixie National Forest or take a mule ride within the park.

With respect to Zion I highly recommend hiking in the Virgin River. Provided the flow isn't too strong in June (we're usually there in September) check out the Zion Adventure Country outfitter. You'll need the gear and the information necessary to hike up to Wallstreet and back. Hope the mule deer are still entertaining on the front lawn in Zion. I would also recommend a hike out to Double Arch Alcove located in the relatively quieter side of Zion - Kolob Canyon.

Grand Canyon...well it is amazing from either side. If you're on the popular southern rim be sure to walk the rim trail. It's a wonderful way to enjoy the rim and have a shuttle to take you back from wherever you decide to stop. Be sure to sit on the rim at night!



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Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 10, 2016 06:53PM
Quote
Acadia
Ideally, planning to visit any National Park should be done well in advance, months preferably, especially if you wish to stay in the park which you've already done. With respect to Bryce, if you can't stay at the Bryce Canyon Lodge I highly recommend staying at the Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel.

I managed to book one night at Bryce Canyon Lodge a couple of days ago, but I have read online that many folks seem to prefer staying outside the park, so I thought I'd check (or maybe it's Zion, where people seem to prefer Springdale to staying inside the park). I have no sense of any of these parks. In Yosemite, if at all possible, I would highly recommend people stay in the park, but it seems like in these other parks, that's not always the case, hence my question.

Thanks for all your hiking/activity suggestions.
Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 17, 2016 12:30PM
For Bryce it's not necessary to stay in the park. You drive to each scenic spot anyway.

Zion must do hikes: Angel's Landing, The Narrows, Canyon Overlook, Emerald Pools and Weeping Wall.

I've spent several months living in Springdale just outside Zion, so I could go on and on, but those are the best for a short trip.
Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 19, 2016 03:13PM
We usually do Bryce as a day trip from Zion. However we have stayed there twice in the past. Once at one of the cabins in the park at the Bryce Canyon Lodge and once we stayed at Rubys. If we would stay there again, I would definitely stay in the park in one of the cabins especially if you can get one near the rim. It is nice to be right there and I love taking a walk at night and seeing the stars. I also like the fact when you stay in the park you can get a early start on hiking before things get too crowded and it gets too hot and then you are also there after the day visitors leave and you can enjoy the quiet. When we stayed there the food at the Lodge was OK but it was a long time ago so I don't know how it is now. We find Ruby's to be shouting out "Tourist Trap" everywhere you look and would not stay there again. The room was clean but nothing exciting and I would rather have the ambiance of staying in the park in one of the cabins. We have eaten at Ruby's for dinner several times when we have visited the park and it has gone downhill over the years. After the last time, we won't eat there again.

In Bryce I do recommend going to see all the over looks along the canyon rim either by driving or by hiking the rim trail. I am not sure how the shuttle system works there since we mostly go in November when it is not running. If you do only one below the rim hike I suggest the Wall Street trail.

When we go to Zion we always stay at Zion Lodge in the park. We like to get one of the cabins especially when we go in the cooler months so you can use the fireplace and like the fact that they have little porches you can sit out on. We have only stayed in the lodge rooms once and the one we had was a end unit with a private balcony and the room was really big. Unlike the cabins it does not have a fireplace but it does have TV if that is something that is important to you. During the busy months Zion Canyon is closed to private vehicles but if you stay at the Lodge you can drive your car to the Lodge and park it and leave it there. In the summer when it is busy, the shuttles are really crowded and you sometimes have a long wait to get a shuttle in Springdale to get into the park. Springdale has a great variety of places to stay at and to eat. It is a personal preference but no matter what park we go to I find the advantages of staying right inside a park no matter what park it is outweighs the increased cost. We like being able to walk out the door and you are right in the park. There is no having to drive to a park and having to be in a Q to get in or waiting for a shuttle or bus to get to the park. Make sure if you are going to do the Narrows check if the weather conditions and water level is OK. We have only done part of it as a day hike starting from the shuttle stop at the Temple of Sinawava but really enjoyed it. Angel's Landing is one of the popular hikes and even if you only make it to Scout's Lookout it is worth it. Make sure you get a real early start and take enough water since much of the trail is in direct sunlight and gets really hot. There is one spot called Refrigerator Canyon where you can get a chance to cool off. It is always our tradition to do the Emerald Pools the morning that we leave the park no matter if we are there in the summer or in the fall. Almost forgot. We like to go through the Mount Carmel tunnel and spend time in that area of the park. It is not as crowded and has the added attraction of big horned sheep.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2016 03:16PM by parklover.
Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 21, 2016 02:35PM
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. I've booked us at the Bryce Canyon lodge for one night. I'll keep my Zion lodge cabins based on your suggestions.

I'll have to look into the drives and hikes in more detail as we get closer. My husband has a strong fear of heights, and since we'd like to stay as a family, we'll probably avoid the crazy height hikes or drives, if possible. Hoping to maybe check out the bristlecone pines in Ely on the way back.
Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 24, 2016 07:10PM
Quote
recycling1991
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. I've booked us at the Bryce Canyon lodge for one night. I'll keep my Zion lodge cabins based on your suggestions.

I'll have to look into the drives and hikes in more detail as we get closer. My husband has a strong fear of heights, and since we'd like to stay as a family, we'll probably avoid the crazy height hikes or drives, if possible. Hoping to maybe check out the bristlecone pines in Ely on the way back.

Speaking as someone who battles with height issues, I'd have to say that if major exposures are not your cup of tea, you definitely do NOT want to attempt Angel's Landing...at least not the whole thing. Not only does the last half of the hike have some very exposed sections, you're sharing those sections with people who have no business being on a trail like that. I turned around pretty quickly once I started the final approach (the part beyond "Walter's Wiggles" where you actually start to go out on to the huge rock that is actually Angels Landing) and realized just how many people were trying to force past me in the opposite direction (there are several videos on YouTube of this section of the trail if you want to see what I mean). I detoured onto the West Rim trail, saw almost no one and ended up loving that part of the hike.

I also loved the hike up through Echo Canyon to Observation Point but be aware that there's a section shortly beyond Echo Canyon which is fairly exposed (it's a pretty wide ledge but, IIRC, there's nothing at all on the outside of the trail other than a vertical drop. At the very least, if you have nervous people in your party, make sure they're on the inside of the trail and try to keep them talking or otherwise keep their minds off "that side" of the trail!). I agree that Canyon Overlook is a great one. It's very short and almost completely flat but goes through a surprisingly wide variety of landscapes and ends with some stunning views (and any steep dropoffs at the overlook are VERY easy to avoid).

In Bryce, I very much recommend going down into the "canyon" (it's not actually a canyon, btw...more of a highly eroded wall descending (eventually) to a fairly large, flat plain). Most of the hikes are not that steep, rarely have much or any exposure and seeing the hoodoos up-close-and-personal is an endlessly fascinating experience. Try to get an early start on your hikes, though...especially in the area around Queen's Garden and Navajo Trail...these can get quite crowded by mid-to-late morning and into the afternoon.

Enjoy yourself and be safe!
avatar Re: Bryce/Page, Az question
April 21, 2016 04:27PM
You'll find a sampling of Bristlecone pines at Yovimpa Point in Bryce. The King of them all has to be the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest East of Bishop. Definitely a must see.



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