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Old Sep 5, 2012, 8:49 AM   #1
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Default Up coming trip

We are planing a drive out west the end of this month including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Rapid City SD. Denver, Durango, Santa Fe. and the Grand Canyon. Planing to drive in a large circle starting and ending in Vegas.

On my agenda to see are: Salt Lake, Capital Reef, Mt Rushmore, Bad Lands, Rocky Mtn. NP. Mesa Verde NP, Durango Railroad, Grand Canyon.

I am looking for things I shouldn't miss along the way. Any suggestions and photo examples would be appreciated.

We have visited yellow Stone, Teton's, Brice canyon, Zion in past trips.

Thanks in advance


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Old Sep 5, 2012, 12:23 PM   #2
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Hans, we did something similar 4 years ago, flew to Denver and did RMNP then drove to Black Canyon of The Gunnison NP. We then drove over the San Juan Mountains to Durango (this was white knuckle driving over a spectacularly scenic road). Next to Mesa Verde NP and from there to Moab and visits to Canyonland and Arches NP. We then drove to Capitol Reef NP and regret we did not stop at Goblin Valley State Park in Utah on the way. Capitol Reef was fantastic. We then went on to Salt Lake City and flew home.

If you are coming from Las Vegas I would suggest you drive to Capitol Reef by way of the Grand Staircase Escalante. If you want more info PM me.

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Old Sep 5, 2012, 2:24 PM   #3
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I would try the North Rim of the Grand Canyon--less crowded and just as awe inspiring. Point Royale is a nice drive and a 1/4 mile hike to the canyon's edge where I saw a spectcular sunset! If you make it there, do stop at Jacob Lake for a meal and their super scrumptions cookies!

If you are interested in specific recommendations for RMNP, send me a PM...I returned from my second visit in July this year and can share my experiences. Here's a link to some images: Rocky Mtn Nat. Park (6 Images)

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Old Sep 5, 2012, 10:01 PM   #4
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I also made a very brief visit to RMNP several years ago, and if you're interested, I'll be happy to share my thoughts on places where I hiked.
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Old Sep 7, 2012, 11:09 PM   #5
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How long are you going to be out here?

Some other places I might suggest:

Page AZ, for both Lake Powell (which I haven't really visited) and Antelope Canyon (spectacular!!!!).

Monument Valley if you'll be going that far (another place I'd like to visit).

Moab - the place I so want to visit and haven't managed yet - Arches National Park looks phenomenal, and Canyonlands fascinating. Also I've seen pictures of Dead Horse Canyon that look interesting. I think I could easily spend a couple of weeks there, hiking and 'wheeling.

Drive Hwy 12, there's all sorts of interesting places, many of them Utah State Parks. The only one I've looked at (but didn't enter) was Kodachrome Basin. More wonderful red rock and interesting geological formations along the Hwy.

If you get bored with the Strip in Vegas, you might wander to either Red Rock Canyon (not sure of its status, it has changed a couple of times but it's always been controlled by BLM) and/or Valley of Fire. I haven't been to the Valley of Fire in years, but have visited Red Rock occasionally fairly recently. I've always enjoyed it.

I keep saying I'll try for a wilderness permit for the Paria Wilderness area. Don't suppose I'd ever manage to grab one for the Wave, but I've seen fascinating pictures taken in other places in Coyote Buttes area, they are easier to get as they aren't so popular (but still require advance planning, if they are still issuing a certain number ahead of time).

While I haven't been there in years, I've wanted to visit Dinosaur National Monument. It's not something to spend lots of time visiting, but I found it an interesting place to stop and spend an hour or so.

There's just too many places to see and do in that area!
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