Bryce Canyon National Park Travel Answers

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North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

by abwd1698 Online Now May 16, 2012 at 6:31 AM

My husband and I are planning a trip in early September, starting in Vegas and taking in the Grand Canyon (probably north rim), Zion, Bryce, then on to Yosemite and ending in San Francisco. I don't want to spend all my time in the car driving past sites, so wondered what a good time frame would be to really see these 4 national parks. Also, is it advisable to make hotel reservations ahead of time for outside the park, or do we just wing it and find a place when we decide where we want to be? OR, would making reservations in a town that is within driving distance of GC, Zion and Bryce be the best way to go and then do day trips to whichever park we want to visit? I am allowing us about 2 weeks before we get to SF to take in these 4 parks.

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8 Answers
  • dnwitte's Profile Photo

    Re: North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

    by dnwitte Online Now May 16, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    I wouldn't suggest doing your day trips from one location idea as the distances are quite enormous and you will want very full days in the parks to see everything.

    Springdale is a little town with everything you need right at the edge of Zion, and I would suggest booking a room there, or at the lodge inside the park if you want to pay for that luxury. From Springdale village free shuttle buses take you in and out of the park, with various trailhead drop off points.

    For Bryce, the most convenient would be Ruby's Inn, a large complex at the entrance to the park, with an enormous motel, restaurants, grocery and souvenir shopping, information and gas. The rooms there are large, modern and spotless.

    I've had success without booking ahead, but I was there well out of high season, and I think it would ease your mind to know you have your rooms sorted.

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  • Sevsa's Profile Photo

    Re: North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

    by Sevsa Online Now May 16, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Definitely make reservations and do it at the lodges in the parks if they are available. To me it is generally a waste of time to stay outside a park and have to drive to where you want to be. Springdale outside Zion abuts the park entrance so that is almost like staying there but not quite. There isn't any place that is close enough to the three parks that would be useful as a home base.

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Re: North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

    by pfsmalo Online Now May 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    If you really wanted a home base for a while the best bet is Kanab, 1 hour from Zion and 2 hours from Bryce or the North Rim. A good selection of motels, a lot cheaper than the lodges, but it may be a bit far for you. Otherwise I would definitely book ahead for the North rim as their lodges fill up quickly. Springdale is a good suggestion for Zion, but I wouldn't pay through the nose for Ruby's Inn, just to to be that close, when there is a great little town called Tropic about 20 mins drive away with restaurants and motels at decent prices.Or even Panguitch which is a bit further.

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  • dnwitte's Profile Photo

    Re: North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

    by dnwitte Online Now May 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    True, Ruby's Inn was one of the more expensive places I stayed, but in comparison to some of the dire motels in the area that weren't all *that* much cheaper I found it a decent value and decided to opt for the convenience of being right at the gates of the park and spare myself some driving.

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  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    Re: North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

    by mikelisaanna Online Now May 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    We stayed in Kanab and did day trips to the North Rim and to Bryce. We stopped in Zion on the way to and from Kanab. Yosemite is a long drive from Las Vegas. Break it up into a few days. Spend a day in Death Valley on the way to Yosemite. Another interesting stop on the way to Yosemite is Bodie, the largest ghost town in the Western USA. Give yourself at least two days in Yosemite. Yosemite is the ne park where staying at a lodge in the park is very advantageous because of the distances involved getting into and out of the park each day.

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  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Re: North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

    by Segolily Online Now May 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    If you like to hike and explore then you will want at least
    3 days for Zion, and could increase that to 4 to see some of the other areas
    1-2 days for Bryce (but could increase that a couple days as well if you wanted to branch out from Bryce and take the scenic drive up to Boulder, or try out Willis Creek or Grosvenor Arch etc)
    2-3 days for North Rim
    I don't know about Yosemite, but I would think at least 3 days and very easily more there. Then you'll need a day or two travel time to get there, and Death Valley would be a good intermediate visit, probably need 2 days there.

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  • karen_mo's Profile Photo

    Re: North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

    by karen_mo Online Now May 17, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Springdale is a great location for Zion, though not the cheapest of towns. We had 3 nights there. There are some nice cabins in Bryce run by the park. They are right on the rim so you can catch sunrise/sunset and the night stars! A couple of nights should be fine, if you can't do more. If you can get out to see more of Utah go for it, the area round Escalante is amazing and love Kodachrome park.
    For Yosemite, try and get in the park but a couple of years we have stayed in Groveland. It's a quaint small town and quite near to the Hetch hetchy turn off for a different view of the park. Again 3-4 nights would be nice.
    For grand canyon we came in from las vegas and stayed in Flagstaff for the night, then a short ride to the canyon. We didn't spend much time there.

    Oh and the suggestion of Death Valley is a good one, though it may well be prohibitively hot in early September - do some checking.

    Hope that helps.

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  • Re: North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion then on to Yosemite and SF

    by abwd1698 Online Now May 21, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Thank you to everyone for the great advice and ideas. You have all definitley helped in planning this trip.

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