I created this itinerary for our trip that I have outlined over the last couple of weeks here on TB. We ended up adding the Grand Canyon so things shifted a bit but figured this might be helpful to someone else. Listed a couple blogs that I found helpful towards the end.
Happy trip planning!
Day 1 Arrive in VEGAS
Points of Interest :
Bellagio Fountains water show
Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Sky Lobby at the Mandarin Oriental
Outdoor Activities around Vegas – Hot Spring Anyone? ( 5.6 miles RT hike)
Day 2 Head to Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
From Vegas to VOF: 52.1 miles / 53 minutes
*Dog Friendly Park (on leash)
Mainly Short to Moderate Hikes at this park
Scenic Drive : White Domes Road
Hike Options : All Trails, Fire Wave, Elephant Rock, Natural Arches ( 5 miles RT), The Fire Wave ( not to be confused with ‘The Wave’), Prospect Trail 11 miles RT), The Pinnacles ( (4 miles RT) or loop (7 miles RT loop). )
Camping Options : Arch Rock and Atatl Campground ( first come, first serve)
Exit Park and head NB on I15 toward St. George, Utah
Day 3 Zion National Park, Utah
2 to 3 days?
From VOF to Zion : 133 miles / 2 hr 30 min
On the Way: In Springdale, on the southern tip of Zion, stop at Springdale Fruit Market for gourmet snacks and fresh fruit grown in orchards beside the banks of the Virgin River. Also in Springdale, Zion Canyon Theatre shows Zion Canyon Treasure of the Gods on a giant movie screen.
Drive the Zion – Mount Carmel Highway … easy hikes off road
Angel’s Landing ( 5.4 miles RT) Steneous
Observation Point ( 8 miles RT) Mod to Strenuous
Riverside Walk / The Narrows ( 2.2 miles ) Easy ( walk through water ?)
Permits are not needed for most day hikes within Zion Canyon. Permits are only needed for overnight wilderness camping, the top-down Narrows hike, or a day hike in the Subway.
Weeping Rock Trail — This half-hour hike (round trip) takes you beneath Weeping Rock, a huge sandstone rock formation from which water drips like a gentle rain.
Canyon Overlook Trail — This is an excellent hour-long hike. You’ll get stunning canyon views and pass jagged rock formations. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some goats.
Upper and Lower Emerald Pool trails — The lower trail, which passes beneath a waterfall, is quite nice. Compared with the park’s other hikes, the upper trail is nothing special.
Side Drive: Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive in the far northwest part of the park—a 10-mile round-trip—looks over the edge of the Colorado Plateau into a wilderness landscape laced with deep box canyons.
Oddity: Crawford Arch, also known as Bridge Mountain Arch, is a long, thin, freestanding sandstone arch (156 feet long and 3 feet wide) high on Bridge Mountain. The hike up is long and technical, but you can see the arch from the patio of the Human History Museum, a thousand feet below.
Local Amenities :
- Groceries, firewood, and ice can be purchased at The Canyon Market or at Sol Foods. The Canyon Market also has some camp kitchen supplies if you forget any cooking necessities.
- Liquor, beer, and wine can be purchased at the Switchback Liquor Store. It’s a state run liquor store, so it’s closed on Sundays, but the plus side is that they sell full strength (>3.2%) beer.
- Cafe Soleil is an awesome, funky cafe with local art for sale. They have free wifi, friendly staff, and delicious coffee. The food also looked amazing. I highly recommend the dirty soy chai latte (chai with a shot of espresso)
Day 6 From Zion to Bryce 73 miles 1hr 20 min
Sunset Point – Best place for sunset
Paria View awesome for afternoon.
Sunrise Point — The Point affords great views of Bryce Amphitheater. On clear days, you can see for miles. Formations visible from here include Boat Mesa and Sinking Ship. .9 mile rim trail
Sunset Point — Aside from taking in the sunset, this point is a great spot for birdwatching. Check out Thor’s Hammer when you’re here.
Natural Bridge — This isn’t really a bridge but a humongous arch carved by erosion.
Queens Garden — This scenic 1.8–mile trail takes you into Bryce Amphitheater and passes through numerous rock formations, including one shaped like Britain’s Queen Victoria near the terminus of the trail.
Navajo Trail — The trail, a 1.3-mile loop, is short but steep and descends into Bryce Amphitheater. In the winter, the last part of the loop is closed, so be prepared to backtrack your way out or extend your hike to another trail.
Connect parts of two trails, Queens Garden and Navajo, on a 3.1-mile round-trip that descends into the weirdest of Bryce’s hoodoo geology. The hike back up the Navajo Trail passes through Wall Street, a canyon surrounded by skyscraper spires, from which you can see the park’s iconic formation, top-heavy Thor’s Hammer.
More details about what to expect and bring for winter camping in Bryce: https://www.theoutbound.com/utah/camping/winter-camping-in-bryce-canyon-national-park
**Shovel/tarp not a bad idea**
Winter Notes :
Canyon trails are open to snowshoers or hikers who use traction devices (available at the park store) on their boots. The park provides snowshoes for ranger-led snowshoe hikes and full-moon hikes throughout the winter.
Day 8 Bryce to Grand Staircase Escalante : 77.6 / 1 hr 28 min
Lower Calf Creek Falls ( 6 miles RT) easy
Neon Canyon /Golden Cathedral ( 9 miles RT) moderate
Hole In The Rock
Spooky Gulch Visit in midday for the best sunlight
Antelope Canyon : 6.5 miles heavy traffic out and back. Have to get Navajo guide as it is on a reservation. Better for photography not hiking.
Horseshoe Bend : Easy walk from Parking lot , Sunset is nice
Lower Calf Creek Falls Trailhead
If you are looking for something a little more off-the-beaten-path, one of the really great things about Escalante is that it is managed but Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and there are numerous free campsites scattered throughout the monument. All of these are primitive sites with no facilities or restrooms. You must pack out your trash and the BLM asks that you only camp in already disturbed areas.
Day 9/10 From Grand Staircase Escalante to Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend /Coyote Buttes ( Page, AZ) 26.4 miles / 35 mins
Resources : Girl on a Hike, Bearfoot Theory, My Life is a Movie,
Guide Books : Hiking from here to wow
Gear : Walking Poles? Crampons?, warm clothes, gloves, long underwear and hats, Gaiters, – mentioned above and now just saw this:) but shovel if camping in snow and tarp, def bringing poles and snowshoes, and water “proof”ish hiking boots
Entertainment : Cards, jambox
Zion Canyon Brew Pub – at the park entrance