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2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip

Manitoba
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2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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Well, I have had this planned for 2020 and 2021, and was not able to go for obvious reasons, so I made reservations for a potential July 2022 trip to the Grand Circle. I know it will be very hot, but July is the only time my family of 5 can go. We are from Western Manitoba, Canada. Below is my itinerary. Any suggestions are appreciated. I know many will say stay in the parks, but we have chosen to stay in hotels in nearby towns. Just our preference, and I know staying in the parks would be optimal.

- Begin Trip, making our way to first scheduled destination.

Day 1 - Arrive at Fruita, Colorado. Spend night at La Quinta.

Day 2 - Drive through Colorado National Monument. Make our way to Montrose for the night.

Spend night at Holiday Inn Express.

Day 3 - Tour Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Want to see the main sights without going on long hikes. After, travel to Cortez for the night. Stay at Best Western.

Day 4 - Tour Mesa Verde NP. Return to Cortez for night.

Day 5 - Leave Cortez. Make our way to Tusyan, Arizona. I know this is a long jaunt, but we have done longer. Plan to drive through Monument Valley to see the sights from the road. I don't think we will stop at 4 Corners. Spend night at Best Western in Tusayan.

Day 6 - Tour South Rim of GCNP. Now, not to sure how shuttles work here. Would it be best to drive from Tusayan and park at GC Village, and then use shuttles to see the sights? I don't know. Return to Tusayan for a 2nd night.

Day 7 - Leave Tusayan. Stop at Horseshoe Bend. Spend night at Kanab, Utah. (La Quinta) Not sure what else there is to stop for on way from Tusayan to Kanab.

Day 8 - Leave Kanab. Drive East to West through Zion. Spend night at Springdale La Quinta.

Day 9 - Hop on shuttle to tour Zion Canyon. Return to Springdale for 2nd night.

Day 10 - Leave Springdale. Stop at Bryce for night and stay at Ruby's Inn. Maybe go into Bryce Canyon, depending on time.

Day 11 - Tour Bryce Canyon National Park. Return to Ruby's Inn for night.

Day 12 - Leave Bryce. Drive Highway 12. Stop at Torrey for night. Red Sands Inn.

Day 13 - Tour Capitol Reef NP, Return to Torrey for the night.

Day 14 - Leave Torrey. Make our way to Moab. Maybe stop at Goblin Valley and Deadhorse State Parks (time permitting). Spend night at Best Western in Moab

Day 15 - Tour Canyonlands, Island in the Sky district. Return to Moab for 2nd night.

Day 16 - Tour Arches. Definitely want to hike to Delicate Arch. Return to Moab for 3rd night.

Day 17 - Open. Will determine if we would like to spend more time in Arches or Canyonlands. Spend 4th night in Moab.

Day 18 - Begin return trip home to Manitoba.

I have done a fair bit of research on the National Parks in our trip, but not so much on the State Parks. If there are state parks I should consider, please make suggestions. Thank you very much for reading my itinerary. I hope this trip can happen this time.

17 replies to this topic
Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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Missing Durango and drive on Million Dollar Hwy . Durango is way nicer than Cortez but Cortez is closer to NP.

Million Dollar Hwy is scenic and one of top spectacular drives in US.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell, Utah
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2. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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I think you are making a mistake by not staying one night at The View in Monument Valley.

Here's how you can make that work:

Day 5: Cortez to Monument Valley. 2 hour drive. Afternoon backcountry tour at Monument Valley.

Day 6: Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon. 3 hour drive, no stops. The South Rim is one place where you should seriously consider staying inside the park. There are no shuttles from Tusayan. You will have to drive in to the park and deal with the serious parking problem there. If you stay at one of the six lodges at the rim, you can use the in park shuttles to get around. Much easier.

Day 7: Leave the South Rim via highway 64/east entrance. Some of the best viewpoints at the South Rim are along Desert View Drive to the east entrance. You can spend a couple of hours driving 25 miles. From the east entrance to Horseshoe Bend is a little over a two hour drive. From there to Kanab is a 1 hr 15 min drive. You'll lose an hour on the clock entering Utah.

You really won't lose time at the South Rim by only staying one night. Since it's just a 3 hour drive from Monument Valley, if you get an early start, you can be at the South Rim to have most of Day 6 there.

Tacoma, Washington
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3. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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Do you have a coup,e more days to add?

Change route…..

On day 1. Drive from Denver on 285 to50 to gunnison , next day see black canyon and ouray to Durango

Next day to Mesa verde for a night, thrn night in monument valley.

After Grand Canyon, night in page. Coukd do antelope canyon.

After Moab you can do Colorado NM and fruita on the way back home via Rocky Mountain NP drive thru and night at Estes park.

Vestal, New York
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for Auburn, Finger Lakes
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4. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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Mancos is even closer to the park than Cortez and a nicer option.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is in Kanab if that is of interest.

Bangkok, Thailand
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5. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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We hiked to Delicate Arch years in early morning ago. It was hot but manageable. You need a lot of water bottles. We had sandwiches for lunch at Delicate Arch. The line was long. You could allocate a half day for the Arch. We didn’t have time to explore the base of the Arch.

Atlanta, Georgia
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6. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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Yes agree to breakup drive between Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon.

Houston, TX
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7. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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Have a look at buying the America the Beautiful Pass at the entrance to your first national park or national monument. Costs $80, is good for a year, and covers admission for the vehicle and occupants to all national parks, national monuments, national historic sites, and some other federally controlled lands. When you arrive at each park entrance you show the pass and photo ID and in you go. A real money saver on a trip like you are planning.

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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8. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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I live a few miles from the CO National Monument in Fruita and often hear how many people love the Monument. It's often called a hidden gem, like a mini Grand Canyon. I'd stick with that. 1,472 reviewers on tripadvisor rated it as excellent. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28927-d117416-Reviews-Colorado_National_Monument-Colorado.html

Edited: 02 October 2021, 06:06
Manitoba
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9. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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Will they be implementing a timed entry system for Arches and Zion NPs by next July? I'm just wondering when they might announce this.

Fruita, Colorado
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10. Re: 2022 Grand Circle Colorado, Utah, Arizona Trip
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Arches will begin their timed entry permit system in April 2022, permits will be given out beginning Jan. 1st on recreation.gov

Zion hasn't announced a timed entry system but since they do have a shuttle that requires tickets that may accomplish the same thing in essence.

Visiting many national parks now requires a lot of pre-planning. The days of last minute hopping in the vehicle and heading out are probably long gone for NPs and state parks too.

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