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Last minute birthday trip to Utah

Silver Spring...
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Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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Due to last week's request by Hawaii's governor for tourists to not travel to Hawaii through October, we have pivoted to Utah to celebrate my husband's 74th birthday. I usually like to plan well in advance, but, now am scrambling to get everything set up for this new trip--a lot of places are booked up or are very expensive. Clean and quiet are priorities for accommodations. Not interested in camping.

Arriving in Salt Lake City on SW on September 30 and departing on October 10. Trying to use our Hyatt points and globalist status to bring down the overall cost of this trip (rescheduled our Maui trip to March 2022). We enjoy nature, birdwatching, local food. Prefer to avoid crowds. This is what we have so far, would love your suggestions for scenic drives, short hikes, and places to stop for picnics or for outdoor dining.

September 30 - Arrive 435 pm, Pick up Hertz SUV, Hyatt Place Salt Lake City/Downtown/The Gateway; Red Iguana for dinner???

October 1 - Drive to Moab, Hyatt Place Moab

October 2 - Arches National Park, Hyatt Place Moab

October 3 - Canyonlands National Park, Little Wild Horse Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Motel Torrey, Hunt and Gather restaurant for dinner???

October 4 - Capitol Reef National Park in am, scenic byway highway 12 between Torrey and Bryce; 2 hrs 25 min?, Airbnb in Tropic, Stone Hearth Grille for dinner???

October 5 -Teach class virtually 9-10:15 am Utah time, Bryce Canyon National Park (15 min drive), Dark Ranger Telescope Tour – 8 pm (16 min drive), Airbnb in Tropic

October 6 - Bryce Canyon National Park in am (15 min drive), Zion National Park in pm (1 hr 20 min), Hyatt Place St George/Convention Center (53 min), Viva chicken for carryout dinner???

October 7 - Teach class virtually 9-10:15 am Utah time while hubbie does 2 hour hike on Sandstone Trails in Snow Canyon State Park from 8-10 am (Airbnb Experience), Zion National Park (53 min each way), Hyatt Place St George/Convention Center

October 8 - Zion National Park (53 min each way) , 5:30 pm reservation at Cliffside Restaurant (7 min drive, sunset is at 707 pm)? Hyatt Place St George/Convention Center

October 9 - Drive back to Park city (4 hrs 32 min drive), Hyatt Centric Park City

October 10 - Drive back to airport, return car, and depart at 2:05 pm

25 replies to this topic
Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell, Utah
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55 reviews
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1. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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There are better places to stay in Torrey than Motel Torrey. Our first choice is the Studio Cabin at Torrey Tradin Post and Cabins or at Austin’s Chuckwagon Lodge. They are both located right in the middle of the quaint town of Torrey. Motel Trading Post is fine and it’s within walking distance of Hunt and Gather. We go to Torrey a lot. Whenever we drive by Motel Torrey, the place seems to be filled with motorcycles. Nothing against people who ride motorcycles. But all those engines revving up in the morning could be annoying.

Get an early start from SLC to Moab. I think you are short a night in Moab. Plan on spending the afternoon of October 1 in Canyonlands. I think your transition day to Torrey will feel rushed with the Canyonlands, Little Wild Horse and Goblin Valley State Parks. It’s a three hour drive from Moab to Torrey, no stops. You could spend at least three hours at Little Wild Horse and Goblin Valley. A drive thru of Canyonlands can take three hours with a few stops and short hikes

Remember drive times from online mapping programs are wheels turning with no stops for anything or traffic delays.

Have you verified that the WiFi signal at your Tropic accommodations will support teaching a remote class?

You will need to be very alert driving between Trooic and Bryce in the dark, It’s a dark two lane road with one section that has a sharp turn. Make a mistake on that turn and you could end up over the side of a cliff.

Edited: 30 August 2021, 00:17
2. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah

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Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell, Utah
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3. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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Missed that you want to avoid crowds. That will be tough in the Utah parks. The time of year you are traveling is still peak tourist season. Because you are staying in St. George, when you visit Zion, you will need to ride a shuttle bus crammed with people at least twice. If you can’t get parking at the Zion visitor center, then you will be riding four shuttle buses at Zion. St George is known in Utah to have a considerable population of anti vaxxers and anti maskers.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell, Utah
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4. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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Scenic drives -

The best will be highway 12 between Torrey and Bryce,

When you drive to Moab, take highway 128 from I 70’ it’s the scenic approach to Moab.

And then there’s the scenic drives in all the parks.

Hiking - Each national park has information that describes hiking in the park. Start there. Come back to the forum and ask questions about specific hikes.

Edited: 30 August 2021, 00:37
Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell, Utah
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5. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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I saw an error in my first post. I mean Motel Torrey is fine. Also, it doesn’t get much quieter than the Studio Cabin at the Trading Post. It also has a full kitchen.

You will want to have a cooler with you that you keep stocked with food, etc. There’s no food sold in Arches, Canyonlands or Capitol Reef.

Silver Spring...
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6. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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Thanks for the reassurance Connie. I checked tripadvisor reviews and noise didn't seem to be an issue for Motel Torrey. The room includes microwave and frig.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell, Utah
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7. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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Like I said. Motel Torrey is fine. But if there's a group of motorcycle guys there when you are, then you will get the noise of them coming and going.

Since I've never stayed at Motel Torrey, I checked their website. I was surprised at the room rates. I thought that the small property would be less than that. It appears to be pretty basic on the outside. As a comparison, the Studio Cabin at Torrey Trading Post and Cabins is $105 a night, plus tax. with a full kitchen and plenty of space. IMO, it would be worth a call directly to Torrey Trading Post and ask about availability for your dates. I say call because you'll get a quicker response. They have a website that you can see what the cabin looks like and you can make an inquiry on the website. However, I know the owner pretty well and she told me that she only checks the website maybe once a day and a phone call is best. Her reservation system is kind of old school.

Also I can personally vouch for the great king size bed in the Studio Cabin. My husband and I stayed in the unit back in June.

Silver Spring...
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1,509 posts
67 reviews
73 helpful votes
8. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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Ah. I see why it didn't pop up on my radar screen earlier. The bathrooms for the cabins are in a separate building and shared.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell, Utah
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9. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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It's just the small camping cabins that have a separate bathroom. The Studio Cabin has a bathroom in the unit and is not shared by anyone.

About the shared baths at the Trading Post. There is a building with two separate bathrooms.. For Covid protocol, the owner, Diane, assigns one bathroom to each cabin. Since there are three camping cabins,she will not book the third cabin unless they are in the same family. But I'm not suggesting the camping cabins.

Diane has been very diligent about maintaining Covid protocol. During the early days of Covid, she decided to rent cabins only to Utah residents because she had out of state people coming in who weren't wearing masks and giving her grief when she asked that they wear masks. It meant a revenue loss for her for a few months.

Edited: 30 August 2021, 03:38
Silver Spring...
Level Contributor
1,509 posts
67 reviews
73 helpful votes
10. Re: Last minute birthday trip to Utah
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Thank you Connie. I called and was able to book the studio. She reassured me that there a bathroom is contained inside the cabin. Just need to cancel the Motel Torrey (was cancellable).

I am considering booking Canyon Trail Rides. I enjoy horseback riding, and then wouldn't have to worry about parking or the shuttles. Have you been?

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