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Need advice with final plans please...

Level Contributor
58 posts
Need advice with final plans please...

Hello, we are a family of 6. Our boys are older with ages 18, 16, 14 and 11. We all like to hike, I am a photographer looking for locations for some nice shots. Our itinerary is as follows:

2 nights Grand Canyon (July 7-8)

2 nights Zion (July 9-10)

2 Nights Bryce Canyon (July 11-12)

1 night at The View in Monument Valley (July 13)

then head back to Texas, possibly stopping at Canyon De Chelly. We are flexible with going back home, we can be back either Saturday or Sunday.

As per some advice in another forum, I have also secured a night in Sedona on July 7 which is supposed to be our first night in Grand Canyon. So I may let go of the first night in Grand Canyon in order to spend some time in Sedona. we don't plan on hiking down to the bottom of GC, just some short hikes down a ways for some nice views.

As for my Bryce question, we are staying at Ruby's. I would like to hit up some nice locations for photos, I have researched and Inspiration Point and Sunset Point seem to be nice. Is there any other locations for Sunset? Also for daytime, we are thinking of a horseback ride in the park. Although we all ride horses well, I realize this will be head to tail type ride. i am hoping the views will be awesome. If you can help us spend our time wisely in Bryce that would be great! Should we leave Zion that morning we check out of hotel and head to Bryce or should we allow more time in Zion that Tuesday before heading to Bryce? Scenic drives in the park? We don't have to hike all the time, driving is fine too! Thanks in advance. I have similar questions about hikes and photo locations for Zion and GC (south rim) so feel free to advice me on that as well if you can!

Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
2,072 posts
22 reviews
1. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

When leaving Zion to go to Bryce, stop by the Canyon Overlook Trail. Short hike with great views. Best photographed earlier in the day.

I have a feeling that you're going to wish you would've spent more time in Sedona after you only go there for a day.

Edited: 22 June 2017, 11:57
Level Contributor
3,419 posts
42 reviews
2. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

This looks like a good overall plan. Yes, you can give up a night at the Grand Canyon for one at Sedona - good plan. It's unfortunate you don't have more time at Zion - where you have some flexibility on when returning home consider adding a nightt here - at a minimum you want one day to hike the Narrows and another day to hike other hikes of interest in the main canyon. As suggested by kit_kat, when transitioning to Bryce hike Canyon Overlook and maybe spend some additional time on other hikes in the east side of Zion: https://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/

Another place to consider adding is Capital Reef - you could stay a night in Torrey right after Bryce. You could stay only one night in Bryce to add a night in Torrey.

Level Contributor
58 posts
3. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

Well darn, I've just looked up Capitol Reef! How did I not know about that place! And the old Gifford Barn would make great photos. I really shouldn't cancel my cabins at The View in Monument Valley due to their 25% cancellation fees. Now i'm wondering if I should just cancel the two night at GCNP and head straight to Capitol Reef (if i can get rooms) for our first two nights before heading to zion and Bryce. Or should I cancel one night at Ruby's in Bryce? Will that put us in a rush to see Bryce though? Especially if we do the horseback thing. What to do, what to do!

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
21,660 posts
41 reviews
4. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

If you can get a room in the very small town of Torrey which is 20 minutes from Capitol Reef, then cancel the 2nd night at Bryce. The town of Torrey, just by itself, is a photo op.

Level Contributor
3,419 posts
42 reviews
5. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

The easiest is probably to cancel a night at Bryce. Bryce is a very small park, even with the horses I think you would be OK to only do one night.

Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
9,368 posts
248 reviews
6. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

or... skip the horses and hike down into the hoodoos since all of you enjoy hiking. Sunset and sunrise in the amphitheater area are best but... get down inside in between times.

If you go to Capital Reef- my favorite hike was going up on the rim trail. We hiked Hickmans' Bridge and instead of heading back to the car, we hiked up to the rim. Some great photo ops! I think it's called the Rim Overlook trail.

If you want some photo "samples" take a look at Mr Wings photos from last fall. We took friends out west for their first trip out and hit the major parks and points of interest. Short slide show here: https://angel-gallery.com/travel-slideshows/ Choose "southwest 2016" Photos are labeled with where they were taken.

Kipling. SK
Level Contributor
7,052 posts
132 reviews
7. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

Agreed, cancel the second night at Bryce, if you can get a reservation(should not be a problem)in Torrey. Travel Bryce to Torrey via scenicbyway12.com

The horse ride at Bryce(by canyonrides), is an easy way to get into the amphitheatre. But if you choose to hike down into the amphitheatre, that would be just as good. A little more effort to hike back up out of the amphitheatre, but cheaper than hiring the horse ride.

Hudson, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
1,144 posts
74 reviews
8. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

Cancel the 2nd night at Bryce. But try to get to Bryce the first day by mid-morning to maximize your time there. Prioritize the main amphitheatre overlooks (Fairyland, Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce Points).

If you took the 3 hour horse ride, I've heard it's one of the best in Utah. It takes you basically through much of what is considered the best scenery in the entire park amongst the hoodoos (I've hiked most everything in that same area...hard to disagree...look at The Figure 8 hike listed on the NPS website for a similar route). But, if you wanted to save money as I did, you could hike through that same area and enjoy it just as much (with a bit more physical effort, however).

9. Re: Need advice with final plans please...

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