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Old 06-28-2018, 04:59 PM   #1
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Advice for Southern Utah

SO this will be out first big trip,longer than a week, as first time RV owners. I have a 36ft class A and were looking to go from New Jersey to Utah to see Zion national park as well as anything else in between. Im taking a month or so off work but trying to get ideas and planning going now for next summer. Basically looking for advice in staying in Zion park of if there are better places just outside the park. Also if anyone has input on trails to go on would be helpful also since i have never traveled west of Ohio. It may be of some importance to note that I have an 8,7 and 3 year old coming with myself and my wife. We've been looking at Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley, Dead Horse Point and Four Corners.
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:17 PM   #2
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If you are going to Monument Valley and Zion you will be quite close to the Grand Canyon, you don't want to miss that.

Zion, Bryce, Escalant/Grand Staircase are all very pretty areas. If time allows you could also make it to Moab and Arches National Park as well.

It has been a few years since we have been there so I will leave campground recommendations to those who have been there recently.
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:31 PM   #3
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Arches was also on the list but I forgot to include it. Does anyone have any recommendations as far as trails that are kid friendly?

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Old 06-28-2018, 05:59 PM   #4
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If you are going to Monument Valley and Zion you will be quite close to the Grand Canyon, you don't want to miss that.

Zion, Bryce, Escalant/Grand Staircase are all very pretty areas. If time allows you could also make it to Moab and Arches National Park as well.

It has been a few years since we have been there so I will leave campground recommendations to those who have been there recently.
I just got back from Zion, Bryce and Escalante. I stayed at the Zion River Resort as my base. https://www.zionriverresort.com. Very nice park and family friendly.

I am assuming you mean kid friendly hikes in the parks. When you get the map at the park entrance they list all the hikes, their length and their relative difficulty. My wife has difficulty walking and we found the hiking trail details to be very accurate.
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:04 PM   #5
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my god, there are so many places. we just got back from durango, four corners, and monument valley.

four corners - there really isn't anything special to see there. the admission fee is $5 per person. you wait in line to have your picture taken on the concrete slab with the state lines painted on them. there are many stalls that sell indian souvenirs. most of them appear to be selling the same stuff. and you can buy this same stuff at any number of trading posts throughout the region.

monument valley - again, nothing really there other than some views. expect hot. we stayed in gouldings rv park which was nice but pricey.

we love bryce canyon and we stay at ruby's rv park. kodachrome state park is nearby and has tons of hiking.

when going to zion we stay at a rv park in hurricane which i think is called willowwind, or something like that. will you be towing a car? you won't get through the zion tunnel in the motorhome.

as mentioned, the grand canyon.

you might consider lake powell. we stay at wahweap rv park just outside of page, az. can be hot!

i don't know your route but: mount rushmore, wall drugs, crazy horse, and the badlands. yellowstone and jackson hole, wy.

and there is alway las vegas.

there's hikes for all levels at all these locations.
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:13 PM   #6
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Haven't considered a route yet. Just starting the planning. I've driven from Nevada home to New Jersey 15 to 76 to 80 and across to home. Was thinking heading out going Rt 70 all the way to Colorado and Utah. And probably the same with some distractions on way home. Not much to see through Nebraska and such a long rt 80. Never driven the southern route across

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Old 06-28-2018, 11:41 PM   #7
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Are you going to have a toad with you to get around ? That makes a big difference....

You already have Bryce and Zion on your list, Grand Canyon North Rim would be another place. Either the National Park or if you have a rugged vehicle go to the Toroweap/Tuweep area. Just put a leash on your kids .

Dead Horse Point State Park is worth a visit, but if you are near Moab do the tourist thing in Arches and Canyonlands (Island in the Sky). In Canyonlands go to the Musselman Arch and turn around, no point in traveling the whole White Rim. Again, rugged vehicle, take Lathrop Canyon down to the Colorado River.

Everything I mentioned is *not* doable in any sort of RV except a 4x4 Sportsmobile or 4x4 Sprinter based RV. But if you have a 4wd/AWD with decent tires as a toad go for it !


Edit: In Moab you can rent Jeeps or side-by-sides to get around the non paved areas.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:51 PM   #8
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We spent a month in Southern Utah last fall. With younger children I would recommend limiting your stops and spending more nights in each major national park. Zion is a favorite and staying right in the park at Watchman campground cant be beat! They have electric sites and paid commercial showers right outside the gate. The advantage of Watchman is you are right near the shuttle stops. Reserve a site in loop A if possible. We also loved Bryce. We stayed at Kodachrome SP which is 30 minutes from the park. Many people like Rubys which is right at the gate and on the shuttle route. Moab gets you both Canyonland and Arches NP. Lots of commercial campgrounds.

As far as trails, the only recommendation I have is to hike The Narrows in Zion. Most of the hiking we did was adult oriented and more difficult.

One last tip! Make reservations early! Carefully check when you can reserve National and state parks and go on line right at 10 AM Eastern to nab a site.

Southern Utah is fantastic!
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:00 PM   #9
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Dead Horse Point near Moab is one of our favorites, but be aware that there is no water available at the campground. You need to bring your personal use water with you. They do have toilets and showers, but they have to truck that water in every day from outside.
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:07 PM   #10
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Zion and Utah in general

We stayed in Springdale UT which is at the West entrance to the park, at the "Zion Canyon Campground and RV Park" which is a Quality Inn motel with a nice CG behind it. VERY easy access to the park via the city shuttle (free, if I recall correctly) and then use the shuttles in the park to visit the spots you wish to see. I highly recommend taking some old tennis shoes (or water shoes) and spend a little time hiking up the Virgin River. Cool to cold water was a pleasure on a hot day.


Moab is a great stop for Arches and Canyonlands parks, but these are big parks and require transportation like a car to see the sights.

As mentioned above, do not miss the Grand Canyon, and the north rim is much less crowded. That would fit in nicely with the S. Utah spots you mentioned. We stayed at Jacob Lake (about 20 miles N).

One other spot you shouldn't miss is Monument Valley, and for that we stayed in Bluff UT and did day trips to MV, 4 Corners, Mesa Verde and Valley of the Gods. We stayed at Cadillac Ranch RV park in Bluff.


As you can see we use our RV as a mobile motel and don't spend hours at most campgrounds, but that may not work well for everyone. Enjoy the trip, you will love it and will want to go back!
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:24 PM   #11
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Not much to see at 4 Corners

If you have a chance, check out Canyonlands and Arches, they are much better than the 4 corners area. We camped at Ken's Lake near Moab. It was nice, and had sites available even in prime summer time.
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:25 PM   #12
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We are going for 2 weeks in October. 5 nights in Zion, 5 nights in Capitol Reef and 4 in Kodachrome which is a state campground. Zion has power and Kodachrome happens to be the one site available with full hookups when we made our reservations.
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:47 PM   #13
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WE highly recommend Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah, near Bryce. They
have a limited number of full hook up sites and you need to reserve ahead of time. I don't remember the lead time allowed. Check their website. You will also see THERE IS NO CELL SERVICE in that park so you'll be off the grid while there. Not a bad thing. The scenery and hiking trails are as awesome as the National Parks in this state park IMO. Zion River RV park was awesome. A little pricey but well worth it. Lots of extra goodies there.
ALSO when you enter a national park you are given a map of the whole park but your first stop should be the Visitor center where you should request a map of all the hiking trails. This map will give you complete details about trails -length, how difficult, what elevation, etc.
DH and I did 11 national parks, 46 days, 16 states and 8800 miles last spring. (May and June 2017.) There is a thread on this forum if you search for it. Have fun!
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:48 PM   #14
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Zion has electric at the campground, Bryce does not. That being said, my advice is to stay in the parks. This way you can get an early start for the day to avoid the crowds. Since you are going in the summer, there will be ALOT of people. Both of these parks are gorgeous and not to be missed. If you stay outside of the park you will be spending alot of time in traffic and waiting in lines to just get in or get on a shuttle bus. If you stay in the park, once the day people leave you can relax without crowds and take advantage of the ranger talks in the evening and see a whole different side to the parks. Both have great bike trails throughout. For Zion, you can walk to town for shopping, restaurants and groceries. As far as Four Corners is concerned, I don't see what the big deal is. If you are going to be in that area, I would recommend Mesa Verde N P.

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Old 06-29-2018, 02:53 PM   #15
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Do a search for UTAH in the forum and you will find several recent threads and advice on routes and places to see.

We made the trip last year, 5 nights in Moab and 5 nights in Cedar City as base camps and rolled from there in our Tow vehicle to explore.

Lots of amazing things to see. Have a great trip.
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:53 PM   #16
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If you have a chance, check out Canyonlands and Arches, they are much better than the 4 corners area. We camped at Ken's Lake near Moab. It was nice, and had sites available even in prime summer time.
x2. We spent 5 days in Moab and said we'd like to go back. SOOOO much to see and do in that area, not just Arches NP which is amazing in itself. The Shafer/Potash trail from Island in the Sky visitor center at Canyonlands was breathtaking but had vehicle restrictions. No Rv's.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:11 PM   #17
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With younger children I would recommend limiting your stops and spending more nights in each major national park.
Traveling to all of the spots you mention with kids riding, in my opinion is way too much driving time... staying at any one place for 3-4 days will limit your stops as generally driving from one place to another will take much of a day in those large western states.

Just getting to Utah, depending on your driving habits will take 4-5 days from NJ ( 34 hours minimum driving time according to google), and until you hit the Rockies, much of that will be a boring interstate drive. Now you either hi-ball it down the road to get there and get back quickly, or you spend some time on the road checking things out on the way.

Personally, I would take my time going out, checking things out on the way, like the St Louis Arch, the Badlands, and Dinosaur Nat Park. Then spend a couple of weeks at a couple of major attractions in Utah, then maybe one more stop on the way back. My daughter and I loved camping at Great Sand Dunes Nat Park in southern Colorado on the way back from a trip to Colorado on a week long trip during one spring break.

You have a great adventure coming up. Let your two oldest children help plan it, using lots of large paper maps of the individual states as learning tools. Good Luck
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:52 PM   #18
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We stayed at the Zion River Resort an thought it to be very good. Best WiFi of any park I've been in. I do not think they will let you thru the tunnel at the eastern side - just as well since you do not want to try the switchbacks in a new RV. You will have to take the shuttles in Zion so plan accordingly I agree with all the other destination recommendations.

To get the most from your trip, prioritize the parks/areas you want to see and how much time you want to spend un each and then calculate your travel times. For example, getting from the Grand Canyon (south) to Zion will chew up most of a day. Zion to Moab is another day and so on.

If you are not towing a car, consider renting one at each park/area. Most of the parks are not MH friendly. The roads are small and parking is limited.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:55 PM   #19
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WE highly recommend Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah, near Bryce. They
have a limited number of full hook up sites and you need to reserve ahead of time.
It's 4 months. We just made ours for October. Heard there are a lot of bugs in June so keep that in mind.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:27 PM   #20
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Arches was also on the list but I forgot to include it. Does anyone have any recommendations as far as trails that are kid friendly?

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Arches has some good hiking trails near Moab and Moab has many campgrounds. I like Highway 12 through Escalante to Bryce NP. There is an awesome Campground just past Bryce called Red Canyon. No hookups but very pretty area. I stayed there last week for 6 Days.
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