Zion and Bryce in three days.

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Banzaibrothers, May 14, 2017.

  1. Banzaibrothers

    Banzaibrothers Adventurer

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    Hi all,

    I'm heading over to Vegas from the UK with work at the end of June. I have three completely spare days and I'm planning to rent a bike and head out to Zion and Bryce. Schedule I'm thinking:

    Day one ride to Zion explore and find lodging (Hurricane, St George?)
    Day two ride to Bryce, explore and back to lodging. (Or stay up by Bryce?)
    Day three explore Zion a bit more and back to Vegas to drop bikes.

    My questions of you kind people are:

    Route? Any suggestions? Black top or easy off-road (and I mean EASY as they will be rental bikes). Any roads that are must do's? Any cheeky trails that connect sections of black top?

    Lodging? Any recommendations either specific or area? (Would like at least a bar with food and beer).

    Any other suggestions or info you think would be useful!

    Many thanks in advance..

    Mike.
    #1
  2. tbarstow

    tbarstow Two-wheelin' Fool Super Supporter

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    Mike,

    For exploring Bryce and Zion at the end of June, I would recommend doing it in a car due to the summer temperatures and the amount of traffic you'll encounter in both of those national parks.

    The Zion Ponderosa is an interesting place to stay, plus it is at 2000m elevation so it is much cooler.

    Go all the way to Bryce first, as St George/Hurricane is only a few hours drive from Las Vegas. Hike some of Under The Rim Trail in Bryce.

    Hit Toroweap or Buckskin Gulch on the way back to Zion, a rental car can make both of these easily.

    In Zion, hike the East Rim trail to Observation Point.
    #2
  3. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example Supporter

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    June might be hot. Be sure to check weather.

    I have a great hike suggestion... it's not easy, but the view is incredible. Checkout the hike to Angel's Landing in Zion.

    Closest town to Zion is Springdale. There are quite a few hotels there, you might find something closer to the Park than Hurricane or St. G. and Springdale has much more charm. Hurricane will do in a pinch.

    As for routes and easy dirt... I have a few suggestions. If you are good riders, both are very easy.

    From Zion, take '9' East out of park and to Carmel Junction. Gas up at Carmel Junction. Then take '89' North 6-8 miles to Glendale. Turn right and head out East onto Glendale Bench Road (Dirt) for about 15 miles. Turn Left onto Skutumpah Road (Dirt). Head North/East to Kodachrome Basin Road (~30 miles). If you have time, you can turn right and see Kodachrome Basin State Park. Otherwise turn Left and take the road out to highway '12' at Cannonville. It doesn't show anywhere, but there IS gas at the Grandstaircase Inn at the intersection with highway '12'.

    From Cannonville, highway '12' is a beautiful drive East to Escalante... but that might be another trip for you guys given your limited time. Otherwise, head West on '12' to the Bryce entrance at highway '63'.

    On your way back from Bryce, there's another dirt option...
    From Bryce (highway '63'), take '12' West ~3 miles to East Fork Road (FR087) (Dirt). Take this road South ~8 miles to Tropic Reservoir. Just past the Reservoir, take FR109 West into the forest (Dirt). FR109 will drop you down in elevation and eventually to highway '89' at the town of Hatch. From there, it's South on '89' to Carmel Junction and then West on '9' back through Zion.

    All dirt roads are pretty easy... but use caution. Some of this route is pretty remote. Weather trumps everything in Utah. These roads can go from very easy to impassable when they get wet. If the weather is wet, stay on paved roads.

    Skutumpah Road
    [​IMG]

    FR109

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Banzaibrothers

    Banzaibrothers Adventurer

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    Thanks for the top info guys.

    I must admit, I didn't think it would be so hot up there. (Knew it would be around Vegas of course but hoped the altitude increase would drop the temp).

    Might need to wait for another work trip later in the year.

    I'll watch the weather forecasts.

    Thanks again.

    Mike.
    #4
  5. Banzaibrothers

    Banzaibrothers Adventurer

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    Is there anywhere to stay up near Bryce? Maybe we just head for altitude and stay there. Kind of keen to do it on a bike as that's the main point of the trip. But I understand your sentiment of crawling along behind cars in 90 plus heat.
    #5
  6. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Kind of off subject,but the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is absolutely worth the trip,heading down canyon on the dirt roads is a good thing,plenty of wilderness camping as they call it on the North Side of Canyon. I was there mid august it was 107 at top of canyon and 112 at bottom.
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  7. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example Supporter

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    #7
  8. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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    There are many places to stay along hwy 12. Tropic, Cannonville,etc... but make reservations soon. Hwy 12 is a good road. If I were in your shoes I'd concentrate on seeing as much as you can from the bike rather than trying to do any kind of hiking. Given the weather and that you may not be able to bring the best gear for hiking in heat. The temps would be a non-issue for me for riding but I ride in hotter temps a lot. And any visits to the national parks should be done as early as possible. You can see some great scenery just riding the main road through Zion. If you get there early enough you can park near some of the most scenic areas in Bryce.
    #8
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  9. TrophyHunter

    TrophyHunter Long timer Supporter

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    I don't know if it applies to motorcycles, but you can't drive into the main valley in Zion unless you are staying at the Zion Lodge in the park. I didn't know this when I went there with my son - even off season - but was shut down. We're going in June and I reconfirmed the same applies - so got a room at the lodge - but not the original night I wanted as it was already booked. You can take a bus in after parking near the entrance or the visitor center.

    I'd appreciate any updated info/experience but that's what I got talking to the folks in the park.
    #9
  10. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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    Yes, you cannot take your own vehicle up the main canyon but you can drive through the park which is still very scenic.
    #10
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  11. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Two Days in Zion 1 day is all you need for Bryce
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  12. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Zion IS amazing just looking at it off the main road,they do those bus trips through it that make it easy as there isnt room for parking and a buncha cars. We did 1 hike up to a hidden small lake,couple people passed out from the heat,werent quite ready for hiking straight up.
    #12
  13. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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    Agree with this if you plan on hiking.

    My wife and I are driving up to Capitol Reef in a couple weeks via Valley of the Gods, Moki Dugway, Burr Trail. This will be the last park we have not visited in Utah. The beauty of the area can't be overstated.
    #13
  14. Banzaibrothers

    Banzaibrothers Adventurer

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    Thanks everyone for the replies and info. Bullseye - that trip looks amazing. I'll certainly use some of your route - some. of it I'll have to miss (I'm not gonna be on my trail bike unfortunately).
    #14
  15. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    Just back from vanning/motoing for a couple weeks in that area, hiking/boondocking in Zion, then five days moto camping backcountry in Grand Staircase Escalante with an EXCELLENT guide outa AZ.

    Did a quick run through the OverBuilt Expo in Flagstaff on way home.
    Anyone going to Overland Expo West?

    The "Impassable When Wet" roads are doable if you are determined, i.e., too far in to go back, lol. Most challenging conditions I have encountered; two tracks are greasy and the center, sides, and culverts are wheel-stopping, packing mud!

    I think we did most of the destination routes/trails in Escalante, 800 something miles mostly dirt.

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop ♦♦

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    Squid.
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  17. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    If you get to start early in the morning, I like the ride along Lake Mead and then through the Valley of Fire state park to I-15. Then you can go north. You can see that in the attached map. It's also easy enough to go check out Hoover Dam from that route if you want to. Another alternative would be to continue past St. George to Cedar City, and then ride up to the Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brianhead (a ski resort). Cedar Breaks is above 10,000' so if it's hot down below it's a lot cooler up there. Good motorcycle roads as well. Here's a google map:
    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Las...11c!2m2!1d-112.8507766!2d37.6927551!3e0?hl=en
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  18. Mr B

    Mr B Been here awhile

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    Last time I was in Zion and that area was July 2013, very "warm" in vegas but we stayed in Springdale one night, and North Rim the other night. North rim is pretty high in elevation, think about 6,000 and always somewhat pleasant. Bryce is a good place to visit in the morning or evening, sunset and there used to be a pretty good place near the entrance, think it was called Ruby's or something. I am going back a few years, so might not be there still. Don't let the weather scare you, its a dry heat!!!!!
    #18
  19. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am. Supporter

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    jonz nailed it!

    Cedar Breaks NM is a wonderful hidden treasure. The route to Bryce from there is simple and quick, staying at Ruby's Inn or the Best Western across the street, they're both nice and convenient for supplies and food. If time permits go north on Hwy 12 as far as you can, it truly is one of America's finest roads.

    Zion will be crazy, but that's Zion. I prefer the upper east side of the park anyway, sit back at the pull out points and look for the Bighorn sheep. Coming through the mile long tunnel is awesome, and the views as you descend into the valley is incredible, use the pull-outs for tons of mouth watering pics!

    Another hidden treasure is the Kolob Reservoir, just north of Virgin. This is not to be missed!!! Fantastic paved road that ends at the reservoir with a little market at the top, awesome!!!
    #19
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  20. Banzaibrothers

    Banzaibrothers Adventurer

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    Guys, all this info is great. It's completely changed my plans and is going to make an epic three days.

    From a route planning point of view I like to be able to look at a large paper map. Anyone out there got a suggestion as to a good range of maps for this? Perhaps around 1:50000 scale.

    Many thanks,

    Mike.
    #20