the road is calling; help me answer the call!
December 22, 2014 6:01 PM   Subscribe

where should i go/what should i see/what should i do between portland and zion?

i am leaving portland the day after christmas and heading out on the road. i'm going to be heading south/east, stopping at john day for a couple days, then on to burns and stopping at crystal crane hot springs for another couple of days. my ultimate destination is zion. is there anything i should see or anywhere i should stop before i get to zion? i'd love all suggestions that lead to the sublime, the interesting, or the curious.

in case it matters, i'm a single female traveling on my own (plus two dogs). i'll mostly be either tent camping or sleeping in my wagon (i have a volvo XC70). i'll also be bringing my snowshoes in case i find myself near some great trails.

bonus question: what are your favorite day hikes at zion?
posted by violetk to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Great Basin National Park is pretty awesome (but the doggies will have to stay close or in the car), the cave is pretty neat to tour, but the stark... emptyness driving there is grand and exotic.

If industrial archaeology interests you, in Ely Nevada is the Nevada Northern railroad shops, the large maintenance plant was abandoned in place when the mine railroad stopped. Mark Bassett runs the Museum, there are tours I think, but pretty amazing turn-of-last-century construction, parts, and steam engines.
posted by nickggully at 7:41 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge is just outside of Burns.

Also, Steens Mountain is there.
posted by Danf at 7:48 PM on December 22, 2014

I think there are three choices.
The 395 with a traverse of death valley NP, Las Vegas, Lake Mead, north shore road, valley of fire and beyond.

The 95 to winnemucca with a traverse west on I80 to Wells Nevada and the 93 Great Basin Highway.

My favorite: miracle hot springs near buhl pH 9H+ near Twin Falls Idaho.
Highway 93 followed all the way down to Caliente Nevada "caliente" means hot springs, back track a short way to Panaca Nev. state route 319 to I15 Cedar City Utah, visit Zion NP Kolob canyon.
posted by hortense at 8:31 PM on December 22, 2014

Bryce Canyon National Park is only a few hours from Zion. Definite must-see if it's not already in your plans. Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ are a couple hours in the other direction, as is the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. All spectacular.
posted by cnc at 10:06 AM on December 23, 2014

I'd second Great Basin National Park. Not many people visit because it's a little out of the way but it has a lot you can see in a short amount of time. In addition to Lehman Caves it also has Joshua Trees (which are some of the oldest living organisms on the planet), a beautiful alpine forest, a lake, and a glacier. I always love the glacier because who would guess that Nevada has one!

If you take Highway 95, you will pass close to a town called Paradise Valley about 1 hour after you cross the Nevada border. it is a really cute quaint little place that is worth a detour if you have time.

If you happen to be in Winnemucca at dinner time I'd recommend one of the Basque restaurants Ormachea's or The Martin. (Probably the Martin) They have a good down home feel. There are also some great ones in Elko if you're there. The traditional basque drinks to get are a Calimucho (wine and coke which sounds weird but is actually kinda awesome) or Picon Punch (the Picon is a pretty stiff drink just fyi).

If you happen to go through Eureka, NV, there isn't a lot to see but stop at the Opera House. They have an amazing fully restored opera house that is beautiful to wander through. (They have a lot of mining tax dollars to spend and no one lives in that county so they do things like restore old buildings :) It's not worth a side trip but it's worth a stop if you're already going through anyway.

You're also going when the moon isn't too bright so you will be able to see tons of stars on your trip. You can see lots in Zion/Bryce, but on the way there it will be even darker in parts of Nevada and Utah.

For Zion, Angels Landing!

Have a blast!
posted by zackshp at 12:37 PM on December 23, 2014

I was going to second Great Basin. I'm pretty sure it's bristlecone pines there, not joshua trees, but cool nonetheless (you won't get anywhere near them this time of year though, they are at altitude.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:43 PM on December 23, 2014

Ahh yes you're right OHenryPacey, sorry about that, it's bristlecone pines.
posted by zackshp at 12:45 AM on December 24, 2014

« Older Windshield Wiper Me   |   Large printed horizontal 2015 wall planner Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.