Arizona/Utah Road trip
January 8, 2019 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Hi, Me and my wife will be traveling to the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon and Zion in late June with our two kids, ages 3 and 7. We will spend most of the days hiking and exploring.

Tentative itinerary has us 2 days at Grand Canyon, 2 at Antelope Canyon, 3 days in Zion, and 1 day in Las Vegas before heading home. Question is, does this breakdown look right? Are we spending too much time in some place and not enough in others? It's a road trip so we obviously won't be seeing and doing all there is, but considering the time we have, is it being well spent?

Also, is Grand Staircase worth stopping for, or even replacing Antelope Canyon? Any other tips for traveling with kids in the area?
posted by burlsube to Travel & Transportation around Arizona (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I did a similar trip a couple of years ago and I think your breakdown is good. The Grand Canyon is fun to look at but unless you're hiking down in it all you can really do is stand and gawk. Ain't nuthin' wrong with that, but, especially with a couple young kids, 2 days is enough for that. Make sure you check out the tower at the Eastern edge of the South Rim.

I really loved Zion. Rather than just look at it, you're down in it. 3 days should be good. There's lots of shorter, easier hikes and a river you can hang out in. You can't drive in most of it, but the shuttle buses show up constantly.

Make sure you approach it via the tunnel and the switchbacks. It's one of the most amazing drives I've ever done. Eat at Zion Pizza and Noodle in Springdale.

I didn't go to Grand Staircase, but Antelope Canyon was amazing and totally worth it. 2 days in Page is enough.

Here is my AskMe. It started out focused on the Grand Canyon but, thanks to Metafilter, we expanded the trip to the other areas.
posted by bondcliff at 12:55 PM on January 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Arches NP is amazing but might be too hot in late June.
posted by WizKid at 1:03 PM on January 8, 2019

Two days for Antelope Canyon is overkill—unless it has changed in the ~6 months since I was there, you can only enter as part of a tour that takes about an hour, and it's not very big. Horseshoe Bend is near there, and if you can arrange to see it at sunset/sunrise while also fitting in Antelope Canyon, do it.
posted by sinfony at 2:02 PM on January 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I did part of this trip (Zion and Antelope Canyon as well as Bryce) last spring. I agree with sinfony that two days is a lot for Antelope Canyon, though if it is really more like two part days with road tripping, that may work. You can do the tours of both upper and lower Antelope on the same day if you want (see my next paragraph though) because they don't take too long. You could also even fit in Horseshoe Bend in the same day if you wanted to.

I would consider reserving your tours of Antelope Canyon in advance if you are firm on your dates. We didn't do so and didn't realize that many schools were on spring break, so lower Antelope was sold out completely for the day we planned to go and we were able to grab the last few reservations for upper Antelope. (We ended up shifting some driving plans around so we could do lower Antelope early the next morning, so it all worked out though.)

One of the sides of Antelope (I believe lower, but may be misremembering) involves climbing up and down some ladders. You may want to do some research to see if it will be accessible for a 3 year old.
posted by Caz721 at 2:49 PM on January 8, 2019

You are near Monument.Valleh, go right by it. It is great to see The Mittens and take a tour.there. The view restaurant has a lot of choices, some Navajo ladies do B&B in hogans. Antelope canyon is an if place depending on washout potential, definitely not a two dayer. Hoven Weap is over in that area. Bluff's Twin Rocks Cafe is a nice place too. There is the Peace Tree Cafe in Montecello, nice for coffee and burritos, breakfast. Monticello has nice clean motels that are less expensive than those right on top of the big sites.
posted by Oyéah at 5:42 PM on January 8, 2019

Will you have 4WD (or AWD)?

As Oyeah mentions, you can go to Monument Valley. If you have 4WD/AWD with a little clearance, you can drive around MV yourself, otherwise you get on the tour.

Also in that area with 4WD you can drive the Moki Dugway

One day is enough at Antelope, as suggested by sinfony. And definitely go to Horseshoe Bend.

Page is an armpit. Spend as little time as possible there.
posted by falsedmitri at 6:27 PM on January 8, 2019

Do not stay in the Page Knight's Inn. It's a disaster.

There are two parts to Grand Staircase. Trump removed the western part last year. IDK if any of that part is still available for hiking and so on.

I hope the following information will not be useful to you. The Kanab, UT Hospital does not have a urologist. The nearest hospital that does is in St George, UT. The Page Hospital does not have a cardiology dept. They flew me to Flagstaff. If anyone in your party has heart trouble, be aware that the high altitude of this region can cause serious problems for them.

The area is very, very hot in the summer. We saw temps well over 110 F on several days, at about the same time last year. Stay hydrated, don't race, etc.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:47 AM on January 9, 2019

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