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Mighty 5 this fall (oct) itinerary?

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2 posts
15 reviews
Mighty 5 this fall (oct) itinerary?

Trying to plan a trip (with our dog) this fall. Thinking about spending 3-4 days in Moab. Then planning on heading down to Torrey, Escalante and Kanab. Just wondering if this is a good itinerary and would we need more days in any of these stops or should we be adding an overnighter anywhere. We have no real time limit except we cannot leave sooner than middle of October.

5 replies to this topic
Eagle, Colorado
Level Contributor
1,726 posts
1. Re: Mighty 5 this fall (oct) itinerary?

Dogs and national parks don't mix well. In most of the parks they are not allowed on trails. If it is warm you will not be able to leave him in the car. If hiking is on your itinerary look into the park rules.

If you are wanting to go to Zion stay in springdale or in the park if you can so you don't have to deal with trying to park to get up the canyon. Kanan is on the wrong side of Zion to be a good base to see zion.

Book in all these places asap as October is high season still in the desert.

Edited: 07 August 2018, 07:35
Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
Level Contributor
21,135 posts
451 reviews
2. Re: Mighty 5 this fall (oct) itinerary?

Welcome to the forum. Yah, for sure the dog will be a huge liability and will basically keep you out of the national parks. State parks are OK.

Three to four nights in Moab is good. Lots to do there. You will find the most lodging in Moab but still good to book now. One to two nights in Torrey, similar in Escalante. What about Bryce - I would give it a night? Number of nights in Kanab depends on what you want to do. It is not a good national park base.

Have fun.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
67,373 posts
250 reviews
3. Re: Mighty 5 this fall (oct) itinerary?

Southwest and Grand Circle Trip Planning

Everyone wants to visit the parks in the western USA. It's something that every family can and should do at some time. These vacations can be life changing and bonding experiences. Or they can be nightmares.

Most travelers equate being in the parks and outdoor environments with hiking. It's important to understand that hiking is not a requirement for enjoying the wilderness. Time is. This cannot be understated. One cannot begin to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of the national parks unless and until they spend time there. It can be as simple as sitting at a single view point for hours, or as elaborate as day long hikes or extended back country camping trips. But arriving at a view point, snapping a picture, and driving on (a la Clark Griswold) is simply not going to do it. At the very least, most of the national parks in the southwest need a day or longer, just to self tour the many attractions and view points therein. Sunset and sunrise are generally the most peaceful and stunning times of day in the sun's rapidly changing light. So overnight stays at, or as close as possible, will enhance a visit to any park.

Logistically, it takes about a half day or longer to travel between most of the parks in the 4 corners states. Often, the scenic drives are enticing enough to warrant additional stops and detours along the way. Regardless, it takes at least two nights at any park or destination to have just one full day there. Many trip planners fail to understand this.

Driving at night in the high desert region is strongly discouraged. Roads are desolate. Ambient lighting is non existent meaning highways are very dark. Wildlife of all sorts and sizes populate the roads from dusk until dawn. Even domestic farm animals like cattle and sheep wander on the pavement.

When trip planners are also expressing a specific desire to include hiking as a regular activity at the parks, and asking for advice on which trails to focus on, they need to realize that they will probably need multiple days and nights at the stop in order to do the hiking or whatever other activities, beyond quick snapshots, they have in mind.

Everyone wants to 'see as much as they can'. What they fail to realize is that by adding more places and activities to a list, without increasing available time, they wind up seeing less and reducing the quality of their vacation time. It's far better to plan more time at fewer parks and destinations, than to rush around and do little more than touch all the bases.

Everyone wants to stay 'off the beaten path' and avoid the places that are 'touristy'. The path that's well worn is that way because it includes the best places already. If you're planning to tour the parks, you are by definition, a tourist. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. If you insist on avoiding the most popular sites and activities, you'll be planning a second tier, inferior, vacation. Do the top tier first, then come back to explore more in depth.

So when planning your family vacation in the 4 corners region keep a few points in mind.

0. Less is more. Fewer parks and destinations will mean more quality time at the places you choose. Odds are, if you do a proper vacation at just one or two places, you'll return again to focus on different parks in the future.

0. Advance planning and reservations will save you time and money. Park lodges book up as much as a year in advance. The most sought after accommodations go to those who plan and commit the earliest.

0. Traveling by RV is slower and usually more costly than using a car and traditional hotels and lodging. Even campsites book months in advance.

0. Information found on the Internet is helpful, but needs to be verified. Add 30% to most map app drive time estimates. Use park websites along with traveler review and forum sites like TripAdvisor. You aren't the first, and you won't be the last. But there is much you can learn from folks who have been there and done that.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,943 posts
41 reviews
4. Re: Mighty 5 this fall (oct) itinerary?

You’ll see very little of Arches and Canyonlands since you need to get out of the car and do some walking and hiking away from the parking lot. You won’t be able to take your dog with you, The park website lists three boarding facilities in Moab. Perhaps, you should consider that for your pet so you enjoy Arches and Canyonlands beyond the parking lots. There’s probably a boarding facility in Kanab as well. I think there’s also one in Springdale Utah which is literally at the entrance to Zion,

Edited: 07 August 2018, 09:38
Level Contributor
2 posts
15 reviews
5. Re: Mighty 5 this fall (oct) itinerary?

Thanks! I am now rethinking Kanab. Looking at a couple of places near the park. Springdale, Hurricane. It’s a little trickier with a dog for the lodging, but will persevere! I try to find spots where we can either do a rental or there is a place to board for a day

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