Favs in the Grand Canyon - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-07-2015, 03:57 PM   #1
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Favs in the Grand Canyon

Hi All:

We very likely will be travelling from IN to NM soon due to a family situation. We hope to make a long return loop including the Grand Canyon and possibly as far north as Salt Lake City, Utah. We prefer full (or electric n water) hookups and will probably only stay a day or two in each of these locations.

What recommendations do you have for campgrounds and cheap "don't miss" sight-seeing? My husband would especially love some non-whitewater kayaking (with a surf ski or outrigger we will have with us). Rafting could be fun but please make it lower class rapids for me!

Thanks a bunch, Julie
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:18 PM   #2
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In alphabetical order. Arches NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Canyonlands NP. Capitol Reef NP, Zion NP. Utah's "Big 5" are fabulous with lots of very interesting places in between. Hope you have allowed plenty of time. To do these 5, I would allow at least 3 weeks.
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:28 PM   #3
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Our favorite campground for day trips to Zion was Snow Canyon. The non-electric sites were fantastic! If you require electric be prepared to be crowded by your neighbors. Beautiful canyon and diverse landscape from rock bluffs with pioneer graffitti, sand dunes ( petrified and regular), and lava tubes to explore if you have a flashlight and are brave enough. Btw the sand dunes were where they filmed the scene from Jeremiah Johnson where Del Gue was buried up to his neck.
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:49 PM   #4
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The suggestion to visit the 5 national parks in Utah is excellent as we saw them all on a camping trip last year. It was difficult to get reservations in Canyonlands and Capital Reef so we stayed in the BLM campgrounds some distance outside these parks and had a good time.
The BLM campground outside Canyonlands, for a small fee, had picnic tables, firepits, designated spaces and clean outhouses while the BLM land outside Capital Reef had zero amenities and no fee.

I noticed that the train from Williams to the south rim of the Grand Canyon is offering 3 Saturday runs with the vintage steam engine on September 5, 19 and 26 .Otherwise they have daily runs with a diesel engine. (They do have a "surprise" train robbery" which could be fun for the kids.) Check out their website Welcome to the Grand Canyon Railway | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, Arizona for details.There is a full-service RV park right across the train station!
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:03 AM   #5
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I know you said you want amenities in your campsites but, I'm telling you, our favorite sites were the BLMs I previously mentioned, especially the one outside Capital Reef. We could boondock here because we were totally self-contained with water, food and porta pottie. There were only a few other campers there and we each respected one another's privacy. The quiet and the view of the night sky were not to be believed.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:27 AM   #6
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We did a grand loop in that area two years ago. Coming from New Mexico, you could hit the four corners, the Grand Canyon, Zion (the Virgin river is perfect for some rafting, kayaking, etc.), Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Arches. We actually tacked on Mesa Verde, Sand Dunes NP, Lake Powell and Slide Rock State Park (near Sedona, AZ) and were out eleven days. One of our FAVORITE trips because we LOVE this area. If you get up by Salt Lake City, Park City, Utah, is a BEAUTIFUL place to stay. We've been there the past three years for Lacrosse tournaments and love it there.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:37 AM   #7
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You mentioned that you are going "Soon". Unless it's very soon, both the South Rim, and especially the Rim North Rim of the Grand Canyon can have cold weather and snow by late October. North Rim services shut down on Oct 15 and the road is usually closed by Dec 1st. Heres a useful link: http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hours.htm
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:41 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone! I really enjoyed looking up all the places that you recommended! I definitely see a tendency in your ideas for dry camping and taking a leisurely trip. We'll have to find a happy balance since we will probably be limited to 10-12 days overall with at least 4 in New Mexico and 4 getting there/getting home to Indiana. Take care, Steve n Julie
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:50 PM   #9
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Of all the Utah National Parks, in October, Zion is the winner. Two campgrounds inside the park, one with no hookups, first come, first served, the other one with hookups (takes reservation). I've always been able to get a campsite in the no hookup campground, even in June and July (busy season). I get there early, before 10 AM, and snag a site as priority 1!

From Zion, you are not very far from Bryce Canyon. The campgrounds in the park are primitive. Just outside the park is Ruby Inn, that has a campground with full hookups. I prefer the campground in the park, one is basically on the rim on the canyon, unbelievable views!!

From there, continue north on highway 12, this is a MUST DO! My favorite campgound is at the end of highway 12, Wonderland, hookups, the works, and a good restaurant across the street.

I've been just about everywhere, and highway 12, from Bryce Canyon to Torrey, UT is the most fantastic road I have ever been on. In a little over 100 miles you will see everything. Too hard to describe, just trust me.

I have been going to UT on vacation at least once a year, for the last 30 years! I never get tired of it.

Not a big fan of Arches. First, there aren't many other parks in the area. The Arches are cool, but the scenery is no match for other parts of UT. If you are going to be in the Arches area, I usually camp at RV Portal. Very nice campground between Moab and Arches. Swimming pond at Arches, spring fed, was a welcome relief one trip by motorcycle when it was 100 degrees and all I had was a tent.
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Old 09-08-2015, 05:06 PM   #10
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Oh man, that area looks incredible! I have a sense that we might be further east and miss Wonderland. But who knows, maybe hubby will want to visit his old stomping grounds in Mesa, AZ and we will head north from there? Right now it looks like we will shoot for the Arches NP area . . .
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