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John in Santa Cruz 12-26-2018 01:21 PM

Thinking of Canyonlands/Arches NP in early March...
 
Anyone visited the Moab / Canyonlands / Arches area in early March? Want to avoid the crowds, figuring on camping around a week, maybe in Dead Horse Point State Park ?

We won't be doing any long hiking, just auto touring as my wife has a bad knee that limits her to maybe a mile walk on level ground.

Also thinking of spending a few nights at Escalante or Painted Forest state parks near/in the Escalante Grand Staircase NMR on the way back... Same thing, nothing extreme.

I'd love any feedback on these areas. We did a trip to Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon North Rim early season in the 80s in our old VW camper but otherwise haven't explored much of Utah.

ShelbyM 12-26-2018 01:51 PM

Add Capitol Reef to your list. Also Kodachrome Basin State Park. Utah Hwy 12 is a wonderful route, plenty to see from the vehicle especially if you explore some of the dirt side roads.

thrifty bill 12-26-2018 02:10 PM

+10 Capitol Reef, also Zion NP. Bryce could be cold, really depends on the weather.

If you can get a site at Capitol Reef, great! If not, Wonderland CG in Torrey is very nice. Our dog is named Torrey, so you can image we like this area.

https://www.capitolreefrvpark.com

Highway 12 should not be missed. Note, lots of elevation change on Highway 12, road goes above the tree line to over 10,000 feet elevation.

Staying in Snow Canyon SP in March ourselves, outside of St George (close to Zion).

And if you travel on highway 12, might as well check out the slot canyon on Burr Trail.

https://www.visitutah.com/things-to-...he-burr-trail/


I prefer SW Utah over the Moab area. Moab is worth the trip too, not just as much as Zion IMO. 2018 was the first year I didn't visit SW Utah since 1979. If you want to see arch type formations, Bridges National Monument has a nice circle drive with several bridges that can be easily viewed.


https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en...oiowC3oECAQQBg

Poodlesrule 12-26-2018 03:14 PM

Some good BLM campgrounds in Canyonlands. No hookups, but pit toilets. Bring water. Arches is packed even in March, but worth a drive thru (dont bring camper) even if you cant get out & walk much.

Steve Carlson 12-26-2018 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Poodlesrule (Post 727881)
Some good BLM campgrounds in Canyonlands. No hookups, but pit toilets. Bring water. Arches is packed even in March, but worth a drive thru (dont bring camper) even if you cant get out & walk much.

https://www.discovermoab.com/blm-campgrounds/

Jack L 12-26-2018 07:19 PM

A week is not nearly enough time. Utah is so stunning, I could spend the rest of my life there and not see all of it. Goblin Valley SP is great especially if you have small children.

Sid 12-26-2018 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thrifty bill (Post 727870)

Staying in Snow Canyon SP in March ourselves, outside of St George (close to Zion).

We also stayed at Snow Canyon when we did our National Park(s) tour. Loved exploring the lava tubes, looking at the pioneer graffiti covered canyon walls, and traversing the little sand dune from the movie Jeremiah Johnson.
Tons to see and do wherever you go in this region.

slowpat 12-26-2018 10:40 PM

10,000 feet in March?:omy

I have skied in Utah in March so I would think there would be snow to contend with at that elevation.

thrifty bill 12-27-2018 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slowpat (Post 727925)
10,000 feet in March?:omy

I have skied in Utah in March so I would think there would be snow to contend with at that elevation.

It is very weather dependent for sure. I've been on that road in February and it was dry and clear. But I would not count on it! Meanwhile, I have come west in early June and got snow in Vail (I was on my motorcycle, so it wasn't pleasant).

If you have gotten to Moab in March towing a trailer, then you have caught some breaks on weather along the way.

ZachO 12-27-2018 08:56 AM

Yep, March will be busy, but less busy than April and especially May, assuming you aren't there over spring break. Definitely worth it. There are a lot of good places to check out in Utah, but see what you can without rushing. It'll still be there next year, though every year it gets busier and busier, more and more overrun. Some of the places posted on the internet in this thread used to be well off the beaten path; a place to find solitude. No more :( But that's the way our world is headed. This mornings dose of pessimism brought to you by...me :D

Kenny Strong 12-27-2018 11:12 AM

As others have stated. March is crowded. the time to go to Arches National park is October thru February. Been there well over 50 + times. done years of back country 4 wheel drive. Moab mountain bike rides in February. Love Goblin state park. Capital Reef National Park will be getting traffic, Go. Highway 12 been snowed on in Feb. I would and will be there. Spend many days in Torrey. Dead Horse Point just opened a new camp ground. Try Lower Calf Creek camp ground on highway 12 near Esclante Ut. I plan trips to southern Ut everywhere. Ski Utah golf and hike Southern Ut in the same day.

Later Kenny

ehoepner 12-27-2018 02:23 PM

South WestUtah Parks
 
We were there towards the end of April a couple of years ago. You need at least ten days to see Zion and Bryce Canyon. Canyon Lands is an extra four to five days.

Be prepared for snow, ice, and cold weather. When we were at Bryce Canyon in April we had four inches of snow and ice. We know how to deal with the snow and ice but a lot of people who were there did not and were not prepared for it.

ecmbob 12-27-2018 02:24 PM

Camping in Moab or Escalante areas
 
You have lots of good answers so far. There are good full hookup campgrounds as you cross the river into Moab. I wouldn't try camping at Dead Horse point or Canyonlands in March. Ditto on hwy 12 to Escalante and Kodachrome state park. Also, the state park campground outside Escalante is very nice. As far as scenery, you can't lose in red rock country.;)

Mike Magee 12-27-2018 03:46 PM

Last year in early March, high temps in Moab were mostly 50s and 60s, with lows around 20 or so. Plenty of sun. Pretty decent weather for camping and sightseeing. Make your reservations early, and enjoy! Arches NP is gorgeous. I greatly prefer it over Zion (others differ, obviously). Glad you can get away at that time of year; I only get time in summer so it's always been hot hot hot when I get to Moab.



Goblin Valley SP would be great for a night, too, and a short stroll around the valley will be well worth the effort.

John in Santa Cruz 12-27-2018 04:57 PM

When we had our Tacoma TRD Offroad 4x4, my wife decided she really wasn't into off roading, 4x4 adventures. so we'll be mostly sticking with the highway, maybe some easy dirt roads if they go somewhere cool. my wife can't hike or climb, so we'll mostly be auto touring, that puts a crimp on a lot of activities.

the total trip I'm planning is 2 weeks. current work-in-progress is take 2 days to drive there (its about 16-17 hours travel time, setup and stay in one camp for a week doing day trips from that base, move to another camp for maybe 3 more nights with more day trips, then take 2 or 3 days going home.

I hate driving that far and arriving late in the day if I don't have camp reservations, and as of now, there are spaces available at the various utah state parks I've looked at, with partial hookups.

Jann Todd 12-27-2018 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz (Post 727867)
Anyone visited the Moab / Canyonlands / Arches area in early March? Want to avoid the crowds, figuring on camping around a week, maybe in Dead Horse Point State Park ?

We won't be doing any long hiking, just auto touring as my wife has a bad knee that limits her to maybe a mile walk on level ground.

Also thinking of spending a few nights at Escalante or Painted Forest state parks near/in the Escalante Grand Staircase NMR on the way back... Same thing, nothing extreme.

I'd love any feedback on these areas. We did a trip to Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon North Rim early season in the 80s in our old VW camper but otherwise haven't explored much of Utah.

Arches should be very nice. It has a nice campground without hookups. The road up to it is steep but we took our motorhome up there and didn't have any problems and neither did anyone else. We went in April and it was plenty warm. Any part of Utah in the southern or central part can't beat for scenery. National or state parks are all awesome.

thrifty bill 12-27-2018 06:11 PM

Coming from California, through Las Vegas, the first part of Utah you will come to is also the warmest, St George. Near St George is Zion National Park, another area that is relatively warm. The next closest attraction is Bryce Canyon, its nearby, but it gets totally different weather, much higher elevation (7,000 ft). Well worth the trip IF the conditions are good. North and east of there is highway 12, you pretty much immediately drop in elevation. Highway 12 continues up and down through several canyons and eventually reaches over 10,000 feet, before dropping back down to Torrey.

If the weather is good when we leave Snow Canyon SP in March, we will probably go over to Torrey. If not, we will choose the best weather route and head home. I would prefer I-40, but that may be pushing it.

Roamer 12-27-2018 06:47 PM

Arches is nice. Some arches are close to the road, others are a few mins hike, and there are many stops, each arch is another stop. the walking adds up.
Leave camper behind and dont worry about the crowds, just get to the entrance gate early as that clogs up. Big park, people are spread out.
Weather is usually tolerable in the winter. Coloradans go to Moab to escape the snow and severe cold, not to say it wont snow, but unlikely in March.
Canyonlands is big, no worries about crowds.
Moab is great for the adventurous, but hiking/biking required. I see the Jeep tours out a lot, and that might be worth doing so you get into the cool places that you cannot drive to or are limited to hike to.

Kai in Seattle 12-28-2018 12:38 PM

One small piece of advice. IF you take any "off road" trails with a vehicle, get a map at the ranger station before you start, and PAY ATTENTION to any tiny, almost unnoticeable gaps in the "road" pathway as marked. Those may well leave you stranded in tiny dead-ends next to sheer drop-offs, within visual range of a parking lot and road out, but with literally no way to get there without wings. ASK the ranger, "Can we drive all the way around and out? Or do we have to turn around and come all the way back?" If you're lucky, they'll tell you. If you think it's a little bit of missing print, you may have one of the hairiest experiences of your life.


You are on the edge of the wild...don't go off the path!

Just sayin'

BEST
Kai

John in Santa Cruz 12-28-2018 12:47 PM

thankfully, I have a 500-600 mile range with the diesel :D


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