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Zion and Bryce in Late December

Virginia
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Zion and Bryce in Late December

In the early stages of planning for our "last minute" trip to Vegas and was wondering if anyone can give us suggestions for a three day excursion. Tentatively leaving Vegas on a Tuesday and returning on a Thursday, so love to hear suggestions on places to stay, eat and hike or do this time of year. Our group is made up of a few adults and active kids from 11-17 who would hike but don't love it. Originally thought we could add Grand Canyon into this mix, but don't want to be stuck in the car for hours.

Thanks for any input! Much appreciated!

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Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

A three day excursion to the Grand Canyon NP at the South Rim will involve the same amount of time in the car as driving to Zion and Bryce.

LV to GCNP is 5 hours. LV to Zion is 3 hours, plus Zion to Bryce takes 2 more.

The benefits at all of these places are equally stunning. 2 days at Zion and one day at Bryce works well. Weather will be coldest at Bryce.

1-2 days at the GCNP is great and you could add a day or two in Sedona.

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Sedona
Sedona
Arizona
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2. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

With three days to work with,you could do a Zion/Bryce trip.

Or a Grand Canyon trip.Just not both.

Vegas to GC is 5 hours.Vegas to Bryce is 5 hours.Vegas to Zion is 3 hours.

You could get the long drive out of the way on day one,and see Bryce first.See some of the overlooks.Spend the night,then roam around the park a little the next day,then make the two hour drive to Zion via the east entrance in the afternoon.Look around the park that afternoon.

Spend the night in Zion,explore the park the next day,head back to Vegas.

The lodge at Bryce is closed for winter,so Rubys Inn just outside the park is a choice for lodging.Or the new Bryce Canyon Grand.

There is always a possibility for snow at both parks.Bryce is higher in elevation,so it gets more snow.

For Zion,the town of Springdale just outside the park has many hotels and restaurants.The lodge inside the park is another option.

Some nice hikes at Zion are Riverside walk,Emerald Pools and Canyon Overlook.However if there is ice these trails may close.

If the kids don't like to hike ,they could rent bikes and ride the Pa Rus trail,a paved trail that follows the Virgin River.

Again,since it is December,you could have snow,or you could have temps in the 50's at Zion.Hard to tell.

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3. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

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Virginia
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4. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

Thanks RedRox and dez40. We are definitely going to Zion now and maybe squeeze in Bryce. If there is one thing you would both recommend that we should absolutely see or do, what would it be?

We have booked a Canyoneering trip with Zion Adventure Company...considering hiking the Narrows...

Also, any places to eat that you can recommend?

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Zion Adventure Company
Zion Adventure Company
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Springdale, UT
Encinitas...
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5. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

Well, the one place I always recommend at Zion is the Angels Landing trail.

Depending on weather,you may not get all the way to the top.Scouts Lookout is a good alternative.It is just before the hard part of the trail,and is a good place to view the canyon.Ice is a big concern on this trail,and the trail may be shut down.

The other place to see is the Narrows.It will be cold,so rent the drysuit from Zion Adventure Co.

Again ,access to these areas is totally dependent on weather.

As for places to eat,try Whiptale Grill,Oscars,Spotted Dog,Zion Pizza and Noodle.

Also visit the photo galleries in Springdale.David West and Fatali have galleries in town.

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6. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

Definitely drive out to Bryce as a day trip, since you're so close. Seeing snow at Bryce is awesome. I'm sure you'll be back again for more hiking another time.

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Sedona, AZ
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7. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

Narrows in December? Brrrr!

Virginia
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8. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

Thanks again everyone for posting. I did think Narrows would be cold when temps are in the 50, maybe 60 if we are lucky; but it seems that many have said that this is a must do. I would like to get someone to post who actually walked Narrows in this weather (or hiked in Dec/Jan). We are not hard core hikers at all, and walking with drysuits sounds very challenging...but we'll see.

I thought Bryce was only 45 minutes away, but somewhere I read it is 2 hours away. Is driving from/to Bryce at night ok?

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9. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

You will be fine with a drysuit.People wear them all the time to hike the Narrows.The water will probably be in the mid 40s.The entire suit they rent you,was designed for hiking in the river,and to keep you dry and warm.

Yes the drive to Bryce is just about two hours.You can drive it at night if you want.The majority of the drive is on Hwy 89,which is a very good road.Just watch for wildlife.

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Sedona, AZ
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10. Re: Zion and Bryce in Late December

Bryce to Zion East Gate is 45 miles and takes about an hour to drive. Then the drive through the park to Springdale takes another 30 minutes or longer depending on traffic and stops. If you're doing it at night, you won't be stopping. Day time is a different story. Watch for wildlife on the road at night.

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