|Subject: Zion, Bryce and other high places|
Wanted to share an American itinerary with the group. We just returned from an amazingly beautiful 3-week trip thru Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, and Colorado. Our visits through a string of national parks and monuments were full of stunning scenic beauty. We did hit a lot of "high places," but guardrails are the key, especially on the winding mountain drives.
We started out in Sedona,AZ, hit Flagstaff and then the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which has much less tourist traffic than the South Rim, a beautiful lodge and great views. Went on to Page, AZ to the Lake Powell area and toured the Glen Canyon Dam. Cringed a bit, even tho we did not stand too close to the edge of the steep drop into Horseshoe Basin, because there were not guardrails here. Quite an overlook, though. Walked through the Antelope slot canyon which was quite beautiful. Many photo opportunities here and almost everywhere else we went.
Spent time in Zion, Bryce, Arches, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands. Each park was uniquely beautiful. We liked Zion the best because it had so much diversity and was so accessible. Good hiking, walking and viewing points. The shuttle system was efficient and designed wisely to cut down on auto traffic in the park. Would definitely go back. The monolithic rock formations and canyons in this area are fantastic! The parks were not crowded at this time of year and the weather was good. Mid May or earlier might have been better to avoid some crowds and higher motel prices. Spent time near Aspen hiking with friends, still lots of snow on mountains. Many scenic drives here. Visited Mesa Verde for the first time. Very interesting. Guided tour with park ranger to get close up views of one the Anasazi ruins. Amazing how long these structures have lasted. Last stop was Canyon De Chelly. Beautifully green below. Again, a unique canyon. People still living there. Next trip, we'll take a Navaho guided trip down through the canyon. Back to Tucson, with another great drive thru the White Mountains.
Wanted to note that much of our driving was on backroads and scenic byways throughout our trip. We found a drive near Moab that went through the La Sal mountains that had us believing we were in Switzerland. We could not believe the beauty in some of these areas, and often, there were few if any other cars on these roads. We have always loved driving through Colorado, but we'll add Utah to our favorites now. The only thing we did not enjoy was the small gauge train ride from Durango to Silverton through the San Juan moutains in Colorado. The first hour was pretty, with green mountains and fast running streams and rapids all along the way, but 4.5 hours on this very slow train was way too long. Luckily we took the bus back to Durango, whick only took 1.5 hours.
Took us over 20 years to get back to Utah after one hot summer camping trip, but would highly recommend seeing these parks. All viewpoints have guardrails and most require minimal walking. Wonder how many Americans know about all the beauty we have in our backyard in our national park system. We were happy to take a year off of foreign travel to see these sights, and will probably make them a regular part of our travel agenda now. For those fans who check out U.S. Roadside Diners recommended by Michael and Jane Stern, we even found two restaurants on our route: one in Torrey, Utah and one in Durgano, Co. Both were excellent!
Happy travels this summer! Eileen & Al Rotman Tucson