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Suggestions for family trip next March on a TIGHT budget? - Page 4

post #91 of 99
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip about the Utah passport program Texastrips!  I wish both of my boys were in the 5th grade because the one for 5th graders really is amazing!   biggrin.gif

 

I'd love to do Brighton, but unfortunately I couldn't find any ski in ski out accommodations there that were even remotely close to our budget.  Maybe next year....

 

David

post #92 of 99
Thread Starter 

Question for anybody with local knowledge: what are the chances that we will be able to drive from Brian Head to Bryce Canyon National Park in late March (without going around the world)?  Are the roads between the two NORMALLY open in the absence of big snow/ice storms?

 

David

post #93 of 99

You would have to go down through Panguitch, figure 2.5 hours unless the weather is dirty, then longer.  I think Zion's is more spectacular than Bryce and quite a bit closer to BH.  Lots of good day hikes, lots of restaurants/amenities just outside the park in Springdale.  You drive into the canyon along the Virgin River and are soon surrounded by 2000' multi hued sandstone walls on every side.  Tons of images online.

post #94 of 99
Thread Starter 

Hmm.. when I check Google Maps, it says that Bryce Canyon is about 64 miles from B.H. (through Panguitch).  It shows two routes to Zion, one via interstate 15/UT-9, and another route through the mountains, but both routes are about 85 miles.  Is there a straighter route from B.H. to Zion?

 

But regardless, Zion sounds and looks wonderful, so we'll definitely check it out.  We're spending the night in Vegas Saturday night at the beginning of our trip, so if the weather's nice, we may drive from Vegas to Zion on Sunday morning and spend the day there, before driving on to Brian Head late that afternoon.

 

Thanks again for the great info Dan!

 

David

post #95 of 99

There's just no easy way to get to Bryce in the Winter from BH--the route to Zion, by contrast, is mostly interstate.  There's lots of cheap lodging just outside the Park in March, so a stop on the way to or from the airport is your best bet.

 

Vegas's best kept secret is its proximity to Southern Utah; we can get to Zion in 2.5 hours or so.

post #96 of 99

I've only traveled between BH and Bryce in the summer, but it didn't seem that long. Google says an hour and a half, and that sounds about like what I remember. 2.5 hours sounds off. It's a state/two-lane highway type of drive so it should be pretty clear unless it's actively snowing (in which case, I'd assume you wouldn't go anyway). I know Bryce itself gets a lot of snow, so I'm not sure how easy the park is to access in the winter (i.e. you might have to park outside and snowshoe in) - check the NP website.

 

I'd echo the thoughts on considering Zion over Bryce. Cedar Breaks, basically across the street from Brian Head, is like a mini-Bryce with some of the same types of scenery. There are scenic pull-outs right off the highway that Brian Head is on, and you can also snowshoe and cross country ski there like you would with Bryce. So you can enjoy a Bryce-type experience right from Brian Head and then go to Zion, which is easier to access thanks to the Interstate highway and lower elevations. Also, the Kolob Canyons Section of Zion is right near Cedar City (~1 hour from BH), so you could cut some driving if you want.

 

One more option to consider is Red Canyon. You actually pass right through it when traveling to Bryce and it has very similar scenery. It's just past Panguitch, about an hour from BH and right on the highway. Not sure what it's like in the winter, but a couple pics from the summer to give you an idea:

 

 

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post #97 of 99

Here's a little more about the route from BH to Panguitch. It definitely sounds like something to avoid if it's snowing or covered:

 

http://utahspatchworkparkway.com/transportation.html

post #98 of 99
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the additional comments Dan and Joe!  Based on all the photos and comments I've seen online, I would REALLY love to visit Bryce, although Zion sounds beautiful as well.  And I've discovered that the historic Lodge at Bryce Canyon opens Friday March 29th (near the end of our trip).  So we're thinking about extending our trip a day or two longer and trying to stay in Bryce Canyon one or two nights, and maybe do some horseback riding IF it's available at that time.

 

I know all of this is VERY dependent on weather, and the weather at that time of the year can be anything from fairly mild and dry, to serious winter storm conditions with closed roads.  So we intend to leave our plans (and reservations) for that last weekend VERY flexible.  At the start of our trip (Saturday March 23) the 7-day forecast should be reasonably accurate, so at that time we should be able to plan out the following weekend.  If the forecast is predicting a warm dry spell, then we'll plan to go to Bryce Canyon for a couple of days/nights after spending 5/6 days at Brian Head.  But if it looks like like the weather could be nasty, we'll probably make reservations at Zion instead.

 

Either way, we're excited about seeing some of the incredible natural beauty of southern Utah!  I've only been to B.H. once (last January), and just the drive up I-15 was pretty darn spectacular, so I can't wait to see the back country!

 

David

post #99 of 99

Hope your Utah trip is still on--I just wanted to pass along some info on snowmobile tours in the Brian Head area--check out Thunder Mountain Motorsports' web site: http://www.brianheadthunder.com . They run a good operation and give you and your family several touring options.  As you can see from their gallery, there is some great scenery; I highly recommend it!

 

Dan

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