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Old 01-21-2016, 11:00 AM   #1
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Southwest CO, UT, AZ July 2016 advice sought?

I'm able to get away from work for the entire month of July this year, not sure when I will see a window like this again. My wife would really like to see the Grand Canyon and a few other places in the Southwest. We live in New Jersey, so our first few days will be a mad dash out West, which I am ok with. A few of the places I'd like to hit up on our way or return are:

Steamboat Springs, CO - Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Ouray, CO - Ouray Hot Springs
Estes Park, CO - Rocky Mountain, N.P.

Moab, UT - Arches, N.P.

Page, AZ - Antelope Canyon
Arizona - Grand Canyon, N.P. (South Rim)
Arizona - Glen Canyon Dam

Mesa Verde, CO - Mesa Verde, N.P.
Colorado - Great Sands Dunes N.P. & Preserve.

Am I missing anything worth a quick look? Probably 1 1/2 days in most locations.

I've been to Arches and Mesa Verde about 18 years ago in late June, early July. If I recall correctly I stayed in a motel. I know daytime temperatures will be hot, but how about the nights? Should I count on my refrigerator not being able to keep up? Not a fan of reservations, but could I possibly be shutout of a "private" campgrounds because on the time of year? Any campgrounds worth noting on my map? We like to try an grab a swim late in the day. Big selling point for my 12 year old daughter.

This trip will be pretty much a loop, with the Grand Canyon being the most Western stop. Not sure if we should start a Southern route or Northern route first on this loop?

Would love your two cents on anything worth seeing or tips and advice on how to handle this with my Escape in tow?

Or should I just go park it in the Outer Banks of N.C. For the month of July?

-Vinny
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:15 PM   #2
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You are headed to my favorite part of the US. I can't make recommendations for places to swim, but I do suggest staying in some of the area State parks. Check out Goblin Valley, Kodachrome Basin & Dead Horse Point state parks in Utah. Even if you don't camp there, Goosenecks State Park north of Monument Valley is worth a visit. In the Moab area (near Arches) Canyonlands National Park is also a beautiful area. The Islands in the Sky section is not too far from Dead Horse Point SP.

If you are interested in photography, at Antelope Canyon take the photographer's tour. More time & more opportunities to take photos without a bunch of people in them. I have a page that has some suggestions for photographers here.

Depending on the amount of time you have, a visit to Zion National Park is worth a day or two. If the Narrows hike is open, it is a unusual opportunity - you hike in a river through beautiful cliffs.

There is so much more, depending on your likes. I have been in the area many times - if you go to my web page & do a search using the Google search box on the main page, you can find photos & some information about my visits to the area.
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:27 PM   #3
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I'd hightail it out thru Colorado on I70 and hit Rocky MountainNP on the way. Then onto Utah for the Grand Circle- http://utah.com/national-parks/grand-circle, afterwards head north up to Wyoming and hit Tetons and Devils Tower then start home thru Mt Rushmore and stop in BadlandsNP on way home.
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:34 PM   #4
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I'll concur with Jon. So many beautiful places in the desert southwest and the Canyonlands. Be aware, places like Arches and Zion fill up sometimes many months in advance. We have had good luck in the BLM sites all over the southern Utah area. We also like many of the smaller state parks like Kodachrome Basin. Love Bryce too.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:04 PM   #5
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We love the Grand Lake side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Less crowded and slower paced than the Estes Park side. Plus, the moose tend to be seen more on the west side of the park. There is a great forest service campground--Stillwater--which is on Lake Granby near Grand Lake.

Also, Pikes Peak is a must see and that will also take you near/through Garden of the Gods. Both are in the Colorado Springs area. We typically stay in Woodland Park which is up the mountain from the Springs and take day trips from there.

Also, Great Sand Dunes is wonderful!
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:10 PM   #6
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Your trip touches many of the places we love. During summer of 2014, we spent three weeks in July staying in National and State Parks throughout the SW USA. We enjoyed every park that we stayed at including Arches NP, Dead Horse Point SP, Kodachrome SP, Zion NP, Grand Canyon North Rim NP, and Mesa Verde NP, amongst a few others. Was scorching hot in the desert during the mid summer, but we had electricity at about 1/2 of the places we stayed to run the A/C, and our fridge worked flawlessly on propane during the entire trip. Even on those nights without power, our 19' Escape was fairly comfortable inside with the Max-fan providing ventilation and airflow.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:17 PM   #7
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Too much to do for 3 weeks but others worth a look, Zion, Bryce, Kodachrome, Capital Reef, drive the Valley of the Gods and Moki Dugway. If you like animals, the Best Friends compound in Kanab was outstanding.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Too much to do for 3 weeks but others worth a look, Zion, Bryce, Kodachrome, Capital Reef, drive the Valley of the Gods and Moki Dugway. If you like animals, the Best Friends compound in Kanab was outstanding.
If you do the Moki Dugway (while some have, I wouldn't pull my trailer up the Dugway - too washboarded, at least the two times I've been there), be sure to drive out to Muley Point at the top of the Dugway. Driving up the Dugway, it will be a dirt road on your left a little after you are back on the pavement. Go all the way to the end for a beautiful, almost 360° view of the area, including Monument Valley.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:25 PM   #9
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We've been there many times but a great memory is a stop on the river at Mexican Hat, UT and lunch or dinner at the San Juan Inn.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:52 PM   #10
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Lots of great ideas here. Many that have been mentioned I visited while on a field study in college. I can't wait to retire and really see everything, 15 more years to go.

Vermilye have to drank from, "Matrimony Spring?" Refreshing source IMHO.
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