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Old 01-08-2010, 08:34 PM
IzzyCamper IzzyCamper is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 5
Default Utah & GC during July: Trip Planning

Hello everyone,

Coming out of lurk mode to think through our first really long trip in the TM. This will be our third summer with a 2720. Our longest trip so far has been a week and a half, but this year we will be traveling this June/July with two adults, two kids, and a dog for about 35 days. The plan right now is to leave Michigan and visit Badlands/Yellowstone/Tetons and then head down to Utah and at some point hit Arches/Canyonlands, Zion/Bryce, and then the Grand Canyon.

My husband will be part-time working from the road, so we're balancing days he mostly stays and works with days we need to board the dog in order to get out as a family and explore.

Before kids, we did the Yellowstone/Teton area, so we're feeling good about that part of the planning. I'm stuck right now planning the southern Utah part of this trip -- more specifically, the smaller stops along the way that could make the trip more interesting. Has anyone done the Grand Escalante Staircase area? Monument Valley? Valley of the Gods? Gooseneck State Park? We're mostly going to be in (or just outside) the larger, busy parks, so we'd like to have a few nights of quieter camping, but I'm worried about the weather, heat, etc. during July. The scenery at Gooseneck State Park looks especially interesting, but there's no electricity, so maybe July is a bad time for it. Also, can I drive through Monument Valley pulling a TM? I'm trying to plan for appx 4 days in each major park (except Bryce 'cause we don't seem to have dog boarding options there & also fewer in Arches/Canyonlands 'cause it just looks like it will be so darn hot), so I don't have many "extra" days and want to use them well.

Any thoughts about Utah camping are appreciated.

Thanks! --Izzy
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:13 PM
4Kids2Dogs 4Kids2Dogs is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Southeast Colorado
Posts: 92

We are also planning a trip to the canyon lands in Southern Utah - but in June. We were there many years ago, BC (before children), tent camping, so we also don't have very much recollection of the campground facilities for RVs. I do remember that it was so beautiful, I told DH to let me close my eyes for a little while in the car because I was tired out from seeing too much beauty!!
Anyhow, in planning this trip, I did find this site in my searches that was interesting:
The BLM and National Park campgrounds can be accessed on the nps site:
FWIW, we are also visiting Mesa Verde Indian ruins since it is only 2 hours from Moab, UT. Our kids will love it. Their visitor site is:
Sorry I can't offer any personal experiences camping with our TM, but looking at these sites might help. I hope you have a great, beautiful, LONG trip!!
Jen & Rick

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Last edited by 4Kids2Dogs; 01-08-2010 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:03 PM
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ShrimpBurrito ShrimpBurrito is offline
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Location: Sunny Beaches of Los Angeles
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Grand Escalante is definitely worth visiting. Very dramatic views, and no where near as many people as the national parks. One of my favorite areas.

If you can secure a permit (through BLM), be sure to check out "The Wave". Google "The Wave" (in quotes) to see pics. IIRC correctly, it's about a 3-mile hike in from the trailhead, and is a spectacular and very unusual rock formation. 20 permits for 20 people are issued daily --- 10 prior by lottery (and mail) and 10 the day before in person at the ranger office. You will not be disappointed. After returning to the trailhead, follow the creek bed downstream for about a mile, and you will run into a very cool slot canyon that I don't think alot of folks know about. Camp 10 minutes away in the "Stateline campground", so named because it straddles the AZ/UT border -- it's BLM, and no frills, and only about 6 sites -- 3 in Utah, and 3 in Arizona. No cell service, and no amenities except a pit toilet, fire ring and maybe a picnic table. Accessible only via a 10-mile dirt road that is not particularly TM-friendly, but I'd still do it again and take it very slow.

Also check out the famous Antelope Canyons.

At the GC, be sure to check out the North Rim. Since 90% of the park visitors go to the South Rim, the North Rim has far fewer congestion and development, and the views are still beautiful. Don't do it instead of the South Rim, but in addition to. There is a ~100-site campground over there that is decent. We camped there in early November last year and there were only 3 other parties in addition to us in the whole place.

Mesa Verde is an awesome place if you venture down that far.

That whole area -- the "Four Corners" -- so called as it's the only place in the country where the borders of 4 states meet in one spot, is beautiful. Lots to do and see within a few hour radius.

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Old 01-08-2010, 10:27 PM
Scott O
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The campgrounds in the National Parks will fill to capacity. Find out how far in advance you can get reservations and try the minute they open. Even then you may have difficulties in some places. Also, many of the park campgrounds will not have hookups. Then you must go private. July will be hot, hot, hot. There is a really fine loop, from South Rim Grand Canyon to Monument Valley, to Moab (Arches and Canyonlands are not to be missed), to Capitol Reef, to Grand Staircase/Escalante (Boulder & Escalante) to Bryce and to Zion. All are easily accessible with your TM.
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Old 01-09-2010, 02:03 AM
MudDog MudDog is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ventura County, CA
Posts: 274

Southern Utah is one of our favorite places.

In the last year we've made 3 trips from Southern CA and usually start with Zion (be sure to check out the Kolob Canyon section of the park by leaving the main area and driving 15 miles or so North on Hwy 15 from Hurricaine UT). If you haven't already found it, I think there's a place called Doggy Dude Ranch on the highway between Virgin Utah and Spingdale, not too far from the SW entrance. we haven't used it, but always see the sign as we head to the park. After Zion, we normally head over to Cedar Breaks and Bryce.

At Bryce, we've stayed at the Ruby's Inn campground which has full hookups and is very close to the entrance. We weren't there at the peak of summer and felt comfortable leaving our dog in the TM for a couple of hours while we made a quick trip into the park and did the Navajo Loop trail.

On the last trip, from Bryce we took Hwy 12 (one of the few designated national scenic highways) thru Escalante/Grand Staircase. There seem to be endless possibilities along this route for hiking, exploring and camping. I imagine during the summer it's going to be pretty hot.

We went the length of Hwy 12 and then eventually met up with another highway and headed south into Monument Valley (last trip we arrived at night and woke up to a dust storm the next morning that reduced visbility to 30 feet or have been to Monument Valley but never saw it...we'll have to return soon). When there are no dust storms you can certainly see much of Monument Valley from the main highway with TM in tow. There are several dirt/jeep trails that take you closer to some of the formations - some of them are open to private vehicles (years ago I remember seeing some Cruise America motor homes on some of the dirt roads....not sure I would tow MY TM on any of them), some of them are by tribal permit only.

Sounds like a great trip - I can only seem to break away from my job for a max of 10 days and always wish I'd had more time to explore.
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:07 AM
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wbmiller3 wbmiller3 is offline
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We stayed in a small private campground just north of the town of Monticello, Utah while checking out Canyonlands and Arches. Although small the facilities were nice including Wi-Fi. Since it was summer when we were there, we wanted hookups to run the AC. This was in 2008. I can't remember the name of the place but if you type E 700 N Monticello UT into google maps it will take you there.
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Last edited by wbmiller3; 01-09-2010 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:45 AM
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Frenchy Frenchy is online now
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Join Date: Jul 2002
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You can pull yor TM to the visitor center at Monument Valley but don't try to pull past that. I tried that and didn't get very far before I had to turn back. Took me a long time to get back out and I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Unhook at the visitor center if you want to drive further in. You can see quite a bit from the visitor center. It is a worthwhile stop if you have the time.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:41 AM
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Arches is one of the most beautiful parks but very hot during the daytime. Don't worry as you will be out hiking or in the shade, the very low 2 to 5% humidity makes it bearable. Nights are great as temps fall fast after sunset and you will need covers to sleep. Take plenty of drinking water. Keep some empty two liter bottles to use as canteens.

Sounds like a wonderful trip, enjoy!
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:46 AM
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Bill Bill is offline
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We've stayed in the campground at Goulding's Lodge in Monument Valley. Quite comfortable. Goulding's Lodge is actually a complex with hotel, restaurant, campground, grocery store (it's a long way to another!), and a museum. Can't recall if there is gasoline, but probably. There is actually a lot of history here, mostly based around movies that were filmed in the valley. It's a fun place, and from there, all of Monument Valley is within an easy drive.

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Old 01-09-2010, 11:08 AM
Scott O
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Bill is right about Goulding's. There is a very comfortable campground there, in fact, the only one anywhere near Monument Valley Tribal Park. 2 nights was plenty, as there aren't many places you can go off the main highway on your own. You will want to sign up for a guided tour of the valley (full day is best) as that is the only way you can see most of it. At night at Goulding's they have a small room where they show John Wayne movies which were filmed there. We saw "The Searchers" and it was a really good experience.

There is also a decent campground in Escalante, which will allow you to leave your trailer and explore by car. Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument is a really big place. Eat dinner at Hell's Backbone Kitchen in the Boulder Mountain Lodge in Boulder. If you are up to it, there is a great hike (2.5 miles or so each way) to a waterfall called Calf Creek Falls. Really epic.
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