Travel

Roadtripping: Nevada, Arizona and Utah

I’m going to be posting only two times per week this week and next as myself, my husband and my in-laws head out on a weeklong vacation in the Southwest. We take a vacation each summer together and explore National Parks, take on some ambitious hiking and enjoy great restaurants together. It’s a fun tradition that we look forward to each summer.

This week we are headed to Las Vegas, Nevada – our start and end point for a weeklong roadtrip around three states in the Southwest. I’ll share the highlights of our roadtrip here and be sure to post the details, especially for the National Parks, when we get back.

Our route heads counter clockwise from Las Vegas, covering three states, four National Parks or NPS managed sites, and 800 miles.

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada/Arizona border

Our first day we are driving from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Hoover Dam is a bucket list item for me as it’s such a feat of American engineering and of the power of the Works Progress Administration to build up our country’s infrastructure. We’re also taking a scenic cruise on Lake Mead. I’m such a sucker for boat tours – it doesn’t matter where I am, if there’s a way to see things from a boat, I’m paying whatever they’re asking.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

I actually visited Grand Canyon in 2015, but it was only a daytrip on a longer trip to Arizona and we didn’t hike down into the Canyon. That’s one of my biggest regrets as I don’t think you can truly appreciate the scale of the Canyon from the Rim. We’ll be staying in the park for one night and have about a day and a half to explore.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

This is not a National Park, rather it is located on protected Navajo Nation land in Page, Arizona. This slot canyon is a stunning representation of what wind, water and time can do to a landscape. We’re taking a guided tour (you can’t explore outside of on a guided tour) of the Lower Canyon and I can’t wait to see this in-person. It looks unearthly in photos!

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

One of Utah’s five National Parks, Bryce is famous for its ‘hoodoos’, spire shaped rock formations. The largest concentration of these rock formations on Earth is found here. Excellent hiking, stargazing and views are ample. We’re having dinner one night on the patio at a restaurant that overlooks the Canyon and (the dork that I am), I timed our reservation to line up with sunset.

Zion National Park, Utah

One of my bucket list hikes is to hike The Narrows at Zion National Park. This hike can be done (a portion) as a day hike, but it involves some non-technical canyoneering as well as hiking through water. We can only hike this trail if there are no flash flood warnings as – the name suggests – it is a narrow canyon with great potential for flood risk. The weather looks good for our ability to hike it, fingers crossed!

We are spending two full days at Zion and possibly half of one more day if we still feel we have more that we haven’t gotten the chance to explore. I’m a bit apprehensive and hope we timed our trip well because there have been major issues in Zion NP this year with crowds and disruption to the visitor experience. Hopefully being at the later end of the season we will miss this.

Las Vegas, Nevada

I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but I’ve always wanted to see the Las Vegas strip in real life once and enjoy dining and cocktails in this city! We are starting and ending our trip out of the Las Vegas airport (cheap car rentals, let me tell you!) and we have an afternoon and night in town. By this point I think we’ll be worn out from so many consecutive days of hiking and it’ll be nice to enjoy down time at the hotel. I booked us a place with multiple pools, a pool bar, etc. I’m ready to kick back and lounge in the sun.

I’ll post details of our hikes and recommendations for the National Parks in the weeks after we get back. In the meantime, expect only two posts per week this week and next. Posting will return to a regular schedule the week of September 29th.

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