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Author Topic: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona  (Read 3268 times)

Jim

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Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« on: September 27, 2015, 11:41:49 PM »

I'm flying in to SLC later this week and driving to Cedar City for a conference.  The ride there is definitely just I-15, and that's OK, as I've not done I-15 in Utah south of Spanish Fork, and I will have already had a long travel day by the time I land in SLC.  I've been to SLC a few times and am not planning anything significant there other than lunch with a friend.

My questions:

- My last conference day ends around 1 and I'm staying in Cedar City that night.  Suggestions for the best national park or other touristy thing to do that afternoon?  Zion seems like the obvious choice, but can I leave Cedar City at 1, get there and see enough to make it worthwhile before dark?  I don't mind driving back to Cedar City after dark.

- I reserved a full day to get from Cedar City back to SLC.  My plan is to take a scenic route that's new to me to pick up some new counties and a lot of new highway mileage.  I'm thinking I-15 south to Moapa, Nevada, which will fill in an I-15 gap for me, Nevada 168, US 93 North, US 6 East, I-15 North.  Google says it's about 600 miles but that I can do it in 9 1/2 hours. I'm willing to let it take 12 or 13 hours so I could stop and see a few things.  Does that seem doable in 12 hours?  Is it possible to see anything in Great Basin NP in an hour or so if I feel I can afford a little time when I get that far?  I'll mostly want to be back at or close to I-15 before it gets too dark.
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SD Mapman

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2015, 11:54:33 PM »

- My last conference day ends around 1 and I'm staying in Cedar City that night.  Suggestions for the best national park or other touristy thing to do that afternoon?  Zion seems like the obvious choice, but can I leave Cedar City at 1, get there and see enough to make it worthwhile before dark?  I don't mind driving back to Cedar City after dark.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is awesome, and much closer. I personally liked it better than Zion, but that might have just been that it was 99 degrees in the shade when I went to Zion.
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nexus73

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2015, 12:00:24 PM »

If you can sneak it in, try US 189 through Provo Canyon.  Imagine a freeway/expressway in the Alps and that is what you'll get!  As an engineering feat this is quite the road and as for scenery it is a good 'un.

If you like pizza and craft root beer made on the premises, stop at Brick Oven in Provo.  Might as well enjoy some good eats too!  In-N-Out has some Utah locations too.

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oscar

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2015, 01:01:44 PM »

I second the suggestion for Cedar Breaks on the afternoon after your conference ends. The view of the natural amphitheater approaching from the west is stunning.

For the day after, once you're off the Interstates you'll be passing through a lot of service deserts, so keep an eye on the gas gauge. But the Border Inn on US 6/50 at the state line has gas on the Utah side (breaking up what would otherwise be a long service gap between Ely and Delta) and slots on the Nevada side, and is a good place to stop for souvenirs even if your fuel supply is in good shape.

Before you make the turn from US 93 north to US 6/50 east, look back to see if the US 93 cutout route marker southbound just south of the junction is still there. AFAIK, only cutout in Nevada, or anywhere on US 93.

On US 6 in Nevada, unless there's road construction you should be able to make good time. Good road, little traffic. Probably the same for US 93, except it passes through several small towns, in which you should expect small-town speed traps.
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2015, 01:02:53 PM »

I spent some time in both Zion and nearby Bryce several years ago.  I quite enjoyed my time in both parks (I did them both in a very (very) long day.  The tunnel through Zion really is cool, and is probably the better of the "roadgeek" attractions of the two parks.  Bryce Canyon purports to have the worlds most beautiful 3 mile hike, an ascertation that I'd say is at least plausible if it is not true.  If you'd prefer to spend more time in the car, I'd recommend Zion, if your looking for a taxing, but very doable 2 hour hike, I'd definitely recommend Bryce's Canyon.  I've not done it, but I gather that the drive down UT-14 is pretty spectacular in its own right.

I haven't done any of the rural roads you are proposing through Utah and and Nevada on your last day, but from experience on other roads I'd say that it is pretty easy to make good time on two lane highways through the desert so long as they don't spend much time on mountain ranges.
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Rothman

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2015, 05:38:54 PM »

Here's another vote for Cedar Breaks, although it pales in comparison to Zion, in my book.  Angels Landing in Zion provides the most breathtaking view I've ever experienced.

But, Cedar Breaks is definitely better for someone squeezing in sightseeing into a tight schedule.  The overlooks that are car-accessible provide a lot of what you could see in the park anyway...and you'll be above 10,000 feet to boot.

Regarding the Border Inn, it's actually a decent place to stay; I did so in 2012 and couldn't complain about it.

Regarding Great Basin, although you can see the peaks in the park in an hour or so, the fact of the matter is that the thing to see is Lehman Caves and the "parachute" formations therein.  Can't do that in an hour.

Hiked up Wheeler Peak, myself, when I was there and then did a cave tour nearly right afterwards, though. :D
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noelbotevera

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2015, 10:20:50 PM »

Grand Canyon. You can probably cram in the North Rim. The South Rim is 80 miles apart, double that because you have to loop around by road.
I-17 and AZ-89A south of Flagstaff is pretty scenic. Pavement sucks though.
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oscar

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 10:38:51 PM »

Grand Canyon. You can probably cram in the North Rim.

The North Rim is awesome, but deserves a less hurried visit than Jim has time for on this trip.
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Jim

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 10:49:18 PM »

Grand Canyon. You can probably cram in the North Rim.

The North Rim is awesome, but deserves a less hurried visit than Jim has time for on this trip.

Yes, I've been to the South Rim a few times and want to hit the North Rim some time, but this trip is not that time.

Thanks for all of the advice, suggestions, and info so far.  In particular, I hadn't heard that In-N-Out was in Utah and I haven't had one of their burgers in several years.  I now know my plans for dinner when I get back to civilization on the long drive day on Sunday.  I'll probably make a call that day on whether to do Zion, Cedar Breaks, or something else after the conference ends.  I have no intent of this being my only trip to this part of Utah, so I don't need to cram in too many things too quickly, but I don't know when I'll have the chance to get back.
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Jim

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2015, 07:33:39 PM »

Thanks for the Cedar Breaks recommendations.  It fit comfortably into the afternoon and I'm back early enough for dinner and to rest up for tomorrow's drive the long way back to SLC.
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SD Mapman

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2015, 09:33:47 PM »

Thanks for the Cedar Breaks recommendations.  It fit comfortably into the afternoon and I'm back early enough for dinner and to rest up for tomorrow's drive the long way back to SLC.
Happy to help!
That's somewhere I want to go back to.
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Jim

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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2015, 09:40:57 PM »

My 620 mile ride was under 11 hours total.  I took the route I mentioned in the OP, and was able to keep it around 85 more often than not.  The long way back to SLC was well worth it to me but definitely not a ride I would have been able to do if not traveling solo for this one.
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Re: Utah, Nevada, and maybe a little Arizona
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2015, 03:09:28 PM »

You might consider taking UT 130 / UT 257 / US 6 north on the way back to SLC from Cedar City too. There's little to no traffic on these roads and the Speed Limit is 65. I only suggest this because I've always liked traveling 2 lane desert highways better than the interstates. Plus you get a feel for how far out in the middle of no where you really are. Anyways just a suggestion. It says on Google Maps it takes about an hour longer to go the "back way" (SR 130/257).

Here's street view of UT 130 looking north. https://goo.gl/maps/GZcc7eQqnAr

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