Author Topic: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR  (Read 4682 times)

Offline MahRabuMasecha

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Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« on: August 28, 2016, 02:09:00 AM »
Thanks so much to all the DD posters whose TRs have been so helpful!
This trip has been one my husband and I have been talking about for a long time and I am so grateful that we finally made that dream come true.
Our trip was from Sunday through Thursday this past week (late August 2016), and in short, our itinerary was: Vegas, Zion, Page, Grand Canyon, Sedona, and flight home from Phoenix.  I’ll post one day at a time cuz it’s a bit long.
Day 1
We took an 8:30 a.m. flight from EWR to LAS and with the time difference, we landed before 11 a.m. We took the shuttle from the airport to National, and thanks to a link my husband found (recommended by a friend) we were able to rent as Emerald Club Executive members. This meant that, after making a reservation at home, we did not have to wait at the rental counter. Instead, we went straight to the lot, chose whichever car we wanted from the entire lot, and National recorded our choice at the booth on our way out. Very cool and convenient.
We wasted some time driving to a pizza place that turned out to be closed, and then had a wonderful lunch at Panini Café. Delicious food for decent prices. Afterwards we went across the street to Albertson’s to pick up kosher food. I originally planned to take everything from home so we wouldn’t have to shop, but our suitcase weighed a few pounds more than 50, so we took out tuna cans and other food. There’s supposed to be fresh Pas Yisrael stuff, but the guy who makes it was out sick or something and we only found some packaged rolls and basic cakes. Thankfully I’d brought whole wheat bread from home for myself. We did find cold cuts, cream cheese, crackers, and most other items on our list.
Once we had our groceries, we drove out to Hoover Dam. We had reservations for the Power Plant tour, which was very interesting. After the tour we went out on the roof and then onto the dam bridge and got some great pictures at both places. On our way out, we also stopped at the Memorial Bridge parking lot, because I’d heard that you can get the best view of the entire dam complex from there. There’s a bit of a hike up from the parking lot to the bridge, and though it’s not very long, the heat and steps made it a difficult climb. After some kvetching from my husband, we finally found ourselves on the bridge. The climb had certainly been worthwhile because the view was absolutely breathtaking!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/4n7NZ1
We drove back to Vegas and checked into our hotel, Grand Vacations Hilton on the Boulevard. The hotel wasn’t on the Strip but about 15 minutes away, which is what I wanted. After taking some time to unwind and change, we went out for supper to Jerusalem Grill. Not a very fancy place but great food and nice people. After supper, we went to see the fountain at the Bellagio. Every half hour, there’s a light and water show, as the fountains dance to the music. Very cool.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/8jd1g1
I found the huge flashing billboards and noise on the Strip a little overwhelming. I’ll take a scenic vacation over a city one any time, so after the fountain show I just wanted to get out of there. We had considered stopping at the Circus Circus Hotel for a free aerobics show that goes on every half hour, but we were both tired from the flight and walking around the dam and neither of us was particularly interested in seeing Vegas night life, so we decided to call it a night.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2016, 03:31:51 AM by MahRabuMasecha »

Offline MahRabuMasecha

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2016, 02:13:38 AM »
Day 2
I had hoped we’d hit the road early on Monday morning, but we realized that we hadn’t bought enough tuna and had to get back to Albertson’s, which is in the opposite direction. We made another stop at Target for a selfie stick and finally were on our way.
We reached Springdale after noon. As we got close to the park, we saw a sign out on the road saying that the parking lot inside was full. This meant we’d have to park in Springdale and take the shuttle to the park. In the end, that wasn’t necessary, since we found parking on the street, right across Cable Mountain Lodge, which is next door to the Springdale Shuttle stop #1 is. Stop #1 is in front of Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theater, and a path behind the building leads to a footbridge and the park’s walk-in entrance booth and the Visitor Center. (We paid the regular entrance fee at the booth because we didn’t think we needed an America the Beautiful pass, but with all the places we visited, we probably should just have purchased the pass.)
Now let me just say that while I like to hike, my husband is more of a reluctant hiking companion, so we were looking for the shortest hikes with the best views. We took the in-park shuttle in front of the Visitor Center and our first stop was at the Zion Museum. There’s a beautiful view behind the building, no hiking required! Next, we stopped at Zion Lodge, which has the trailhead for the Emerald Pools Trail. This was a really nice hike, partially uphill, with gorgeous views that led to beautiful falls. The trail continues to the Middle and Upper Pools. The path turns into a series of steps, which is very exhausting but makes for some incredible photo ops. We turned back at the Middle Pools. The way back is much easier as it’s mostly downhill. All in all, a doable, beautiful hike of 1.5-2 hours that I would highly recommend.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/d383Q0
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/TkhLhK
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/xQV342
Next we took the Weeping Rock hike, which is quite steep but short, less than half hour round trip. The trail ends at a rock that forms an overhang of sorts that keeps dripping water. This is water that has seeped in centuries ago at the very top of the huge red rocks and slowly made its way down over many years. According to a ranger on site, the water dripping out of the overhang is some two thousand years old.
As we headed back with the shuttle to the Visitor Center, we made one more stop at the Court of the Patriarchs. A short, steep path leads to an excellent view of three prominent peaks, which have been aptly named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so we got some photos with them!
It was probably around five or six when we headed back to our car. We had reservations at Page, Arizona, so we still needed to drive another two hours that day, for a total of four hours of driving – the most of any day of our road trip. To get to Page, we actually had to continue on the 9, which goes directly through the park. We showed our tickets at the park toll booth so that we wouldn’t have to pay the entrance fee again. As the 9 continues through the park, it goes in the opposite direction of the park shuttle bus route, towards the other entrance/exit. The views towards that exit are absolutely breathtaking. We stopped several times to take pictures. Then, as we exited the park, we went through the famous Zion tunnel, which was blasted through the rocks. The views for the next few miles, through the canyons outside the park, are just mind-blowing and totally worth it even if someone is planning to turn around and head back towards Springdale or Vegas.
Eventually, the magnificent canyon views gave way to endless open desert, making it less of a wow drive for the remainder of the trip to Page.
I want to mention that I know I know I know that we should’ve stopped at Bryce first. Yeah, I know the rock formations are incredible and completely different from the huge impressive rocks at Zion. However, it’s an hour in the opposite direction, making it a two-hour detour, without calculating time to look around inside the park itself. We had only five days, and as much as we tried to shuffle the schedule we just couldn’t make it work. Besides, our road trip already included some 11 hours of driving, so we had to be realistic… Maybe one day we can get there through a flight to Salt Lake City.
Bottom line, our next pit stop was Page, Arizona. (We had some fun figuring out the time, because from Vegas to Zion the clock had to be moved an hour, and then from Zion to Page we had to move it back, so we had some weird estimated arrival times on Google Maps…)
We arrived after dark to Courtyard by Marriot Page. The lobby décor is rather rustic and different, but the rooms were nice and clean. Microwaves are available upon request, so we were able to reheat our store-bought, double-wrapped suppers.

Offline MahRabuMasecha

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2016, 02:19:25 AM »
Day 3
Since we were traveling in late August, the area’s monsoon season, some drizzles were expected, and indeed we woke up to rain the next morning. We were scheduled for an 8 a.m. kayak tour with Kayak Lake Powell, but that got postponed due the rain. Fortunately, we were able to switch around our schedule. We had a Lower Antelope Canyon tour scheduled with Ken’s Tours for the afternoon. We drove down to their place and the rain stopped as we approached. We were able to change our canyon tour time to 10 a.m. so that we could do that in the morning and still make the postponed kayak trip in the afternoon.
The Lower Antelope Canyon tour is simply surreal. If you are anywhere within driving distance this is a must do. It should be on everyone’s bucket list. There is also an Upper Antelope Canyon tour but from what I understand it doesn’t come close to this one.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/6v2998
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/82V1eU
After the canyon tour, we met up with the guys from Kayak Lake Powell at Antelope Point Marina on Lake Powell, which is just five minutes from the Ken’s Tours. I personally love kayaking because I like feeling connected to the water and being able to take in the natural beauty without engines running. However, there are also boat tours and I think jet ski rentals available at Antelope Point Marina for those who prefer speed. (There’s a $25 entrance fee at the marina, on top of any tour or rental cost. Incidentally, we were originally going to do the Lone Rock Beach tour with the same company but were persuaded to switch by one of their guys. Not sure if he simply wanted to put us together with an existing group or this is really nicer, but just throwing that out there as another option.)
The Lake Powell tour was beautiful. Very pretty lake and after kayaking for a few minutes, you turn left and find yourself in the water between the canyons. (You can also rent kayaks and do this on your own, but I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to figure out where to go… )
After our kayak tour, we ate lunch in our car and then began heading towards Grand Canyon. However, on the outskirts of Page, we first stopped at Horseshoe Bend. Another must see site. There’s a short but somewhat difficult hike from the parking lot to Horseshoe Bend, and there are warnings everywhere to take plenty of water. Even though it’s not a long trail, it is under the open desert sky, with no shade and some uphill walking. Once you get to Horseshoe Bend, though, you forget how hard it was to get there. You look down into the canyon and see the Colorado River… Hard to explain. You just gotta see it to believe it! I always assumed the pictures I saw online were photoshopped, but all those colors are real.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/L55o86
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/75Xd0F
After oohing and aahing and taking too many pictures, we returned to the car and continued towards Grand Canyon. We hoped to make it there, through the East entrance, in time for sundown, but clouds came out again and rain started falling. The Desert View Watchtower closed just as we came into the park, so we skipped that and went directly to Grandview Point. Though we got there in time for sunset, there was nothing to see but heavy clouds. We snapped some photos of the darkened canyon and continued to our hotel in Tusayan, the Holiday Inn Express. (I need a nice, clean room when I’m on the road, and from the reviews, it seemed that the hotels inside the park don’t fit that bill very well.)

Offline MahRabuMasecha

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2016, 02:24:02 AM »
Day 4
We had scheduled a Pink Jeep Tour and were picked up from our hotel at 9:30 a.m. A word about this tour. The guy was nice and very informative, but we paid a lot of money to simply be taken to a few overlooks where we could have driven ourselves. I’m not sure if the price was worth it, but there are two advantages to using these guys. First, if you want to know the facts and figures (“the opposite canyon wall you see now is fifty miles away…”), you’ll appreciate this tour. Second, during busy seasons, when the lines outside the entrance booth can get really long, this is a great way to get into the park. The tour fee includes the park entrance fee, and the Pink Jeeps just bypass the lines. In our case, since we traveled in late August, there was no backup at the entrance so we didn’t really save any time.
The Pink Jeep guys usually take you back to your hotel, but we asked to be dropped off at the Visitor Center instead the park. We walked around to see the views from there, which were also spectacular. Afterwards, we took the in-park shuttle to the South Kaibab trailhead. Whether you have the energy to hike a mile down this trail to the famous Ooh Aah Point or not, I think everyone should at least walk down this trail for just five minutes. It’s a whole different perspective seeing the canyon from the inside, surrounding by the canyon walls. It would be a shame to make it all the way to the Grand Canyon and miss out on that experience.
While the weather on top of the canyon was really nice and pleasant, it gets a lot hotter once you get inside. It was a challenging hike because of the heat and the steep incline but very much worth it. And then, after oohing and aahing at Ooh Aah Point, you have to climb back up, of course. Still, so worth every step! We also had some lines of mules passing a couple of times, which was very cool too.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/eRCAN6
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/638600
After the hike, we returned to the Visitor Center and caught the Tusayan shuttle, which takes you outside the park straight down the main road, where all the hotels are located. We stopped to see the Imax (which is also included in the Pink Jeep tour price) and then headed out.
Like all our trips on this road trip, we were again heading for about a two-hour drive, this time towards Sedona. The second half of the trip, between Flagstaff and Sedona on the 89A is just breathtaking. We checked into the Orchard Inn, which had incredible views of the surrounding red rocks. I had a hard time choosing a hotel in Sedona since many are mom and pop places, and I wasn’t sure they’d be as clean and well maintained as I want. I finally settled on this one based on good reviews and it being on the side of town closest to Grand Canyon. Baruch Hashem I was very happy with my choice upon arrival.
We checked in about a half hour before sunset and then made the five minute drive to Airport Mesa, a favorite spot for watching sunset. However, it was another cloudy evening and though the view was spectacular, we didn’t see the sun’s rays reflected on the red stones.
The hotel had no microwave but cold cut sandwiches were on the menu for that night so that worked out okay.

Offline MahRabuMasecha

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2016, 02:27:38 AM »
Day 5
We had planned to do the beautiful West Fork hike on Thursday, but we were both too exhausted to attempt a two-hour hike. We opted instead to do one short hike and drive around town for the best views, and leave Sedona earlier than planned.
We went to the Visitor Center across from our hotel and got recommendations and a local map. We drove first to Bell Rock and took some photos from the parking lot. Then we drove up to Airport Mesa again. As you drive up the road, you come across about ten or fifteen parking spaces right on the road. If you park there, you find a trailhead that leads straight up to beautiful Sedona views. From there you can follow signs to the summit, where the vortex is strongest (if you’re into that) and there are more breathtaking 360 degree views. We spent a few minutes there taking it all in and returned to our car. Of course, if you want, you can continue onto the Airport Loop trail, which we skipped.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/N1vbS6
A little farther up this same road there is another, much bigger parking lot. Across from the parking lot there is a large lookout area where we had gone the evening before for sunset views. The lower parking spaces fill up quickly in the early evening, so this lot offers additional parking and there’s a path there that also connects with the trail.
Next, we drove to another overlook and then did the Red Rock Loop. It was still very early in the afternoon, but with no hikes planned, we had time to do something else instead. My husband loves seeing animals, so we decided to stop at Out of Africa Wildlife Park, which is in Cottonwood, on the way down to Phoenix.
I agreed to this stop mostly for my husband’s sake but it was actually a really nice ending to our trip. The zoo is not very fancy, with simple enclosures and unpaved walkways, but the people and animals are all great. A tram runs around the park, so we could see all the animals without working too hard, and we got to see some tiger and bear feedings, which was pretty cool. Every hour there’s also a Safari tour, and a bus goes right among giraffes, zebras, ostriches and other wild animals. We also got some celery sticks to feed the giraffe, which stuck its head right into the bus. A fun, relaxing place!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/9ac5VM
We left the park shortly before five and continued towards Phoenix. We decided to take a fifteen minute detour to Montezuma Castle ruins. However, the Visitor Center closes at five and we arrived a few minutes too late. Nonetheless, it’s a great short stop if anyone’s in the area. (This stop can actually be directly on the route between Sedona and Phoenix if one takes the highway that does not run through Cottonwood and the zoo.)
We continued towards Phoenix, stopping in Scottsdale, where my husbanded davened mincha and maariv at Ahavas Torah. From there, we drove about twenty minutes to Segal’s Oasis Grill, which is just a short drive from the airport. We ate supper there, dropped off our car at the rental return place, and took the shuttle to the airport for our 11 p.m. flight home.
All in all, an incredible, beautiful, fast-paced road trip, with some 11+ hours in the car.  :)

Offline MahRabuMasecha

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2016, 02:58:58 AM »
If anyone can tell me how to put my flickr pics directly onto my TR (instead of a link), I'd really appreciate it!

Offline lubaby

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2016, 03:36:42 AM »
If anyone can tell me how to put my flickr pics directly onto my TR (instead of a link), I'd really appreciate it!
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=46084.0

Sounds like a great trip, thanks for writing it up  :)
Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.

Offline MahRabuMasecha

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2016, 06:08:27 PM »
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=46084.0

Sounds like a great trip, thanks for writing it up  :)
Thanks for the response. Seems that Flickr made some changes since that thread on posting pics was written and I finally figured out that I need to make my pictures public to get the BBC when clicking Share. Otherwise, only the link option appeared. By now, though, seems that I can no longer edit my earlier posts here to insert the pics.
Oh well.

Offline 000

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2016, 08:17:51 PM »
If someone decides to go to out of Africa (which is a nice relaxing park and breaks up the trip from Sedona to phoenix) if your birthday is that month entry is free (even adults birthdays)

Online Ergel

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2016, 08:23:27 PM »
Darn. Going in December and two I'd my kids birthdays are in January
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline 000

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2016, 08:34:42 PM »
Darn. Going in December and two I'd my kids birthdays are in January
I don't know how many people you are but it might be worth buying AAA membership they give 20% off.

Offline thaber

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2017, 11:49:15 PM »
Thanks so much to all the DD posters whose TRs have been so helpful!
This trip has been one my husband and I have been talking about for a long time and I am so grateful that we finally made that dream come true.
Our trip was from Sunday through Thursday this past week (late August 2016), and in short, our itinerary was: Vegas, Zion, Page, Grand Canyon, Sedona, and flight home from Phoenix.  I’ll post one day at a time cuz it’s a bit long.
Day 1
We took an 8:30 a.m. flight from EWR to LAS and with the time difference, we landed before 11 a.m. We took the shuttle from the airport to National, and thanks to a link my husband found (recommended by a friend) we were able to rent as Emerald Club Executive members. This meant that, after making a reservation at home, we did not have to wait at the rental counter. Instead, we went straight to the lot, chose whichever car we wanted from the entire lot, and National recorded our choice at the booth on our way out. Very cool and convenient.
We wasted some time driving to a pizza place that turned out to be closed, and then had a wonderful lunch at Panini Café. Delicious food for decent prices. Afterwards we went across the street to Albertson’s to pick up kosher food. I originally planned to take everything from home so we wouldn’t have to shop, but our suitcase weighed a few pounds more than 50, so we took out tuna cans and other food. There’s supposed to be fresh Pas Yisrael stuff, but the guy who makes it was out sick or something and we only found some packaged rolls and basic cakes. Thankfully I’d brought whole wheat bread from home for myself. We did find cold cuts, cream cheese, crackers, and most other items on our list.
Once we had our groceries, we drove out to Hoover Dam. We had reservations for the Power Plant tour, which was very interesting. After the tour we went out on the roof and then onto the dam bridge and got some great pictures at both places. On our way out, we also stopped at the Memorial Bridge parking lot, because I’d heard that you can get the best view of the entire dam complex from there. There’s a bit of a hike up from the parking lot to the bridge, and though it’s not very long, the heat and steps made it a difficult climb. After some kvetching from my husband, we finally found ourselves on the bridge. The climb had certainly been worthwhile because the view was absolutely breathtaking!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/4n7NZ1
We drove back to Vegas and checked into our hotel, Grand Vacations Hilton on the Boulevard. The hotel wasn’t on the Strip but about 15 minutes away, which is what I wanted. After taking some time to unwind and change, we went out for supper to Jerusalem Grill. Not a very fancy place but great food and nice people. After supper, we went to see the fountain at the Bellagio. Every half hour, there’s a light and water show, as the fountains dance to the music. Very cool.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/146653327@N06/shares/8jd1g1
I found the huge flashing billboards and noise on the Strip a little overwhelming. I’ll take a scenic vacation over a city one any time, so after the fountain show I just wanted to get out of there. We had considered stopping at the Circus Circus Hotel for a free aerobics show that goes on every half hour, but we were both tired from the flight and walking around the dam and neither of us was particularly interested in seeing Vegas night life, so we decided to call it a night.
thanks for writing this up - just was very helpful

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: Vegas Zion Page Grand Canyon Sedona TR
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2017, 12:10:39 AM »
If someone decides to go to out of Africa (which is a nice relaxing park and breaks up the trip from Sedona to phoenix) if your birthday is that month entry is free (even adults birthdays)
yes i know this post is old. However, just putting it out out there that some hotels have free passes. I went for free with the whole family.