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iwantacooler
Member since Aug 2017
299 posts

Mighty 5
Starting a little over a year ago I decided I wanted my kids to have an appreciation for our national parks. Prior to that we usually hit Disney once a year and the beach once a year and I’m tired of my kids worshipping at the altar of the mouse. My wife and I give the kids some options and let them choose the destination. They’ve totally bought in and decided for next year they want to see the Mighty 5 in Utah. Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Zion. We like to do a couple of short hikes (5 miles and under) in each park we see in addition to seeing the major sights. For those of you that have seen all of these parks, do you think 7 days (not counting travel time to get out there) is enough time to see them? Looking at going late May next year.


iwantacooler
Member since Aug 2017
299 posts

re: Mighty 5
Awesome. Thanks


Dam Guide
New Orleans Saints Fan
Nooga
Member since Sep 2005
12102 posts

re: Mighty 5
7 days is not a lot of time to see much in each of the 5. You may just want to pick 2 or 3 and spend more time in each one.


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canyon critter
Georgia Fan
Montana
Member since Feb 2019
205 posts

re: Mighty 5
I did all 5 a couple years ago. I am definitely no expert on them but I did the basic highlights. They’re all relatively small... Bryce Canyon can be done in half a day.. just hike the hoodoos.

Zion is also pretty small. You can hike up Angels Landing if you aren’t concerned about a tiny bit of exposure. Or hike to observation point. The Narrows May be too high with water in May.

Arches is also small. Just hike to Delicate Arch and call it good. Canyonlands is the park I spent the least amount of time in. It seems to be more of an off road driving park. I could be wrong tho.

Capitol Reef was my favorite. It’s the most isolated park with the fewest people. Just pick a trail on the map and go... you can’t go wrong.


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Globetrotter747
Member since Sep 2017
731 posts

re: Mighty 5
I have been to all of the Mighty 5. Although you obviously won't see it all in seven days, you can take in enough to be satisfied. The major highlights in each park are pretty accessible.

Someone else mentioned Angels Landing at Zion. While the top is one beautiful sight, I personally would not take kids up it. You might and that's fine, but make sure you know what you're getting into beforehand. The hike is pretty strenuous for 5 miles RT and very steep and narrow in places with a lot of people on it. It's a great hike, but it's not for everyone.


iwantacooler
Member since Aug 2017
299 posts

re: Mighty 5
quote:

I personally would not take kids up it

I’ve wanted to hike angels landing for a while, but I am hesitant to take my kids. Maybe the wife will hang out with them while I go.


Globetrotter747
Member since Sep 2017
731 posts

re: Mighty 5
quote:

I’ve wanted to hike angels landing for a while, but I am hesitant to take my kids. Maybe the wife will hang out with them while I go.


There's a spot called Scout Lookout right before you hit the main climb. It's a good viewpoint and a lot of people turn around there. But even the hike to that spot has a section or two in which you have to be cautious.

I touched on this in my previous post, but the amount of traffic on Angels Landing is as dangerous as the trail itself. Hiking on a ledge with a 1,000-1,500 foot vertical drop to either side is enough of a concern. Doing it surrounded by strangers who may be careless, impatient, or have bad intentions makes it worse.

There are several spots like this one below:



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TheDude
LSU Fan
Member since May 2004
2377 posts

re: Mighty 5
I've been to all 5 and the following is all mainly just my personal opinion.

Canyonlands:

It's divided into 3 sections. Island in the Sky is the most visited section. It has a few nice hikes and has in my opinion the most awe inspiring views in Utah (tied with Zion). Side note: On the way into Island in the Sky, there is a turn off into Dead Horse State Park. Really nice views there as well, but not much of a hiking park. The Needles is 2nd most visited but kind of remote and in my opinion not worth the effort of going to. The Maze is by far the least visited and impossible to explore without a serious offroad vehicle, tons of supplies, and tons of time.

Bryce: Hike the Fairyland Loop trail. It is about 8 miles and you will see everything you need to at Bryce. I did this hike a few years back. It's one of my favorites that I've done. Really only need 1 day in Bryce.

Zion: Absolutely beautiful place. Unfortunately it is also by far the most crowded of the Mighty 5. Hard to do with kids but The Narrows are an amazing experience.

Arches: Hike to Delicate Arch, but do it EARLY!!! You want to beat the heat of the middle of the day but you also want to try to get there before 1000 other people do. Insanely popular hike.

Capitol Reef: Might not have the greatest views of the Mighty 5 but it's still a gorgeous place. It is also the least visited of the 5, which is enough to make me love it even more. Tons of great hiking. I did the Grand Wash trail by myself on a trip 2 years ago. It has narrow canyon walls that you hike through. Kind of like an easier and more accessible Narrows. What I loved was that since I did it first thing in morning, I was all alone on the trail. Hiked for a couple of hours and the first people I saw were getting out of their car as I was getting in mine to leave.
This post was edited on 9/11 at 8:31 am


iwantacooler
Member since Aug 2017
299 posts

re: Mighty 5
TheDude.


I like your style.


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Globetrotter747
Member since Sep 2017
731 posts

re: Mighty 5
quote:

Arches: Hike to Delicate Arch, but do it EARLY!!! You want to beat the heat of the middle of the day but you also want to try to get there before 1000 other people do. Insanely popular hike.


Fewer people in the morning, but the lighting is better in the late afternoon because of the position of the Sun.


iwantacooler
Member since Aug 2017
299 posts

re: Mighty 5
When I go to the parks I’m up and out early (leaving room at sunrise). Last year I hiked to the top of Yosemite falls, spent an hour up there, and didn’t see a soul until I was half way back down to the valley floor. Most of the parks start getting crowded around 9:30-10:00 and you can see a lot of stuff before then if you are up with the sun.


VinegarStrokes
Atlanta Braves Fan
Georgia
Member since Oct 2015
8709 posts

re: Mighty 5
quote:

When I go to the parks I’m up and out early (leaving room at sunrise). Last year I hiked to the top of Yosemite falls, spent an hour up there, and didn’t see a soul until I was half way back down to the valley floor. Most of the parks start getting crowded around 9:30-10:00 and you can see a lot of stuff before then if you are up with the sun.


if you can skip/delay breakfast or simply eat a quick snack on the drive to your first spot, this is the best way to avoid the crowds at most of the popular national parks. Seems like everyone parks their arse at the popular breakfast spots and won't really get started til after 10 AM.

We always did what was likely the most popular site/trail at each park first thing in the morning then either had a late breakfast or lunch afterwards, depending on how long the walk was. If we knew the walk would be strenuous, then we would obviously eat a snack beforehand, but otherwise we were fine just waiting.


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TheDude
LSU Fan
Member since May 2004
2377 posts

re: Mighty 5
quote:

When I go to the parks I’m up and out early (leaving room at sunrise). Last year I hiked to the top of Yosemite falls, spent an hour up there, and didn’t see a soul until I was half way back down to the valley floor. Most of the parks start getting crowded around 9:30-10:00 and you can see a lot of stuff before then if you are up with the sun.


Same strategy here.

Also, I always go talk to the park rangers. I usually just ask what in their opinion are some of the nicer but less traveled trails. I've had some really nice hikes because of advice from rangers.


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Globetrotter747
Member since Sep 2017
731 posts

re: Mighty 5
quote:

Most of the parks start getting crowded around 9:30-10:00 and you can see a lot of stuff before then if you are up with the sun.


Plenty of experience with that. Delicate Arch still looks best in late afternoon, though.


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go4lsu
LSU Fan
Luling
Member since Aug 2006
962 posts

re: Mighty 5
Between Capitol Reef and Arches is Goblin Valley State Park. My family and I made a brief stop there while visiting the national parks last year. It was one of our favorite places on our trip. If you have time, it's worth stopping.


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AtticusOSullivan
Member since Mar 2016
421 posts

re: Mighty 5
I have done all 5 twice. I think 7 days is easily doable. I would suggest staying in Moab at least 3 days. It is amazing and a great base for Arches, Canyonlands, DHP, and just exploring the area. You can raft the Colorado, drive up in the La Sal mountains just east of town and be among aspens at 12000 ft or just explore the back roads around town.

Take one day to traveling stipping at Capitol Reed and drive through Grand Staircase/Escalante NM in late afternoon. It is so breathtaking it will stay with you forever. There is a campground in escalante and also a place that rents air stream campers. You can stay the night there. Also in this route you will pass Anazazi State Park stop in and check it out, it's worth it.

Next day hit up Bryce early in the morning, just hike down to bottom and out. Then head to Zion.

Also worth mentioning is that not far from zion/Bryce just below the ut stateline you can catch North Rim of Grand Canyon and Kodachrome Basin. I prefer the North Rim over the South Rim myself.


2nd time I went to Zion it was so crowded we just drove through and went to Vegas. It was ridiculously over crowded.

NPs are great get you a nice journal and start. Collecting stamps. I started this 15 years ago and it becomes addictive. I have amassed quite an assortment over the years. I am starting to plan trips around acquiring new stamps from different parks...


iwantacooler
Member since Aug 2017
299 posts

re: Mighty 5
Living in the southeast it’s definitely hard to hit many parks, especially the ones in Alaska. I think I’ve gotten 19 under my belt and the only thing I’ve collected is the memories.
This post was edited on 9/12 at 10:36 am


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MoarKilometers
Florida Atlantic Fan
Member since Apr 2015
6535 posts

re: Mighty 5
Doing this the end of this month/early oct. 7 days hitting the road and all 5 NPs and a few other parks on the way. Booked most of it months ago, so this thread is getting me excited again.


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Funky Tide 8
Alabama Fan
Tittleman's Crest
Member since Feb 2009
40768 posts

re: Mighty 5
I posted this in another thread:

quote:


The trip that we took two years ago was amazing, and I highly suggest it, or some variation of it.


We flew into Vegas, rented a car, and immediately drove to Zion. Spent a couple of days there, then drove to Bryce Canyon. Spent a half day, and night there, and drove to Page, AZ that next morning. We spent a day, and a night there, and checked out Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. We also checked out a slot canyon that was off the beaten path called Waterhole Canyon. Page is really awesome.

After that, we drove to the Grand Canyon, and spent less than a day there before driving to Flagstaff. We drove to Sedona that next day for some more hiking, Drove back to Flagstaff that evening, and went to a few breweries, and bars there that night. Flagstaff is a cool place. We drove back to Vegas that next morning to catch our flight out.


So,

Flight to Vegas>Zion>Bryce>Page>Grand Canyon>Flagstaff>Sedona>Flagstaff>Flight out of Vegas.


Logistically, that trip is hard to top. Basically a big circle, and relative to the vast expanse of the west, we did not drive that many miles. Driving in and out and between these places was one of the best parts. Absolutely stunning landscapes, often not passing another vehicle for many miles.

Every place we went to was fantastic, and we really only scraped the surface of those places. We had to skip some really cool things(lack of time) such as Grand Staircase Escalante, Valley of Fire, and Lake Powell recreation, to name just a few. But driving through those places is special too.

Flying into Vegas is pretty cheap, and lodging was inexpensive too. If you camp, its even cheaper. We went in March, so it was still a little cold. We only camped in Zion.

I did it with 3 other people, so with split costs, I did the whole trip for well under a grand. Could've done it cheaper too if I really tried.






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