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We will be spending 2 days in Utah, with our base in Tropic UT- nestled between Bryce & Zion parks. We will reach Tropic bet 6-7 PM & we have the whole day next day followed by few hours in the morning the day after. My wife has bad knees and cant walk for long. I want to make best use of the time to see all the good stuff.
We will be driving down from Jackson Hole and I presume we could see some enchanting stuff on our way. What is the best route from Jackson Hole to go thru the scenic spots.
What is the best way to see both the parks or is it better to focus on only one & if yes, which one. Can we see all the places just driving.
I appreciate any & all tips, suggestions and links to Information sites.
Thanks in advance
I am a little confused by your question. Bryce and Zion are close together and Tropic is to the east of Bryce. Why go all the way to Tropic, that is over 8 hours on the road. I would stop in Salt Lake City, about half way. Then, you could take the little longer route with a climb and waterfall at the top of the mountain with a great view of the Jackson Valley below, then through swan valley and Idaho Falls with their riverwalk and falls on the way to SLC. Since you have a problem with walking you can drive from SLC through Bryce and go to lookouts and continue down to Zion and drive through and around most of the view sites and stop at the Visitors Center for a short walk through and then have time to even continue to either Springdale or St. George, UT. If you do go directly to Bryce and if there is room, you could stay at Ruby's.
FYI about Zion: the tunnel and Mount Carmel Highway (Highway 9) between the park and Mount Carmel (US 89) will be closed this summer on weekdays, all day. Access is only in the early morning and late evening.
Good tip Colin. They can still do both if it is Mon-Thurs. road closure by going the roundabout way by backtracking 63 in Bryce to 12 then down 98 to 14 at Long Valley Junction and over to 15 and back on 9 to Springdale and the shuttles. It may take a little longer but both Parks, Bryce and Zion could be seen this way. Maybe instead of going to Tropic for 2 days make it only one, see Bryce then head on over the long way to see Zion and stay in Springdale or St. George for one night. Best bet would be to go on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday when the road will be open.
Kikkoman, well 2 days is not much time to enjoy all Utah has to offer, but you can still see some.
First off as has been mentioned, Tropic is not between Bryce and Zion. From Tropic you would be able to see Bryce on your full day there. Check out all the viewpoints at the main amphitheater, drive the scenic drive and stop at the viewpoints on the way back. Not too much walking involved just from the car to the viewpoints.
If you have some extra time you can drive to Kodachrome Basin SP which is nearby.
Then I guess that is it. You can't do Zion as a drive by and with the construction this year it might be better to skip Zion, take hwy 14 to Cedar City with a stop off at Cedar Breaks NM (assuming you are heading to I-15 and south).
As far as getting to Tropic from Jackson.....well there are several good choices. The most direct would be 89 to I-15 to hwy 20 to 89 to 12.
Another option would be 89 to Park City, to Heber to Provo to Spanish Fork over to 89 to 12.
Another option would be south of SLC I-15 to hwy 50 to 24 to scenic 12 to Tropic. If I could chose the most scenic route it would be to travel this way.
Cedar Breaks is a good idea. The road up should be open in another week or so.
If you end up not doing Zion Canyon because of the constructions issues, you could do the other sector of the park off I-15, Kolob Canyons. It's actually a really, really pretty area and right off the interstate. I do take issue with the fact that they charge the same admission price ($25) for both sectors though.
For routes, just a couple of suggestions:
Mirror Lake Highway, if it's open, is a really, really nice drive. It starts on I-80 in Evanston, Wyoming and ascends to the 15,000 foot range before coming back down to the desert. The only issue with it is that it dumps you right into Metro Utah, which it would be best to avoid unless you're interested in exploring Salt Lake.
US 191 through Rock Springs and Flaming Gorge would be my choice though. The sections south of Flaming Gorge and between Duchesne and Helper are really pretty.
From there, you can take Highway 10 south from Price, catch Highway 72 to Loa (you don't even get on the interstate), then east to Highway 12 through Escalante, to get to Bryce. It seems a little roundabout, but the more direct way, Highway 62, is pretty uninteresting. Nothing like Highway 12 anywhere, really. Utah's running a tourism TV ad now (here, at least) that has a couple of spots on Highway 12 in it.
Although you can see quite a bit just doing a drive by, it's worth your time to get out of the car and actually spend some time outside! If your wifes knees are bad, I'd suggest doing a variety of things for short periods of time. That way, you can at least experience a bit of this and that. http://www.utahflyfishingguide.org has lots of tips and info on traveling in and around Bryce and Zion. Good luck!