RV Road Trip through the Canyons

Our family took an epic road trip in early May towards Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.  We took a total of 8 days/7 nights to make it around– we wanted to make sure we hit the following main sights: Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Grand Canyon.  We planned to try out an RV for the first time, as we’ve done lots of camping before, we thought we’d “treat” ourselves this time 🙂 .   Our main objective was to do as much hiking as possible while seeing the grand sights this area had to offer, while enjoying home-cooked meals and campfires.  Below was our route, starting from RoadBear RV Rentals, which was only about a 10-15 minute drive from the Las Vegas airport.  We went clockwise from there, driving to Bryce Canyon and the rest as the itinerary below.

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Day 1: Airport & RV Pick Up

We flew to Las Vegas at 8:00 am, picked up the RV, stopped at Walmart to stock up on groceries, and drove to Bryce Canyon (Quick note: Airport pick up provided by RoadBear Rentals are different on the weekends, call them to double check before booking your flights.  We found out the hard way…)  We arrived at the Zion Canyon Campground, and set up our RV at the full-hookup site for our very first time 🙂

Since we arrived around dinner time, we didn’t end up hiking, and just went to the visitor center to learn about our hikes tomorrow and cooked up our first RV dinner!

Day 2: Zion National Park

We took advantage of the fabulous shuttle service, which one of the stops was right outside our campground.  We had been to the Zion Narrows before, so we stuck to other hiking trails on this trip.  We hiked Angel’s Landing, Weeping Rock, and a glimpse of the Emerald Pools Trail.  For Angel’s Landing, the height and drop off on both sides of the trail were scarier than expected, and challenging as people do say!  I can’t imagine coming here during peak season — luckily the time we went there weren’t that many people lining up for this narrow trail.  Highly recommend hiking shoes for this.

Post-hike, we started on our drive to Bryce Canyon in the afternoon after washing up.  Arrived around dinner time at Ruby’s Inn RV & Campground, and had a good night’s rest.

Day 3: Bryce Canyon

We hiked a mix of the Navajo Loop, Peekaboo trail, and the Queen’s Garden – the sights here were beautifully unique than what we saw the day before.  In addition, the temperatures here are always a lot colder due to the elevation!  We wore long pants and long sleeves for the day, and even had to wear thicker jackets during the mornings and evenings in  May!  We also signed up for the Rainbow shuttle tour for the next morning; we noticed people had to be turned away on the day of so we were glad we did the night before.

Day 4: Bryce Canyon & Horseshoe Bend

As we took the early morning Rainbow tour, we checked out around noon and started our drive to see Horseshoe Bend, also stopping at Walmart before to stock up.   I would say the Rainbow shuttle tour is great for people who just want a general overview for a couple hours of sights that the general shuttle doesn’t go to, but there’s no hiking so at the end we realized this wasn’t a fit for our family who came to be active!   Post-tour, we did think though that we could’ve just used our RV to have gone to the same sights in half the time.  There seemed to be generally an older age group on this Rainbow Tour, but nonetheless we appreciated the tour guide who was so enthusiastic the whole time.  Our experiences in all the parks were definitely a lot better because of the kind souls who volunteered and worked at the National Parks.  A few sights from Rainbow Tour below, including prairie dogs in their natural habitat!  I was very tempted to adopt a prairie dog for that cute stuffed animal!

Once we arrived at Horseshoe Bend, we took a mini 100 meter walk in the sand to the view, and it was breathtaking– just as amazing as you see online in Google Images.  Yes, there are TONS of tourists here taking photos, but you’re still able to get those top notch solo shots without anyone else in them.  It was a bit cloudy on the day we went, but we could imagine how beautiful it’d be with the blue skies and the sun shining on the bend!

We then checked in at Page Lake Powell RV Campground shortly and spent the night there.

Day 5: Antelope Canyon

We decided to go with the Lower Canyon tour with Ken’s tours at 10:00 am.  We also ended up going an hour earlier because of the confusion between the Mountain time zone and the Arizona time zone (I still am confused because all our phones were showing different times… ), so double check the time zone change as you drive to this area.  Ken’s tours was great- the tour guides are so helpful!  To the extent where they helped us set all the camera settings and even camera phone filters to get the best shots during our walk in the canyon.  And, once you get inside, you can’t really mess up the photos- the natural beauty of the canyon just speak for themselves.  None of us had DSLR cameras, and our photos still came out really nice!  The groups that have signed up for that time slot do go in right alongside each other, so we’re all in a single file line going through the canyon, but you can usually find moments when you can catch a quick family photo without anyone else in it.  It was cloudy when we went, so we were worried that we wouldn’t get the “sun beam” photos.  But, we got different amazing photos, so if you’re worried about the weather, don’t worry too much.

After the breathtaking Antelope Canyon, we checked out of our campground and drove towards the Grand Canyon, made a quick stop at Desert View Tower, then checked in at Mather Campground.  We did our usual prep for tomorrow’s hike and had ourselves a delicious dinner over the campfire!

Day 6: Grand Canyon

After much discussion of which two trails to hike for our 2 days here, we decided with Bright Angel on the first day and the South Kaibab trail for tomorrow.  We browsed around the visitor center, which happens to be very developed now, like a mini village.

Using the very convenient shuttle service, we arrived at Bright Angel early in morning and began our very strenuous hike for the day!  With beautiful views on the way down, we wore long sleeves to start with as it was a bit chilly in the morning.  But, once we finally reached the bottom (Indian Garden Campground, 4.5 miles down), it got very warm. Ensuring that we filled our water bottles along the way at the rest stops, we slowly made our way back up after some snacks.  Although the view is the same, it still doesn’t get old as we go up.  It was hard, with our legs feeling the incline nonstop as we hiked upwards.  We saw fellow hikers make their way up with heavy overnight backpacks, and some even with babies on their backs, so we trekked on!  And of course, when we finally reached the top after about 6 hours, we were so proud of ourselves and the feeling of accomplishment when you’re walking your last few steps to the end is exhilarating!

We came back to the campground, and went to take showers at a separate facility outside the campground.  There’s a quarter machine for us to pay for our 10 minutes of showers, about 2.00 dollars?  We had a hearty dinner and we sure slept well.  Also, we spotted some elk grazing around our campgrounds!

Day 7: Grand Canyon

We started our second hike, the South Kaibab trails early in the morning, and we could not get enough of the fresh air, the tranquility of the park, and beautiful weather we’ve had this week.  Our last hike of the trip, we were blessed with beautiful views, which we thought was even better than Bright Angel.  The trail was a lot more interesting, views were a lot more varying with different landscapes, and we used the mule tours as motivation to go faster. We did NOT want to be stuck behind the mules the whole way… if you know what I mean!

We also watched the sunset the night before and this evening as well.  Both had different views of the “Red Canyon”, and luckily since it wasn’t peak season, there weren’t too many crowds!

Day 8: Long drive back to RoadBear RV Rentals & Flight

We started our drive back to Las Vegas around 5:00 AM, where we had to arrive by 10:30 am to return the RV.  We made sure to fill up the gas tank and cleaned the interior of the RV before we arrived.  Then we hopped on their airport shuttle service, and flew back home to Cali with a lot of new memories we’ve made as a family!

Takeaways:

  • Facilities in the first two campgrounds were spotless and convenient.  The people who worked there were so very kind – highly recommended!
  • Every National Park we went to on this trip had fantastic shuttle systems – you’ll definitely notice how developed these parks have gotten if you’re like me and experienced them more than a decade ago!
  • Dad got the National Park pass for $80 for a 1 year membership, which was much worth it as we were visiting several parks in one trip.  It would’ve been $30 for a 7 day pass per national park. So definitely recommend the year membership as it’s a better value if you’re doing multiple parks.
  • More to be added to this list!

 

Is it your first time adventuring in an RV like us, and have any questions about our trip?  Interested in a similar itinerary, or did you do a similar trip recently? Would love to hear all of your comments and questions!

2 thoughts on “RV Road Trip through the Canyons

  1. Great
    It’s real good donation for the people who never visited these place. I appreciate for your family’s effort to make this writing exist on web.
    You guys are good.
    May God bless you..

    Bill from California

    Like

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