In 2015 summer, my mom visited us in the United States. We took the opportunity to go to those national parks in the (mid-)west. It’s a nice trip!
Here’s the overview of the Grand Circle we did:
Day 1. We took an early flight to Grand Junction. Had a quick lunch at Subway in the airport. Picked up the rental car (4wd), and drove to Moab (1h46m). Checked into Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn. Got takeout from a Sichuan Restaurant. Drove to Arches National Park ~4:30 (got a NP annual pass).
Day 2. We got up really early to go for the sunrise at Mesa Arch (49m drive). Then went back to the hotel to have breakfast. Checked out the hotel, and visited Arches NP again! After some hiking in Devil’s Garden, we left Arches NP, and drove to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (2h44m). Stayed in The View Hotel, which gave us stunning views!
Day 3. Sun rises behind the monuments. We can enjoy sunrise from the balcony. However, I still went out to have a better angle. In the morning, we did about 3h hiking around the monuments (wildcat trail, 4 mile). After that, we checked out the hotel, and drove the 17 mile scenic drive. Driving to Page was about 2h. We had dinner at Lake Powell.
Day 4. A special day – we went to White Pocket (2h57m)! Since it’s kind of unplanned, we did not fill the gas. So we worried about running out of gas all the day! We even kept the AC off to save gas. White pocket is a place that no help can be found. We then went to Kanab (2h51m).
Day 5. I did the lottery for the Wave, but did not have luck. So we drove back to Page to visit the Antelope Canyon. Our tour was around noon, which should give the best light effect in the canyon. After the tour, we went to see Horseshoe Bend. The short trail actually took much longer time due to the hot weather and the sand surface. We went back to Kanab.
Day 6. Lottery for the Wave, again! This time my husband did it, but he did not have luck either. Therefore, we went to Zion NP (1h). We did a special hike – The Narrows. Dinner was Thai food – amazingly tasty! We never thought tourist place has so good restaurant.
Day 7. Last day of lottery! Planned to let my mom do it, but it’s done when my mom just entered the room. A group of six got the last six permits! What a luck! At least we tried. Then, we went to Zion again. This time we did Angel’s landing. We drove to Bryce Canyon NP afterwards. Caught the sunset, but the weather was not great. However, the starrynight was unbelievable. I could, for the first time, photograph the Milky Way and star trails.
Day 8. Sunrise at Bryce Canyon NP. After a short hike, we started to drive the long way to Grand Junction (5h39m). We stopped briefly at Capital Reef NP on the way.
Day 9. Flew out in the morning.
Details and photos will come soon.