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Canyonlands of Arizona, Utah and Nevada

The Canyonlands with Target Travel -The original routing

Route- Pheonix/ Sedona/ Grand Canyon South Rim/ Monument Valley/ Bryce Canyon/ Zion Canyon Las Vegas

The Canyonlands with Target Travel- the grandad of our self-drive tours, which Roy first put together for Target Travel in the 1970s. Usually starting in Phoenix, but for another interesting angle, it can start in Tuscon, to take in the AMARG Boneyard at Davis Monthan Airbase and the adjacent Pima Air museum. Where you can tour the thousands of military aircraft that are stored or scrapped here. A side trip from this is can be a tour of the last Titan ICBM silo.

The main body of the tour is from Phoenix via the beautiful Sedona and on to the South Rim of The Grand Canyon. The next stop will be familiar as the setting for many cowboy movies and a chance to see the giant messa of Monument Valley. You have then required to turn around and retrace your steps, heading for Page on Lake Powell via the breathtaking Vermillion Cliffs. For an overnight at Ruby’s Inn at the stunning Bryce Canyon. The finish is in Las Vegas, but the last leg is straight through Zion National Park for even more stunning scenery.
Many people round this off with a couple of nights in Las Vegas to relax. This is a high-mileage trip, but you will see six of the most stunning places on earth. This trip is usually about a week-long, but can be done in 4-5 nights at a push.

This is a rough framework to expand and contract into the best fit for you, please call if you fancy experiencing The Canyonlands with Target Travel

Target Travel to discuss.

The Canyonlands with Target Travel – version 2

Route- Las Vegas/ Zion/ Grand Canyon South Rim/ Bryce Canyon/ Escalante/ Capitol Reef/ Natural Bridges/ Moab/ Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

The Canyonlands with Target Travel version 2 was originally put together for a motorbike tour and has become a popular alternative to the original, this is just as appropriate in a car as on a bike. Once again this a basic framework that can be adjusted to fit your time and interests…

Start in Las Vegas and head northeast, to turn right before St George aiming for Zion National Park. There is a road that cuts across the park with a set of tunnels at the midpoint with distinctly different scenery on either side. Many people visit here and drive straight through, but they miss the main body of Zion. You should give the park a full day and to do this, you park on the valley floor and take the shuttle up the main canyon, which has various stops and treks of differing lengths along the route. In high summer it’s bloomin’ hot here and a very nice experience is The Shallows Trek, this is along a canyon, much of it in shadows with the water keeping your feet cool. You need to check the official park website before you set out for weather info, as there is danger at times of flash floods. For an absolute hoot, stay nearby in a covered wagon, with a/c, a king bed and two bunks, located in a beautiful valley.

The next leg is on to Bryce Canyon another National Park, you need half a day here or more if you fancy some horse riding. One option at this point is a side trip down to the less busy North Rim of the Grand Canyon, a popular excursion here is a mule trek to the canyon floor, you only need a night here.

Onwards from Bryce, you need to start early for a long but memorable drive, or you can break it up with an overnight in Torrey. Scenic Byway 12 is a beautiful road heading east then north through Escalante and its staircase, the Dixi National Forest to meet with Highway 24 at Torrey. Then east on Hwy 24 to Capitol Reef National Park and in an ideal world there for lunch. After popping in or just enjoying the road that runs along the escarpment. Then take Highway 95 south at Hanksville, this is one of the only fuel stations around here so its an important stop for a top-up. The scenery will change again at this point as you come south via King Canyon, do make sure you stop off at the scenic overview just before you cross the Colorado River at Glen and Cataract Canyons. On the other bank, the road meanders along the miles-wide White Canyon which seems to go on forever. At the end of this is Natural Bridges National Monument, which has a circular route with parking for you to view the bridges, worth the stop however tiring. In an ideal world, it would be great to have a few hours to trek to the bridges, this itinerary would need adjusting to accommodate this. You could drive on in the dark to get to Moab that night, but you really need the next day to be able to see someplace before you get to Moab. Overnight therefore in motel accommodation in either Blanding or Monticello, there are very few options in this corner of Utah.

On the way north before Moab, there is a turn-off for Needles Overlook, at 16,000 ft, and with almost 360 degrees, it’s one of the most inspiring views on a trip of many beautiful views, if you are going to Moab, then you must take this side trip.

See our Moab section ) for ideas on the many things to do that are based here, in addition to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Additional side trip

Many clients heading to the Canyonlands with Target Travel version 2, after Zion National Park, go south, with a lunch stop in Kanab a rather touristy cowboy town, ending up on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This a considerably less touristy than the South Rim. A popular excursion is to take a mule trip down into the canyon to the Colorado River itself. Most people do this as a one-night trip, returning north the next day and heading to Bryce Canyon.

Moab would be your turn-around point and your options here are:

  1. Salt Lake City is a 4 hour drive north and at certain times there are shuttle flights to here as another option. There is a non-stop trans-Atlantic flight to London from SLC. For those with petrol in their blood, then a long side trip from SLC is the Bonneville Salt Flats, you would need to add a night to accommodate that.
  2. Take a northerly drive back to Las Vegas, curving over the top of the canyons on Highway 50 and Interstate 15, but this is a boring slog and a 10-12 hour day!
  3. Take a southern route to Las Vegas and extend the trip by one or two nights. Go back south then west via Monument Valley. A possible side trip at Flagstaff to see and stay at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Then some interstate going west, but also the historic Route 66 at Kingman a worthwhile side trip.

Zion National park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Vermillion Cliffs

Pima Air Museum, boneyard tour and Titan missile silo


Needles Overlook

Bridges National Monument

The Grand Canyon

Monument Valley

Kingman Route 66