View Full Version : Glacier vs. Bryce/Zion/North Rim of Grand Canyon

01-27-2015, 02:58 AM
We're looking for a 2-3 week vacation next summer.

In 2007 we spent about a week in Glacier National Park (GNP). We did 3 trails in GNP, drove across the Going to the Sun Highway, went up to Waterton-(which we wouldn't do again). We spent one day driving up the gravel road to Polebridge. We stayed at KOA on the east side and San-Suz-Ed (great campground)on the west side.

We have also have done a quick drive-thru at Bryce (BNP) and Zion National Parks (ZNP) - that's all.

We've not visited the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

What to do? Would you recommend going back to GNP? Are there things there that you do again or suggest things we didn't do? Or would you go to Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon-north rim? We don't know how much we missed in BNP and ZNP.

I personally am leaning toward GNP. Another couple will be pulling their camper and traveling with us and they've not been to either. If i was retired, I'd do them all again!

Are there things in the surrounding areas that you recommend we do?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

01-27-2015, 06:09 AM
In 2010 we visited all of the places you mention with the exception of the Grand Canyon. Bryce and Zion are very similar in their topography and scenery and entirely different than Glacier.

We camped at Virgin, Utah for a week and traveled into Zion several days and hiked some of the trails there, we spent a day at Bryce (way too short) and did some hiking there. If you drive into LaVerkin and go North you can enter Zion at it's Northern end and although similar to the Canyon area nearer Virgin it is a must do trip with some good hiking trails and different perspective.

We spent 2 days at Glacier and once we had traversed the Going to the Sun highway and did some hiking at the summit there is not a lot to see and few places to stop. We did make a side trip into the Hungry Horse Dam, which was worth the trip. However Glacier offers a completely different type of terrain than does either Bryce or Zion and anyone visiting the area should make the trip over the GTS highway.

I personally would return to Zion and Bryce in a heartbeat, in spite of the week we spent there we did not see all we wanted to see. Any return trip for us would include the Grand Canyon at some point.

We have camped near Waterton several times and there are some interesting side trips from there and if you are lucky an abundance of wildlife to see. We have seen Grizly, Black bear, Goats, Sheep and an overwhelming amount of Deer and Elk.

My advise is too look at as much information about the area's with your traveling companions and then make the decision, in 3 weeks you could conceivably do both area's.

Have a great trip.

01-27-2015, 09:37 AM
We have done GP, Bryce, Zion and the North Rim of the GC. All are unique. Since you have been to GC, I recommend Bryce, Zion and North Rim.
At Bryce, learn about the geology from the Rangers, hike down and back up in the hoodoos, A MUST--try to plan on being there when the moon is not full--Bryce has the best Ranger lead astronomy show--telescopes for viewing, discussions, and why Bryce is one of the darkest places in the continental US.
In the Bryce area, drive Ut 12 to Capital Reef. Great scenery, some hiking, a few museums on the Indians who lived there. Check the Utah DOT for info for this scenic drive. I would only do it without the Monty.
At Zion, hike up into the mountains---there are a number of good trails. Also see the other part of Zion that you have to leave the main park to see.
The North Rim of the GC--first it is 1000 feet higher than the South Rim. Go to all the scenic overlooks. Also get a forest service map and drive to the canyon rim on the forest service roads--you will be the only one there! Eat in the lodge.
Then if you have time ( this is more than a 2 week trip) go to the South Rim. Attend Ranger shows, take a helicopter ride over the Canyon. See the moon rise of the Canyon.
Then you still have Capital Reef NP, Hovenweep Nat't Mon., Canyonlands NP and Arches NP. Utah has so many National Parks--all are great! While near Nevada--visit Great Basin NP and see the bristlecone pines--nice hike up to about 10,000 feet. Again that may be another trip.
Check out our trip journal for how we did all this over a 3 year period or email me.

01-28-2015, 03:55 PM
When we retired, we spent three weeks heading to our new home in Colorado from Texas. We hit the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Tucson, Bryce, Zion, Grand Escalande, Capitol Reef and Moab (Arches and Canyonlands). We also hit Glacier last summer on the way to Alaska. Here are some questions to ask yourself - when will you go, where are you leaving from, do you prefer to see all new places or do you like doing the same things over? The north rim doesn't open until May, while it might be July for Glacier. If you're going in the summer, it will be very hot in Arizona. We enjoyed both and intend on hitting the Arizona/Utah areas again in the next few years. We've been to Glacier three times. We live in the mountains, so we are partial to hiking in the mountains. But, there is great hiking in the southwest, also. Don't miss Sedona and Monument Valley if you head that way. And if you have time, hit Carlsbad Caverns if it's on your way. Hope this helps.

Trailer Trash 2
01-28-2015, 07:34 PM
We went to GNP and stayed on the east side and the west side as the other has stated all the different areas to see. we also went into Canada to the see the north end of the park in Canada very pretty and they love us up there.

Bill and Jan
01-29-2015, 05:01 AM
Slot Canyon near Page, should be on the top of the list if you're going to the North Rim.

01-30-2015, 12:00 PM
The biggest problem is there is never enough time.

I personal like Zion and Bryce Canyons but every place is special in its own way. My favorite parks are Yosemite and Yellowstone but its kind of like saying which one of your kids you like most.

01-31-2015, 06:04 AM
We just spent two weeks in the Zion area and the trip out. Would do it again. Drove to the north rim, only 10 people there. Stop for lunch at Jacobs lake. Sand dunes park and Kaibab are very interesting.
We came up from Holbrook (meteor crater) which we thoroughly enjoyed. Also the sights all along the way. We left out of Zion and headed to four corners and monument valley. Then back to chattanooga. Depending on your route, you can email or pm me and i will give you my route and recommend some great campgrounds for either overnighters or longer term stays.