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Southwest Utah in October...any Zion/Bryce veterans?

Using the Socially Responsible Teleportation Machine I just invented (Elon: Call me!), my extended family and I will find ourselves in a large rental house up on the mesa just east of Zion NP this October. To us Easterners, this is the middle of nowhere. Even traveling around the most rural parts of The South, I don’t know the last time I was 2 hours from the nearest Target, Walmart, or grocery chain... But what better time to be in the middle of nowhere than right now?

At the moment, we’re looking at 2-3 days in Zion, which has implemented a $1 per person shuttle reservation fee (and booking a specific time slot) to keep shuttle traffic down in the main canyon. Hopefully it’s not going to turn into the clusterfrack I’ve read about during the summer seasons there. Also, about half the major trails are closed due to last year’s rockfall, so I’m sure the remaining trails will be nice and quiet ;)

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We’ll also probably do a full day at Bryce Canyon. I’m also looking at a few of the smaller slot canyons between Zion and Kanab, UT. Coral Pink Sand Dunes SP is also high on the list, but it costs a small fortune to do an ATV tour with 7 people.

GCNP North Rim is about 2.5 hours each way, so a little far for a comfortable daytrip. Having never been to the North Rim, I’m open to being swayed...I might also consider Glen Canyon/Lake Powell, but it’s also a little out of the way for us.

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We should be able to rent a Suburban/Denali XL, since that’s really the only vehicle in its class. Likely to be 2WD, but we might get lucky! Or Enterprise will “upgrade” us to something like a Pathfinder (sigh). Hopefully we’ll get to do some softcore offroading along the way. Any tips on getting unstuck with 2WD, mostly in case of soft sand? I have some limited offroad experience, but I’m in the category of “air down the tires and shove some sticks and rocks under them” in the Self-Rescue Department.

(sorry no pics...Kinja apparently won’t let me upload, paste, or link from desktop anymore.)

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