Park-by-park highlights of the Grand Circle tour

September 21, 2009, 6:51 am

The classic Southwestern Grand Circle tour loops through seven national parks and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

It took us 14 days to visit the parks, which included 2 ½ days on Lake Powell at Glen Canyon. We drove 1,803 miles. All of these parks hit temperatures in the 90s and above in the summer -- sunscreen and water in abundance, and a hat or other head covering are musts.

Each park has its own entrance fee, but if you're planning a multi-park trip, it makes more sense to buy an America the Beautiful annual pass for $80, which gains admission for the passholder and everyone in the vehicle at federally operated recreation sites.

One fun thing to do as a family is buy a national parks passport ($7.95), which has information on all of the parks and gives you a space to get a dated stamp at each one; the National Park Service issues official sticker stamps annually ($3.95) that can be placed in the book, and it also contains a U.S. map showing the park locations. Stop in the park's visitor center to find the free rubber stamp with that day's date.

Because some of the national parks don't offer full hookups, were already booked (some six months in advance) or don't even have RV parks, we sometimes stayed outside the parks.



I am interested in the order that you visited the parks and maybe how long or where you stayed for each park.  Everyone says 'visit them all', but the parks seem miles apart from each other. I'd like to drive in a 'Grand Circle' seeing all the parks along the way and not back tracking a lot.

You can find out more about this itinerary by clicking the "Read more" link above!"