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Family trip - end of November

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
34 posts
11 reviews
Family trip - end of November

I am planning a family trip with a 9 and 6 year old this Thanksgiving week. We'll be based in Springdale for 4 days (flying in/out of Vegas).

This is my first time in the Zion area, and I'm looking for ideas for how to schedule both variety and leisure on the trip. I don't have a checklist or bucket list to hit specific sites or parks.

We probably won't want to stretch ourselves to squeeze in Bryce or Grand Canyon (apparently the North Rim is already closed). I don't want the kids whining from exhaustion....

I'm thinking of this itinerary. Looking for suggestions.

Day 0: Drive from Vegas, settle in.... maybe do the Watchman Trail/Visitor Center.

Day 1: Weeping Rock Trail; Riverside Trail to peek at The Narrows --- which I'm sure is way too cold this time of year :( ....Hidden Canyon

Day 2: Pa’rus Trail; Emerald Pools Trail + Kayenta Trail + The Grotto Trail

Day 3: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to experience the sand dunes.... Kolob Canyon or Cedar Breaks Nat'l Monument

Day 4: Road trip back to Vegas. Stop by Valley of Fire State Park?

Some questions....

Is there enough here to challenge the kids but be manageable? Too much?

I picked these hikes based on some of the online guides and trip reports.... but they all write about summertime travel where you need to avoid the heat AND can splash in the water. How does end of November change the recommendations?

What weather and water temperature should we expect? Should we still plan for scarce parking in the Park, and in Springdale?

Thank you!

17 replies to this topic
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
34 posts
11 reviews
11. Re: Family trip - end of November

These are all amazing suggestions, thank you so much.

On the way Coral Dunes State Park (I'm hearing the good arguments for Snow Canyon instead) -- I was thinking of visiting Vermallion Cliffs.... Is it worth the trek with the kids? The photos of Vermallion look Instagram-amazing, but I don't want to build my day around a photo op....

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
34 posts
11 reviews
12. Re: Family trip - end of November

How about hiking in the Narrows at the end of November, in the rented wet suit gear?

Level Contributor
3,381 posts
42 reviews
13. Re: Family trip - end of November

Hiking the Narrows anytime with a 6 year old is probably a bad idea. At least water flow would be low, but 6 year olds can get cold really fast. You could just go a little ways in to the river, but that makes it difficult to justify the gear rental cost. Also, you'd need to call and check the rental places to see if they have dry suit gear for kids that young.

Yeah, it's your judgement call on Coral Pink Sanddunes - the biggest downside is having a lot of car time 2 days in a row. If you go to Coral Pink, still think about spending that last night in St. George before returning to Vegas. It would probably be faster to drive to St. George form Coral Pink instead of back through Zion to Springdale fighting traffic. That would also give you less mileage the next day.

Regarding Vermilion Cliffs - I haven't been there - but the pictures look similar to Firewave at Valley of Fire. Check out pictures of VoF firewave to see if it would be a good alternative that is already on your path.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,468 posts
41 reviews
14. Re: Family trip - end of November

The Vermillion Cliffs are not a day trip from Zion. The cliffs are south of Page, Arizona on highway 89A. IMO, Vermillion Cliffs are best viewed in the later afternoon when the sun is shining on them and the colors just light up. That means you would approach them on 89A traveling west to east. But you won't have time.

Level Contributor
1,294 posts
6 reviews
15. Re: Family trip - end of November

Vermillion Cliffs. I assume you mean The Wave? A permit is required to hike there, and they are difficult to get. A limited number are given out ahead of time over the Internet, and a limited number the day before via a lottery for walk-ins.

Saxapahaw, North...
Level Contributor
480 posts
3 reviews
16. Re: Family trip - end of November

My eight year old, who is very cold natured, did great in The Narrows this past weekend. It was super cold, but the rental gear keeps your body dry. The boots allow water into them, but with the neoprene socks, the warmth is kept inside. We wore long pants, long sleeved shirts, fleece jackets all under the suits. Then we had warm hats and gloves. We hiked for four hours in The Narrows. My kids were fine! They did get their gloves wet, so if we had it to do over, we'd bring one extra pair of gloves for each kid.

I saw many young kids hiking in just their sneakers and pants. I wouldn't do that because I just felt it was way too cold, but with the suits, it's fairly easy!!

The suits come in small sizes. Maybe not for a toddler, but definitely for a 6 year old.

Zion National Park...
Level Contributor
57 posts
11 reviews
17. Re: Family trip - end of November

Some of your planned hikes are going to be closed: Upper Emerald pools, Kayenta and Hidden Canyon. It's doubtful that the Kolo b Canyons area will be open. Cedar Breaks may be closed by snow. Alternatives for it are Bryce Canyon and/or Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

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