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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Need a Southern Utah recommendation, Early May, family-friendly

    My wife wants to head to S. Utah for our anniversary in early May. Last year, we camped in the Coyote Buttes area (South, couldn't get a permit for the North) and spent 2 days at Bryce. This year we'll be toting our 8-month old twin girls with us so we'll want to stay in a hotel and not have to drive more than 1hr to the goods. We'll be using the backpack carriers so we're looking for relatively easy, safe & intersting hikes/sights. The plan is to leave early afternoon on Friday to drive down there (from Logan), spend 2 nights and come back on Sunday.

    We've already been to Zion, Arches & Bryce and Goblin Valley so let's think beyond those. We've driven thru Capitol Reef but would like to explore it more, particularly Cathedral Valley. Is Torrey a decent place to find a hotel? Would it be feasible/irresponsible to drive to Cathedral Valley in early May with twins in tow (we have a high-clearance 4x4)?

    Any other recommendations? Thanks.


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  3. #2
    Outdoor Guru
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Plenty of kid friendly hikes in Capitol Reef.. Hickman Bridge, Sulfur Creek, Capitol Gorge, Grand Wash, and Cohab Canyon. Here are my TR's from last year.
    Also.. Escalante is not that far from Torrey so you could easily drive down that way to hike Calf Creek.

    I know Iceaxe has some family friendly slots on the south end of the water pocket fold posted on his site

  4. #3

    Cathedral Valley

    I drove through Cathedral Valley with my 5 month old last October and we had a blast. Plan on a full day! Make sure you buy the cheap cathedral valley map from the Capitol Reef Visitor Center. You can also find some interesting information on stops at

    As for going in May I would guess it would be fine with the vehicle you mentioned. Fording the Fremont might be difficult/impossible depending on spring runoff so be sure to check with the visitor center first, but there are many different ways to get into Cathedral Vally if that proves not feasible. Check out my lame blog for my pics and more description

  5. #4
    Bottom Tier Superhero Iceaxe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    City of Salt
    Capital Reef is kiddie friendly, and Torrey is a nice place to stay with a couple descent restaurants. I like Capital Reef a lot, it's like Zion without the people (think of Torrey as Springdale and you will get the picture).

    Since I don't see it on your list... I'd consider Cedar Mesa with the kiddies. I first started seriously exploring it when my kids were young. We always stayed in Blanding when moteling. Blanding is really inexpensive when compared to other tourist towns like Moab or Springdale. Probably half a dozen motels, several good restaurants and a nice size grocery store. The highlight of Cedar Mesa is the Anasazi ruins and rock art. A large number of the goodies are only a short stroll or easy hike from your vehicle. Many sites can be reached with a 4x4. We used to mix and match the sites with our young kids. Visit the easy hikes when they were restless and drive to sites when they were grumpy or napping, using this method we could visit a dozen cool places each day. Natural Bridges National Monument and Hovenweep National Monument are also nearby.

    If you visit my website there is a section called Family Fun. Everything on that list works great with kids (or seniors).

    Family Fun

    Moab is anther great place for families with young kids.

    One other really nice trip to do with young children is Nine Mile Canyon. It takes all day but you do it from the car. You drive 1 mile and than climb out of the car to hike around and view rock art, climb back in the car and drive a mile to the next site. It takes a full day just to see Nine Mile. We often would combine it into a weekend and visit the the two great Museum, the CEU Prehistoric Museum in Price and the Mining & Railroad Museum in Helper. We would spend a day in the Museums and a day in Nine Mile.

    Nine Mile Canyon

    I hope that helps.

  6. #5
    Outdoor Guru
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Craig, CO
    those. We've driven thru Capitol Reef but would like to explore it more, particularly Cathedral Valley. Is Torrey a decent place to find a hotel?
    Torrey has some nice places to stay. We ended up staying in a hotel there when we were down there during the floods of Oct 06 and when the campground in the park was a river!

    Would it be feasible/irresponsible to drive to Cathedral Valley in early May with twins in tow (we have a high-clearance 4x4)?

    I would also consider Escalante. IMHO, it's even more scenic than Capitol Reef (which is great too). There are plenty of kid friendly hikes too (Calf Creek Falls, Escalante River to the Natural Bridge, Devils Garden, etc.

  7. #6
    Mountain Man ststephen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Felton, CA
    At 8 months it's more about where *you* want to go that won't be too long or difficult while carrying the bambino. In a couple years then you're going to want to find fun places that the kid will enjoy. Devil's Garden and Calf Creek were big hits with my son after he was old enough to explore a bit. No reason not to go now but pick based on your preference. Have fun!
    It is good that warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life... or death. It shall be life. - Ten Bears, "The Outlaw Josie Wales"

  8. #7
    Hi Shmeefer

    my best private recommendation for that time and the region you are searching will be: take one of the very nice cabins in Kodachrome Basin State Park; I have been there in the last ten years more than 7 weeks and will stay there this year too for 10 days in April/May;

    all the best and have fun there

  9. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Great feedback, thank you all very much. These places will be put in my file of "Must Visits". In the meantime, we're going to stay in Torrey and hit the trails in Capitol Reef. Torrey's relative closeness to Logan (5.5hr drive) is a big plus as we can get to the hotel before the girls normal bedtime.

    ScottP, you said "Yes" to my question of is it feasible/irresponsible to drive the road to Cathedral Valley with twins... so which is it, feasible or irresponsible? I really want to do this drive one day and while the spring run-off this year may prevent it, I'd still like to get an idea of what to expect from the road. I don't expect it to be buff trail, but I've found government employees often exaggerate the conditions to tourists to keep them safe. What I want is a local-type opinion of the traveling. A report I read online said plan for 6 hrs to travel the 60mile loop. Does that seem accurate to everyone?

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