Since I want to see Monument Valley and Arches National Park, both of which are on the route between Phoenix and Salt Lake City, I was wondering if it was worth doing the trip by hiring a car and sleeping in it at rest stops. Does anyone know if there are rest stops along this route? Are there other options for me to consider (such as Camping grounds, if there are any)?
I plan to make it a 2 day trip. Leave Phoenix in the morning, arrive at Monument Valley, spend the day here, then leave, and while en route to Arches National Park (4 hour trip), I could find a rest stop (if there are any) somewhere along the way, and head to Arches National Park the next morning. Then, once I've seen that, I continue on to Salt Lake City and book accommodation.
Thanks to those who can help
Hi Saki - after you leave Monument Valley and head north towards Mexican Hat, UT, turn onto 261 which will take you north towards Natural Bridges National Monument. 261 appears to disappear into a cliff - amazingly it climbs the cliff on a twisty road called the Moki Dugway. Once you're at the top take your first left and go down that dirt road until it ends. You will have arrived at Muley Point, one of the prettiest, free camping spots in the neighborhood. It overlooks the San Juan River and has amazing views of Monument Valley. As you drive north along Cedar Mesa on 261, it's hard to imagine because it's invisible from the road, but Grand Gulch is off to your left, gorgeous canyons filled with Ancestral Puebloan ruins and gorgeous hikes.
Incidentally there is a ranger station as you get close to the intersection with 95 that I believe has water available, as does the visitor center at Natural Bridges. Natural Bridges has a campground but it is small and often fills up by mid-day. If you need to camp in this area, take 95 west toward Natural Bridges and then take 275 north. The second right is a Forest Service or BLM road and off of this road a mile or two down you'll start to see places to camp in the trees - we have stayed there often...very peaceful.
If you are coming in the heat of summer (you don't mention when you'll be here) you can head up the road that is your FIRST right off of 275 and this will take you up higher in elevation under the pine trees of Elk Ridge. It is all forest service land so you can camp up there and it'll be cooler.
Between Canyonlands (another awesome but small campground, lots of beautiful hiking here) and Arches NP there is a Needles Overlook turn-off that will take you out to more dispersed camping sites.
OK, up near Moab there is a campground in Arches NP but it too will fill up early on. There is a lot of camping up 128 which follows the Colorado River as it flows from the NE. These have turned into pay sites but i think it's only $10 a night maybe and they're right on the river in a gorgeous canyon.
message me if you need any more info!
by the way - it is a LONGGGG way to travel with many beautiful things to see along the way between PHX and SLC. i would recommend at least a week! When you mention leaving PHX in the morning and 'spending the day' at monument valley' - it will probably take you 5 or 6 hours to get there. it is another 3 hrs from MV to Moab. If you have more time to spare, you might want to consider at least another day - it would be a shame to come through this part of the world and not see much of it, especially if you are a hiker. But I understand that schedules are what they are sometimes. Good luck!
The rest stops are in the middle of no where in the west. Lock your doors.
In this day and time generally it is not a good idea to sleep at a rest stop. Check with local police authorities before you do this. There are some that have security service on site.
I think Bill A. Belt is saying right. You should not sleep in car while you should get enjoy as long drive.