Southwest and Texas | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Sat, 21 Oct 2017 00:30:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg Southwest and Texas | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 Austin Festivals in Fall and Winter https://moon.com/2017/10/austin-festivals-fall-winter/ https://moon.com/2017/10/austin-festivals-fall-winter/#respond Sat, 07 Oct 2017 21:32:45 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=59993 Though the sizzling heat of summer tapers off during fall and since winters are mild, Austin festivals stay in full swing. Here's the lineup from September to February.

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people gathered in front of stage outdoors

Open air concerts happen all year long in mild Austin. Photo © arevhamb/123rf.

Though the sizzling heat of summer tapers off during fall and since winters are mild, Austin festivals stay in full swing. Along with the requisite music festivals, you’ll find festivals celebrating film, books, and of course, the revels of Pride Week.

For a complete guide to absolutely everything going on in Austin throughout the year, check out www.austin360.com and click on the calendar link, or go to www.austintexas.org and click on the events link.

September

Imagine the symbol of Texas—the Lone Star—on a rainbow backdrop, or a giant Texas-shaped rainbow flag proudly carried as a standard of victory by men dressed up like Cher. At the Austin Pride Parade, gay pride is as big as Texas. Held annually since 1991, this is an important event that is all about tolerance, acceptance, and being proud of who you are. The parade is a family event replete with floats, music, and classic cars, but it can have moments that aren’t necessarily rated G.

The fall occurrence of the Pecan Street Arts Festival is held on 6th Street the last weekend of September. For more details see the complete entry in May section of Moon Austin, San Antonio & the Hill Country.

October

Spun out of the famous public television show, the Austin City Limits Music Festival is the biggest music fest of the year. For three days the festival features top acts, bands, performers, and musical legends in nearly all genres of music. In the past the festival has featured artists such as REM, Ben Harper, and Coldplay, and the list goes on. The scene: 200,000 people, portable potties, the smell of sunscreen, parking miles away, dust in every orifice, and heat exhaustion, all in beautiful Zilker Park. Tickets can be purchased for one of the three days (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday), or you can throw down more cash for a three-day pass. In the spring an early-bird ticket special is offered, but these sell out in a matter of hours. After that tickets can be bought at a premium online. There’s a long list of things that won’t pass security; check the website before you bring all kinds of stuff to survive the weekend.

Founded by former librarian and First Lady Laura Bush, the Texas Book Festival has become one of the biggest literary events in the Southwest. Book signings, awards ceremonies, celebrity-author book readings, and a black-tie Literary Gala including cocktails and dinner provide a great weekend that benefits the Texas Public Libraries. Tickets range $50- 75, and the Literary Gala is $350 per person.

Austin has been attracting quite a bit of attention from the film industry. The event that highlights Austin and celluloid is the Austin Film Festival. For eight days hundreds of film industry folk, celebrities, and silver-screen fans converge in downtown Austin’s many cinemas and hotels to view some 100 films. The festival also includes a screenwriter’s conference.

Local cyclist, cancer survivor, and all-around controversial figure Lance Armstrong hosts Ride for the Roses (512/236-8820) every October. This hugely popular event brings out crowds of cyclists, fans, celebrities, and spectators for a whole weekend of cycling-related events, all to raise money for cancer research.

Perhaps the most obscure event that goes on in these parts is the Texas Gourd Society Show and Sale. Talk about niche: This society is made up of artists that enjoy painting and decorating gourds. The show and sale also includes a competition. Whoever has the most gourd-geous gourd wins! Believe me, some of these gourds are pretty spectacular.

When writing up events for Austin’s calendar in October one can’t omit Halloween on 6th Street. Some 60,000 dressed-up freaks and ghouls take over downtown’s historic 6th Street. Overstimulated by sugar and whatever else, people party all night. The costumes are unbelievable. If you want to trick-or-treat but don’t want to put time into inventing a costume, rent something from Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (1506 S. Congress Ave., 512/444-2002).

November

The funnest festival in Austin is Fun Fun Fun Fest. Or at least it’s pretty fun for all who are interested in indie rock, punk rock, hardcore, metal, and hip-hop/DJ. The festival, which started in 2006, is held in Austin’s Waterloo Park close to downtown. The promoters of this show have an uncanny knack for getting bands from the bygone era of rock underground to resurface and put on amazing shows. Past lineups have included Slayer, Jane’s Addiction, 7 Seconds, The Hold Steady, Descendents, High on Fire, Spoon, Explosions in the Sky, and Ice T. Even Weird Al Yankovic has done his thing, whatever that is. There are multiple stages for music and one for stand-up comedy. The event also includes BMX and skateboard half-pipes and even an amateur-wrestling ring.

A great way to sneak a peek into the lives of Austin artists is by touring artists’ studios during East Austin Studio Tour. Over a hundred artists, galleries, and studios participate in this East Austin event in mid-November each year. All media and styles are represented, from serene landscapes to bizarre abstract art. A map of the tour is available on the East Austin Studio Tour website.

December

Austin’s beloved holiday tradition, the Zilker Park Tree Lighting, draws thousands to Zilker Park to see the park decorated in lights and watch the lighting of the 165-foot Christmas tree. The Trail of Lights, which is a mile-long display of holiday and wintertime scenes, is an Austin bucket list experience. Most locals consider spinning under the tree and eating funnel cake the only way to usher in the Christmas spirit in Austin. The tree-lighting ceremony takes place on the first Sunday of December, and the Trail of Lights is open until the New Year.

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar (512/447-1605, 10am-10pm daily) is a uniquely Austin holiday market where artists and artisans from Texas and the Southwest sell their works. This Austin original has been encouraging the public to buy from local artists since 1976. Besides all kinds of weird, wacky, original, and pop forms of art, the bazaar features great food and live music, and it all takes place at the Palmer Events Center. The bazaar operates the second half of December. Parking is available at the Palmer Events Center Garage, accessed off Riverside Drive.

January

The very best way to sample a wide range of Austin bands and musicians is by stumbling through all the Red River/6th Street venues during Austin Free Week. It is, as its name implies, a completely free week of live music. This started out as a way to cure the post-holiday music industry blues and has grown into a smorgasbord for music lovers. There are no cover or door charges at venues such as the Mohawk, Sidewinders, Beerland, Empire Control Room, and the Scoot Inn during the first week of January.

February

For over two decades, every February Carnival Brasileiro has brought Austin a party straight out of Brazil. Hailed as one of the city’s weirdest and wildest celebrations, Carnival Brasileiro features only Brazilian music played on Brazilian instruments and sung in Portuguese, all for a crowd of drinking gringos. The event takes place at Palmer Events Center. Tickets can be purchased at local outlets Lucy In Disguise (1506 S. Congress Ave.) and Waterloo Records (600 N. Lamar Blvd). Tickets are $40, or $45 at the door.


Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Austin, San Antonio & the Hill Country.

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Taking the Low Road to Taos from Santa Fe https://moon.com/2017/08/taking-the-low-road-to-taos-from-santa-fe/ https://moon.com/2017/08/taking-the-low-road-to-taos-from-santa-fe/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:02:33 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=6467 Following the winding Rio Grande up into the mountains is the highlight of this drive north. The route begins past the modern town of Española, passing into a narrowing canyon and finally emerging at the point where the high plains meet the mountains. This dramatic arrival makes it the better route for heading north to Taos; you can then loop back south via the high road.

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Following the winding Rio Grande up into the mountains is the highlight of this drive north. The low road to Taos begins past the modern town of Española, passing into a narrowing canyon and finally emerging at the point where the high plains meet the mountains. This dramatic arrival makes it the better route for heading north to Taos; you can then loop back south via the high road.

the Rio Grande winds through the Orilla Verde Recreation Area in New Mexico

Stop in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area to camp on the banks of the Rio Grande or go rafting. Photo © Davor Lovincic/iStock.

Embudo and Dixon

The village of Embudo is really just a bend in the river where the Chili Line railroad from Denver used to stop (the old station is across the river). But it offers a random roadside attraction in the Classical Gas Museum (1819 Hwy. 68, 505/852-2995, free), a front yard filled with old service station accoutrements. If the gate is open, the owner is probably home, and you can peek inside to see a beautiful collection of neon signs and restored gas pumps. There’s also a good eating option: Sugar’s (1799 Hwy. 68, 505/852-0604, 11am-6pm Thurs.-Sun., $6), a small roadside trailer that doles out seriously big food, such as barbecue brisket burritos. It’s takeout only, but there are a few plastic picnic tables where you can sit down.

If you’re into wine, keep an eye out for the various wineries just north of here: Vivác (2075 Hwy. 68, 505/579-4441, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.) is on the main highway, and La Chiripada (505/579-4437, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.) is down Highway 75 a few miles in the pleasant little town of Dixon, known for its dense concentration of artists, organic farmers, and vintners.

The convivial farmers market runs on summer and fall Wednesdays (4:30pm-7pm), and in early November, look for the long-running Dixon Studio Tour. A good year-round reason to make the turn is Zuly’s (234 Hwy. 275, 505/579-4001, 8:30am-3pm Tues.-Thurs., 8:30am-7pm Fri., 9am-7pm Sat., $8), serving strong coffee and classic New Mexican food with a bit of hippie flair; hours cut back slightly in winter.

Pilar

Beginning just south of the village of Pilar and stretching several miles north, Orilla Verde Recreation Area ($3/car) is public land along either side of the Rio Grande, used primarily as a put-in or haul-out for rafting, but you can camp on the riverbanks as well. Petaca and Taos Junction have the best sites ($7 per night).

Running about 1.2 miles one-way along the west edge of the river, the Vista Verde Trail is an easy walk with great views and a few petroglyphs to spot in a small arroyo about a third of the way out. The trailhead is located on the other side of the river, half a mile up the hill from the Taos Junction Bridge off the dirt road Highway 567 (turn left off the highway in Pilar, then follow signs into Orilla Verde). Stop first on the main highway at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitors Center (Hwy. 68, 575/751-4899, 8:30am-4:30pm daily June-Aug., 10am-2pm daily Sept.-May) for maps and other information.

Across the road, Pilar Yacht Club (Hwy. 68, 575/758-9072, 8am-6pm daily mid-May-Aug., 9am-2pm daily Apr.-mid-May and Sept.-Oct.) is the center of the action, selling tubes for lazy floats, serving food to hungry river rats, and functioning as an office for a couple of outfitters.

Getting There

This low-road route is more direct than the high road to Taos, and has fewer potential diversions. Driving the 70 miles from downtown Santa Fe to Taos (on U.S. 84/285 and Hwy. 68), with no stops, takes about an hour and a half. There are no gas stations between Española and Taos.


Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon New Mexico.

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Itinerary: A Long Weekend in Austin https://moon.com/2017/08/itinerary-austin-long-weekend/ https://moon.com/2017/08/itinerary-austin-long-weekend/#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 17:00:00 +0000 http://moon.com?p=26750&preview_id=26750 A weekend in Austin is the perfect amount of time to explore. The city is so alive and accessible that it takes little effort to be completely immersed in its life and culture.

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The capitol building is visible between skyscrapers in Austin, Texas.

Austin city skyline at twilight with the capitol building. Photo © Wasin Pummarin/123rf.

A weekend in Austin is the perfect amount of time to explore. The city is so alive and accessible that it takes little effort to be completely immersed in its life and culture.

Day 1

This is probably the only day you will wake up early. First thing on the agenda is a hearty breakfast at the Magnolia Cafe. To walk off all the calories you just consumed, head straight out the door of Magnolia Cafe and down the street to Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake). Enjoy walking the overgrown trails, watch the turtles and ducks putter in the lake, and take in the stunning view of Austin’s skyline. Along the trail you can pay homage to Austin music legend Stevie Ray Vaughan at his famous statue.

Next make your way to one of the most popular record stores in the United States, Waterloo Records, and check out their extensive collection of Texas music. After buying a Willie Nelson CD, walk across the street to Whole Foods world headquarters and buy some granola, energy bars, or dried fruit to consume the following day on a hike.

A first day in Austin must include a visit to the Texas State Capitol. Walk the grounds, stand beneath the dome, and take in the gubernatorial history. If it’s between 2pm and 4pm, make your way over to the Governor’s Mansion for a tour of the historic home that some think is haunted.

Before evening descends, get a copy of the Austin Chronicle and look at the entertainment section. Pick a show—any show—and plan to have your socks blown off by a great night on the town. For an authentic Austin night out, catch a country band at the Broken Spoke. If you have the guts and gumption, try your hand at two-stepping.

Day 2

The first half of Day 2 is devoted to an education in Texas pride by visiting the Bullock Texas State History Museum. After you’re all Texased out, have lunch at nearby Texas Chili Parlor, then walk over to Austin’s world-class repository for art, the Blanton Museum of Art. After admiring the Picassos, make your way down to the Driskill, Austin’s famed haunted hotel. Even if you don’t stay here you can marvel at the architecture and the creepy vibe, and get a confection at the 1886 Café & Bakery.

Cross over Lady Bird Lake and keep going until you arrive at the city’s most popular strip, South Congress Avenue, which is lined with funky shops, trendy boutiques, and restaurants. If you get hungry, order a margarita with shrimp fajitas at popular Güero’s Taco Bar. Check out the oddity shop Uncommon Objects and marvel at the $3,000 cowgirl boots at Allens Boots. As a side note, staying at one of the trendy hotels on South Congress is highly recommended.

By this time the music scene is getting revved up. Check out music listings in the Austin Chronicle and catch some live music at the Continental Club on South Congress or any of the venues on 6th Street or Red River Street, such as Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, The Mohawk, or The Parish. Peruse the music listings for Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater. This is a great way to see a world-class act and get close to the famous Austin City Limits stage.

Day 3

Kick off today with a trip to the most visited presidential library in the United States, the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. You’re sure to be moved by the exhibit about the president’s life, and may well up with tears when you walk into the JFK assassination exhibit, or feel a sense of pride at seeing the pen LBJ used in signing the Civil Rights Act. Follow up the LBJ experience with lunch at Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ for some smoky beef brisket. If it’s not over 100 degrees, make your way to Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, which is close by. Walk the hills and learn about Central Texas flora and fauna through interpretive trails. At the end of the trail be sure to sit on the bench and enjoy the view of the city skyline for as long as you can.

Once you’ve acquired peace of mind, take a walk through Zilker Botanical Garden. Consider how this area was the stomping grounds of dinosaurs in the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, and then get a bite to eat at nearby Shady Grove Restaurant. Once you’ve filled up on great Tex-Mex, head downtown to famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Order a pitcher of beer and watch a random movie or attend a Michael Jackson sing-along.

Closeup of a pink lily in a pond at the Zilker Botanical Garden.

A pink lily at the Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas. Photo © Anne Swoboda, licensed Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike.

Day 4

Your final day in Austin will start with a trip to Zilker Park, where you’ll take a ride on the Zilker Zephyr. This mini-train takes both mini and full-size passengers throughout the park. If you’re lucky your train ride will include a brief performance by “the man with the guitar in the cutoff shorts.” Assuming it’s a hot summer day, get off at the Barton Springs stop and jump in Barton Springs Pool. Plan to splash around in the constantly 68-degree water and people-watch for a couple of hours.

Before evening sets in, make your way to Lady Bird Lake and watch the bats of Congress Avenue Bridge, which take flight just before sundown. A great way to view them is by taking a ride on Lone Star Riverboat, a genuine double-decker paddle wheel riverboat. Follow this up with a visit to Austin’s burgeoning Warehouse District. First stop off at the Irish pub Fado’s or the popular pub The Ginger Man and drink a pint of beer produced by local brewhouse Live Oak Brewing Company. It’s your last night, so if you still have ears for music, check out some more bands and musicians. Or if you prefer a calm evening, walk over to Halcyon Coffeehouse to roast marshmallows and make s’mores at your table.

Day 5

If you can squeeze one more day into your long weekend, a trip to San Antonio to visit The Alamo is essential. The drive is just two hours to downtown. After exploring Texas’s most sacred site, walk down to The Esquire Tavern, a spot famous for pub grub and for having the longest bar in Texas. Afterwards enjoy a stroll on San Antonio’s greatest feature, the River Walk. If you still have some time to kill before heading back to Austin, drive the Mission Trail.

Travel map of Austin, Texas

Austin


Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Austin, San Antonio & the Hill Country.

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Take a Four-Day Texas Hill Country Road Trip https://moon.com/2017/08/texas-hill-country-road-trip/ https://moon.com/2017/08/texas-hill-country-road-trip/#comments Wed, 02 Aug 2017 16:45:00 +0000 http://moon.com?p=26753&preview_id=26753 A road trip in the Hill Country is an adventure into both beautiful parks with natural wonders and tiny towns that meticulously preserve remnants of Americana and the Wild West. Get ready to do some serious wine-tasting, antiques hunting, horseback riding, and hiking.

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Hamilton Pool, a natural swimming hole near Austin, Texas.

Swimming at Hamilton Pool Preserve. Photo © Matthew Carroll/123rf.

A road trip in the Hill Country is an adventure into both beautiful parks with natural wonders and tiny towns that meticulously preserve remnants of Americana and the Wild West. Get ready to do some serious wine-tasting, antiques hunting, horseback riding, and hiking. Before setting out, do some planning. It may be wise to arrange for accommodations ahead of time as well as prearrange activities such as horseback riding.

Day 1

Start your road trip with a splash by taking a dip in Hamilton Pool Preserve. From Austin drive west on Highway 290, and then go north on Highway 71. If it’s hot, take a dip; if it’s cold, gawk for a while at the beauty. Afterward, head south on Highway 12 through Dripping Springs en route to Johnson City and eat some great Texas barbecue at Ronnie’s Ice House. Before leaving town stop at Whittington’s Jerky, because no road trip is complete without some additional beef to gnaw on. Swing by the old limestone jail, which was built in 1894 and is still in use, and then proceed westward on Highway 290 toward Stonewall to LBJ State Park and Historic Site.. This ranch was President Lyndon B. Johnson’s retreat from the world. While here see the Texas White House and watch an old movie about the 36th president. Once you’re back on Highway 290, stop off at Becker Vineyards to do some wine-tasting. After buying a bottle, continue westward on Highway 290, but make sure the poor sap who didn’t drink is behind the wheel.

Fourteen miles down the road you’ll come to the German hamlet of Fredericksburg. For dinner there’s schnitzel, beer, and German polka music at Auslander Biergarten. If there’s a jazz band playing at the Hangar Hotel, head out to the airport for a swinging time. You can also stay at this World War II-era hangar for the night.

Day 2

Walk Fredericksburg’s Main Street to check out the various shops and boutiques, and pay a visit to the Pioneer Museum and funky Gish’s Old West Museum. If you’re a World War II buff, check out the National Museum of the Pacific War, where you can see artillery used in the war. Then head north on RR 965 to one of the Hill Country’s most precious natural wonders, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Take the time to hike the face of the enormous granite-domed rock to check out the view and ponder the myths and legends that were born here. If it’s not past noon, take a drive on the most scenic country road in Texas, the Willow City Loop.

From Fredericksburg your journey will continue south on Highway 16 to Kerrville and on to RR 1340 toward Hunt. Out here you’ll be looking for Stonehenge II, a small version of the mysterious rock formation in Salisbury, England. After pondering this oddity, head back to Kerrville, where you’ll head south on RR 173 to get to your final destination, the Cowboy Capital of the World, known as Bandera. Once in Bandera, have a meal at O. S. T. Restaurant. The food is down-home country cooking in the presence of John Wayne memorabilia. One of the area’s many dude ranches, such as the Mayan Dude Ranch, is where you’ll want to stay.

Cattle at a stream flanked by blooming wildflowers along the Willow City Loop.

Wildflowers and cattle seen along the Willow City Loop in Texas. Photo © Steve, licensed Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike.

Day 3

Start the day with a big cowboy-style breakfast at the dude ranch mess hall, followed by a horseback ride. A guide will take you into the backcountry on trails that have been trodden under hoof for eons. After lunch in the mess hall and a siesta, head downtown and explore the strange Western shops that line Bandera’s dirt sidewalks. Also pay a visit to the Frontier Times Museum.

The American and Texas State Flag fly outside the Bandera Courthouse clocktower.

The courthouse in Bandera, Texas. Photo © Davidlohr Bueso, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Once you’ve seen Bandera, leave town by way of Highway 46, toward the historic German pioneer town of Boerne. This lovely spot on Cibolo Creek is a great place to hunker down for the rest of the day. The main activity here is walking Main Street, known to locals as Hauptstrasse. Here you’ll find dozens of antiques shops, boutiques, and eateries, all in historic limestone buildings built by the German pioneers. When you get hungry, walk over to the river, turn left, and walk down to the Dodging Duck Brew Haus. Dinner with a beer on the outdoor patio is the only way to go. Most folks who come to Boerne stay in a bed-and-breakfast. A reservation service can help you find the right lodgings for your budget.

Day 4

The first thing you’ll want to do in the morning is drive north on RR 474, where you’ll explore the CaveWithout a Name. The cave is full of intriguing rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites. After this head back to Boerne, and then go east on Highway 46. Along the way you’ll encounter Guadalupe River State Park. Stop off here for some incredible scenery, or even better, go tubing down the Guadalupe River. Afterward, make your way to New Braunfels and the charming town of Gruene. Explore Gruene’s quaint buildings full of antiques and a few restaurants overlooking the beautiful Guadalupe River. At the base of the old town is the Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar, situated in the ruins of an old cotton gin.

A grand finale to your road trip should be famous Gruene Hall. This old structure with chicken-wire windows is Texas’s oldest dance hall. Country music legends still fill this joint with great foot-stomping music.

Travel map of Austin and the Hill Country in Texas

Austin and the Hill Country


Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Austin, San Antonio & the Hill Country.

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The Best of Texas Hill Country Wineries https://moon.com/2017/08/best-texas-hill-country-wineries/ https://moon.com/2017/08/best-texas-hill-country-wineries/#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 18:00:00 +0000 http://moon.com?p=26851&preview_id=26851 Texas Hill Country has rediscovered its viticulture roots. Here are the best of Texas Hill Country wineries, along with a bit about Texas's wine history.

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The state and US flag hang in front of rustic Becker Vineyards in the HIll Country.

Sipping a glass of wine on the porch at sunset at Becker Vineyards is one of the top Hill Country experiences. Photo courtesy of Becker Vineyards.

For thousands of years grapes have grown on the banks of rivers and streams all over Texas. The climate is so conducive to the vine that there are more grape species here than anywhere else on the planet. Of the 36 species of vines in the world, 15 are native to Texas. For some strange reason, when the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, they never took advantage of these local varieties. They made the first wine on American soil in El Paso with a variety brought over from Europe. It wasn’t until the 1800s that the grape potential of Texas was recognized. It all began when German immigrants in the Hill Country started fermenting the local grapes, as well as producing wine from grapes brought from the Old World.

By the late 1800s wine research and production in Texas was fully underway. At the same time in Europe the phylloxera epidemic was wreaking havoc on French grape crops, threatening the future of French wine production. A grape researcher by the name of Thomas V. Munson of Denison, Texas, discovered that American species were resistant to the insect and brought vines from Texas to France, essentially saving the French wine industry. Ironically, 40 years later the U.S. Congress was successful in killing the Texas wine industry when it enacted Prohibition.

Wineries have been cropping up all throughout the state, 27 of which happen to be west of Austin in the beautiful Hill Country.The Texas Department of Agriculture lists 21 wine varieties grown in Texas. Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay have the highest number of plantings in the state, followed by merlot, syrah, and muscat canelli. Texas is also home to zinfandel, tempranillo, sangiovese, and viognier plantings. The Texas Hill Country has rediscovered its viticulture roots. Wineries have been cropping up all throughout the state, 27 of which happen to be west of Austin in the beautiful Hill Country. These wineries have joined forces to create what is called the Texas Hill Country Wineries Trail (866/621-9463, www.texaswinetrail.com). Here are a few of the best wineries in this region.

  • Becker Vineyards (464 Becker Farms Rd., Stonewall, 830/644-2681) Location: four miles west of Stonewall, off Highway 290 on Jenschke Lane
  • Chisholm Trail Winery (2367 Usener Rd., Fredericksburg, 830/990-2675) Location: nine miles west of Fredericksburg on Highway 290 west, then 2.4 miles south on Usener Road
  • Driftwood Vineyards (4001 Elder Hill Rd./CR 170, Driftwood, 512/692-6229) Location: six miles south of Highway 290 on RR 12 between Dripping Springs and Wimberley
  • Duchman Family Winery (13308 FM 150 W., Driftwood, 512/858-1470) Location: two miles south of Driftwood on FM 150
  • Dry Comal Creek Vineyards & Winery (1741 Herbelin Rd., New Braunfels, 830/885-4121) Location: six miles west of New Braunfels off Highway 46 West
  • Fredericksburg Winery (247 W. Main St., Fredericksburg, 830/990-8747) Location: downtown Fredericksburg
  • Grape Creek Vineyard (97 Vineyard Ln., Stonewall, 830/644-2710) Location: nine miles east of Fredericksburg on Highway 290, three miles west of Stonewall
  • Sister Creek Vineyards (1142 Sisterdale Rd., Sisterdale, 830/324-6704) Location: 12 miles north of Boerne on FM 1376
  • Solaro Estate (13111 Silver Creek Rd, Dripping Springs, 832/660-8642) Location: north of Dripping Springs off Highway 12
  • Texas Hills Vineyard (878 RR 2766, Johnson City, 830/868-2321) Location: one mile east of Johnson City on RR 2766
  • Torre di Pietra Vineyards (10915 East US Hwy 290, Fredericksburg, 830/644-2829) Location: Highway 290 between Stonewall and Fredericksburg
  • William Chris Vineyards (10352 Hwy. 290, Hye, 830/998-7654) Location: off FM 1320 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg
Texas Hill Vineyard, near Johnson City, Texas.

Texas Hill Vineyard, near Johnson City, Texas. Photo © jdeeringdavis, licensed Creative Commons Attribution,


Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Austin, San Antonio and the Hill Country.

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A Summer Road Trip Through North-Central Arizona https://moon.com/2017/07/a-summer-road-trip-through-north-central-arizona/ https://moon.com/2017/07/a-summer-road-trip-through-north-central-arizona/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:05:24 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=57641 As summer starts to heat up, the noses of Arizona’s desert rats point northward, searching for the scent of water on the hot wind. Lucky for us, it’s a short drive to a land of trickling creeks and shady forests. This three-day, approximately 300-mile road trip will take you to the lush Verde Valley, the otherworldly red rocks of Sedona, and the pine-covered mountains around Prescott.

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As summer starts to heat up, the noses of Arizona’s desert rats point northward, searching for the scent of water on the hot wind. Lucky for us, it’s a short drive to a land of trickling creeks and shady forests.

This three-day, approximately 300-mile road trip will take you to the lush Verde Valley, the otherworldly red rocks of Sedona, and the pine-covered mountains around Prescott.

red rock carved with petroglyphs

Ancient petroglyphs at V Bar V Heritage Site in the Verde Valley. Photo © Tim Hull.

Day 1

Take I-17 north from Phoenix to the V Bar V Heritage Site (100 miles, 2 hours, FR 618, 2.8 miles east of Sedona Exit, AZ 179, 9:30AM-3PM, Fri.-Mon. $5 Red Rock Pass). This former ranch has a rock outcropping with more than 1,000 petroglyphs made by ancient cultures. The short walk to the site follows a flat dirt path beneath tall cottonwoods along Wet Beaver Creek. There’s usually a docent around to explain and interpret these fascinating and mysterious etchings.

Next, drive into Sedona along the Red Rock Scenic Byway (17.5 miles, AZ-179), one of the most exotically beautiful stretches of road in America. There are several pull-offs for pictures and hikes around Sedona’s towering red rock-gods. Stop for lunch in uptown Sedona. A lunch option with some Arizona history is The Cowboy Club (241 N. 89A, 928/282-4200, daily 11AM–9PM, $7–35), where ranchers, actors and artists have mingled since the 1940s.

After lunch, drive into Oak Creek Canyon along Highway 89A to Slide Rock State Park (7 miles from uptown, 6871 N. Highway 89A, 928/282-3034, 8AM–7PM daily, May 1st–Labor Day, $20 per vehicle with 1–4 adults Mon–Thur, $30 Fri–Sun and holidays). One of the original homesteads and orchards in Sedona, Slide Rock is now the state’s favorite swimming hole. A turn on the 80-foot-long natural rock slide has been a favorite summertime thrill for generations.

Dry off and take 89A to Jerome (27 miles). Once a mining metropolis with a reputation for wildness, this charming tourist town is purportedly haunted by a few its wickeder former residents. If you’d like to see a ghost, your best option might be the Jerome Grand Hotel (200 Hill St., 928/634-8200, $155–250), which is housed in the old hospital. The Asylum Restaurant (928/639-3197, 11AM–9PM daily, $15–30) offers sweeping views from the hotel’s top floor.

red rock of Courthouse Butte surrounded by grass

Courthouse Butte in Sedona. Photo © Tim Hull.

Day 2

Have breakfast at the Mile High Grill (309 Main St., 8AM–4PM Mon–Thur, 8AM–8PM Fri–Sat, $7–12) and spend the morning exploring, shopping and walking around in Jerome. To get a sense of the town’s colorful history check out the Mine Museum (200 Main St., 928/634-5477, 9AM–6PM. daily, $2).

Next up is the true driver’s portion of the road trip: 35 miles of twisty, curvy mountain two-lane over the mountain and through the forest to Prescott, an historic town nestled in the piney Bradshaw Mountains. The picturesque downtown is the place to be when you’re not hiking and biking the forested trails. The historic Hassayampa Inn (122 E. Gurley St., 928/778-9434, $84–250) downtown has a retro-elegance with up-to-date comforts, and is just a short walk from the Whiskey Row, the center of Prescott’s nightlife.

Day 3

Start out with breakfast at the Raven Cafe (142 N. Cortez, 928/717-0009, 7:30AM–11PM, Mon–Wed, 7:30AM–12AM Thurs–Sat, 8AM–3PM Sun, $6–15) downtown, and then head for the trails in Prescott National Forest. Or spend the day hanging out and shopping downtown around the grassy courthouse square. In the afternoon head back to Phoenix on AZ 69 and I-17 (100 miles, 2 hours).


Want to hit the road and explore more of the Southwest? Check out Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Central Texas Barbecue Belt Road Trip https://moon.com/2017/07/central-texas-barbecue-belt-road-trip/ https://moon.com/2017/07/central-texas-barbecue-belt-road-trip/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 17:51:36 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=57644 A weekend road trip through the Barbecue Belt of Central Texas is doable, even though you’ll probably reach meat saturation after three or four stops. This itinerary from local Andy Rhodes provides a starting point and ideas for blazing your own trail.

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Texans take their food seriously—and their pride. If a barbecue joint notches a best-in-Texas award, it’s thereby considered the best in the world. 

man in Austin t-shirt with barbecued meat

Texans take their food seriously—and their pride. Photo © Andy Rhodes.

For the past decade, Texas barbecue fans have been touting the perfectly smoked brisket at Snow’s BBQ in tiny Lexington, 50 miles east of Austin. When ‘cue connoisseurs set out to sample this award-winning beef, their expectations soar skyward like billowing smoke from a barbecue pit. 

The Snow’s experience begins when fresh slices of brisket slap the butcher paper. The light red smoke ring just below the crispy outer bark hints at the quality craftsmanship, and the balanced flavor of savory meat and hearty smoke is absolute perfection. Rounding everything out is a satisfying combination of peppery sausage, tangy cole slaw, and a backyard-style scene with couples and families lingering over slowly dwindling piles of expertly smoked meat.

slices of bbq brisket and condiments

Snow’s BBQ has award-winning brisket. Photo © Andy Rhodes.

This lofty achievement can’t be replicated at most Texas barbecue joints, but there are still many worthy options throughout the state. Each region offers a slightly different approach to the art of cooking based on local wood sources (oak, mesquite, pecan) and sauce preferences (spicy, tangy, sweet).

Fortunately, a weekend journey featuring these different Lone Star legacies is doable, even though you’ll probably reach meat saturation after three or four stops. The following itinerary provides a starting point and ideas for blazing your own trail across Central Texas’s “barbecue belt.”

Begin your journey in Austin, home of celebrity pitmaster Aaron Franklin and his impeccably smoked brisket, the only true contender for Snow’s top title. The three-hour tailgate-style line at Franklin Barbecue is equally legendary. If you’re looking for quality brisket without the wait, head to the commendable La Barbecue trailer in East Austin, or try the reliably meaty beef rib at Stiles Switch north of downtown.

storefront of Cooper's Old Time BBQ Pit

Pork is the main draw at Cooper’s. Photo © Andy Rhodes.

After feasting, you’ll appreciate the leisurely 90-minute drive northwest into the Hill Country, where panoramic views will keep you awake and captivated en route to Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano. Pork is the main draw here, particularly the “big chop.” Smoky goodness permeates every juicy fiber of the massive two-inch cut.

From there, head 80 miles east to Taylor, where the king of Central Texas ‘cue awaits: Louie Mueller Barbecue. Operating since 1949, Mueller’s is the essential small-town barbecue experience, where you can gaze upon the hazy smoke-stained walls while savoring perfectly peppered brisket that defines the word tender.

dining room at Louie Mueller's

Mueller’s is the essential small-town barbecue experience. Photo © Andy Rhodes.

Take the 90-minute journey from Taylor southeast to picturesque Brenham, where you’ll find LJ’s BBQ in the back of a historic downtown building. Order the jalapeño sausage, which is made fresh daily and packed with hearty flavor. 

For the return trip to Austin, you may want to take it easier and order brisket sandwiches or smoked meats to go. Even if you simply choose side dishes like potato salad and pinto beans, you’ll be rewarded with distinctive small-town scenes. Highlights en route to Austin include the old-fashioned deli counter and tasty pork shoulder at La Grange’s Prause Meat Market, the historic Main Street ambience and legendary beef sausage at Giddings’s City Meat Market, and the smoldering pit flames and flavorful pork ribs at Lockhart’s Kreuz Market.

bbq ribes and sausage spread

Flavorful pork ribs and sausages at Kreuz Market. Photo © Andy Rhodes.

If wanderlust leads you to another charming Central Texas town, just follow your nose to the welcoming smell of barbecue pit smoke. You’ll know you’ve found the right place if there’s a long line of hungry-looking folks waiting outside the front-screen door.

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Backcountry Camping in Canyonlands National Park https://moon.com/2017/06/backcountry-camping-in-canyonlands-national-park/ https://moon.com/2017/06/backcountry-camping-in-canyonlands-national-park/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:27:33 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=57691 Planning to explore Canyonland's backcountry on foot, bike, boat, or 4WD? Get to know fees, permits, and more for the Maze District, River District, and Horseshoe Canyon Unit.

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While front-country camping in established campgrounds is available in the Island in the Sky and Needles Districts of Canyonlands National Park (for more information check out our Canyonlands Campgrounds article), the River District, the Maze District, and the separate but nearby Horseshoe Canyon Unit offer more options in terms of backcountry exploration, where you can wander the parks on your own.

inside a tent, looking out at the scenic vista of Canyonlands through unzipped tent door

No shortage of campsite views in Canyonlands National Park. Photo © Rob Lee/Flickr, CC-BY

Information on Canyonlands Backcountry Exploration

A complex system of fees is charged for backcountry camping, 4WD exploration, and river rafting. Except for the main campgrounds at Willow Flat (Island in the Sky) and Squaw Flat (Needles), you’ll need a permit for backcountry camping. There is a $30 fee for a backpacking, biking, or 4WD overnight permit. Day-use permits (free, but limited in quantity) are required for vehicles, including motorcycles and bicycles on the White Rim Road, Elephant Hill, and a couple of other areas. Each of the three major districts has a different policy for backcountry vehicle camping, so it’s a good idea to make sure that you understand the details. Backcountry permits are also needed for any trips with horses or stock; check with a ranger for details.

It’s possible to reserve a backcountry permit in advance; for spring and fall travel to popular areas like Island in the Sky’s White Rim Trail or the Needles backcountry, this is definitely recommended. Find application forms on the Canyonlands website. Forms should be completed and returned at least two weeks in advance of your planned trip. Telephone reservations are not accepted.

A portable stove lights a black cooking pot, the setup sits in front of the Canyonlands terrain at dusk

Be sure to come prepared with food and water. Photo © Rob Lee/Flickr, CC-BY

Back-road travel is a popular method of exploring the park. Canyonlands National Park offers hundreds of miles of exceptionally scenic jeep roads, favorites both with mountain bikers and 4WD enthusiasts. Park regulations require all motorized vehicles to have proper registration and licensing for highway use, and all-terrain vehicles are prohibited in the park; drivers must also be licensed. Normally you must have a vehicle with both 4WD and high clearance; it must also be maneuverable (large pickup trucks don’t work for many places). It’s essential for both motor vehicles and bicycles to stay on existing roads to prevent damage to the delicate desert vegetation. Carry tools, extra fuel, water, and food in case you break down in a remote area.

Before making a trip, drivers and cyclists should talk with a ranger to register and to check on current road conditions, which can change drastically from one day to the next. The rangers can also tell you where to seek help if you get stuck. Primitive campgrounds are provided on most of the roads, but you’ll need a backcountry permit from a ranger. Books on backcountry exploration include Charles Wells’s Guide to Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, which includes Canyonlands, and Damian Fagan and David Williams’s A Naturalist’s Guide to the White Rim Trail.

One more thing about backcountry travel in Canyonlands: You may need to pack your poop out of the backcountry. Because of the abundance of slickrock and the desert conditions, it’s not always possible to dig a hole, and you can’t just leave your waste on a rock until it decomposes (decomposition is a very slow process in these conditions). Check with the ranger when you pick up your backcountry permit for more information.

Camping in the Maze District

At the base of canyon rock formations sits a tent with a vehicle in the background

Camp setup in the Maze District. Photo © Nick Taylor/Flickr, CC-BY

Maze District explorers need a backcountry permit ($30) for overnight trips. Note that a backcountry permit in this district is not a reservation. You may have to share a site, especially in the popular spring months. As in the rest of the park, only designated sites can be used for vehicle camping. You don’t need a permit to camp in the adjacent Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (NRA) or on BLM land.

There are no developed sources of water in the Maze District. Hikers can obtain water from springs in some canyons (check with a ranger to find out which are flowing) or from the rivers; purify all water before drinking. The Maze District has nine camping areas (two at Maze Overlook, six at Land of Standing Rocks), each with a 15-person, three-vehicle limit.

Extra care and preparation must be undertaken for travel in both Glen Canyon NRA and the Maze. Always ask rangers beforehand for current conditions. Be sure to leave an itinerary with someone reliable who can contact the rangers if you’re overdue returning. Unless the rangers know where to look for you in case of breakdown or accident, a rescue could take weeks.

For these reasons, only experienced travelers will want to visit this rugged land.

Horseshoe Canyon Unit Camping

Tall grass is blurred in the foreground, in focus in the back is a dirt/clay wall with prehistoric carvings

A sample of Horseshoe Canyon’s prehistoric art. Photo © Greg Willis/Flickr, CC-BY

Neither camping nor pets are allowed in the canyon, although horses are OK, but you can camp on the rim. Contact the Hans Flat Ranger Station (435/259-2652) or the Moab Information Center (435/259-8825 or 800/635-6622) for road and trail conditions.

Camping in the River District

Canoes are parked and loaded with camping supplies on the bank of the Green River, looking out into the wide river and some hills in the distance

Camping via canoe on the Green River. Photo © Andy Blackledge/Flickr, CC-BY

No matter how you execute a trip through the River District, there are several issues to think about beforehand. There are no designated campsites along the rivers in Canyonlands. During periods of high water, camps can be difficult to find, especially for large groups. During late summer and fall, sandbars are usually plentiful and make ideal camps. There is no access to potable water along the river, so river runners either need to bring along their own water or be prepared to purify river water.

While it’s possible to fish in the Green and Colorado Rivers, these desert rivers don’t offer much in the way of species that most people consider edible. You’ll need to bring along all your foodstuffs.

Since all river runners must pack out their solid human waste, specially designed portable toilets that fit into rafts and canoes can be rented from most outfitters in Moab.


For detailed directions and other planning tips, check out the second edition of Moon Arches & Canyonlands National Parks.

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Canyonlands National Park Campgrounds https://moon.com/2017/06/canyonlands-national-park-campgrounds/ https://moon.com/2017/06/canyonlands-national-park-campgrounds/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:32:25 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=57708 Canyonlands National Park campgrounds are few and far between in its four districts. Find information on where and how to camp in each district.

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Canyonlands National Park is made up of four sections: the River District, containing the canyons of the Colorado and Green Rivers; the Needles District, with hiking trails and backcountry roads through a standing-rock desert; the Maze District, a remote area filled with geologic curiosities and labyrinthine canyons; and the Island in the Sky District, a flat-topped mesa that overlooks the rest. A separate area, the Horseshoe Canyon Unit, lies to the west and contains a significant cache of prehistoric rock art.

Camping at the Needles Outpost in Canyonlands National Park.

The private campground at Needles Outpost is not overly developed and has great views. Photo © Paul Levy.

Each district affords great views, spectacular geology, a chance to see wildlife, and endless opportunities to explore. Because most of Canyonlands remains a primitive backcountry park, you won’t find crowds or elaborate park facilities. Of course, the promise of a secluded spot to pitch your tent can make said camping spot difficult to find—and navigating the options a little confusing. Below are some of the tips, tricks, and locations to know before you go.

Front-country camping is allowed only in established campgrounds at Willow Flat (Island in the Sky) and Squaw Flat (Needles), though there are other campsites close by the park. The Maze District offers basic camping areas, though there are no sources of water and you must obtain a backcountry permit. Horseshoe Canyon does not have campgrounds or even allow camping. The River District does not have designated campsites, though this area can be explored via backpacking.

Pets aren’t allowed on trails and must be leashed in Canyonlands National Park campgrounds. No firewood collecting is permitted in the park; backpackers must use gas stoves for cooking. Vehicle and boat campers can bring in firewood but must use grills or fire pans.

Island in the Sky District Camping

Two young men stand on the edge of the rim and take in the sunset view of the canyon

Though Dead Horse Point State Park is not officially in Canyonlands, the view is just as good. Photo © Bettina Woolbright/Flickr, CC-BY

There is only one developed campground in the Island in the Sky District. Willow Flat Campground on Murphy Point Road has 12 sites ($15), available on a first-come, first-served basis; sites tend to fill up in all seasons except winter. No water or amenities are available.

Camping is available just outside the park at Dead Horse Point State Park (reservations 800/322-3770, $25, plus $9 reservation fee), which is also very popular, so plan on reserving as far in advance as possible. There are also primitive Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campsites along Highway 313.

Needles District Camping

A van is parked on the designated concrete parking spot, with a view of some foliage and the slick rock in the background

One of the 26 sites at Squaw Flat Campground. Photo © Erik B/Flickr, CC-BY

The Squaw Flat Campground (year-round, reservations for Loop A only Mar. 15-June 30 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, $20) about six miles from the visitors center, has water and 26 sites, many snuggled under the slickrock. RVs must be less than 28 feet long. Rangers present evening programs (spring-autumn) at the campfire circle on Loop A.

If you can’t find a space at Squaw Flat, a common occurrence in spring and fall, the private campground at Needles Outpost (435/979-4007, mid-Mar.-late Oct., $15 tents or RVs, no hookups, showers $3), just outside the park entrance, is a good alternative.

Nearby BLM land also offers a number of places to camp. A string of sites along Lockhart Basin Road are convenient and inexpensive. Lockhart Basin Road heads north from Highway 211 about five miles east of the entrance to the Needles District. Hamburger Rock Campground (no water, $6) is about one mile up the road. North of Hamburger Rock, camping is dispersed, with many small (no water, free) campsites at turnoffs from the road. Not surprisingly, the road gets rougher the farther north you travel; beyond Indian Creek Falls, it’s best to have 4WD. These campsites are very popular with climbers who are here to scale the walls at Indian Creek.

There are two first-come, first-served campgrounds ($15) in the Canyon Rims Special Recreation Management Area (www.blm.gov). Windwhistle Campground, backed by cliffs to the south, has fine views to the north and a nature trail; follow the main road from U.S. 191 for six miles and turn left. At Hatch Point Campground, in a piñon-juniper woodland, you can enjoy views to the north. Go 24 miles in on the paved and gravel roads toward Anticline Overlook, then turn right and continue for one mile. It’s best to come supplied with water.

The Maze District Camping

Two hikers, one with a backpacking backpack, walk down a trail with canyons in front of them and blue skies

Hiking in the Maze District. Photo © Zach Dischner/Flickr, CC-BY

Maze District explorers need a backcountry permit ($30) for overnight trips. Note that a backcountry permit in this district is not a reservation. You may have to share a site, especially in the popular spring months. As in the rest of the park, only designated sites can be used for vehicle camping. You don’t need a permit to camp in the adjacent Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (NRA) or on BLM land.

There are no developed sources of water in the Maze District. Hikers can obtain water from springs in some canyons (check with a ranger to find out which are flowing) or from the rivers; purify all water before drinking. The Maze District has nine camping areas (two at Maze Overlook, six at Land of Standing Rocks), each with a 15-person, three-vehicle limit.

Extra care and preparation must be taken for travel in both Glen Canyon NRA and the Maze. Always ask rangers beforehand for current conditions, and be sure to leave an itinerary with someone reliable who can contact the rangers if you’re overdue returning. Unless the rangers know where to look for you in case of breakdown or accident, a rescue could take weeks.

For these reasons, only experienced, prepared travelers will want to take on this rugged land.


For detailed directions, descriptions of camp amenities, and planning tips, check out the second edition of Moon Arches & Canyonlands National Parks.

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Best of Zion & Bryce Three Day Itinerary https://moon.com/2017/05/best-of-zion-bryce-three-day-itinerary/ https://moon.com/2017/05/best-of-zion-bryce-three-day-itinerary/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 16:11:03 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=20744 While this Zion & Bryce three day itinerary only scratches the surface of all there is to see, it gives a good sample of views, hikes, and more.

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The following itinerary only scratches the surface of what there is to see, but with this sampler, you’ll know where to focus your long-weekend adventure.

Day 1

If you fly into Salt Lake City or Las Vegas, you’ll probably get to Zion National Park sometime in the late afternoon. Settle into your motel in Springdale and head into the park to check out the visitors center and take a ride up Zion Canyon on the park shuttle bus. Hop off for views of the Court of the Patriarchs and to take an easy hike up the Riverside Walk.

The court of the patriarchs are three craggy red rock formations.

Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park. Photo © pxhidalgo/iStock.

Day 2

Hike up the West Rim Trail to Angels Landing, or, for something a bit easier going, hike the Emerald Pools trails. Visit Springdale’s galleries in the afternoon. End the day with an early evening hike up the Watchman Trail.

Alternatively, if weather permits and you’re an experienced hiker and swimmer, hike the Riverside Trail into The Narrows. After a full day of river hiking, enjoy dinner in Springdale.

Sun glows at the other end of the passage as hikers traverse The Narrows.

Hiking through The Narrows in Zion National Park. Photo © Judy Jewell.

Day 3

Head east out of the park via the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (Hwy. 9); turn north onto U.S. 89 and east onto Highway 12 to reach Bryce Canyon National Park (84 miles from Zion). Park the car and spend the day riding the park shuttle to vista points and exploring hoodoos from trailheads along the road. Camp in the park, or stay at the historic park lodge or one of the motels just outside the park entrance.

Thor's Hammer, a large hoodoo, bathed in early morning light.

Thor’s Hammer at sunrise in Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo © Pierre Leclerc/123rf.

With More Time

If you’re driving from Bryce back to Las Vegas, leave time for a stop in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. It’s just off I-15 south of Cedar City. This is a little out of the way for Salt Lake City-bound travelers, who may want to take time to visit Red Canyon, which is just a few miles outside of Bryce’s entrance.

The red rock Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park.

Hiking in the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park. Photo © Judy Jewell.


Excerpted from the Seventh Edition of Moon Zion & Bryce.

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