The vacation in 2017 was great, I got plenty of nice views. After getting home, I already started planning the Roadtrip for 2018, I had to get back. The South-West of the US has plenty to offer, three weeks of vacation are not even nearly enough to see all the awesome places. Therefore I had to get back to Utah, another 3 weeks in the desert. This year I didn’t want to do California, the way from Los Angelas or San Francisco to Utah is too long if you want to stay three weeks in that area. So I booked a flight to Sin City – Las Vegas.
Back in 2017 I booked my flight about 2 months in advance, quite late for a “planned” vacation. In 2018 everything was supposed to be different, my trip had to be prepared several months in advance. I wanted to do some hikes which need a permit: The Wave (Kanab / Coyote Buttes) and the Subway (Zion National Park). These are hikes that not everybody does, the standard tourist doesn’t even try to get a permit. I wanted to do more than just the standard hikes 😉
For the Wave you need to apply about 4 months in advance for the online lottery, for the Subway it’s only three months. My plan was to go in September, therefore the general route had to be finished by May. As the chances for these lotteries can be quite slim, I did two weeks in September and one week in October, so I could apply twice for the lottery.
Once you start getting into the details, you’ll find out quite soon, that you’re not the only one applying for a Wave permit. In total the BLM offers 20 permits per day, but only 10 are accessible via the advance online lottery. The other 10 are offered as walk-in permits at the visitor center in Kanab. Several hundred people apply for these 10 permits every month! For me it was important to be during week days in Kanab and not at the weekend. For the weekends you have about 800-1000 applicants for the permits, while during the week it can get down to about 600.
It’s quite easy to apply for these permits: Just go to the BLM Website and click on Apply for Lottery Here. Watch a short video and confirm, that you saw it. Afterwards you need to enter your name, three dates on which you want to go there, number of persons you’re applying for, and – of course – your credit card number (yes, you have to pay $5 for applying to the lottery). Now you’re done and have to wait until the beginning of the next month. You’ll get an E-Mail whether or not you got your Permit.
In beginning of June I got my mail with the Info, that I wasn’t lucky and didn’t get a permit. Well, I still had my backup plan for October. So once again spend $5 for the lottery and wait for the next month. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky in July, too. The Wave is still on my bucket list and I have to try another time. And I definitely will apply again.
The Subway – officially known as Left Fork of the North Creek – is a natural tunnel that looks like a subway tunnel. And that’s also, how it got its name.
To get a permit for the Subway is way easier than getting one for the Wave. Every day the National Park Service (NPS) allows 80 people to enter this area, out of these 80 permit 60 are issued via a lottery three months in advance. The other 20 are issued at the Visitor Center. The procedure to get a permit is just like it is for the wave: Go to the NPS website, enter your Name, the dates you want to visit the Subway, the number of applicants and your credit card number (you have to pay $5 to enter the lottery), and send it to the NPS.
Thankfully the Subway isn’t as popular as the Wave is, only about 300-400 applicants enter the lottery and the chances for a permit are way higher. As you can see in the picture on the right, I was lucky and got a mail on July 5th, that I actually got a permit. The anticipation was quite high to be able to do this great hike. I was also lucky that I got the permit for my third day in Zion, it was perfect with the other hikes I did – more on it later in the corresponding posts for Zion.
The route 2018
Contrary to 2017 I wasn’t alone this time, a friend of mine actually wanted to come with me, but she switched jobs and wasn’t able to come with me, so I had to look out for another travel partner. It took me a while, but I found a friend, who still had enough vacation left. That changed the route a bit, as he wanted to go to the sea before leaving. I wouldn’t have gone to the Grand Canyon again, but he wanted to. So we changed the route a bit for the last couple of days.
Now, enough talking about the preparation, let’s go the route:
- Day 1 – 14.09.2018 – The flight to Las Vegas
- Day 2 – 15.09.2018 – Las Vegas and Red Rock Canyon
- Day 3 – 16.09.2018 – Yant Flat and Sunset in Zion
- Day 4 – 17.09.2018 – Zion NP: East Rim Trail
- Day 5 – 18.09.2018 – Zion NP: The Narrows
- Day 6 – 19.09.2018 – Zion NP: The Subway and a Buffalo Burger
- Day 7 – 20.09.2018 – Cedar Breaks NM, Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon
- Day 8 – 21.09.2018 – Fairy Land Loop at Bryce Canyon NP
- Day 9 – 22.09.2018 – Willis Creek, Bull Valley Gorge and Kodachrome Basin SP
- Day 10 – 23.09.2018 – A day along the Hole in the Rock Road: Dance Hall Rock and Devil’s Garden
- Day 11 – 24.09.2018 – Lower Big Horn Canyon
- Day 12 – 25.09.2018 – Burr Trail, Little Death Hollow and Notom-Bullfrog Road
- Day 13 – 26.09.2018 – Chimney Rock Trail in Capitol Reef NP and Goblin Valley SP
- Day 14 – 27.09.2018 – A Start without breakfast and driving to Moab to Arches
- Day 15 – 28.09.2018 – Canyonlands NP: The Needles District
- Day 16 – 29.09.2018 – With Jeep on the White Rim Road
- Day 17 – 30.09.2018 – From Moab via Monument Valley to Flagstaff
- Day 18 – 01.10.2018 – Rosa and the Grand Canyon South Rim
- Day 19 – 02.10.2018 – With Rosa from Flagstaff to Kanab, along the Vermillon Cliffs
- Day 20 – 03.10.2018 – Another day with Rosa at the Observation Point in Zion
- Days 21 through 23 – 04.10.2018 through 06.10.2018 – Relax in Las Vegas
- Days 23 and 24 – 06. and 07.10.2018 – From Las Vegas via Zurich and Munich back to the Lake Constance
Days number 19 and 20 were actually planned for Sedona, but as plans go, they have to shift: During the end of our vacation, the tropical storm Rosa changed everything. Day 19 was a rain day, there was no sun, no dry period, just rain. Later Stephan told me, that all roads in Sedona were closed, so the decision to got to Kanab was the right one. From Kanab I went once again to Zion and then back to Las Vegas. Stephan drove from Flagstaff to San Diego.