Utah National Parks Road Trip
With otherworldly landscapes and surreal formations displaying nature’s artistry on a dramatic scale, Southern Utah is home to some of the world’s most captivating terrain. In one short trip, you’ll follow the footsteps of ancient cultures, trail the paths of pioneers, and stand in the presence of giants – hoodoos, canyons, arches, pinnacles, and buttes – that astonish the eye and expand the mind on a quest through the Wild West.
Under the Arches
It’s you and the open road from Salt Lake City to Arches National Park – where the real adventure begins. With thousands of natural arches, balancing rocks, giant fins, and towering pinnacles, there are endless options for a day of jaw-dropping scenery.
Take the short 1.5-mile hike to the park’s most iconic landmark, Delicate Arch. Or, reserve a guided tour through the Fiery Furnace – a labyrinth of red ochre rocks, sandstone canyons, and natural arches.
The Canyons Are Calling
Then it’s on to Canyonlands National Park where soaring mesas and deep canyons carved by the current of the Colorado and Green Rivers create mind-blowing vistas. This place is big, really big, which means you’ll feel small, really small in the way only a wild gaping land can make you.
American West Icons
Next up, drive into the iconic Western landscape made famous by Hollywood films — Monument Valley. While many think of it as cowboy country, it’s home — and has been for thousands of years — to indigenous Native American tribes. Located in Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley is where soaring sandstone buttes reach skyward on sunbaked red-sands barely touched by time.
Drive the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway to hit all the major monuments, most notably The Mittens, John Ford’s Point, and Three Sisters. Or, take a trip into the backcountry on horseback with a Navajo guide.
Mind the Fold
Next stop: the geographical wonders of Capitol Reef National Park, including the spectacular Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile fold in the Earth’s crust that’s uplifted colourful swaths of sandstone canyons and reefs.
Take the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive through the park’s pristine canyons, visit Fruita, an orchard planted by pioneers, and stop to see the ancient petroglyphs — mysterious rock art created by the ancient inhabitants of the area.
The Land of Hoodoos
Just when you thought you had seen it all, Mother Nature throws you a curve ball at your next stop – Bryce Canyon National Park. Welcome to the land of hoodoos where crimson pillars stand in silent assembly in natural amphitheaters – a scene so spell-binding it’s almost unimaginable.
Take the main road through the park for spectacular overlooks at Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, Sunrise Point, or Sunset Point. Or, hike the Rim Trail which gives you an expansive view of the hoodoos on foot.
In the Footsteps of Ancients
Then it’s onto Zion National Park where humans have been drawn for 12,000 years to hunt, forage, and later cultivate the unique landscape. Today, it still attracts millions of visitors as Utah’s most popular (and oldest) park. Located on the edge of the Colorado Plateau and carved by the Virgin River, Zion National Park offers an incredible diversity of wildlife and geological features, including slot canyons, natural pools, canyons, and cliffs.
Hike The Narrows trail, one of the world’s premiere slot canyon hikes. Or, get your adrenaline pumping with a guided canyoneering trip where you’ll rappel, climb, and hike through hidden canyons.
Back to the Real World
It’s time to leave the stories of stone written by the forces of water and wind and head back to the big city. It’s a 5-hour drive from Zion National Park back to reality in Salt Lake City.
6 nights' accommodation including taxes.
More than ever, the USA offers a wide range of tours + itineraries appealing to travellers of all ages looking for that unforgettable trip. Here is our collection of favourite places to inspire + encourage those wishing to seek out their own unique experience.
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