Itinerary: Utah National Parks

Bryce Canyon Amphitheater

A one-week, one-way road trip takes you through three famed Utah National Parks – Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches – each with their own unique flavor.

Day 1: Arrival Day

Fly into Las Vegas, pick up your rental car and drive approximately two and a half hours to Springdale, Utah. Springdale borders Zion National Park, so by staying here you maximize your time enjoying the park. A morning arrival into Vegas will allow you enough time for a late afternoon hike of the Watchman Trail or a short bike ride along the flat Pa’rus trail. It may also be a good time to check in at the visitor’s center for a Junior Ranger handbook and also for any trail maps or up to date trail/weather information.

Day 2: Canyoneering Near Zion

With the help of a personal guide, rappelling down canyon walls is a safe thrill.

If you enjoy adventure sports, you’ve got to try canyoneering! Make your way through a canyon using a variety of activities: hiking, scrambling, climbing, and rappelling. This is a private tour, with options for beginners as well as those with more experience and can be done as a half day or full day.

If canyoneering is not your preferred activity, there are plenty of other options for the day. Explore a ghost town, visit a dinosaur museum, or drive to another, less-often visited part of Zion: Kolob Canyon.

Day 3: Zion National Park

The Narrows provide a unique hiking experience up a river that runs through a narrow canyon.

Spend a day exploring relatively compact Zion National Park. There are hikes for all skill levels, ranging from rigorous Angel’s Landing (5 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain), to a unique hike upriver along the Narrows (up to 10 miles) to shorter low key hikes such as the Emerald Pools (1-3 miles). There are also many stunning viewpoints to enjoy as you explore the park.

Day 4: Bryce Canyon

It’s only about a 1.5 hour drive to Bryce Canyon, but you’ll definitely take more than that stopping as you head through the eastern portion of Zion, which includes the historic Mount Carmel Tunnel.

Spend the afternoon taking in the sweeping views at Bryce Canyon National Park. If you need a break from hiking, you can take a stroll along the rim trail as long (or as short) as you’d like; Bryce Canyon has shuttles to many different points along the rim, making for a stress-free visit. You can also hike any number of loops of varying lengths and elevation changes to get down into the canyon and see it from a different perspective.

Bryce Canyon offers a landscape that seems other-worldly.

Keep in mind that Bryce Canyon is over 7500 feet in elevation, making all physical activity a little more challenging. This also means that it will likely be much cooler here than it was in the Zion area.

Day 5: Drive to Moab

It’s about a 4 hour drive through more beautiful country to get to Moab, your next destination. Upon arrival, you can check in at the Visitor’s Center for maps and other information. If you plan for an early afternoon arrival, you can also do a short drive out of town to see petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks, and even stretch your legs on a short, 3 mile hike to beautiful Corona Arch.

Remarkable Corona Arch is outside of Arches National Park, which means less crowds.

Day 6: Adventure Day – Whitewater Rafting OR Mountain Biking

This Desert Sunrise Bike Tour is perfect for those who haven’t got tons of mountain biking experience, but want to ride the renowned Moab Slickrock. It includes a delicious breakfast, unparalleled scenic views, and an expert guide through a fun easy route of amazing desert terrain.

Alternatively, how about getting on a wild river for a half or full day? Choose from a challenging whitewater trip of mostly Class III and IV rapids or a more relaxing paddle with water calm enough to allow you to hop out and swim occasionally.

Day 7: Arches National Park

The Windows Arch Trail offers access to several different arches.

Spend the day admiring the many different types of arches and other rock formations in Arches National Park. This can be done as an independent drive, with optional short hikes OR as a guided private tour. One tour option even takes you off the beaten path in a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get you to arches that only few people get to see on their visits to Arches.

Day 8: Departure Day

Take the 3.5 hour drive to Salt Lake City to catch your afternoon flight home.

Customized Itinerary & Travel Services

This is just an example of an itinerary; it is fully customizable based on your budget, timing, and travel preferences. Because all of my clients have their own unique needs, I select activities, transportation and accommodation service level to build a completely individualized trip to meet your travel dreams. Contact me today to receive a free consultation to discuss your next trip!

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