Utah is a beautiful state full of national parks and state parks, and is also a red rock haven in the USA’s southwest region. It is home to Ute, Navajo, and Apache Native tribes. Stretching across Central and Southern Utah are the five stunning National Parks that are collectively called the Mighty 5. These Parks, established between 1919 and 1971, are famous for their iconic landscapes, red rock formations, and more than a thousand miles of thrilling hiking trails. You can explore all of these with a US visa.
Watch the sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands or the sunset at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. Explore the Water Pocket Fold at Capitol Reef, gaze at hoodoos at Bryce Canyon or stand atop Angels Landing in Zion National Park. Driving in Utah, you will pass high mountains, blue alpine lakes, lush green valleys, and deep orange hoodoos, making it an incredible road trip territory. A road trip through Utah is one of the best ways to see the sights and explore from behind the wheel, as there are many scenic drives throughout the state. The best Utah road trip would be the scenic drive along Byway 12 between Bryce and Capitol Reef. It is also the best Utah national park road trip.
All the best places to road trip in Utah are near Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah. Many people visiting this state actually begin their journey from a neighboring state, like Nevada, Las Vegas, or Denver. If you plan to visit both the North and South of Utah, beginning your trip in Salt Lake City is a great idea. The best route to visit Utah national parks is starting in Salt Lake City, which is close to Moab and ending in Las Vegas, which is close to Zion. Let us explore some of the best Utah road trip destinations. Including these places in your Utah road trip itinerary will make for an unforgettable trip.
Zion National Park
The most popular among the beautiful national parks in Utah, Zion National Park is a Southwest USA wonder with its red and white sandstone cliffs. Even if you are not a hiker, you can try these fun activities at Zion national park – bicycling, rock climbing, and canyoneering. The activities not to be missed here are – Hike the Canyon Overlook, Hike the Narrows, Hike Angel’s Landing or Observation Point, see the sunset at Canyon Junction Bridge, and drive the Zion and Mt. Carmel scenic highway.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park is a mix of stunning landscapes and historical landmarks. It was home to the early Mormon settlers who built a town in the Fruita District. The activities not to be missed here are exploring Fruita Orchards during the Fall harvest or the Spring Bloom, driving the scenic Fruita district, seeing the Goosenecks Overlook, hiking the Capitol Gorge, driving to the Temple of the Sun and Moon, and seeing the sunset at Panorama Point.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands is the biggest of Utah’s national park road trip. This area is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon and the Mesa Arch. The activities not to be missed in Canyonlands National Park are seeing the sunrise at Mesa Arch, taking a scenic drive through the island in the Sky District, and taking a short hike on the Grand View Point Trail. Other areas in the park, like The Maze and The Needles, require a 4*4 vehicle to explore the backcountry.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park has more than two thousand arches formed from the red rock. The activities not to be missed in Arches National Park are driving the scenic drive through the park to the arches, hiking the Windows Loop, taking the Fiery Furnace and Ranger Led Tour, and seeing the sunset at Delicate Arch. Don’t miss seeing the popular spots along the park’s main road like Balanced Rock, Skyline Arch, and the Windows Section that includes Double Arch, South Window, North Window, and Turrent Arch.
Bryce National Park
Bryce National Park is famous for hoodoos and rock formations formed by erosion. The hoodoos illuminate with pink, purple, and orange of the rising sun. Bryce Canyon is also one of the best places to stargaze and spot the Milky Way. The activities not to be missed here are hiking the Queen’s Garden or the Navajo Loop, seeing the sunrise at the Sunrise Point, and driving at the Bryce Canyon scenic drive. Do not miss the famous rock formations in the park, such as Queen Victoria, Wall Street, and Thor’s Hammer.
Goblin Valley State Park
The hoodoos in Goblin Valley are short and mushroom-shaped, giving them the nickname ”goblins”. A magical land of the hobbit, gnomes, and mythical creatures. Explore the state park on an easy one-mile loop hike from the Goblin Overlook. You can catch the sunset at Corona Arch. This park is especially loved by kids, as there are many places for kids to climb, crawl, and play hide and seek. There are five hiking trails in Goblin Valley State Park – Entrada Canyon, The three Sisters, Curtis Bench Trail, Carmel Canyon Loop, and Goblin’s Liar.
There are many destinations in Utah to be explored on your trip to this USA state, such as the Natural Bridge National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Valley of the Gods, Valley of Fire State Park, the Cedar Breaks National Monument, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Lower Creek Calf Falls in Escalante, etc.Utah’s elevation varies considerably. While it is hot and sunny in some areas, it may be snowing in others. Some parks have limited accessibility in winter. Still, the weather conditions in Utah allow a longer peak visiting season compared to northern and southern US states. Unique landscapes, rock formations, sandstone arches, and red rock canyons are a photographer’s paradise, a geologist’s dream, and a hiker’s nirvana. A trip to Utah is a perfect place for an iconic road trip through the USA.