The Final One-Week “Mighty 5” Utah Highway Journey

Julia Jennings of Well Planned Journey is contributing an epic+ adventurous USA highway journey itinerary by a few of Utah’s most unbelievable locations.

Utah is residence to a number of the United States’ most scenic nationwide parks. These 5 well-liked nationwide parks — Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands — are generally known as the “Mighty 5”.

I spent per week exploring Utah’s nationwide parks, from the well-known hoodoos to the rust-colored arches. By far, one of the simplest ways to see probably the most scenic spots is on a week-long highway journey.

This 7-day journey to the “Mighty 5” is ideal for hikers, photographers, and journey lovers.

Able to see the most effective of Utah’s nationwide parks? Right here’s the final word one-week “Mighty 5” Utah highway journey.

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Canyonlands National Park Sunrise near Mesa Arch1

The Greatest  Time to Go to

Southern Utah is gorgeous all yr. Within the winter, snow blankets the crimson rocks. In the summertime, crowds flock to hike within the Utah desert.

The perfect time to highway journey Utah is April to Might or September to October. Visiting within the spring or fall offers lovely climate and lengthy sufficient days to discover the parks. Plus, you’ll keep away from the summer time crowds in busier locations like Zion Nationwide Park.

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My One-Week Itinerary

  • Day 1: Drive from Salt Lake Metropolis to Zion Nationwide Park
  • Day 2: Discover Zion Nationwide Park
  • Day 3: Half-Day at Zion and Drive to Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park
  • Day 4: Half-Day at Bryce Canyon and Drive to Capitol Reef Nationwide Park
  • Day 5: Half-Day at Capitol Reef and Drive to Arches Nationwide Park
  • Day 6: Discover Arches Nationwide Park
  • Day 7: Half-Day at Canyonlands Nationwide Park and Return to Salt Lake Metropolis

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Day 1: Drive from Salt Lake Metropolis to Zion

Begin your nationwide park journey by flying into Salt Lake Metropolis Worldwide Airport. I like to recommend arriving within the morning to permit loads of time to drive to your first vacation spot, Zion National Park!

Break up the 4.5-hour drive to Zion Nationwide Park with a fast chew and 50’s nostalgia at Cluff’s Carhop in Fillmore. Or cease for genuine woodfired pizza at Centro Woodfired Pizzeria in Cedar Metropolis.

Springdale is a small city bordering Zion Nationwide Park. Right here you’ll discover loads of resorts, starting from main chains like Marriott to boutique spots like Cliffrose Springdale.

In case you’re seeking to camp, I like to recommend reserving a spot in Zion Nationwide Park’s Watchman Campground.

Rejoice the beginning of your Utah highway journey with a neighborhood brew from Zion Canyon Brew Pub.

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karan chawla aHdAdA0JzLE unsplashpolaroid lazyload stack

Day 2: Discover Zion Nationwide Park

Spend your first day in Zion Nationwide Park exploring one in all Utah’s most original hikes: The Narrows. You’ll spend your hike wading up the Virgin River between the looming canyon partitions.

In case you’re mountain climbing The Narrows earlier than June, the water will likely be chilly. I like to recommend renting chilly water wading gear from the native gear store, Zion Outfitter.

After an extended day of exploring Zion Nationwide Park, cease for sundown at Canyon Junction Bridge. Going through south, you’ll see The Watchman, a tall rock formation.

Bask within the sundown’s pinks and purples!

Zion National Park The Watchman

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Day 3: Half-Day at Zion + Drive to Bryce Canyon

In your final day in Zion Nationwide Park, hike the well-known Angel’s Touchdown. This hike was made for thrill-seekers, with 1,200-foot drop-offs and chains bolted into the rock. However after a strenuous trek, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Zion Canyon.

If crowds and heights aren’t your factor, think about mountain climbing Commentary Level. This strenuous hike is much less nerve-wracking and offers equally beautiful views of the park.

End your time in Zion Nationwide Park with a drive alongside the scenic Zion-Mt. Carmel Freeway. As you observe the scenic freeway, cease at Thunderbird Restaurant for selfmade apple pie.

Keep the evening at Best Western Ruby’s Inn simply exterior Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, e book a room within the well-liked The Lodge at Bryce Canyon, or pitch a tent on the in-park Sunset Campground.

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Bryce Canyon National Park Hoodoos 2


Bryce Canyon National Park Night Sky

Evening Sky

Day 4: Half-Day at Bryce Canyon and Drive to Capitol Reef

Set an early alarm because you won’t want to miss the night sky and sunrise at Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce is a licensed dark sky park — I’ve by no means seen so many stars! Head to Sunrise Point just a few hours earlier than daybreak to catch a glimpse of the Milky Manner and settle in for the dawn.

A visit to Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park isn’t full with out exploring the park’s well-known hoodoos up shut. Hike the Queen’s Backyard/Navajo Loop beginning at Dawn Level for views of well-known hoodoos, like Thor’s Hammer.

End your half-day in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park by driving the park’s solely scenic drive. Ensure to cease at Rainbow Level and Bryce Level on the 36-mile spherical journey drive.

The scenic drives don’t finish in Bryce Canyon!

Take the top-rated scenic route alongside Highway 12 to Capitol Reef Nationwide Park. Cease on the breathtaking viewpoints, like Calf Creek Viewpoint and Larb Hole Overlook, alongside the best way.

Don’t miss the family-owned Nemo’s Drive-Thru for a highway journey milkshake.

Spend the evening glamping at Capitol Reef Resort or camp on the park’s Fruita campground.

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Capitol Reef National Park Temple of the Sun Moon

Day 5: Half-Day at Capitol Reef and Drive to Arches

Begin your journey in Capitol Reef National Park by exploring the Capitol Gorge Path. As you hike by the gorge, you’ll discover the names of early pioneers carved into the rock.

In case you’re visiting within the late summer time or fall, cease on the 200-year-old Fruita Orchard to handpick your personal cherries, peaches, and apples.

In case you’re on the lookout for mesmerizing desert images, make the drive out to the Temple of the Solar and Moon. These distinctive rock formations erupt from the bottom in Cathedral Valley, solely accessible by an extended dust highway.

After a half-day in Capitol Reef Nationwide Park, drive on to Moab, the most important city you’ll see in your highway journey.

Moab is crammed with cool Airbnbs. In case you’re interested by tenting, keep at Arches Nationwide Park’s Devils Garden Campground. Settle into your property for the following two nights earlier than grabbing a neighborhood brew or selfmade root beer at Moab Brewery.

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Arches National Park Fiery Furnace1

How cool is that this space referred to as the Fiery Furnace?

Day 6: Discover Arches Nationwide Park

With no less than 2,000 arches in Arches National Park, you don’t should enterprise far off the primary highway to seek out beautiful surroundings.

Take the scenic drive by the park, stopping for brief hikes to well-liked arches like Double Arch, The Home windows, and Panorama Arch. If you wish to escape the crowds and discover hidden components of Arches Nationwide Park, e book a ticket on the ranger-led Fiery Furnace tour.

Save the park’s iconic Delicate Arch for sundown. The hike is strenuous however price each little bit of power. The colourful night sky makes the proper backdrop for Delicate Arch.

In case you didn’t get your fill of evening skies in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, stick round after sundown to see the celebs.

(Pictured is the Panorama Arch)

Arches National Park Landscape Arch 2

Save the park’s iconic Delicate Arch for sundown. The hike is strenuous however price each little bit of power. The colourful night sky makes the proper backdrop for Delicate Arch. In case you didn’t get your fill of evening skies in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, stick round after sundown to see the celebs.

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Canyonlands National Park Mesa Arch
Canyonlands National Park Scenic Drive at Shafer OverlookCanyonlands National Park Scenic Drive Overlook

Day 7: Half-Day at Canyonlands and Return to Salt Lake Metropolis

Mesa Arch is probably the most recognizable spot in Canyonlands National Park. Whereas lovely all day, I like to recommend seeing the arch at dawn.

Because the solar rises behind Mesa Arch, the underside of the arch will illuminate, as if on hearth.

After dawn, head to Grand View Level for a simple morning hike. Look out over the huge canyons for which Canyonlands Nationwide Park will get its title. Many say the canyons listed here are simply as spectacular because the well-known Grand Canyon in Arizona.

End your half-day in Canyonlands Nationwide Park with a scenic drive alongside Grand View Level Highway. Don’t miss stops at Inexperienced River Overlook and Shafer Canyon Overlook.

Say your last goodbyes to the “Mighty 5” and head again to Salt Lake Metropolis. I extremely suggest spending an additional evening in Salt Lake Metropolis.

Keep to take a look at town’s budding brewery scene at Red Rock Brewing Co. and go to the favored Temple Square.

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Journey Additions

There’s a lot to see within the Southwest past the “Mighty 5” nationwide parks. If in case you have further time, discover the Slot Canyons in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or journey to Arizona’s hottest marvel: The Grand Canyon (which additionally occurs to be a nationwide park!).

Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon additionally make nice additions to a “Mighty 5” Utah highway journey.

In case you’re within the temper for a weekend in Sin Metropolis, begin this highway journey from Las Vegas as an alternative of Salt Lake Metropolis.

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bryce canyon national park queens garden navajo loop trail

Ultimate Ideas

Utah’s “Mighty 5” nationwide parks are a number of the finest nationwide parks in the USA, they usually make for the proper highway journey! From hikes to scenic drives, 7 days in these nationwide parks highlights the most effective that southern Utah has to supply.

You will discover detailed posts on Zion’s best hikes, exploring Bryce Canyon, the best road trip planning tools, and essential hiking gear on my weblog.

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