Ultimate Utah National Park Road Trip

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Advisor - Sarah Mills
Curated By

Sarah Mills

  • USA

  • Utah

  • The Grand Canyon

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Digital Nomad Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Sightseeing

  • National Park

zion national park river through mountain region
Curator’s statement

Southern Utah is an enchanting natural wonderland. I have curated the perfect desert road trip that will take you to six National Parks and Monument Valley in only 10-12 days. You will visit Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Monument Valley and the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon on this epic road trip. Each day you will be completely blown away by the stunning landscapes, dramatic vistas and incredible diversity of the desert. I highly recommend visiting these parks in September or October to avoid the most intense heat and crowds. And whatever you do, don't skip Capitol Reef National Park! If you want to connect with nature away from the crowds, Capitol Reef is your best option.

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Day 1-2: Zion National Park

Zion National Park narrow caves with pool of water

Fly into Las Vegas and rent a car. Your first stop is Zion National Park, a three hour drive from Las Vegas. I recommend spending two nights at Zion. If you are feeling adventurous, I suggest "the Narrows" hike, where you will wade through the Virgin River and hike through a narrow canyon with views of sheer cliffs hundreds of feet high.

Day 3: Bryce Canyon

 Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah having landscape that seems like forest of rocks.

Wake up early and hit the road for your next adventure in Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce is a 2 hour drive from Zion. Here you will be back on the trails and in complete awe of the unique hoodoo rock formations. After hiking, have a hearty BBQ lunch at IDK BBQ on your way to Torrey (2 hour drive) where you will spend the night at Cougar Ridge Lodge.

Day 4: Capitol Reef National Park

otherworldly desert with massive rock formations

Wake up in Torrey and head out to my favorite park on the itinerary, Capitol Reef National Park. If you crave being alone in nature, this is the park for you. Capitol Reef is generally less crowded than the other Utah parks. Hike the Cassidy Arch trail and Grand Wash and finish up with a slice of homemade apple pie at the Gifford Homestead. I recommend staying two nights in Torrey so that you can have a full day in Capitol Reef.

Day 5-6: Arches National Park

A big rock arch at  Arches National Park Utah.

Drive from Torrey to Moab (2 hours) and visit Arches National Park in the afternoon. I recommend staying 2-3 nights in Moab because it is a great base to explore both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Additionally Moab offers many outdoor adventures such as rafting the Colorado River, canyoneering and hot air balloon rides.

Day 7: Monument Valley

Large rocks in the landscape at Monument Valley Utah.

Today is a big drive day, but don't worry because you will see some amazing and famous landscapes at Monument Valley along the way. Wake up early and drive from Moab to Monument Valley (2.5 hours). Explore Monument Valley and then stop in Kenyata for a Navajo taco at Amigo Cafe. After lunch continue the drive to Sedona (3 hours). Spend the night in the heavenly Enchantment Resort in Sedona.

Day 8-9: Sedona & Grand Canyon

Multiple shades of orange on rocky mountains of Grand Canyon.

Explore Sedona and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I recommend renting bikes to explore the Grand Canyon because you can see so much more. There is also plenty of hiking to do around Sedona and you could make a trip to Antelope Canyon. If you are feeling a bit gassed after days of hiking and adventure, why not have a day of relaxation at the beautiful Enchantment Resort.

On Day 10, drive from Sedona to Las Vegas (4 hours) to wrap up your absolutely epic national park tour!

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspo? Check out my guide, Local's Guide to the Best Beaches in Ecuador.

Advisor - Sarah Mills

Travel Advisor

Sarah Mills

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Utah.