Summer Visit to Utah's National Parks

Marit wearing a white shirt under a brown vest posing on a cliff overlooking mountains.
Curated By

Marit Malewitz

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  • Utah

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Hiking

  • Summer

  • National Park

Rock formation on a dry land during sunny day.
Curator’s statement

Utah’s National Parks are memorable to me due to their spectacular red rock formations, striking canyons and iconic stone arches. It is a remarkable place to visit regardless of the time of year. Hiking trails like Delicate Arch and Arches National Park are breathtaking and a fun experience for all ages and group sizes. There is something for everyone, no matter the skill level.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Utah

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ULUM Moab

A luxury desert escape nestled in Utah's dramatic landscape, offering a unique blend of adventure and comfort amidst Moab's iconic red rock formations.

Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa

Nestled amidst the rolling hills and lush greenery of Utah's scenic Sorrel River Ranch, lies a hidden gem that beckons travelers seeking a peaceful retreat. This secluded resort and spa offers an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, with its rustic yet luxurious accommodations, farm-to-table dining experiences, and an array of outdoor activities that celebrate the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Whether you're looking to unwind with a spa treatment, embark on a horseback ride through the countryside, or simply soak in the serenity of the river that runs through the property, Sorrel River Ranch promises a rejuvenating and unforgettable experience.

Fora Perks
  • Breakfast daily.

  • Welcome amenity.

Under Canvas Zion

Relaxing property located on 196 acres and across from Zion National Park with upscale, safari-style tents.

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Marit wearing a white shirt under a brown vest posing on a cliff overlooking mountains.

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Things to do in Utah

A man on a hike posing with a rock formation.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is spectacular in the summer: see rock formations and natural arches. A great place for summer activities like hiking, biking, off-roading, stargazing and more! My favorite Utah park due to the proximity to Moab and other great outdoor summer activities.

  • Fiery Furnace: Get a permit for this amazing hike; I recommend starting the day with it to beat the crowds. It is fun to follow the trail markers and avoid getting lost.

  • Delicate Arch: You have seen it on a license plate; this is a beautiful, classic hike! This is popular but well worth it for the photo op and scenery along the way.

  • Off-the-beaten path: Ranger-led Stargazing or solo to admire the celestial display in the sky. I love this because it is rare to be in a place where the sky gets this dark!

  • Scenic Drives through the park, see many natural arches and admire places to pull over for photos or other activities!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its “Hoodoos”, these are unique rock formations in vibrant reds and oranges.

  • Navajo Loop & Queen’s Garden Trails: Get your day hike in, this scenic loop is a great way to start your adventure in the park.

  • Guided horseback riding in the park; you can pick from several routes. This is such a unique way to explore and a great summer activity: Bryce Canyon Horseback Riding | Ruby's Inn.

  • Visit Sunset Point or Sunrise Point to start or end your day of activities.

  • Additional Stargazing and Ranger-led Programs & summer activities to keep you busy if you like back-to-back activities.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is famous for the iconic river, lush canyons and sandstone cliffs with vibrant scenery all around.

  • The Narrows: A gorge hike with walls a thousand feet tall and the river sometimes just twenty to thirty feet wide, is one of the most popular areas in the park.

  • Angels Landing: Permit required; many people come here for the iconic photo, but beware the hike’s difficulty.

  • Observation Point + Wildlife Viewing: Many places to view bighorn sheep and mule deer throughout the park!

  • Weeping Rock, Kolob Canyons and Court of the Patriarchs: Admire the rock formations!

Day Trips

Dead Horse Point State Park, just 30 minutes outside Zion, is an amazing place for sunsets!

Places to eat & drink in Utah

Chicken nachos on a plate.

Arches National Park:

Moab Brewing

A fun local hang-out with great food! I enjoyed it for dinner; the burgers were delicious.

Thai Bella Moab

Great comfort food in town!

Red Cliffs Lodge

A scenic setting outside of Moab with a nice lodge and winery.

Moab Food Truck Park

A great Mexican Taco Truck! One of my favorite, unique lunches in Moab.

Bryce Canyon National Park:

Stone Hearth Grille

A lovely establishment for dinner.

Bryce Canyon Pines

Homestyle Meals in a classic setting!

Ebenezer’s Bar and Grill

The western experience is truly one of a kind.

Zion National Park:

Switchback Grille

We enjoyed the Southwest Cuisine.

Oscar’s Café

For Local Flavors.

Bit and Spur

Can't beat the relaxed atmosphere.

Need to Know

Tips & Tricks for Successful Summer Activities in the Utah Parks:

  • Stay Hydrated! Carry a reusable water bottle.

  • Wear Sun Protection; bring a hat and sunglasses in addition to sunscreen.

  • Start early to avoid heat and crowds.

  • Looking for extra knowledge? Check out the ranger program for educational events!

  • Be Prepared; familiarize yourself with the trails and carry snacks or a first aid.

  • Wear proper footwear for your summer activities; the terrain can be uneven.

  • Consider using the Park Shuttle to help navigate traffic.

  • Consider permits & reservations; the photo-worthy hike you are seeking out might require it!

  • Check the weather forecast, be prepared for sudden changes and stay aware.

  • Lastly, Leave No Trace. Please respect nature and preserve it for future generations.

Marit wearing a white shirt under a brown vest posing on a cliff overlooking mountains.

Travel Advisor

Marit Malewitz

Get in touch with Marit

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For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Jaycee Moore ’s guide, Utah Unleashed: An Epic Road Trip Exploring the Mighty 5.

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