Arches National Park

There are more than 2,000 natural red rock arches within Arches National Park. Visit to see some of these spectacular rock formations, including Landscape Arch (the longest known arch in the world), Delicate Arch (you’ll recognize it as Utah’s favorite), Double Arch (pictured above) and so many more. Read our guide to Arches National Park!

Canyonlands National Park

The three districts of Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky, The Maze, and Needles, each offer a completely different experience for visitors. Canyonlands is the largest national park in Utah, covering 337,598 acres of incredible natural landscape. Plan your visit to Canyonlands National Park using our helpful guide.

Capitol Reef National Park
Many Americans don’t even realize Capitol Reef National Park exists, but it’s located conveniently between the other parks. Capitol Reef is unique among Utah’s National Parks because it was previously home to Native Americans (you can see their petroglyph panels easily) and later Mormon settlers. Find out about all the features to see when you visit Capitol Reef National Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is one of our favorite national parks. The 38-mile scenic drive (round trip) is accessible using your personal vehicle in the off-season and by park shuttle during warmer months (typically mid-May to mid-October). The drive is the easiest way to see the park, with more than 15 overlooks and access to the park’s best trails. View our Bryce Canyon Guide.

Zion National Park
Visitors to Zion National Park love the impressive red rocks, numerous trails, and famous tunnel. The park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country, including the famed Angels Landing and The Narrows. Shorter hikes, a scenic drive (shuttle-only in the busy season) and active wildlife make this a great park for all ages. Plan your trip to Zion National Park today.

Utah National Parks Itinerary Highlighted Map

Utah National Park Itinerary

It’s easy to see all of Utah’s National Parks in one road trip. We recently visited all of them in just 4 days (I know!), but I’d recommend spending a week, unless you plan to do some of the more extensive hikes or explore all three Canyonlands districts. You can follow this itinerary in either direction based on what’s easiest for you.

Moab, Utah (2+ Nights)
Moab is the ideal lodging place for visitors to both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The town itself offers many great local eateries and hotel options, and is nearby both parks. Head to Canyonlands first. You’ll drive North on 191 from Moab, then head West on 313 toward Dead Horse State Park (also worth a visit) and Canyonlands’ Island in the Sky district. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen and a full tank of gas – you won’t find places to stop for provisions on 313.

The next day, explore Arches National Park, which is just a few miles North of Moab on 191. Even if you want to complete all/most of the activities on our Arches National Park Guide, you can probably squeeze them into one day. However, if you’re spending extra time in Moab, we suggest you spend it at Arches. There’s so much to see and do!

If you want to visit more of Canyonlands, you’ll want to head South on 191 and West on 211 to visit the Needles District. We don’t recommend trying to visit The Maze unless you’re an experienced backpacker.

Driving Day
There aren’t many places to stay near Capitol Reef National Park, so unless you plan to camp there, we suggest visiting as you pass through. To travel from Moab to Bryce, passing through Capitol Reef, we recommend taking 191N to 50W, then driving southwest on highway 24 until you reach the park. Even if you’re just passing through, you’ll still have time to see the petroglyph panels, stop at the visitors center and enjoy the scenic drive. Then, continue on 24 until you reach 12. Drive south on highway 12, a beautiful drive through the mountains with views of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, until you reach the turnoff for Bryce Canyon on your left.

Bryce Canyon (1+ Nights)
You should reach Bryce Canyon in time to enjoy views of the sunset on the hoodoos. If not, consider an evening tour or stargaze in the park. The next day, you can complete the scenic drive, hike the Rim Trail or Fairyland Loop, then set out for Zion. Take highway 12 to 89 South, then drive west on Highway 9, called one of the  most beautiful highways in America.

Zion (1+ Nights)
You’ll enter Zion National Park on Highway 9, then drive through the famous Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which is more than a mile long. We suggest the scenic drive plus a short trail if you only have one day to spend here.

That’s it! Now you know how to see all 5 of Utah’s National Parks with this 4-night itinerary. Happy travels!

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Images used with permission. All rights reserved by Anne Sandoval.