MIGHTY 5 UTAH NATIONAL PARKS ITINERARY
Updated: Jan 11
We recently visited the mighty 5 national parks in Utah. We spent about a week and a half roadtripping through the state, so here is the itinerary that we did!
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Our first stop in Utah was at Arches National Park. This park is located near Moab, Utah. We stayed in Green River, Utah because it was close enough to drive to the national parks and was cheaper than staying in Moab.
During our time in Arches, we hiked the Delicate Arch Trail. This trail is one of the most popular trails in the USA, so we started our day early at the park. We arrived to the trailhead just at sunrise. There was plenty of parking, but it was already starting to become full this early in the morning.
The trail is 3 miles out and back and is a moderate hike. There is a pretty steep incline toward the beginning of the hike. People definitely underestimate the difficulty of this hike, so wear proper footwear and be prepared to sweat!
After the hike, there is a small trail that you can view petroglyphs. I would not call this a hike, but more of an easy walk to see them.
We did not enjoy the Delicate Arch Trail hike as much as other people seem to enjoy it. The crowds were just too much for us!
Honestly, this was the only hike that we did in Arches due to the crowds. We got overwhelmed very fast here. The drive through the park was really great though.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Canyonlands is also located near Moab, Utah. We were still staying in the same hotel in Green River, Utah that we stayed in for our Arches visit. The drive from Green River to Canyonlands is about an hour, but the cheaper hotel prices during the summer definitely made up for it.
Canyonlands was definitely one of our favorite national parks that we have visited. We were pleasantly surprised because you don’t hear a lot about this park. Parking around the park was pretty easy, as it was not as crowded as Arches was. The trick is to visit in the morning!
Our first trail that we did is called the Upheaval Dome Trail. We absolutely loved this hike as it was a bit challenging and the views were very unique! If you hike to the second overlook, then it is a 1.3 mile hike out and back. The first overlook can be hiked by most people, but the second is a bit more difficult with some scrambling over rocks. If you can do it, I would recommend to attempt to hike to the second overlook!
The rest of our time spent in Canyonlands was viewing the many overlooks that the park has to offer. These are the White Rim Overlook, Green River Overlook, Grand View Point Overlook.
Here is a video of the time that we spent in our first two parks!
CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
Capitol Reef National Park was our 3rd national park that we visited! We stayed at a hotel just outside of the park. We did not have trouble with parking at all! The Hickman Bridge Trail parking does get crowded midday, and was completely full when we were leaving.
Our first hike was the Hickman Bridge Trail. This trail is 1.7 miles out and back. The hike was a pretty easy one, and the view of the Hickman Bridge is stunning! We saw older people doing this hike with walking canes, so it can be done by most people!
Our second hike this day was the Rim Overlook Trail. This is a 4 mile out and back trail rated as moderate. This trail felt very long to us during the hot day that we hiked it. We thought about giving up, but we kept going to the end! The difficulty was not too bad, but the heat was what was getting to us. Overall, it was a pretty decent hike, not a favorite though.
After a midday break, we ended the day hiking part of the Grand Wash Trail. This trail in total is 5 miles out and back. We visited toward sunset, so we didn’t complete the entire hike because we didn’t want to get caught in the dark. Overall, this trail is super easy, but a very cool one! It is awesome to see the rock formations that the water caused years and years ago!
Here is our time spent in Capitol Reef
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Bryce Canyon National Park was our 4th one visited on this road trip! We stayed at a hotel on site, and we WOULD NOT recommend! There was a dead rat in our room, yikes!
Our first hike at Bryce Canyon was the Navajo Loop Trail and into the Queens Garden Trail. This was such a great hike! Combined, this hike is 2.9 miles (moderate) and of course is a loop, so you end up back where you start! My favorite part of the hike is called ‘wall street,’ and it is a couple of switch backs that bring you down into the canyon. After your emerge out of the canyon, you enter a forest AKA the Queens Garden. Super unique! There is PLENTY of parking at this trailhead.
On your way around the hike, you can also stop and Sunrise and Sunset Point for amazing views of the hoodoos that Bryce Canyon is made up of! That is all that we did in Bryce Canyon!
ZION NATIONAL PARK
Zion National Park was our last stop on our Mighty 5 Utah road trip. There are several parking lots at Zion! There is no trouble finding parking!
At the time that we visited, it was required to reserve a shuttle ticket that takes your further into the park to the most popular trails. We were unable to reserve one as they are taken within seconds of posting. With that being said. Here are the hikes that we did.
Our first hike was the Watchman Trail. This trail is 3.1 miles out and back. It is rated moderate, but we thought that it was an easy moderate hike. We enjoyed this trail thoroughly and really enjoyed the views of the canyon!
Next, we hiked part of the Pa’rus Trail. This trail is 3.4 miles out and back. We did not finish the trail since we were limited on time. This trail was VERY easy! It was all sidewalk, so it is great for hiking and bringing your dogs along too. The views were so amazing. You get a lot out of the hike for minimal effort. Highly recommend!
Here is our video over Bryce and Zion NP!
Have you visited any of these national parks?! If so, which one?!