Experience the Majestic Utah National Parks: The Ultimate Mighty 5 Road Trip Guide 2024

foreign [Music] as far as road trips go Utah's Mighty five i...

foreign [Music] as far as road trips go Utah's Mighty five is top of the charts and it should also be on top of your bucket list but how do you make your trip perfect welcome back to wonderfully lost your home for all things travel today we're talking about all things Mighty 5 and how you can get the best of all the sites the stays and the food so pack your bags and get ready to hit the pedal number one archers National Park you might have realized that we're starting our trip from the Northern end of Utah don't worry if you're from Vegas though because you can just hit these places in opposite order instead and our first stop Arches National Park this Wonder of nature will give you everything you could possibly ask for with big beautiful Skies stunning rock formations that will leave you gagging and you guessed it over 2 000 arches but the most iconic one is landscape Arch and to get there you'll have to put on your hiking shoes and get ready for some climbing at the devil's Garden but if you're looking for something even more daring keep hiking until you reach double O Arch and dark angel now those will be a sight to behold or you could check out the tower Arch Trail instead which will bring its own unique sights if you want a bite to eat try a picnic lunch at Park Avenue Viewpoint or the windows and when you're tired after a long day of hiking don't worry Moab is a pretty close drive you could stay at the Red Cliffs Lodge for beautiful sights next to the Colorado River or at MainStay Suites if you want something a little easy on the wallet oh and don't forget to grab a beer at the Moab Brewery either it's a Once in a row trip experience after all number 2. Canyonlands National Park when you're refreshed after a comfortable night in get ready to drive up to destination number two Canyonlands National Park Canyon lens is absolutely massive it's so big in fact that it had to be divided into four districts by rivers and each of them will bring you its own unique flavor now the island in the sky district is the most accessible and also the most popular imagine being with your spouse as you watch the sunset at the Grand Viewpoint can you imagine anything more romantic but if you ask us the Needles District will bring you views like no other and it's worth every second of the extra three hours of driving here you can combine the heights of elephant Hill Druid Arch Trail and Chester Park to make one Grand Adventure and if you decide to spend two days here you could even do both needless to say whichever Hotel you decide to stay at in Moab will be seeing a lot more of you number three capital Reef National Park next up we have this Heaven of sandstone Cliffs white domes and Slot Canyons Capital Reef Park is A Feast for the eyes oh and the best part about this place you can give your weary legs a much needed rest after the intense hiking of the past few days most of capital Reef Park can be viewed from the comfort of your car so sit back relax and put on some tunes as you drive on the highway that runs straight through the splashes of color will be a sight to behold and if you step a little closer you'll be able to see rock art petroglyphs of the Fremont culture you'll basically be driving through memory lane or in this case memory Highway once you're in Fruita the heart of the park check out the pie at the Gifford Homestead for a midday snack the Freddy flavor will leave your stomach begging for more but there's a little secret about this place if you step out of your car at sulfur Creek Trail you'll come across a Haven of Canyon views and waterfalls the best part since so few people come here you'll have the place all to yourself you'll have to stay the night in Tori which is the nearest town check out the Capitol Reef Resort or if you're in the mood for a little dip the indoor pool at broken spur Inn and Steakhouse will be right up your alley number four Bryce Canyon National Park now Bryce Canyon National Park is a little more special compared to the rest but before we explain why we have to ask do you know what hoodoos are these Rock spies can be found all over Bryce Canyon National Park and make this place a site you won't find anywhere else in the world you can find a lot of the great viewpoints by car alone but if you want to really spice up your experience Our advice would be to hike to the Queen's garden and Navajo loop it's a three mile hike so you better be prepared but it's well worth all the effort you put into it because when you reach the peak you'll see the best of what this park has to offer settled down for a picnic wait for the sun to go down and watch as the whole world comes alive with color or if you're a fan of Safety First you could just go to Sunset Point instead after all this one's basically built to be a fantastic site to stay the night you can find several options in the town of Bryce but the town of Tropic is just 10 miles from the park and will give you a lot more variety oh and don't forget to take a few layers of clothes with you especially if you visit anytime other than the summer Bryce Canyon gets colder than any of the other Mighty five in fact for about 200 days a year the temperature Falls below freezing this place is coolest heck in every sense of the word number 5. Zion National Park and we've finally arrived at Zion National Park well done you're going five for five and Zion National Park might just be the best of them all from Bryce it's about a two-hour drive to Zion National Park and rest assured there's absolutely no shortage of sites to see on this stretch of the road either you'll see the burning colors of the Red Canyon which comes alive in the mornings and take the twists and turns of the Zion Mount Carmel Highway and as you go through its tunnels and switchbacks you might come across the realization that the journey might be just as good as the destination this place brings in thousands of visitors every year cementing its spot is one of the best hiking spots in the United States and for good reason too every inch and every corner will unveil a breathtaking view that will have your camera shutter clicking like crazy as you document everything you see Angels landing and the Zion Narrows are two of the most iconic hikes here but if you're looking for something a little shorter or more family friendly don't worry because this place has that too check out the canyon Overlook Trail or Emerald pools if you're a little short of time but if you really want to milk this place for all it's worth you'll have to stay for at least a couple of days for that we recommend picking out a place in Springdale and if you're a bit of a foodie then Oscar's Cafe serves great nachos and huge portions of Mexican food or you could check out King's Landing Bistro in Springdale for a royal experience follow this guide and your Utah trip memories will be just as mighty as the mighty five thanks for wandering with us if you enjoyed this video check out our Kentucky Derby planning guide next bye now [Music] oh [Music] foreign [Music]

If you’re in the mood for an EPIC road trip, welcome to our guide to Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks.

We’re about to explore a wild, budget-friendly 5-day road trip to Utah’s magical parks.

More commonly called the Utah Mighty 5, the world-famous trip entails a collection of the 5 stunning national parks across the state – Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park.

This road trip was one of our absolute favorite trips we’ve taken. You’ll see towering red cliffs, deep canyons, unique rock formations, and spectacular hiking trails. We started our trip in Las Vegas and ended in Salt Lake City, but you can reverse the order or even start an end in the same city, with a little extra drive time.

If your time on our site is as WANDERFUL as we hope, we’d be super thrilled to have you share this post with your fellow wanderers!

Day 1 – Zion National Park

On the first day of your Utah Mighty 5 tour, you’ll start your adventure by catching a flight to Las Vegas. You may want to fly in the night before your road trip starts so you can get on the road bright and early. Upon arrival, you’ll rent a car and take a picturesque drive of approximately 2.5 hours to Springdale, UT, the charming gateway town to Zion National Park.

Once you reach Springdale, drop off your bags at the comfortable La Quinta Inn for a quick refreshment. You can then head to the Bumbleberry Inn to catch the shuttle that will take you right into the heart of Zion National Park.

To begin your exploration, start with the Canyon Overlook Trail – a short but incredibly rewarding 1-mile hike. As you make your way along the trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of red cliffs, lush greenery, and the winding Virgin River below. This place is a favorite among nature enthusiasts and social media influencers alike.

After the hike, you can visit the famous Observation Point, a trail that offers unparalleled panoramic views of Zion Canyon. Because the trek spans around 8 miles round trip, make sure to wear comfortable footwear and carry plenty of water. But the journey to the top is worth every step, rewarding hikers with awe-inspiring terrains that stretch as far as the eye can see.

For a less excursive experience, check out the paved Emerald Pools Trail, which offers a series of interconnected trails spanning 2-4 miles in total. Along the way, you’ll encounter shimmering pools, cascading waterfalls, and the tranquility of nature. This hike is easier than most on this itinerary, best for those who like nature but not adventure.

On your way back, you can enjoy the sunset at The Great Arch – a queue of lavish red rocks that stand proudly against the horizon.

If you have more time, an extra day even, to spend at Zion, you’re definitely going to want to hike the slot canyons!

You can finally end your day at Bit and Spur, a local restaurant in Springdale known for its delicious Southwestern cuisine. Treat yourself to a flavorful dinner as you reflect on the incredible experiences and gear up for another day of wild adventure, wonderful natural views, and great food.

Day 2 – Bryce Canyon National Park

Start your second day after enjoying a delicious breakfast at Deep Creek Coffee Co. in Springdale. Once done, it’s time to start on a 2-hour drive to Bryce Canyon National Park. Along the way be sure to stop at Belly of the Dragon, a 1.8-mile trek that takes you through a cave, offering an Instagramable adventure.

Once you reach the park, you will immediately notice its unique geological formations known as hoodoos – Utah’s signature topographical feature. The first stop here is Sunrise Point, where you can witness the southern beauty of the park as the morning sun casts its golden rays over the deep red cliffs.

For a more immersive experience, venture onto the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail, which covers a total distance of 2.9 miles. This trail takes you deep into the heart of the canyon.

On the other hand, Peek-a-Boo Trail – spanning 5.5 miles – is a more challenging but rewarding journey through narrow canyons and hidden arches. You can combine the Navajo Loop and Peek-a-Boo Trails for a 6.4-mile figure-eight hike, showcasing the best of Bryce Canyon’s natural topography.

Fun tip – visit Mossy Cave, a short distance from the main park. This hidden gem is a peaceful escape and features a charming waterfall that adds to its unrivaled beauty.

As the day ends, have a quiet dinner at Outlaw Saloon in Hatch, which specializes in Western cuisine. You can also book an VRBO here to better attune yourself to the local Utah culture.


Day 3 – Capitol Reef National Park

On the third day of the Utah Mighty 5 tour, you’ll take a 2-hour drive to Capitol Reef National Park. The first attraction at the park is the Hickman Bridge Trail. Although this trail is short and convenient, spanning just 1.7 miles out and back, it leads you to an impressive natural bridge, offering a view of the park’s unique geological features up close.

Continue your trip by trekking the Grand Wash Trail. Stretching over 6.9 miles, this trail weaves through towering canyon walls and sandy paths. You will find petroglyphs that embody Utah’s age and growth.

For a more cathartic experience, go to the local-favorite Capitol Gorge. This relatively easy hike takes you through a narrow slot canyon for about a mile. Throughout the walk, you can find markers of early settlers who carved their names and messages into the canyon walls.

You can stay the night in the charming town of Torrey to treat yourself to delicious local cuisine, unwind in the outdoor hot tub, or scroll through the hundreds of pictures from the day at the Capitol Reef Resort. We absolutely loved this resort! We made friends around the fire while the sun set over the picturesque park in the background.

Day 4 – Arches National Park

Next up is a 2-hour drive to the Arches National Park. This park requires a timed entry pass, so be sure to reserve your spot before you begin your trek.

Once inside Arches National Park, you’ll start with the famous Double Arch Trail, a short 0.6-mile hike that leads you to Double Arch, which consists of two massive arches hugging one another – the perfect place to ground yourself from your road trip.

But whatever you do, don’t forget to go to the iconic Delicate Arch – the symbol of Utah and a common popular culture image. While the hike to Delicate Arch is more challenging, covering a 3-mile round trip, the reward of standing beneath this majestic arch is truly unforgettable.

For an exhilarating and off-road experience, take an off-road tour of Moab in the afternoon. After a tiring day, you can stay the night in the town of Moab, where you can spend the night at the Under Canvas Moab glamping site. This was another favorite part of our trip we don’t want you to miss!

If time allows, give yourself time to mosey around the town of Moab. You’ll find shops and boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Be sure to stop in Doughbird for EPIC donuts!

Day 5 – Canyonlands National Park

After enjoying an early breakfast in Moab, it’s time to embark on the fifth day of your tour to Canyonlands National Park. This park is a vast wilderness area that encloses dramatic canyons, towering mesas and parts of the mighty Colorado River.

Once here, you will begin by heading to Mesa Arch for a memorable hike. The short 0.7-mile trail will lead you to the famous arch and a stunning sunrise view framed by the arch itself. If you can make it here for sunrise, this is sure to be one of your favorite views of the trip.

Stop at Green River Overlook for rugged views of the complete canyon landscape. You can alternatively hike along the Grand View Point Trail, a less-than-2-mile loop that takes you to a breathtaking view of the Green River City merging into the Colorado River.

For more peculiar geological features, explore the Upheaval Dome Trail, which takes you to a mysterious crater-like structure that scientists believe was formed by a meteorite impact or an ancient salt dome.

At the end of the trip, you will embark on a scenic 4-hour drive from Moab to Salt Lake City for a nice dinner and a good night’s sleep before you head home in the morning.

There you have it, our fast and furious Utah Mighty 5 Road Trip. You could easily double or even triple the length of this adventure and spend a lot more time in each of the parks. But if you left your babies at home like we did and are anxious to get back to them, we absolutely loved the intensity and fast paced energy of our trip.

Want to take your kiddos with? Be sure to devour our FAMILY ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS KIT before you head out on the road!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. If you click on one, we may receive a small, but wanderful commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for WANDERING with us!

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