It’s the beginning of summer, which means it’s time to start planning a fun road trip. If you’re in Utah, you’re in luck! The Mighty Five National Parks (Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef) are within a half-day’s drive of Salt Lake City.
If you feel like a long road trip, you can visit Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, or Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Must Vist Destinations On Your Utah Road Trip
I first moved to Utah two years ago, and have visited all of the national parks here. Here’s what I’ve learned from my road trips that are a must-see if you’re driving through Utah this summer.
If you’re leaving from Salt Lake City, expect to arrive at any of these spots within about 5 hours.
Zion National Park
Zion is Utah’s first ever National Park, and has over 4 million visitors every year. By far Utah’s most popular national park, this place is a must-see destination. It gets crowded, so make sure to plan ahead and arrive early. My favorite adventure was a hike through the Narrows!
If you are looking for a more challenging and hike with beautiful views you will not go wrong with Angels Landing. You can spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days in Zion.
Just remember: you must use shuttles to get through the park, it’s best to arrive early, and bring plenty of water.
Pro tip: The city of Hurricane is only 30 minutes from the entrance to Zion National Park, and is a much more cost-effective option than staying in or near the park.
Related: US National Parks
Bryce Canyon National Park
This is truly one of Utah’s most underrated parks with some of the most unique rock formations in the world. Bryce Canyon National Park has over 2 million visitors per year. There are shuttles available or you can drive your own car through the park.
Pro tip: There isn’t a whole lot of trails in Bryce Canyon National Park. Much of the park can be seen by parking and a viewpoint.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
This National Monument is the size of Delaware, and features many unique rock formations throughout. It’s also one of the most remote and infrequently visited travel destinations in Utah. You can even find some of Utah’s famous slot canyons here.
Pro tip: Find the Visitor’s Center and talk to a ranger. Plan out your visit because this park is huge, remote, and fairly empty. Make sure you know where you’re going before entering the park.
Arches National Park
Last, but not least – Arches National Park. This is arguably Utah’s most famous national park. Delicate Arch is one of Utah’s most famous rock formations, and is featured on across tourism campaigns everywhere. It’s worth the hike to see this amazing rock.
Pro tip: Be sure to leave early in the day, as it gets hot and crowded pretty quickly. Wear good shoes, bring a hat, and bring more water than you’ll think you need.
I really can’t stress how much there is to see in Utah. Salt Lake City itself is full of great hikes, nightlife, and fun events. If you have time, be sure to check out a list of hikes and sights to see in downtown Salt Lake and Park City.
Utah boasts some of the United State’s best and most unique National Parks, and they’re all accessible by car. If you’re planning a trip to Utah, be sure get in your car and explore the state’s unique rocks and deserts.
Victoria Schmid is a freelance writer with a background in television and digital journalism. She enjoys writing articles about smart technology that will educate and inspire readers. She has a passion for news, writing, and reading. In her free time, she loves hiking, traveling, exploring, and volunteering.