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The Ultimate Southwest Road Trip: 12 National Parks, Natural Wonders, & More In 1 Week

A deal by , 20. Apr. 2019 5:30 pm

It's time to check a great American adventure off your bucket list. In just a week, you can see some of the most gorgeous sights the Southwestern U.S. has to offer. Check out our suggested stops and route below. Stop talking about seeing the Grand Canyon and just do it!

You can easily start this trip from Los Angeles or Las Vegas, and you can also reverse the order of stops. This post is based on a Los Angeles departure in counter-clockwise direction. And also, you can take longer than a week if you need to. It all depends on your schedule.

Rent A Car For Your Road Trip

Stop 1: Joshua Tree National Park, CA

130 Miles From Los Angeles

Your first stop is Joshua Tree National Park, famous for its eponymous trees and incredible stargazing. The park is about the size of the entire state of Rhode Island.

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Book A Joshua Tree Tour


Stop 2: Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim), AZ

380 Miles From Joshua Tree

The Grand Canyon is the second-most visited national park in America, and is probably on the most bucket lists. Spend time at the very accessible South Rim, and consider camping overnight.

The Ultimate Southwest Road Trip: 12 National Parks, Natural Wonders, & More In 1 Week - 20

Book A Grand Canyon Tour


Stop 3: Antelope Canyon, AZ

135 Miles From Grand Canyon

There are actually two sections to Antelope Canyon: upper and lower. Famous for its surreal rock striations and sunbeams, this photographer's dream can only be accessed on a guided tour. The canyon is also just a 15-minute drive from Horseshoe Bend.

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Book An Antelope Canyon Tour


Stop 4: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT

35 Miles From Antelope Canyon

This area is loaded with unique rock formations, like arches, hoodoos, and a petrified forest. It also has historical significance, as both dinosaur bones and petroglyphs have been discovered there.

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Stop 5: Monument Valley, AZ/UT

150 Miles From Grand Staircase-Escalante

If you've ever watched an American Western, then you've seen Monument Valley on film. Now, it's time to see these incredible sandstone buttes, some as tall as 1,000 feet, in real life.

The Ultimate Southwest Road Trip: 12 National Parks, Natural Wonders, & More In 1 Week - 14

Book A Monument Valley Tour


Stop 6: Mesa Verde National Park, CO

152 Miles From Monument Valley

While Mesa Verde is home to some impressive landscapes, it is even more famous for the hundreds of cliff dwellings that dot the park, like the 900 year-old Cliff Palace.

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Stop 7: Arches National Park, UT

150 Miles From Mesa Verde

The sandstone arches of this national park are some of the most iconic natural features in America. While visiting, tread carefully: the park is trying to preserve the 2,000 arches that dot the landscape.

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Book An Arches Park Tour


Stop 8: Canyonlands National Park, UT

27 Miles From Arches

Right next door to Arches you'll find the unique and colorful park that is Canyonlands. Filled with great opportunities for hiking, rafting, and photography, it shouldn't be missed.

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Book A Canyonlands Tour


Stop 9: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

245 Miles From Canyonlands

Bryce Canyon is famous for its fire-colored hoodoos—naturally formed rock pillars. Consider taking a horseback ride for a unique way to see the parks wonders.

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Book A Bryce Canyon Tour


Stop 10: Zion National Park, UT

85 Miles From Bryce Canyon

Home to the stunning 15-mile long Zion Canyon, this park is a great place to stop for a hike. The park also has a shuttle bus system to transport visitors to various popular spots.

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Book A Zion Tour


Stop 11: Las Vegas, NV

165 Miles From Zion

Why not spend a night of your trip in Las Vegas? Whether you're traveling solo, with a group of friends, or on a family vacation, this colorful city caters to everyone.

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Book A Las Vegas Tour


Stop 12: Death Valley National Park, CA

134 Miles From Las Vegas

Don't be turned off by the name: Death Valley is a fascinating place to visit. It contains Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and is officially a dark sky park, meaning the stargazing is unbeatable.

On the way back to Los Angeles, you can also stop by Trona Pinnacles, a unique landscape used in many films.

The Ultimate Southwest Road Trip: 12 National Parks, Natural Wonders, & More In 1 Week

Book Death Valley Tour


Sample Itinerary*

  • Day 1: Los Angeles to Joshua Tree (2 hours); drive to Grand Canyon, South Rim (6 hours)
  • Day 2: Morning at Grand Canyon; drive from Grand Canyon to Antelope Canyon (2.5 hours)
  • Day 3: Morning at Antelope Canyon; optional excursion to Grand Staircase-Escalante; drive to Monument Valley (2.5 hours); drive to Mesa Verde (3 hours)
  • Day 4: Morning at Mesa Verde; drive to Arches National Park (3 hours)
  • Day 5: Morning exploring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks; drive to Bryce Canyon (4.25 hours)
  • Day 6: Morning at Bryce Canyon; drive to Zion National Park (1.75 hours); drive to Las Vegas (2 hours)
  • Day 7: Depart Vegas for Death Valley National Park (2 hours); return to Los Angeles (4.5 hours)

Total Driving Time: 35 hours | Total Distance: 2,000 miles

*This itinerary is fitted for a week for convenience, but you can take as long as you want on your road trip.

Need A Road Map?

Check here for our TravelPirates road trip map right here. Keep in mind that some locations have been condensed to one point on the map, like Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

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Ultimate Southwest Road Trip Timeframe: 20. Apr. 2019 - 30. Sep. 2019


Please keep in mind that our deals are subject to availability and are current at the time of publication.

The Ultimate Southwest Road Trip: 12 National Parks, Natural Wonders, & More In 1 Week