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moab, Utah, usa
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The Ultimate Utah Road Trip

Visit 5 National Parks In 7 Days

Published by
Mary·7/11/2024
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Get ready for the ultimate adventure with our road trip guide through Utah's five amazing national parks in just seven days! Imagine exploring the stunning landscapes of Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands, all in one epic week. From the towering red cliffs and emerald pools of Zion to the jaw-dropping rock formations of Arches, this itinerary has it all.

Whether you're a hiker, a photography buff, or just love hitting the open road, we've got you covered. So, pack your bags and join us for an unforgettable journey through the hidden gems of Utah's breathtaking wilderness!

We've included bonus stops all within the seven day itinerary, including the iconic Salt Flats.

Destination

  • Utah

Details

How to Plan Your Utah Road Trip

Travel through five national parks, see the salt flats, visit snowy mountains, and walk through slot canyons. In just a week, you can see some of the most incredible sights that Utah has to offer.

We suggest starting this trip from Salt Lake City and ending in Salt Lake City, but feel free to do the route in reverse order from what is listed. Of course, you could spend a month in any of these places and still not have your fill, but one week should be enough time to see it all.

Stop 1: Park City, Utah

Park City is a fun mountain town about 45 minutes southeast of Salt Lake City. Just outside of the city is Park City Mountain Resort, with lifts operating right from town! Another notable attraction of Park City is the annual Sundance Film Festival held here every January.

Stop 2: Arches National Park

Arches National Park is a must-see while in Utah. The stunning stone arches and rolling petrified dunes make this one of the most scenic parks in the US. The most famous of the arches is Delicate Arch, which stands like a horseshoe jutting out of the ground. You can do short hikes to many of the most popular formations, but some of the best views can be seen right from the road-side scenic viewpoints.

Arches National Park is also located just outside Moab, a town well-known by mountain bikers and outdoor adventurers. There are plenty of wonderful places to camp in this area.

Stop 3: Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is Utah's version of the Grand Canyon, but without the crowds. It is arguably as impressive as the Grand Canyon in its own unique way, and far less visited. The other two sections of the park, the Needles District and The Maze, offer a slightly different type of landscape but are also impressive.

Stop 4: Goblin Valley State Park

The landscape, covered with sandstone goblins and formations, is often compared to Mars. You may also want to camp out here and witness a night sky the likes of which you've never seen. Goblin Valley is part of the International Dark Sky Association and offers the perfect view of the Milky Way.

Stop 5: Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is another great place to explore Utah's interesting landscapes. Located directly west of Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef displays a huge wall of banded sandstone rising above the Fremont River. For anyone with an interest in photography, you'll especially enjoy the canyons, rock spires, cliff walls, arches, and gorges that dominate the scenery.

Stop 6: Coyote Gulch, Escalante National Monument

Coyote Gulch is at the end of Hole In The Rock road just outside of Escalante, Utah. You don't have to drive all the way to the gulch. Instead stop and experience Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons for a wonderful day hike with the perfect lighting and scenery for some pretty amazing photos.

Stop 7: Bryce Canyon National Park

The brightly colored and tightly packed "hoodoos" that dominate the landscape at Bryce Canyon are what set this national park apart. It's much more impressive in person when the sun lights it up during golden hours, creating a magical landscape that begs to be explored. There's a great drive that runs through the park offering the best scenery if you are in a hurry. If you decide to hike, make sure to take the Queen's Garden route into the canyon.

Stop 8: Zion National Park

Zion National Park features some of Utah's most outstanding scenery, with red rock cliffs, waterfalls, and beautiful vistas. Many of the park's most impressive sites are found in Zion Canyon, along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Make sure to hike the infamous Angel's Landing and the beginning portion of The Narrows, which can be completed in one day if you start early!

Stop 9: Bonneville Salt Flats

About 90 minutes west of Salt Lake City is the surreal area of flat land, extending off into the distance as far as the eye can see. When the sun sets, the area is breathtaking—a great way to end your trip on a high note. In winter, some of the Bonneville Salt Flats are covered in a thin layer of water, which is great for photos.

Stop 10: Salt Lake City, Utah

111 Miles From Bonneville Salt Flats

Head home from here or, if you have time, explore the city or pop out to Antelope Island to see fluffy coyotes and one of the largest bison herds in the United States.

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