This is the ultimate American west road trip. Utah has five national parks in just the southern half of the state, so you could easily cover ground without covering an overwhelming amount of distance. Add a sixth national park to the trip by hitting up the less traveled north rim of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona!
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My first time experiencing the Utah national parks was in February—the middle of winter. I have to say, the next time I go back to Moab, I’m planning for winter again. From the crowd-less parks and low hotel rates, to the snow-capped arches and cozy cafes, it just seems like the best time to visit.
The Capitol Reef Country of Wayne County, Utah, is one of the American Southwest’s least-explored natural regions. Just one look at the map and you’ll see that this is a vast and remarkable area filled with parks, monuments, and countless hidden gems. Here you’ll find few lines and little traffic, leaving more time to enjoy the great outdoors in this alluring area in southern Utah—the perfect destination for year-round adventure!
Since I turned 30, my days are literally speeding by. Rapidly. I find myself ingesting new information faster and at a higher rate than I stop to reflect on past experiences. When I travel, I notice myself stopping for a few quick photo ops and hurrying onto the next place. Over a luxurious 8 days though, I explored Utah’s Canyon Country in southeast Utah.
I stood at an overlook on the Chesler Park Loop Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands, struck by how quiet it was. The sun was setting behind me, and all of the candy cane colored rock spires stood at attention in the distance. It was amazing how few hikers there were in this part of the national park. I drove back down the dirt road to the highway, dodging cows in the dark and settled into my basecamp in Monticello, Utah. Over the coming days, I would see how perfectly my travel plans would align with this convenient location.
Utah and the deserts of the American Southwest is some of the most striking geography found anywhere in the world. With this itinerary, your trip will take you through the best this area hast to offer, from Arches National Park to the painted desert of Arizona, The Grand Canyon and more. You will visit six Utah national parks, two national monuments, and a sojourn to the culture and people of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime.
Here at Visit USA Parks we are lucky to work with some amazing photographers. On a fall trip to Canyonlands National Park in Utah, photographer Harry Wade took his time capturing some amazing black and white shots. While the Canyonlands are known for their dramatic red and orange colors, Harry Wade’s skills show us these canyons in, quite literally, a whole new light. Canyonlands National Park could not have a better name. The endless slot canyons created by the Colorado River create an other-worldly atmosphere. It’s truly unlike anywhere else on this planet, and Wade puts his own spin on this iconic national park.
The Great American Road Trip awaits you as you travel across some of the most beautiful landscapes the American West has to offer. This trip will take you from the Golden Coast to the Shining Desert with nothing but adventure along the way.
Moab, Utah is one of my favorite travel destinations–a scenic and wickedly fun adventure hub. While it lures visitors throughout the year, winter in Moab is especially magical. I always wanted to see the red rock country in the winter, and I was delighted with what else I experienced during my December trip to Moab.
Need some help planning your national park road trip? We’ve compiled a list of U.S. national parks by state. Check them off state by state, or pick a route! Either way, we’ve got you covered.