When you think of Utah, you probably think of Arches National Park. The Delicate Arch image welcomes you into the state on major highways, and it is on many license plates statewide. It’s the classic Utah National Park with many sites to offer: arches, spines, towers and slot canyons.
Take a classic drive through the park to see the sites or grab your Stash 18 to take simple hikes to arch viewpoints.
Known For: Highest density of arches in the world
Location: Eastern Utah, 235 miles from Salt Lake City Airport
Nearest city: Moab, Utah (5 miles)
Size: 119 square miles
Classic sites to see: Delicate Arch Landscape Arch Balanced Rock Devil’s Garden Fiery Furnace
Canyonlands and Arches are just 25 miles apart, but have so much to offer individually. While Canyonlands hikes are plentiful, if you have a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, you can explore so much more of this National Park.
Canyonlands is split into four distinct districts that offer different feels and terrain: Island in the Sky The Maze The Needles Horseshoe Canyon
So sit back, grab your Drift PIllow, and take in the wild ride into Canyonlands’ red rock maze.
Location: Eastern Utah 245 miles from Salt Lake City Airport
Known For: 4-Wheel Drive roads through vast red rock terrain
Nearest city: Moab, Utah (30 miles)
Size: 527 square miles
Classic sites to see: Elephant Hill Roadside Ruin Green River Overlook White Rim Road (4-wheel drive)
Camping in park: Island in the Sky (Willow Flat) Campground The Needles Campground
Capitol Reef is an overlooked Utah National Park gem. Centrally located near Torrey, Utah, the park is far away from major cities, which offers a secluded feel. Not only can you get amazing views of the night sky, but you can also hike on top of red rock rims, over slick rock, through washes, and more.
Not only is there a campground and multiple primitive campgrounds, you can also explore the National Park with an extensive backcountry trail system. Pack up your Motion 60, and get ready for an adventure tucked away in the Utah wilderness.
Location: South Central Utah 218 miles from Salt Lake City Airport
Known For: Great Milky Way and Night Sky Views
Nearest city: Torrey ( 4 miles) Fruita (7 miles)
Size: 378 square miles
Classic sites to see: Goosenecks Grand Wash Cassidy Arch Fruit orchards
Camping in park: Fruita Campground Cathedral Valley Primitive Campground Cedar Mesa Primitive Campground Backpacking trails (Must get free permits)
Bryce Canyon is small and lesser known, but it is bizarre. The good kind. Drive through the park for views of hoodoo-filled amphitheaters at the top of the Grand Staircase of Utah. At elevation levels from 8,000 to 9,000, you get amazing red and orange rock views, sometimes contrasting with white snow late fall to early spring. .
Grab your Bryce Canyon Blanket and easily drive back into the park with viewpoints along the way, or take hikes down into the hoodoos for a closer look. Peep through windows and arches, and stand under large towers to make you feel small.
Location: Southern Utah 273 miles from Salt Lake City Airport
Known For: Largest collection of hoodoos in the world
Nearest city: Bryce, Utah (1 Mile)
Size: 55.98 square miles
Classic sites to see: Inspiration Point Queen’s Garden Rim Trail Natural Bridge
While Delicate Arch is the face of Utah, we can’t forget the first Utah National Park: Zion. With two sections, the Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon, you will be able to explore tall red rock walls and a surprising amount of greenery in the most- southern National Park in Utah.
Stock up your Splash 25 with drinking water, snacks, and some sturdy hiking shoes, to head into the stunning canyons of Zion.
Location: Southern Utah 313 miles from Salt Lake airport
Known For: Being Utah’s First National Park
Nearest city: Springdale, Utah (1 mile)
Size: 229 square miles
Classic sites to see: Zion - Mount Carmel Highway Tunnel Angels Landing The Grotto The Narrows
Camping in park: Lava Point Campground South Campground Watchman Campground
Utah has the 3rd most National Parks out of all the United States, and while all offer beautiful red rock, they all make you feel like you are on a totally different planet.
When visiting National Parks, remember to leave no trace. This includes paying attention to closures in the park, staying on trail to preserve precious biological soil, and packing out trash in your bag.