Utah is a place of unfathomable natural beauty—with its unique natural formations, colorful history, and culture, and exciting recreation opportunities—it is a state that contains the best elements of the great Mountain West and the Desert Southwest, from red rock splendor to mountain peaks with The Greatest Snow on Earth®, Utah is a four-season world-class travel destination.
Home to five national parks, Utah is the perfect place for your next family road trip.
Utah’s five spectacular national parks stretch across the southern half of the state. Each park offers the traveler unique, world-class scenic vistas, and geological phenomena. In fact, Utah’s National Parks feature some of the most astonishing landscapes in the world.
Each park shows off a completely different scenic view of the state’s natural beauty.
These national parks are perfect for camping, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, rafting, kayaking, and even golf.
Before you start packing the RV and inflating the mountain bike tires, let’s take a closer look at what you can expect at each of Utah’s breathtaking national parks.
Zion National Park
The soaring towers and massive monoliths of Zion offer a spectacular grandeur. Recently celebrating its 101st year as a national park, it is also Utah’s most popular park, welcoming nearly 2.6 million visitors in 2010.
A multi-passenger shuttle system is the only motorized transportation allowed in the main canyon during peak season. The open-air shuttles allow visitors to enjoy Zion’s lofty formations such as the Great White Throne, Angels Landing, and Weeping Rock. It also includes a “town loop” that stops in the town of Springdale at the park’s south entrance.
Visitors can still use private vehicles to tour the park on Utah Highway 9, but RV and other over-sized vehicles are subject to restrictions and a fee charged for escort through a mountain tunnel.
There are numerous easy, self-guided trails in Zion, including Gateway to the Narrows, which is suitable for strollers and wheelchairs with assistance. More adventurous or strenuous hikes are also found in the park such as The Subway, Angels Landing, and The Narrows.
Two entrances to Zion are 33 miles east of I-15 or 12 miles west of U.S. Highway 89, both on Utah Highway 9. The northern Kolob Canyons section is accessible off I-15, 18 miles south of Cedar City.
Visitor centers, campgrounds, and the historic Zion Lodge are open year-round.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is actually less of a canyon than it is a series of natural amphitheaters sunk into pink cliffs and filled with delicate red rock “hoodoos.”
Millions of years of wind, water, and geologic forces have shaped and etched the surreal landscape. The most brilliant hues of the park come alive with the rising and setting of the sun. Bryce is an unforgettable experience.
Located 24 miles southeast of the town of Panguitch, the park is open year-round and the area is popular with the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing crowd in the winter months. Summertime offers a myriad of walking and hiking trails along the rim and toward the bottom of the canyon. Many visitors think it’s even better seen from horseback.
The 37-mile scenic drive will also get you to key overlooks and vistas, such as Sunrise, Sunset, Rainbow, Yovimpa, and Inspiration Points.
The visitor center is open year-round. Bryce Canyon Lodge, a National Historic Landmark, is open April through November.
Come visit Utah. Come and live Life Elevated®!
Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.”
—Walt Whitman, Song for the Open Road