Savor the Southwest on a 2-Week National Parks Road Trip

Famed for its barren, cactus-studded landscapes, the Southwest makes for a classic American road trip. A slew of spectacular national parks lie scattered through this arid region, full of otherworldly arches and cragged canyons. From the monolith rocks of Monument Valley National Park to the twisted vegetation of Joshua Tree National Park, the Southwest is bliss for the solitude-seeking nature lover.

If you’re wondering how to plan a trip to national parks in the Southwest, check out this action-packed itinerary. Our two-week national parks road trip bounces between the region’s most jaw-dropping sights.


A 2-Week National Park Road Trip Itinerary in the Southwest

Starting and finishing in Las Vegas, this route runs 1,574 miles—not including all the detours you’ll do within each park. That totals around 26 hours of driving time, which is an average of about two hours per day.

Since you’re covering seven national parks, you’ll get around two days in each park to explore (minus driving time). If that sounds too rushed, consider dropping one or two parks from your itinerary.

Don't have two weeks? A national park sroad trip can take as much or little time as you want. There are no hard and fast rules.


Las Vegas

We’ll start and end our trip in Sin City. Las Vegas is the most convenient big city with a major airport that provides easy access to the Southwest’s remarkable national parks.


Death Valley National Park

The first stop is Death Valley National Park, a 2.5-hour drive from downtown Las Vegas. This sparse park spans 3.4 million acres of hauntingly beautiful deserts and dunes. It gets deadly hot during the summer here, hence the name.

Don’t miss Badwater Basin, a surreal salt lake that sits 282-feet below sea level— the lowest point in America. Zabriskie Point is an iconic lookout offering beautiful Death Valley views. Another must-see is Artists Palette, a rainbow-like ochre-hued hill formed from rich volcanic deposits.


Joshua Tree National Park

It’ll take about four hours to get to Joshua Tree National Park, so leave early and pack lots of snacks. Wedged between the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, this popular national park is named after the unique Joshua Trees that thrive in an arid landscape. Millennia-old rock formations and sweeping valleys ensure epic views at every turn.


Skull Rock

Skull Rock is the quintessential photo-op; true to its name, the rock looks remarkably like a skull. Wander along the boardwalk in the Cholla Cactus Garden to admire its prickly vegetation. Cottonwood Spring Oasis, Barker Dam, and Hidden Valley have outstanding trails if you’re in the mood for a hike.


Grand Canyon National Park

A six-hour drive gets you to Grand Canyon National Park (this is the longest travel day on your tour), but the long commute will be well worth it the moment you lay eyes on this magnificent, world-famous ravine. Millions of years of erosion have left layered strips of stark red rock, a psychedelic visual effect that consistently leaves visitors in awe.

Scenic lookouts line the south rim of the one-mile-deep canyon: Mather Point, Hopi Point, and Shoshone Point. The north rim receives far fewer visitors, which is perfect when you want to avoid the crowds. For a more adventurous Grand Canyon experience, try hiking or white-water rafting along the Colorado River below.


Monument Valley National Park

In just under three hours, you’ll reach Utah’s marvelous Monument Valley National Park. This sparse, red sand region is famed for the enormous sandstone buttes that protrude high into the sky. As the scene of countless Western films, this jaw-dropping park is a classic road trip destination.

The best way to view these towering craggy monuments is on the 17-mile Valley Drive. A series of scenic lookouts let you pause and admire the landscape—John Ford’s Point is a landmark you won’t want to miss. 


Arches National Park

Another three-hour drive gets you to Arches National Park—home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches and other geological oddities. Hiking trails and scenic drives criss-cross the rugged terrain, each with ample lookouts for panoramic views.

Don’t miss the red-stained Delicate Arch in the east or the spindly Landscape Arch in the north. Another highlight is Balanced Rock, a precariously placed boulder on a column that looks like it could topple at any minute.


Bryce Canyon National Park

A 4.5-hour drive west leads you to Bryce Canyon National Park, famed for its towering hoodoo spires and impressive natural amphitheater. The prime time to view these majestic formations is at sunrise or sundown.

The 18-mile Scenic Drive takes you to the park’s top lookouts, including Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, Sunrise Point, and Sunset Point. Take time to reflect in Bryce Amphitheater, a hoodoo-strewn bowl-shaped area that makes for an incredible photo-op. Hikers mustn’t miss the Rim Trail, a stunning 11-mile route that passes the park’s top attractions (shorter variations are available).


Zion National Park

It’ll take you 1.5 hours to reach Zion National Park, your seventh and final national park of the trip. The highlight here is stunning Zion Canyon—a steep, rugged ravine enclosed by stark red stone cliffs. The gushing Virgin River carved this chasm over millions of years, and you won’t want to miss the waterfalls and hanging gardens of Emerald Pools.

Take the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to marvel at the 2,000-foot canyon, stopping off at numerous lookouts along the route. To explore on foot, The Narrows has you wade through water in a challenging but spectacular trail while the Subway is a tube-like slot canyon wedged between two enormous cliffs.


Exploring All of America’s National Parks

Are you looking for more than a two-week trip? It’s possible to explore all of America’s national parks in one epic itinerary.

So, how long would a road trip to all the U.S. national parks take? If you went the fastest possible route, you’d be covering around 15,000 miles in total. That means driving to every national park would take at least two months at a quick pace. 


Book Your Road Trip Accommodations with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

After a long day of driving and hiking through these amazing national parks, you’re going to want a nice hotel for a solid night’s sleep.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has a wide array of comfortable and cost-effective accommodations throughout the Southwest, including numerous options near these seven epic national parks.

Find your stops, book your stays, hit the road. It’s the easiest way to book and go on the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts app.


Enjoy member-only perks and earn points for your stays to redeem for free and discounted nights at thousands of hotels worldwide.*



Terms & Conditions

*Point redemption levels & cash payment amounts vary by property & in the case of points, can be as high as 30,000 points per bedroom.  Member must have enough points for all bedrooms in desired accommodation to book. Resort & other fees may apply (even for Go Free nights); points can’t be used to pay them.  Most properties: award applies to standard room rate only (go free: including taxes, go fast: excluding taxes). Awards subject to availability, blackout dates/rates & other restrictions; see for more information.