The Ultimate Utah National Parks Road Trip

Road trips through Utah’s national parks promise an array of breathtaking geographic features. From Moab to Bryce Canyon to National Arches Park, Utah is a playground for mountain bikers, kayakers, off-roaders, rock climbers, hikers, and anyone who loves seeing the great west. Utah boasts five national parks, which account for almost 2% of the total land in the state. The desert, mountains, canyons, and more leave visitors coming back time and time again. Bring along a road trip map so you don't get lost on your great Utah national parks adventure.


How to Plan a Road Trip through Utah's National Parks

Utah road trips are beautiful year-round, however, certain parks (like Arches and Canyonlands) are easier to visit in cooler months. Utah is an arid, desert climate, so the summer months can be exceptionally hot. The best times to visit are in the moderate months of April through May, or early fall from September to October. Then, the crowds and temperatures are more favorable. These lighter trafficked months are the more affordable, budget-friendly hotel and lodging options, which are at peak prices during the busy tourist seasons


How Long Does It Take to See All 5 National Parks in Utah?

You’ll want to plan ahead for at least a week or two to really get the full experience and visit all five parks: Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. Most folks start their Utah adventure in either Salt Lake City or Las Vegas, but you could even begin the trip as far as Denver. You can visit the main five, often called the Mighty Five, in only eight days, but it’s recommended to add on additional days in order to enjoy more hiking and other outdoors activities. Typically, the Mighty Five trip begins in Zion or Arches, but you can make the trip whatever route best suits you or split it up into more than one.


The Big Five Must-See National Parks in Utah

The beautiful red rock part of the country is stunning with photographic opportunities everywhere, and each park offers something a little different. All explorers, runners, hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers, kayakers, and more will find Utah’s Mighty Five road trip worthy of adventure.


Arches National Park

Known for its iconic arches throughout the park and striking geographical features, Arches is a great first stop when traveling into Utah. Close to Moab and just four hours from Salt Lake City or five hours from Denver, Moab and and Arches offer opportunities to kayak down the Colorado River, rock climb on Wall Street, and hike through some eye-opening trails and views throughout the park. Arches is a great way to begin your Utah 5 national parks trip, but Canyonland, right around the corner, is also a fine place to start.


Canyonland National Park

A perfect spot for off-roading, Canyonland is only a short drive from Arches, but boasts completely different geography, even though it is just down the road. Canyonland, known for its flat mesa views, has been carved for years by the Colorado River and features drawings and rock paintings from ancient Native Americans. Canyonlands is the largest national park in Utah and has mesas, arches, buttes, and canyons throughout the landscape. Refer to your national parks guide at the end of each stop to get inspiration about specific spots and landmarks you’ll want to see next.


Capitol Reef National Park

Further into south-central Utah, about a couple hours drive from Arches and Canyonlands, Capitol Reef National Park provides a different experience with its geography. Some highlights of Capitol Reef include the Chimney Rock pillar and Cathedral Valley. The different colors of terrain at Reef National Park provide wonder and Glass Mountain shows different features with new growth and selenite crystals. The Utah Mighty Five road trip map features Capitol Reef as a shorter stop, but depending on the time you have, you could spend several days here as well.


Zion National Park

Arguably one of the most famous national parks in the state of Utah is Zion National Park, located in the southwest corner. Not only does the park feature beautiful red rocks and cliffs, but also forests, waterfalls, and rivers. Known for the Emerald Pools along the Virgin River, Zion Narrows allow travelers and visitors to wade along the river. The adventurous types might explore bouldering or canyoneering at Angel's Landing, one of the nation's most dangerous hikes in a national park. Four-wheel drive vehicles are best when roaming deep into the park, and many of the hikes are closed during winter months due to snow and ice, so it is best to visit in the spring, summer, or fall months. 


Bryce Canyon National Park

Although a lesser-known stop, Bryce Canyon National Park should definitely be included in your Utah national parks itinerary. Bryce Canyon is an all-time favorite spot for hikers in southern Utah and it is home to spire-shaped rock formations, which make it one of the more exciting spots to take selfies and photographs in nature. Many overlooks exist throughout the terrain and are known for spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Bryce Canyon is home to plenty of natural amphitheaters, making it a great place to pull out a guitar or sing a song. 


Traveling in Utah's National Parks

Utah is an arid environment, so be sure to bring water, sunscreen, and protective clothing like sunglasses, hats, and more. Whether you fly into Denver, Salt Lake City, or Las Vegas, consider renting an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle while you explore the rugged terrain. Check-in with your hotel concierge or the front desk staff to get more information on the local areas, what hikes might be open or closed, and consider the amount of time you want to spend traveling.

The Utah Mighty Five national parks road trip offers a world of splendor, wildlife, and adventure. Plan ahead and pack it into eight days, or traverse through this great state over the course of a few weeks. Between Zion, Canyonland, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef, you'll find rivers, lakes, and some of the most unique geography in the United States. Enjoy your trip and don't forget the sunscreen and your Utah national parks maps.


Where Should I Stay While Seeing the National Parks in Utah?

When traveling through the beautiful state of Utah, staying at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts  offers a number of great spots along the way. Consider Wyndham Hotels & Resorts as part of your Utah five national parks road trip this year.

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.