Southern Utah:

Ultimate Road Trip Guide

Southern Utah:

Ultimate Road Trip Guide

Destinations: Check out the Map!

Length of Stay: 10 nights (September 2018)

Lodging: $29/night Average

Although this was my (Josh) second time in Utah, we both were overwhelmingly impressed by the National Parks this state had to offer. Utah is home to a vast amount of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and 5 National Parks! Before arriving, we had planned to visit Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park.

Unfortunately, we didn't realize both Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks were also in Utah until we got there so we didn't plan enough time to really spend time in them. But we have plans to make it back out and cross these off our bucket list because we were more than impressed with the three parks we made it to.

As we made our way out of California from Joshua Tree National Park we started with our stay at Bryce Zion Campground which was central to both Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park.

From the wild hoo-doos in Bryce Canyon to camping on BLM land along the Colorado River, we got a great taste of what Utah has to offer. All in all, we loved Utah and wished we could have stayed longer because it is definitely one of our favorite states. Be sure to check out our posts below to get a quick peak of what this state has to offer!

As an added bonus, this campground was even closer to Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park which is a popular spot for riding ATVs and sand-boarding. Before we made our way to Arches National Park we decided to take a detour through Monument Valley which you might recognize from the scene in the movie Forrest Gump where Forrest states "I'm kinda tired, I think I'll go home now."

 

As an added bonus, this campground was even closer to Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park which is a popular spot for riding ATVs and sand-boarding. Before we made our way to Arches National Park we decided to take a detour through Monument Valley which you might recognize from the scene in the movie Forrest Gump where Forrest states "I'm kinda tired, I think I'll go home now."

From the wild hoo-doos in Bryce Canyon to camping on BLM land along the Colorado River, we got a great taste of what Utah has to offer. All in all, we loved Utah and wished we could have stayed longer because it is definitely one of our favorite states. Be sure to check out our posts below to get a quick peak of what this state has to offer!

See how this fits into the North American Road Trip:

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park was first on our list during our tour through southern Utah. We learned that the land making up and surrounding the park holds significant historical value to the region. It also seemed to be the most eco-friendly park that we had been to. They offered both a free shuttle service powered by alternative fuel sources and free water refill stations (also offered in Arches National Park). Zion was also in the test phase of transitioning the shuttle service to a full EV fleet while we were there in September 2018.

From the drive-it-yourself Zion Mt. Carmel highway winding through the Zion Valley to the Zion Scenic Drive (accessible by shuttle), this park has plenty of hiking trails and beautiful landscape features. There is even a free human history museum that allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the awe inspiring environment that the park has to offer.

We found a really cool campground equidistant from both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, so that is how we split our stay between the two parks. We loved that they had a horse ranch on the property and even let us feed them. 😉 This campground was also about a 30 minute drive to the picturesque Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park that has rolling dunes open to sand boarders and dune buggy enthusiasts. It makes the perfect day trip in between seeing the two parks.

We found a really cool campground equidistant from both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, so that is how we split our stay between the two parks. We loved that they had a horse ranch on the property and even let us feed them. 😉 This campground was also about a 30 minute drive to the picturesque Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park that has rolling dunes open to sand boarders and dune buggy enthusiasts. It makes the perfect day trip in between seeing the two parks.

Bryce Canyon
National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon actually ended up being our favorite out of the three National Parks we saw in Southern Utah which definitely took us by surprise. The hoo-doos of Bryce were truly a sight to behold. The hike that sold us was the Wall Street to Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop. Hiking down the Wall Street canyon of hoo-doos was absolutely incredible. From there we decided to continue on to the Queen's Garden/Navajo loop which provided sweeping views into Bryce Amphitheater. To finish it all off, we ended by doing the Sunset to Sunrise point trail which gave us a view from above of the hike we just completed.

After starting out our day with a phenomenal hike, we continued on with the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. This is an 18 mile road that runs through the park with a turnoff that leads to both Bryce Point and Inspiration Point. The scenic drive offers many trailheads through Bryce's various amphitheaters, or canyons. It is possible to complete a point-to-point hike from one stop on the scenic drive to another. The park also offers a free shuttle service that runs up and down the scenic drive to each of the stops. All-in-all we wish we spent more time in the park and would recommend doing hikes down into the hoo-doo canyons in order to experience how big these rock features actually are.

After starting out our day with a phenomenal hike, we continued on with the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. This is an 18 mile road that runs through the park with a turnoff that leads to both Bryce Point and Inspiration Point. The scenic drive offers many trailheads through Bryce's various amphitheaters, or canyons. It is possible to complete a point-to-point hike from one stop on the scenic drive to another. The park also offers a free shuttle service that runs up and down the scenic drive to each of the stops. All-in-all we wish we spent more time in the park and would recommend doing hikes down into the hoo-doo canyons in order to experience how big these rock features actually are.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park holds a special place in my heart and was a real treat being able to go back for a second time. From the stunning BLM land available for camping around Moab to the awe inspiring arches scattered throughout the park, this place is really a magical place to visit. You can check out our sweet off-grid setup at Hittle Bottom Campground where we spent 3 nights camped along the Colorado River.

We were even pleased to see the National Parks Service going green and offering water refill stations throughout the park. Not only does that help eliminate plastic bottle usage, it also provides an essential hiking resource that kept our bodies going so we could make the most of our hikes!

Of course, most people imagine the famous Delicate Arch (pictured to the right) when they think of Arches National Park. However, this park has so much more to offer and even has some cool off-roading terrain that can be taken advantage of. We especially loved the Devil's Garden trail that featured a handful of arches including the largest arch in the park, Landscape Arch, spanning at 306 feet! Check out our post to read more about the hikes and features that can be found at Arches.

Of course, most people imagine the famous Delicate Arch (pictured to the right) when they think of Arches National Park. However, this park has so much more to offer and even has some cool off-roading terrain that can be taken advantage of. We especially loved the Devil's Garden trail that featured a handful of arches including the largest arch in the park, Landscape Arch, spanning at 306 feet! Check out our post to read more about the hikes and features that can be found at Arches.

See more of Southern Utah & Arizona

If you take the southern route between Zion and Arches through Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend is along the way. This unique 270° turn in the Colorado River is an iconic site that is worth the visit. Read more about it here...

Monument Valley is an incredible region that spans both Arizona and Utah. However, the Utah side is home to famous scene in Forrest Gump where he stops running. Read more about it here...

If you take the southern route between Zion and Arches through Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend is along the way. This unique 270° turn in the Colorado River is an iconic site that is worth the visit. Read more about it here...

See more of Southern Utah & Arizona

Pink Coral Sand Dunes is located less than an hour from Zion. It's a great place to visit on an off day between both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Read more about it here...

Monument Valley is an incredible region that spans both Arizona and Utah. However, the Utah side is home to famous scene in Forrest Gump where he stops running. Read more about it here...

If you take the southern route between Zion and Arches through Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend is along the way. This unique 270° turn in the Colorado River is an iconic site that is worth the visit.  Read more about it here...

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By |2019-05-15T05:04:05-04:00September 2nd, 2018|Destinations, Road Trips|0 Comments

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