Utah National Parks Plus Grand Canyon Road Trip

Hit all five national parks in Utah, the Grand Canyon in Arizona plus off-trail adventures in Salt Lake City, Moab, Lake Powell, Four Corners and Kanab on this 1,302-mile trip.
By Tori Peglar ,

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Tandem Stock

Incredible outdoor adventures, six national parks and ancient ruins combine to make this a trip of a lifetime.

Start in Salt Lake City where you may be surprised by the craft brewing scene and how easy it is to get around this city framed by the Great Salt Lake and Wasatch mountains.

Head south to Moab, home to Canyonlands and Arches national parks. From there stop in the Four Corners area towns of Blanding, Bluff and Monticello where ancient ruins, pioneer history and rafting await.

Then point your wheels toward Grand Canyon National Park where you can choose to visit the popular South Rim and/or the less-visited North Rim.

Cool off in Page, Ariz., by exploring Lake Powell by kayak, motor boat or stand-up paddleboard. Don't miss the 710-foot-high Glen Canyon Dam that created Lake Powell.

Then explore the historic town of Kanab, home to artists, ranchers and hundreds of film shoots. It's an easy drive to nearby Bryce, Zion and Capitol Reef national parks where spectacular red sandstone hoodoos, spires, canyons and slickrock await. What follows are some of the best things to do and see along the way.

TIP: Utah, California and the Navajo nation observe daylight saving time, while Arizona does not.

Map

Start: Salt Lake City, Utah

Snowbird Tram.

Photo by Adam Barker courtesy of Visit Salt Lake

Salt Lake City Fix
So you think you know Salt Lake City? We bet you don't know about it's thriving beer scene and five more surprises.

Basecamp in Moab for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

Adobe Stock

Moab is the gateway to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, as well as Dead Horse Point State Park, and the cool waters of the Colorado River.

Moab's Top 7 Things to Do
With so many things to do in Moab, choose among our favorite seven things to do with family including a boat tour with Canyonlands by Night & Day, seeing life-sized dinosaurs at Moab Giants, and five more.

Four Corners Region

Stars and Smores program at the Canyon Country Discovery Center. 

Photo courtesy of Canyon Country Discovery Center

Monticello's Canyon Country Discovery Center
If you could take the entire sensory experience of the Four Corners region and squeeze it into a building, it would look like the state-of-the-art Canyon Country Discovery Center. The center also offers outdoor trips in the Colorado Plateau including Bears Ears National Monument.

Blanding's Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum
Get a true sense of the ancient peoples who inhabited ancient ruins in the four corners region of Utah. Read more about Edge of Cedars and 6 other Utah State Parks.

3 Things to Do in Bluff.
This small outpost is home to incredible family-friendly river trips, a great museum and one of the most-photographed attractions in the Southwest.
Read more.

Grand Canyon National Park - South Rim

Sunset at Desert View Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Deposit Photos

Open 365 days a year, the South Rim offers plenty of activities, restaurants and, of course, gorgeous views. View our top things to do in 48 hours.

GyPSy Guide South Rim Driving Tour App
Feel like you're touring with a local in your car. The Gypsy Guide app uses your phone or tablet’s location to play commentary about attractions as you drive. Learn more at gypsyguide.com/tour/grand-canyon-south-rim/

Leave Your Car When You Stay at Yavapai Lodge
Sleep in a forest of ponderosa pine trees near Grand Canyon's South
Rim. The Yavapai Lodge's restaurant, tavern and nearby market and shuttle stopmake navigating the rim easy.

Page, Tuba City and Lake Powell

Stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Powell

Lake Powell Paddleboards

Living it Up at the Lake
Lake Powell is so large it can be difficult to know how to navigate it to make the most of your time. Here are the top four things to do.

More: Set off on an outdoor adventure on a houseboat on Lake Powell with the comforts of home at hand and explore 2,000 miles of shoreline with incredible scenery at your own pace.
Read more.

Experience Hopi and Moenkopi Legacy Inn
People have been living in Old Oraibi for nearly 1,000 years. Tour this ancient village as well as other significant Hopi sites, and conveniently stay at the Moenkopi Legacy Inn.

Fab Kanab

The slot canyon known as "The Wave" in Coyote Buttes North.

Courtesy Kane County Office of Tourism

Kanab offers easy access to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Kanab's Fab Four Things to Do
Avoid the crowds, enjoy fantastic food and discover the hidden gems along the way to the Southwest’s most popular national parks.

More: Most travelers have heard of “The Wave” but are unaware of the surrounding canyons that are just as jaw-dropping such as White PocketRead more on our Utah Park's website

Zion National Park

Zion Canyon

Kyle Ford

Inside this national park, massive canyon walls reach toward the sky. As visitors drive through Zion National Park, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the size and vertical orientation of the canyon walls that are all around you. Read more.

Beyond Zion in Springdale and St. George
Zion National Park's beauty does not end at the park boundary. Here are six ways to experience the area and escape the park’s crowds

Bryce Canyon National Park

Panorama of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Deposit Photos

Maximize your experience at Bryce Canyon National Park by driving to Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce viewpoints. These are all spectacular overlooks of the park’s red hoodoos shooting up against evergreen forests in the background. 

Best Scenic Route in Utah's Bryce Canyon Country
These little towns along Hwy. 12 make for a unique vacation.

The Closest Hotel to Bryce Canyon is Ruby's Inn
Ruby's Inn and Adventures is at the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park. Stay at two hotels, an RV park, tipis, cabins, or the campground. Go on a Bryce Canyon adventure on a bike, ATV, or horse. Give back to Bryce with Ruby's Inn Dollar Check-Off Program

Capitol Reef National Park

Hickman Natural Bridge in Capitol Reef National Park

Deposit Photos

A diversity of landscape like no other in Utah, Capitol Reef National Park and surrounding area has red rock formations, arches, plateaus, meadows, forests, lush green valleys and astounding deserts.

End: Salt Lake City, Utah