Utah's Bucket List - National Parks

    Known for its incredible skiing, Utah also has a hidden gem, its national parks.

    The Hike Leading up to Angels Landing in Zion National Park Utah.


    The Virgin River adds stark contrast to the steep red cliffs.
    Located in Southwestern Utah, Zion National Park is crown jewel of Utah's 5 National Parks. With an average of 4 million visitors a year, Zion is the third most visited park in the entire country. But what attracts millions of visitors here each year?

    At The crossroads of the Colorado Plateau, The Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert, Zion National Park Blends all three into one extremely unique area. Blending all three areas into one canyon filled with red rocks and lush green river filled valleys. Zion was designated as Utah's first National Park on November 19th, 1919. Being featured in various films throughout the years, Zions otherworldly landscape is some of the most recognizable by nature enthusiast.

    Points of interest

    If you want the best view in all the park, you must hike Angel's Landing. This 5 mile round trip hike is not for those afraid of heights. Large sections of the hike feature a 3 foot wide trail with sheer drops on both sides. 21 switchbacks provide rapid elevation gain to those who are brave enough to venture up. Once at the top though, you'll realize it was all worth it with stunning views of the canyon 1,500 feet below.

    If you're looking for a hike that's a bit easier, head over to Emerald pools. With only around 600 feet of elevation change, you can visit all three of these oasis type pools. With stunning waterfalls, and views of red cliffs in all directions, it is the perfect place to cool off in the summer months. Once at the pools you will be surrounded by green vegetation that's not typically thought of in the desert.

    The Narrows allow you to go to the narrowest part of Zion Canyon. The hike is highly regarded as one of the best in all of the Colorado Plateau. With a paved path leading right up to the river, anyone can see its beauty. For those that want to venture farther, you must trek through the shallow Virgin River. The beauty from here is that you can go as far as you want. No matter where you are in The Narrows, your mind will be blown.

    Grab a Bite and drink inside the park at Zion Canyon Brewing Co.
    Delicate Arch is the crown jewel of Arches National Park in Southern Utah


    Delicate Arch is Utah's most iconic landscape. You can spot  this arch on Utah license plates.
    Arches National Park, just north of Moab Utah, contains more than 2,000 majestic sandstone arches. Known for its family friendly hikes, Arches is a great park to visit if you and a group of friends or family want to enjoy Utah's desert beauty. Some of its most famous sights to see is the parks Delicate Arch, Devils Garden, Balanced Rock and Landscape Arch to name a few. In addition to its breathtaking landscapes, Arches is also home to a wide variety of wildlife such as the desert bighorn sheep, rattlesnakes, the red fox and even cougars.

    Points of interest

    Delicate arch is one of Utah's Most recognizable points. The free-standing arch provides a perfect window to the mountains in the distance making it one of the most photographed arches in the park. Chances are, almost everyone has seen pictures of this stunning arch once in their life. The three mile hike is fairly easy, but a view from the road is also available if you are just driving through. This is the parks most popular hike, so get there early to beat the crowds!

    The Window Section features two large elongated arches. This Short hike is perfect for those with children as it is right off of the road. For those that want to continue, there is a larger loop that will provide you with even more views of the windows. The easy trail also provides views of The Parade of Elephants, which got its name for its appearance of a herd of elephants.

    If you want to experience the park from the comfort of your car, take Arches Scenic drive. The 19 mile stretch of highway takes about an hour with no stops, but we assume you'll want to pull off frequently to take in the awe-inspiring beauty the park has to offer.  
    "Everything about this National Park is WOW! The arches are something to see and walk through and walk around."
    Thomas W
    Trip Advisor Review
    Staying in Salt Lake and still wanna hit the trials? Check out our blog on the top five trail running spots
    Bryce Canyons famous Amphitheatre Utah National Parks

    Bryce Canyon

    Inspirational point is a breathtaking scenic view of Bryce Canyon's main amphitheater.
    Bryce Canyon National Park, located in southern Utah, is known for it's series of giant natural amphitheaters that are carved into the edge of a high plateau with thousands of multi-colored rock pinnacles called hoodoos.
    Bryce Canyon offers an abundance of scenic views, hiking trails, and much more fun activities within the park. Some must-stops along the way consist of, Inspirational point, Queen gardens trail, Sunset point, and Fairyland point, to name a few. As you can tell, Bryce Canyon has so much to do and offer, so make it an extended trip and explore all the incredible scenery and activities that Bryce canyon has to offer.

    Points of Interest

    Bryce Canyon offers an abundance of scenic views, hiking trails, and much more fun activities within the park. Some must-stops along the way consist of, Inspirational point, Queen gardens trail, sunset point, and Fairyland point, to name a few. Horseback riding and snowshoeing are popular throughout the park and provide another form of transportation year around.

    Much like the other parks, Bryce canyon features a 38 mile round trip Scenic Byway. With 13 viewpoints, this is the best way to see all the park has to offer if you are tight on time. The drive is estimated to take three hours depending on how many stops you may make along the way. 

    Are you looking for a nighttime activity during your visit? Enjoy stargazing the clear skies as the stars light up the southern desert by viewing our post on top stargazing locations below

    Other top star gazing locations in Utah
    Capital Reef National Park

    Capital Reef

    A beautiful, often underrated Utah park with unique views and locations to visit.
    Capitol Reef is home to towering sandstone structures and magnificent canyons located in the beautiful south central Utah desert known as the Water pocket fold. Everything from Petroglyphs of the Fremont people, to golden sandstone layers, to striking rock formations. Whether advanced or a novice, there is plenty of hiking that can be done from Hickman Bridge arch to Chimney Rock pillar, and some epic views await if you head over to the north side where the towering monoliths of Cathedral Valley are. Breathtaking sunsets, wildlife everywhere, you will not be disappointed visiting Capitol Reef National Park. It is a must see during your time in Utah.

    Points of Interest

    To kick off your visit to Capitol Reef National Park , take a drive down scenic highway 24. Following the Fremont River for 16 miles, this highway will give you the best overview for what they park has to offer. Best of all its Free!

    Just off of Highway 24 you can find Panorama Point. This is the most accessible viewpoint in the park that will give you stunning views of the red rocks that surround you. The hike is only about 100 feet from your car so anyone visiting can do it. There just isn't a bad view from here in any direction.

    Also just off of Highway 24 is the petroglyphs created by ancient Native Americans that once inhabited the land. Pictured above, these rock art figures date somewhere between 600 and 1300 A.D. They include depictions of humans, animals, and abstract shapes.
    Looking to pitch a tent and sleep under the stars? Look no further than Fruita Campground.

    "Probably one of the most underrated national parks! Amazed at its geological beauty! It's not very crowded and has a lot of good hikes. If you've only got a little time there, do the Hickman Bridge, Fremont River, or Capitol George hikes. Pretty short but a lot to see!"
    Kate S
    Trip Advisor Review

    More Information

    Utah's National parks have attracted millions of visitors since their creation. Preserving the natural beauty of the landscapes and wildlife in these parks is reason they were created, so please enjoy them respectfully that way future generations may do the same. The most important part of any trip to the beautiful parks is preparation!

    For more Info on these National Parks, Please visit these sites Below:

    National Parks Service: https://www.nps.gov/index.htm

    Utah Tourism: https://www.visitutah.com/

    Looking to do some shopping while in southern Utah? Click the link below!
    Contributions made by: Zach Brunner, Edward Aguirre, Josh Hall, and Hiatt Bean
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