All The Reasons To Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona
There was a long list of reasons to road trip around Utah and Arizona.
It started with just magnificent natural beauty. There were then so many fun ways we got outside and enjoyed this outdoor space. And when we needed a break, there were luxurious spots for a pampering break. We ate so well at every stop. And then headed off for some new wine tasting experiences. And when we thought there was nothing more to see, the sky provided yet another show!
A Great Road Trip Plan For Utah And Arizona
We planned a great road trip around Utah and Arizona. The adventure started in Salt Lake City. We then headed to Moab, Utah and started our exploration of the Utah National Parks. From there we next visited Bryce Canyon and finished with Zion National Park.
After Utah we explored Arizona from north to south. Our first stop was in Page and we explored the Powell Lake area. In Sedona, we headed our for day trips to enjoy the Sedona Valley. A short stop in Scottsdale took us to a very different geography. And we finished up with a week in Tucson and a little pampering.
On our travel to Salt Lake City and home from Tucson, we maximized our airline points. This meant connecting flights through San Francisco on both trips to We were delighted when this provided an additional bonus. The window seat views gave us another perspective on the stunning scenery we saw on our road trip around Utah and Arizona.
What we boarded our flight home in Tucson at sunrise after 4 weeks, we were truly sorry to go. We enjoyed all the great reasons to visit Utah and Arizona. And we could not wait to return!
So Many Great Things To See
We found so many great things to see when we did a road trip around Utah and Arizona. We started our visit with an awesome display of fall leaf colour. From Salt Lake City in Utah, we drove the Mt Nebo Scenic Loop. And then travelled around the Wasatch Mountains with friends to Park City.
We saw the mighty Colorado River from so many spots. On our stay in Moab, Utah, we drove along the side as the river meandered by the town. We saw the Colorado River far below us when we stood on the edge at Horseshoe Bend on our stay in Page, Arizona. And we saw the massive Glen Canyon Dam which kept the river under control.
On our visit to Sedona, we saw the beautiful Chapel of the Holy Cross built into the rock face.
We saw people perched in the Rock in the Hole on our stay in Scottsdale, Arizona. Far in the distance we saw Camelback Mountain perched like a resting camel. Just a few of the interesting rock shapes we found.
While we did not see any large animals on our road trip to Utah and Arizona, we found an interesting variety of wildlife as we travelled in the outdoor spaces.
Before we visited Arizona, we thought of cactus as living in dry dusty spaces. And while we found many of those, we also saw incredibly green spaces resplendent with great cactus gardens.
There was no end to the beautiful things we saw when we visited Utah and Arizona.
Fun And Exciting Things To Do
We were sorry we missed the chance to do a hot air balloon ride. It was a lesson learned about booking our adventures in advance. But we intentionally passed on rapelling down the rock faces in Zion National Park. But we still had so many fun adventures on our road trip to Utah and Arizona.
Explore The National Parks
We started our exploration of the National Parks with the big five Utah National Parks. It was amazing to visit Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and then Zion National Park. Each was unique and stunning in its own right.
When we stayed in Tucson for a week, we enjoyed the chance to drive through the Saguaro National Park. It was a very different National Park from the red rock we saw on most of our road trip around Utah and Arizona.
We visited the National Parks in Utah and Arizona. Definitely one of the top reasons to visit! We were sure glad we invested in a National Park Pass for this trip.
We did many of the easier hikes on our visit to parks. And we saw so much doing just the scenic drives. So if hiking was an issue, you could still enjoy the majesty of the National Parks. But there were so many more hiking trails at all levels that we left unexplored on this visit.
Enjoy The Utah State Parks
The National Parks were high on our list when we planned our road trip to Utah and Arizona. But we were not prepared to find so many great state parks too!
We discovered the Mt Nebo Scenic Loop on our stay in Salt Lake City. It offered a twisty climbing road trip, wide vistas and unique rock formations.
Dead Horse State Park was an absolute great stop when we visited Canyonlands National Park. The amazing views over the twisting Columbia River were the perfect start to our day.
When we took the Scenic Byway 24 for our visit to Capitol Reef National Park, we could not resist stopping at Goblins Valley State Park. The wind-carved characters were a fun and whimsical way to see the work of Mother Nature.
There was such a great variety in the state parks we visited. And so many more that we missed on this trip. They should definitely be on an itinerary for a visit to Utah and Arizona.
Plan A Pampering Stay
When we visited to the Utah National Parks, we spent little time in our hotel rooms. Our days were busy. We wanted a place with access to food. And we loved when we got a great outdoor pool to relax at the end of the day.
For our week stay in Tucson we booked a pampering stay at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain. The scenery was stunning, pools were tempting and there was a great range of things to do when we finished relaxing. It was a great spot to use as a base as we explored the Tucson area.
We were glad we planned some down time on our road trip in Utah and Arizona. The stops let us relax and savour all the things we saw and did on this amazing trip.
Eat Great Food Every Day
No road trip was complete without great food experiences. Even when we had busy adventure-filled days, we checked out the local food recommendations.
When we left Capitol Reef National Park, we made sure to pick up a Johnson Orchard apple pie from the on-site bakery at Gifford House.
In Bryce Canyon National Park, we were refreshed with my kind of full salad plate. David opted for the Bison Burger instead.
On our stay in Virgin outside of Zion National Park, we tried several of the local spots. And enjoyed a great view at the same time.
In Scottsdale, the Hermosa Inn was known for Lons Restaurant. We were tempted by so many great dishes.
And on our stay at Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain we had so many amazing meals at the hotel. Or when we enjoyed the views over the golf course.
We were pretty active on our road trip in Utah and Arizona. It was a good thing. Since we ate so well on this trip!
New Wine Tasting Experiences
We love to do wine tasting when we travel. When we planned our road trip to Utah and Arizona, we had no idea we would find some great wine tasting experiences. A a few other drinking surprises.
On our visit to Sedona, we stopped at 3 wineries in the Verde Valley – the DA Ranch, Javelina Leap and Chateau Tumbleweed. There were some interesting new varietals. And each of the wineries were very different in wines and wine tasting approach.
On our stay in Tucson, we headed for out to do wine tasting in the Sonoita area. The Arizona Hops and Vines was the perfect spot to start to sample local Arizona wines. On our second stop at Flying Leap Vineyards we found a much larger vineyard and sampled a variety of local wines.
We were interested to find the that the Flying Leap Vineyards also had a distillery. Vodka and several brandies were on their tasting menu when we visited.
Our first tequila lesson came when we did a tequila tasting with friends at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort. On our stay at Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, we found the daily mixology lessons were a fun way to learn more about and taste a variety of tequila drinks.
We had a lot of fun with wine and liquor tasting experiences on our visit to Utah and Arizona.
Awesome Sky Views
When we booked our trip to Utah and Arizona, we were not really prepared for the high altitude we found for almost the full 4 weeks. Ultimately we adjusted and it didn’t slow us down so much. But the awesome upside to the altitude was the stunning crystal blue skies we saw on our entire trip.
Our days were often long on our road trip in Utah and Arizona. But with such amazing views, we did not want to miss a chance to catch the beauty. On our stay in Sedona, we were up early to catch the sunrises over the Sedona Valley. And to wish we were in the hot air balloons.
Sunset views were always a treat. The red rocks of Utah and Arizona glowed with colour as the sun set. One night in Scottsdale, we went high up to Dobbins Outlook and watched the sun set over Phoenix. And on the nights in Tucson, we made sure to catch the sunset over the cactus.
And we got a treat on our visit to Arizona. The Hunter Moon was in the sky for several nights. We chased it around to different spots in Scottsdale. And then caught it as it rose over the hills on our stay at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain.
There were so many great sky views when we visited Arizona. We were sad we missed the sunrises and sunsets over the Utah National Parks. It was another lesson learned. We needed to book our accommodations much earlier to stay inside the parks. And catch the sun from dawn to dusk.
We Had A Great Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona
A road trip to Utah and Arizona was on our travel planning board for a long time. We skirted both states on several other cross country road trips. And on earlier visits to the National Parks. But had we known there were so many reasons to visit, it would have moved Utah and Arizona up on the list sooner.
We saw and did a lot on our visit to Utah and Arizona. It was a very busy 4 weeks. But there was still so much left on our list of things to see and do. We knew we would be back!
Have you done a road trip Around Utah And Arizona? What was your favourite stop?
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