So Many Reasons To Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona

Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

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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.

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Views for the air.jpg

Views for the air.jpg

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!

 Tucson Airport Sunrise.jpg

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.

Fall Colours Wasatch Mountain Drive to Park City.jpg

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.

Moab Colorado Riverway.jpg

Horseshoe Bend Page Colorado River - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

Glen Canyon Dam Page Colorado River - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

On our visit to Sedona, we saw the beautiful Chapel of the Holy Cross built into the rock face.

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross Church - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

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There was no end to the beautiful things we saw when we visited Utah and Arizona.

Fun And Exciting Things To Do

We took several opportunities to spike our adrenaline levels. On our stay in Moab, Utah we did an off-road jeep adventure that took us up and down rock faces.

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Moab Jeep Adventure Hells Gate - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

When we stayed in Page, Arizona it was a fun afternoon when we went boating along the Navajo Canyon.

Boat Navajo Canyon Page Lake Powell.jpg

Boat Navajo Canyon Page Lake Powell - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

One day on our stay in Sedona, we enjoyed the amazing views of the Sedona Valley from a helicopter.

Guidance Air Helicopter Sedona.jpg

Guidance Air Helicopter Sedona Valley - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

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When we stayed in Page on our visit to Arizona, we enjoyed the chance to visit Glen Canyon National Park. And the stunning views of Powell Lake we got from the Wahweap viewpoints.

Lake Powell Wahweap Lookout Glen Canyon National Park - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

After our stay in Sedona, we took a detour on our trip south in Arizona. We were fascinated by the remains of the cave dwellings at Montezuma Castle National Monument.

Montezuma Castle National Monument - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

Saguaro National Park - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

Saguaro National Park.jpg

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.

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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.

Dead Horse State Park Colorado Overlook - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

Goblins Valley State Park - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

On a day trip on our stay in Tucson, we headed high to catch the scenic views on the Sky Island Scenic Byway up Mt Lemmon.

Mt Lemmon Scenic Road - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

Mt Lemmon Scenic Road - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

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But when we headed south in Arizona, we planned to slow down. We booked the small boutique Hermosa Inn for a holiday long weekend in Scottsdale. This was the quiet refuge we sought.

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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.

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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.

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In Bryce Canyon National Park, we were refreshed with my kind of full salad plate. David opted for the Bison Burger instead.

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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.

Virgin Food River Rock Cafe Pizza - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

In Scottsdale, the Hermosa Inn was known for Lons Restaurant. We were tempted by so many great dishes.

Hermosa Inn Lons Scottsdale Monkey Bread - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain Claytons Burger - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

Verde Valley Wine Tasting Javelina Leap.jpg

Verde Valley Wine Tasting Chateau Tumbleweed - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

Ritz Carleton Dove Mountain Mixology.jpg

Ritz Carleton Dove Mountain Mixology - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

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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.

Sedona Skies Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

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Arizona Skies Sunset Ritz Carleton Dove Mountain - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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.

Arizona Skies Hunter Moon Ritz Carleton Dove Mountain - Road Trip Around Utah And Arizona.jpg

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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About TravelAtWill 575 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

36 Comments

  1. My friend lives in Utah and she shares amazing pictures from there! Ever since then, Utah has been on my ultimate US bucket list. This is such a useful and informative post for those who want to do Arizona and Utah!

  2. Utah and Arizona are absolutely gorgeous states! A helicopter ride over Sedona sounds fantastic. I have yet to take a helicopter ride, but it seems like it would be so much fun and give you such unique views. The cactus garden looks beautiful! I always picture them as lone plants in the middle of the desert, but this is a completely different view on them. The dishes you have pictured at the Lons Restaurant look delicious. And the wine tasting would be a must.

  3. Theres like so so much of awesome stuff to do on a road trip around Utah and Arizona. A road trip is indeed one of the best ways to not only explore the National Parks, but also check out the vineyards, and to take out time for other activities like off roading, and just relaxing.

  4. What an amazing road trip! I have always heard that this is a must see trip! I would love to see Sedona! I really enjoyed reading your recommendations and seeing what you experienced on your trip. It looks like you had the perfect balance of food, heat, views and staying cool! Moab is also on my bucket list! I am very envious to this trip!

  5. My room mate and I delivered cars across the states, and ended up in Scottsdale AZ, and we ended up living there for a year. I fell in love with the desert landscape, and worked in a funky little restaurant along Camelback. I have such fond memories of line dancing and two-stepping in the local bars, and taking hikes in the mountains.

  6. I visited Tempe and Mesa last year, and it really whet my appetite for Arizona, and I have LOVED following your journey. Moab is on my list of places I’d love to go. I really like your route, too – my husband and I are considering an AZ road trip (and Utah, too!), so I need to sit down with him and comb through all you did. It’s a great itinerary!

  7. Utah and Arizona are famous for their natural diversities with many beautiful wonders. You have covered all valid points on why to take road trips here. I would love to go for this road trips as these all trips are very scenic and also road trips are my favorite way to explore a place while traveling. You have wonderful glimpses of crystal blue skies at some altitude and also the catching the first rays of sun at Sedona must be really beautiful. Taking a scenic route of Mt. Nebo must be also beautiful thing to do on this road trip. Thanks for all reasons which really tempts to take this road trip.

  8. A road trip in Utah And Arizona sounds like an awesome fun trip especially with my girl friends. Utah has always been on my list of places to visit and I have been eyeing on the trip for a long time now. How I wish I should have gone there by now. I would love to spend a few weeks there exploring the national park. And I do hope I can travel there soon.

  9. So much of variety that you have managed on this road trip. I am the most amused by the offroading that you did. What a capture that is. The Montezuma Castle National Monument sound very very interesting. I would love to see those cave dwellings for myself.

    • Ami, We loved the variety of things we found to see and do on our road trip in Utah and Arizona. There was definitely something for everyone. And that jeep trip was a great memory. Linda

  10. Aaaah yes, this is my idea of an American road trip! From natural parks to amazing experiences and excellent wine tastings, this itinerary truly has it all. Thanks so much for sharing it, I’m gonna save it for my future road trip 🙂

  11. We went through both Utah and Arizona on our big road trip from California to Yellowstone and back. The sceneries were jaw dropping , so much natural beauty. If ever we get the opportunity to go back, I would want to borrow your itinerary and visit these two states again.

  12. I’ve always wanted to road trip around Arizona for sure, so have so many reasons, and this article just gave me even more. What’s interesting is that I learned that Utah seems to be a wonderful place to travel to. I had no idea. Arizona for sure, with all its beautiful national parks, but I was completely unaware of how exciting Utah could be.

    I love your photos and I didn’t know the Colorado River could look so beautiful. The Horseshoe Bend is a popular place among my friends, but I’ve never been there myself and always thought it would be such a cool place to photograph.

    The sunset views as shown on your pictures look absolutely stunning. I would LOVE to go on a hot air balloon during sunset, I can only imagine how magical that must be.

    I think I might need to add this to my future itinerary! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Ann, I am glad to have shown you how great Utah was. We certainly found more to see and do in both Utah and Arizona than we imagined. And there is still so much more to see. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  13. I loved your post. All the pictures are so amazing that not only made me experience the drive but I also got to taste the good and drinks a bit. This is my dream road trip as Arizona has been on my bucket list for long. The hunter moon looked gorgeous. Sunsets over the red rocks left me see inspired

  14. Such beautiful places! i would love to off-road and go ballooninng in such a place. I have just been in and out of these places – such as Yellowstone in Utah and Grand Canyon/Sedona in Arizona. But your road trip just soaking in these places looks so heavenly. I wish I could be able to spend time like that one day!

  15. Such interesting rock shapes. Camelback Mountain definitely looks as the name suggests. The landscape in all the pictures is picturesque and one of its kind. I would love to add Scottsdale to my itinerary. The salad plate looks super yum. Along with the Utah National Park, Colarado river, I would love to see Glen Canyon Dam.

    • Manujulika, I was amazed at the variety we found as we road tripped from north to south. A little for everyone to do. And yes, the food was great along the way! Linda

  16. The scenery from your flight looks amazing! I have seen so many pictures of the Horse Shoe Bend, I would love to get there someday. The off-road jeep adventure on those kind of rocks sounds like my perfect adventure.

  17. I’ve been to many of the places you discuss, but there are many more places I need to see in Utah and Arizona. In particular, I really want to get to Moab! And I love the way you travel–lots of good food and drinks.

  18. We did a three week tour of Arizona with small forays into Utah. We’ve been wanting to go back for a while and your post is good incentive. I’d love to see Camelback Mountain and Horse Shoe Bend. And everything else!!

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