Wonder and Variety As We Explored The Utah National Parks

Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

So Much To See When We Explored The Utah National Parks

We explored the Utah National Parks on our road trip around Utah and Arizona. And along the way we saw and did so much more!

Fall colours greeted us when we started in Salt Lake City. Great outdoor scenery delighted us at the State and National Parks in Utah. Hikes provided a change of pace. But we got a real dose of adventure when we headed off-road by jeep.

Chasing The Fall Colours

We started our visit to Utah in Salt Lake City. It took us awhile to adjust to the high altitude. But then we headed off to explore. A day trip around the Mt Nebo Scenic Loop provided us with our first view of the fall colours. And some amazing vistas along the way.

Mt Nebo Scenic Loop.jpg

Mt Nebo Scenic Loop.jpg

One day we met up with friends. And they took us around to all their favourite places as we drove through the Wasatch Mountains to Park City. It was so great to visit the lakes and mountains resplendent in fall colours.

Wasatch Mountains To Park City.jpg

Wasatch Mountains To Park City.jpg

Our day trips from Salt Lake City gave us our first view of the majesty of Utah’s outdoor spaces when we visited and explored the Utah National Parks.

Find A Base To Explore The National Parks

After we visited Salt Lake City, we headed southeast. Moab was our base as we explored several of the Utah National Parks. But the town provided so much more! We enjoyed our hotel with a view of the red rocks right out our window. And those rocks towered over the pool as we unwound every day.

Moab Park Views.jpg

The Colorado River went through Moab. A trip along the river was fun by car or by bike. And some people even went rock climbing!

Moab Colorado River Views.jpg

For our visit to Zion, we stayed in the small town of Virgin. It was a good base outside the park. The pool had another stunning view. And we ate so well at local spots!

Fairfield Virgin Pool.jpg

Virgin Food River Rock Cafe Pizza.jpg

We were glad we chose local spots as bases to explore the Utah National Parks. They offered many attractions that kept us fed and entertained. But we wished we booked a bit earlier and stayed inside of both Bryce and Zion parks. The sunrise and sunset views would have been spectacular!

The First Utah National Parks Were Visited From Moab

When we first visited the U.S. National Parks, we missed the parks in Utah. On this trip, we planned to start there. On our stay in Moab, we explored 3 of the Utah National Parks.

The first up was a visit to Arches National Park. We drove through the park and saw the great variety of arches that we expected. Views of the Windows, Skyline and Delicate Arches did not disappoint.

Aches National Park - Windows Arches- Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

Aches National Park - Delicate Arch - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

But we also found such a wide array of interesting rock structures. Rock walls, statues and towers intrigued us. Our first stop to visit Arches National Park whetted our appetite for how stunning the Utah National Parks were.

Aches National Park - Rock Views - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

For a day trip, we explored Canyonlands National Park. The scenic drive took us along the top of the canyon. Each viewpoint provided views of expansive vistas over large rips in the earth.

Canyonlands Grand View Overlook - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

We saw the twisting canyons carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers. And marvelled at the power of Mother Nature. Our visit to Canyonlands National Park provided us with a taste of Island in the Sky. But we knew there were other parts of this park to visit on a return visit.

Canyonlands Green River Overlook - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

On our travel day when we left Moab, we enjoyed the chance to explore Capitol Reef National Park. We loved the great view of the uplifted rocks of the Waterpocket Fold.

Capitol Reef Road Grand Wash - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

And when we took the off-road path into Capitol Gorge, the narrow dirt lane provided yet more fascinating and up-close views of the rock faces. We were very glad we took the Scenic Byway 24 and stopped at Capitol Reef National Park on our travel day.

Canyonlands Capitol Gorge - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

We explored the Utah National Parks in this southeastern region of Utah. And were happy we had more planned.

More National Parks In The Southwestern Region Of Utah

After Moab we headed to the southwestern region of Utah and visited Bryce Canyon National Park. We looked for the iconic hoodoo rock features this park was known for. And certainly found amazing vistas filled with hoodoos.

Bryce Canyon Inspiration Point - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

Bryce Canyon Inspiration Point - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

But on our visit to Bryce Canyon, we were surprised with the panoramic views we got over the canyon floors. And we even found more arches. We only wished we visited Bryce Canyon for the stunning sunrise views.

Bryce Canyon Black Birch Canyon - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

We left the mighty Zion National Park for the last. Many of the Utah National Parks we explored were viewed from the top of the canyons. But in Zion we explored deep in the canyon. The rocks of Zion towered over our heads.

Zion Scenic Road Rocks - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

We enjoyed several hikes in Zion National Park as we explored the Riverside Walk and the trail to the Emerald Pools. But there were so many other hikes that were left for a return visit.

Zion Riverwalk Canyon Views - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

Zion Riverwalk Canyon Views.jpg

We enjoyed our days as we explored the Utah National Parks in the southwestern region. They certainly left us wanting more!

Don’t Miss The Utah State Parks

When we planned to visit the Utah National Parks, we never really looked into the state parks. But we discovered a real treat on this trip to Utah.

When we stayed in Salt Lake City, we explored our first Utah state park as we drove the Mt Nebo Scenic Loop and looked at the fall colours. We even got our first view of hoodoos to tease us before we visited Bryce Canyon!

Mt Nebo Scenic Loop - Devils Kitchen - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

On our day trip to visit Canyonlands National Park, we started our day with amazing views out over the canyons at Dead Horse State Park.

Dead Horse State Park Colorado Overlook - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

When we drove along Scenic Byway 24, our first stop was to see the fun and whimsical Goblins Valley National Park.

Goblins Valley Rocks - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

Goblins Valley Rocks - Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

We planned to explore the National Parks. But we were glad we added the state parks to our itinerary. And there were so many we did not see on this trip!

Don’t Miss A Little Excitement On Your Visit

There were all kinds of way to get your adrenaline going when we explored the Utah National Parks. Most of the times, our hikes were relatively easy for anyone to do. But the parks offered many hikes that really were for more serious hikers. Hiking in water or on the top of narrow rock fins were things some people planned. And for more excitement, some tried repelling down the rocks.

Zion Riverwalk Angels Landing Rapelling.jpg

We got our hearts racing when we took an off-road jeep adventure from Moab. We expected a pretty tame trip along level ground. What we got was a rock climbing jeep that took us up and down rock faces. Until we finished hours later with a sunset view.

Moab Off Road Twisted Jeeps.jpg

Moab Off Road Twisted Jeeps.jpg

There were lots of adventure tours into the Utah National Parks. A little bit of something for everyone.

We Explored The Utah National Parks And Fell In Love

On our road trip around Utah and Arizona, we were glad we explored the Utah National Parks and were stunned with the beauty we found. There were iconic sights and surprises too. One day in each park was definitely not enough to see and do it all.

The Utah State Parks were a delightful find on our visit to Utah. The parks provided yet more reasons why Utah is known for its outdoor scenery.

We found fun and adventure on our visit. And even managed to get a short break now and then.

We were glad we purchased a National Park Pass. It made it easy to visit many parks and enter multiple times.

Have you explored the Utah National Parks? Did you leave with a favourite park?

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Explored The Utah National Parks.jpg

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About TravelAtWill 551 Articles
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40 Comments

  1. I’ve never been to Utah when in the US, and I’m in complete awe of these national parks! It’s difficult to choose a favorite as all sites are spectacular. The Arches National Park is magnificent as is Bryce Canyon. The state of Utah, and its wonderful parks, are definitely on my list.

  2. How gorgeous are the fall colours from the Mount Nebo Scenic Loop! The natural structures and and canyons really blow my mind. I can’t help but think of this place as being a teeming underwater world in eons gone by.

  3. I’ve been to Salt Lake City, it was the closest or was it the cheapest? airport to Yellowstone. I loved Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, but we didn’t have the time to explore beyond those. I had no idea there were so many parks around Salt Lake, they all look so beautiful!

  4. The rock structures in this region are absolutely stunning. We’ve only been to Zion and will definitely return to explore further. We’ll definitely make a stop in Moab to explore the Utah National Parks and we really want to visit Bryce Canyon.

    • Candy, I am glad this post opened up some new options for your next visit to Utah. There was so much more to see and do than I expected. And lots to draw us back again. Linda

  5. There are so many interesting national parks in this region of the US! It’s definitely on my bucket list when I do my big road trip across the USA… The rock formations in Bryce Canyon are fascinating. For a photographer like me, the challenge would be to get there at the right time to get the perfect light!

    • Delphine, I understand your concern about being there at the right time! It is part of the reason we wish we had stayed in the park to get less crowded times. And those magic lights at sunrise and sunset. Hope you get to Utah on your big US road trip. Linda

  6. hi

    Colours of fall are a delight to experience and more so when seen in the wild like how you did around the Mt Nebo scenic Loop as well as the area around the Wasatch Mountains.. I can relate the adventure thrill which is experienced in a Jeep offroading excursions which you opted to undertake. The view of the colorado river through the Moab was so soothing and beckoning for some real exploration. Visual od Arches National Park is so stunning with the various rock formations. the route through Capitol Gorge does seem full of adventure and some crazy rock formations visuals.

    • Sumit, There were so many amazing spots to see in Utah. So much more than we expected. And we did not see it all. Absolutely worth a long trip. Or several visits. Linda

  7. There seems to be endless options to visit when it comes to National Parks in US and each of them look so very amazing. Having followed your Utah trips for sometime now, it has raised my desire to take time out to visit it whenever I am in US.The jeep ride here looks so adventorous and exciting.

  8. Thanks for sharing these national parks from Utah. I have never been to USA, hopefully soon so I could visit my extended family. I just realized that Utah’s national park have a little similarity with some national parks here in Australia especially the southwestern region versus Australia’s dessert region.

    • Blair, I hope you get to visit the US National Parks. We are sorry we had to cancel our trip to Australia this year. I am sure the National Parks would be stunning. Linda

  9. ah I am so jealous ! I remember driving from east coast to Las Vegas and we were driving through state of Utah during the sunrise but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop by and explore those parks! But for what I’ve saw its unreal state and so beautiful ! It felt like you are in another planet! My husband would LOVE that an off-road jeep adventure but I am glad we didn’t know about as I probably would get a heart attack 😅😅 looks so scary 😁 Great guide, I defiantly use it if I am in that area again one day

    • Karolina, We too missed Utah Parks and went past the first time. And were so disappointed when we realized what we missed. So we were so happy we planned a good long trip to enjoy them on this trip. But one time was just not enough. Linda

  10. I haven’t considered visiting Utah for the fall colors, great idea and not far from my home. I’m a huge fan of red rocks against a deep blue sky, your photos are gorgeous. I haven’t heard of Goblins Valley National Park and love the rock formations, going on my list!

  11. What an adventure you had in Utah Linda. The first thing that caught my eye was the off-road jeep adventure. It must have felt good. This will bring out the adventurous side in me for sure. I always like to buy the national park pass too. It gives the opportunity to visit the parks time and time again.

  12. I enjoy blog posts on National Parks. A lot of us do not realize how amazing these parks really are as well as, what they have to offer. Moab is just stunning! I can only imagine the sunrises and sunsets!

  13. Your photos are beautiful! Utah National Parks reminds me of the old westerns my dad used to watch when I was young. The rock formations are stunning. I know you said that you missed seeing the sunsets by not staying inside the parks but there really was an advantage to staying in the local spots too. It’d be nice to split up the visit a bit and spend a little time in each.

    • Joanne, Thanks for the feedback on our photos. We do love to share all the great things we see along the way. The Utah National Parks are all quite stunning. At all times of the days. We did see a lot but also missed many things. Splitting the parks up into multiple trips would be a great idea if you live close enough. We know we will go back! Linda

  14. Such a vast and gorgeous landscape, arid yet beautiful. The off road jeep adventure sounds like the perfectly thrilling experience to get the best of this trip. The panoramic views, captured deftly in your photos, are absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing!

    • We were so glad we got to visit the Utah parks last year. And found so much to see and do. Thanks for the feedback on our photos. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  15. I have been following your journey through these parks and each one is more fascinating than the other. I loved your Arches tour the most. Those textures still haunt me. Each of your posts have useful tips that I will be looking up whenever I get there. And yes, all you pictures are amazing too!

    • Ami, I am glad you have enjoyed our tour through the Utah Parks. It was a fascinating spot to visit. And we were so glad we went. But there was still so much more to see. We hope to go back one day. Linda

  16. Utah national parks are still on my wishlist since long and it is great you have explored them a lot and explained all the various things to be seen here. The fall colors here look splendid. The unique shapes of Rock walls, statues and towers here are really interesting and intriguing. Your first stop at Arches National Park is really a beautiful stop and to spot so many naturally carved out arches much be a great view here. Even the views of Dead horse state park is stunning.

  17. Utah National parks does looks like one heck of an adventure exploration place. There is so much to see in the vast landscapes. Tell me does this fall colour usually exist all round the year? camping alongside Colorado River would be something that I would like to do. Zion National parks looks so amazing and beautiful. So wish to drive through all this some day, if i ever happen to visit USA 🙂

    • Debjani, We were lucky to find the fall colours in the north part of Utah in late September. I am not sure when the colours hit further south. Or if there are a lot of trees in the south that turn colour? There were so many great spots in Utah. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  18. Ah Utah has always been on my list of places to visit. I absolutely love those dry sandy landscapes. They look spectacular. I will plan to stay there for a few weeks to explore the park. This post is a beautiful journey of what to expect when staying at the Salt Lake City and exploring the treasures of the park. There is something similar that we have in Australia even though not as big as Utah. It is the red centre.

    • Raksha, I keep hearing that the Utah parks remind people of the National Parks in Australia. Makes me doubly sad we cancelled our trip to Australia this year. The Utah parks were certainly a stunning set. With so much to see and do along the way. Linda

  19. Your off-road jeep adventure looks awesome! I must do it next time I go to Moab again. We’ve been to Arches and Island in the Sky twice, and I know we still have to visit lots of places and do lots of things in the area. And of course visiting Bryce Canyon and Zion with their incredible nature can’t be missed next time we headed to Utah. Our Utah native friend said we need at least two weeks to enjoy all the parks there.

    • Umiko, I agree you need at least two weeks in the Utah Parks. Especially if you want to do a lot of hiking. One day was a great overview. But most spots we wanted more than one day. Hope you get back soon. Linda

  20. Loved the changing fall colors and the arches. Its been exciting to explore the Utah National Park with you. Its so vast and that off road adventure looks so much fun. So many great spots in Utah and I would love to explore.

    • Manjulika, I am glad you enjoyed our trip around the Utah parks with us. Each was so very different. Every day was a new discover. Hope you do get to visit one day. Linda

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