Utah is well known for its 5 National Parks, namely Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion. Some people choose to visit all five in 1 trip because each park is relatively close to one another. It actually makes for an epic road trip, if you’d ask me!
My husband and I had planned this trip for 6 whole months, and it was kind of a tedious task to pick and choose which campsites to stay in, which parks to visit first, and which hiking trails to go for each day. We filled our day with activities, while making sure we had enough time to relax.
Below is our 8-day Mighty Five itinerary. Hopefully this helps you plan for your Mighty Five trip in the future!
DAY 1: Drive from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park (4hours, 30mins)
(We stayed in Las Vegas, NV the night before the trip, to make the drive going to Bryce Canyon shorter)
-Drop by Bryce Canyon’s Visitor Center
-Pitch tent and set-up camp in Sunset Campground
-Hike the Rim Trail: Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, Sunrise Point (3 miles RT)
DAY 2: Explore Bryce Canyon National Park
-Catch the sunrise at the rim
-Hike the Figure 8 Loop: Wall Street, Peek-A-Boo Loop, Queen’s Garden Trail (6 mile loop)
-Head back to the rim at night to view the stars
Bryce Canyon is known to have very dark skies, especially on a moonless night, so it’s a perfect place to go star gazing!
DAY 3: Drive to Capitol Reef National Park in the morning (2 hours, 30 mins), and head to camp in Moab after exploring (2 hours, 20 mins)
-Drop by Capitol Reef’s Visitor Center
-Hike Cassidy Arch (3.5 miles RT)
-Hike Hickman Bridge (2 miles RT)
-Head to Moab to pitch tent and set up camp in Moab KOA campground
Because these two National Parks were right next to each other, it was easy for us to drive to one park in the morning, and the other park in the afternoon.
-Drop by Canyonlands’ Visitor Center
-Hike False Kiva (2.6 miles RT)
-Hike Upheaval Dome Overlook (1.8 miles RT)
-Drop by Arches’ Visitor Center
-Explore Arches: Balanced Rock, Double Arch, Window Loop, Turret Arch
DAY 5: Explore Canyonlands, Moab, and Arches
-Catch a sunrise in Mesa Arch in Canyonlands
-Tour Moab’s backcountry with an ATV/ UTV
-Hike Delicate Arch in Arches National Park (3 miles RT)
DAY 6: Explore Moab in the morning, and then head to campsite in Zion National Park (5 hours, 16 mins)
-Whitewater kayaking in the Colorado River
-Pitch tent and set up camp in Zion’s Watchman Campground
-Hike Zion’s Canyon Overlook Trail (1 mile round trip)
DAY 7: Explore Zion National Park
–Hike Zion’s Subway, bottom-up trail (9 miles round trip)
DAY 8: Head back to Los Angeles (6 hours)
We would have squeezed in one more hike before leaving the park, but we felt very tired upon waking up! We were so drained after that Subway hike.
Sunset Campground (Bryce Canyon) – regular tent site $20/night
Moab KOA – electric/water tent site $40/night
Watchman Campground (Zion) – regular tent site $20/night
Bangkok House Too (Moab) – Asian fusion
Moab & Zion are two places with the widest selection of restaurants, compared to the other parks.
Head over to my Mighty 5 List in The Outbound for more trail suggestions!
Oh, and here are a couple more things to take note of:
-Be sure to book your campsite way in advance. Sites fill up very fast once they become available for booking.
-Take note of the time difference when driving in to Utah. They are in Mountain Time.
-There are gas stations and grocery stores inside the park, but if you want to save a couple of bucks, I suggest making the stops before you get to the park. There are several gas stations and stores outside each park.
-Check out my Road Trip Planning post for more helpful tips to make this trip awesome!
There you have it! Our itinerary for Utah’s Mighty 5! To be honest, I wish we had more days to spare! There was so much more to see and much more places to explore. By the end of the trip we were exhausted..but inspired!
Anyway, I hope you’ll find this useful. Do let me know if this was able to help you out in anyway!
Watch out for my individual posts about our trip to each National Park! Sign up for my weekly newsletter below so you wouldn’t miss it.