The Mighty 5® Utah’s National Parks
ZION NATIONAL PARK
Utah’s first National Park, Zion translates to ‘The Promised Land,’ and that means some of the most spectacular hiking of your lifetime and impossible landscapes you will never forget.
• In summer there can be long lines of cars at the gates and limited parking spaces inside the park, opt to park in Springdale and take the free shuttle to/around the park instead.
• The park is open every day of the year, however the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private cars from November through March.
• Zion is known for a wide range of weather conditions. Temperatures vary with changes in elevation and during the day and night
• If you want to stay overnight in the park there is only one lodge, booking is recommended
• A variety of animals can be seen throughout the day including deer, rattlesnakes, and foxes.
Must See & Dos
• Several hiking options are available at the Emerald pools, ranging from short and easy to strenuous. The lower trail is well suited for young children and baby strollers
• Angels Landing is one of the world’s most renowned hikes, and is an unforgettable short adventure hike worthy of all bucket lists
• The Narrows is the most popular hike, and one of the world’s best slot canyon hikes which has you hiking through the Virgin River
• Observation Point commands a view of nearly every major attraction in the canyon.
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
There is no place like Bryce Canyon. Descriptions fail. Photographs do not do it justice. Bring your sense of wonder and imagination.
• The park is open 24 hours a day throughout the year. There may be temporary road closures during, and shortly after, winter snow storms
• The free Bryce Canyon Shuttle Service takes visitors to the park’s most popular viewpoints, trails and facilities. Using the shuttle is encouraged but not required
• Due to high elevation climate, weather through the year can be highly variable
• It takes a minimum of 3 hours to drive to the 13 viewpoints along the park’s 61km scenic drive. In addition, there are hiking trails and more to extend your visit
• Wildlife commonly seen at Bryce includes: chipmunks, squirrels, gray fox, hawks, lizards and more. Black bear, elk and mountain lions are rarely seen
• Overnight stays are possible at Bryce Canyon Lodge.
Must See & Dos
• Check out Inspiration point
• Hike the Rim Trail and Sunset Point to Sunrise Point Trails. Observe the amphitheater and its hoodoos along the rim
• Queens Garden, this is the least difficult trail into the canyon. Using your imagination you may even see Queen Victoria at the end of a short spur trail.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
This red rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of pinnacles, and giant balanced rocks.
• This Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day and is busiest from March to October
• There is no shuttle service in the park and parking is limited at all destinations. Local companies may provide taxi or shuttle service from Moab
• There are no restaurants or lodges in Arches National Park. The nearest restaurants and hotels are in Moab, about 8kms from the park entrance
• Black bears occasionally wander into the park from the nearby mountains
• On a clear night, you can see an abundance of stars from just about anywhere in the park
• The most frequently sighted animals include birds, lizards, and some small mammals.
Must See & Dos
• Balanced Rock, one of the most iconic features in the park, stands a staggering 39 metres tall
• The light opening beneath the Delicate Arch is 20 metres high and 14 metres wide, making it the largest free-standing arch in the park. The trail to see Delicate Arch up close and personal is 4.8km return and climbs 146m.
CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
Capitol Reef National Park is a haunting world of spectacular coloured cliffs, hidden arches, massive domes, and deep canyons. The park preserves the 160 kilometre Waterpocket Fold, a mammoth wrinkle in the earth’s surface.
• The park and campgrounds are open year round
• There is no restaurant or lodge however the Gifford House Store and Museum and the visitor centre sell some snacks
• There is one developed and two primitive campgrounds available in the park
• Flash floods are most common in July- September, but can occur at any time of the year
• Capitol Reef’s roads are used by vehicles, bicycles, walkers, and even wildlife
• Hand-held fruit pickers and ladders are provided if you feel like fruit picking in the Orchards
• Wildlife is diverse due to the variety of habitats. There are many species of birds, mammals and reptiles.
Must See & Dos
• The Fruita Area is the most accessible, and several hikes begin here
• The Waterpocket District offers amazing views and great hiking opportunities
• Cathedral Valley offers more of a back country experience, usually requiring a high clearance vehicle to access the area’s attractions
• The park’s main driving tours include the paved Scenic Drive and two long, mainly unpaved, loop tours through the park’s Cathedral and Waterpocket Districts.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves.
• Canyonlands is open all year, 24 hours a day and each district has its own visitor center
• You won’t find many services so it’s best to bring what you’ll need for your visit
• Developed campgrounds at Island in the Sky and The Needles are open year-round
• Between March and October, you may experience long lines at the entrance road, and parking lots at popular trailheads and viewpoints are often full
• Winter weather can quickly change unpaved roads to four-wheel-drive condition or make them impassable. Check the conditions before you arrive
• Birds and lizards are seen most frequently but you may also see squirrels, chipmunks, lizards, snakes, hawks, and eagles.
Must See & Dos
• Island in the Sky is the easiest area of Canyonlands to visit in a short period of time,
offering many stops with spectacular views along the paved scenic drive including the
world-famous Mesa Arch
• The Needles forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands. Hiking trails offer many opportunities for long day hikes and overnight trips
• The Maze is the least accessible district of Canyonlands and requires more time
• Horseshoe Canyon contains some of the most significant rock art in North America.