A quintessential American vacation, a Utah national parks road trip is a must-do for any nature lover. If you are looking for your family vacation, a solo trip to the outdoors, or anything in-between, this is a perfect adventure for you!
Southern Utah is one of my FAVORITE regions in the United States. From deep valleys, soaring mountains, slot canyons, and hoodoo formations, there is something for everyone!
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Utah National Parks Road Trip
This Utah national parks road trip itinerary is hiking-focused! If you love spending more time in nature and less time driving, this southern Utah road trip itinerary is for you. Additionally, this itinerary assumes that you will stay in hotels, if you prefer to camp, feel free to find accommodations within the parks!
Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary
1: Fly into Las Vegas/ drive to St. George, Utah
2: Zion National Park
3: Zion National Park
4: Bryce Canyon National Park
5: Grand Staircase Escalante National Park
6: Page, AZ (Horseshoe Bend/ Antelope Canyon)
7: Drive back to Las Vegas
Day 1: Fly into Las Vegas
Utah National Parks Road Trip Day 1
Where to sleep: St. George Hotel
Total Drive Time: 2-3 hours
Start your trip off with a flight into Las Vegas! First, pick up your rental car, and get ready to go! There’s lots of nature to be seen so it’s important we get a good start.
Once you have your rental car, head towards St.George, Utah (2 hours). However, if you land in the morning and have spare time, stop by Valley of Fire State Park! It’s on the way, and a beautiful drive through red rocks. The hiking here is also made up of short trails with great views! You can get photos with the red rock waves!
Once you arive in St. George, this is a great time to stop by the grocery store and grab snacks for your trip!
Days 2 and 3 – Zion National Park
Utah National Parks Road Trip Day 2 and 3
Where to Sleep: Zion National Park
Total Drive Time: 1 hour
Be sure to Reserve your Zion National Park Bus Ticket and Angels Landing Permit in advance!
On Day 2, wake up early, as there is no time to waste, and head towards the iconic Zion National Park! (1-hour drive) There is SO much to see and do in Zion, and 2 days will barely be enough. First, stop by the visitor’s center first thing on your trip to see what trails are open and plan accordingly.
Here are some of my favorite hikes in the area to enjoy during your two days in Zion National Park.
Angels Landing – HARD – 4.4 miles – 1,604 ft elevation gain – PERMIT REQUIRED
This hike is known to be the “scariest” and “most dangerous” hike in the U.S, but even with these titles, this hike is the reason many visit Zion National Park. However, because of its popularity, you now are required to have a permit to hike this trail! You can acquire the permit here.
These permits become available 3-4 months in advance, so plan ahead, and plan accordingly.
The Narrows – Slot Canyon Hike
This hike takes you into a beautiful canyon where you feel so small. Many people rent equipment for this hike, as you will need good water shoes and pants (depending on weather) to get you through it. On the other hand, this is another trail that closes frequently due to water levels, so always double-check at the visitors center.
Day 4 – Bryce Canyon National Park
Utah National Parks Road Trip Day 4
Where to Sleep: Bryce Canyon National Park
Total Drive Time: 1 hr 30 min
Next, spend the morning driving from your accommodation in Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park! Although Bryce Canyon may not be as big as Zion, it sure packs a punch! Its unique landscapes and fairy chimneys put itself at the top of many travelers’ lists. I mean, I LOVE this park!
Spend your morning and afternoon hiking, and head back out at dusk. Additionally, Bryce Canyon National Park is home to some of the best stargazing in the states!
Here are some of my favorite trails:
Peek-a-boo Loop – MODERATE – 5.2 miles – 1,453 ft elevation gain
This trail sends you into the heart of the fairy chimneys and through the terrain. It is lovely, and I would highly recommend it!
Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail – MODERATE – 3.2 miles – 629 ft elevation gain
This trail is basically an easier version of peek-a-boo loop. It’s heavily trafficked but offers many great photo opportunities! However, you can always shorten it to just the Navajo Loop or just the Queen’s Garden Trail.
Sunset to Sunrise Point – EASY – 1.1 miles – 82 ft elevation gain
Looking for an easier trail? This one is for you! This trail walks you around the perimeter of Bryce without going inside the canyon. Additionally, it offers different vantage points and is an easy way to see the views.
Day 5 – Grand Staircase Escalante National Park
Utah National Parks Road Trip Day 5
Where to Sleep: Page, AZ
Total Drive Time: 4 hours
Just right down the road from Bryce Canyon is Grand Staircase Escalante National Park.
However, you can take it easy this morning if you’d like. Whenever you’re ready head over to Grand Staircase Escalante! This park is known for having the most extensive network of slot canyons in Utah!
In fact, this park takes most people a half day to feel successful but stay as long as you’d like. Once you’re done with Grand Escalante National Park, drive to Page, Arizona.
Here are some hikes that I recommend:
Zebra Canyon – MODERATE – 5.2 miles – 377 ft elevation gain
This is one of the most popular hikes in the park! It undoubtedly offers some amazing scenic views and some amazing slot canyon photo opportunities!
Dry Fork Narrows, Peekaboo, and Spooky Slot Canyons – MODERATE – 6 miles – 649 ft elevation gain
This beautiful hike offers some pretty interesting rock formations along with slot canyons. But, if you only have time for one trail, this is the trail for you!
Devils Garden Trail – EASY – 1 mile – 88 ft elevation gain
This easy hike leads you to fascinating Hoodoo formations. Also, this trail is moderately trafficked.
Day 6 – Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon
Utah National Parks Road Trip Day 6
Where to Sleep: Page, Arizona
Total Drive Time: 1 hour
Page is home to many classic Arizona Attractions, including Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Lake Powell! Feel free to divide your time among these 3 attractions as you wish.
Although this is a Utah national parks road trip, this Arizona stop is a must-do.
Spend your morning in Page touring Antelope Canyon, be sure to book this experience ahead of time! Many tours take you into this Instagram lovers paradise!
Afterward, grab a bite to eat and head to Horseshoe Bend! Another very popular spot among travel and nature lovers. Head here just before sunset to catch the beautiful colors!
Day 7 – Drive Back to Las Vegas
Utah National Parks Road Trip Day 7
Where to Sleep: Las Vegas, Nevada
Total Drive Time: 4 hr 20 min
If you have time before your flight, spend your morning kayaking, paddle boarding, or rent a boat in Lake Powell!
Lastly, head back to Las Vegas for your flight home!
This completes the Utah national parks road trip! This itinerary is great if you love spending time outdoors while minimizing driving. There is so much to see in Utah, 7 days just is not enough time!
Want more? Check out my Glacier National Park guide!