Planning Utah National Parks Road Trip 1 Week Itinerary

Most of us dream of having that once in a lifetime road trip that is bound to change our lives. The moving scenery, that sense of freedom, the adrenaline rush, the pure excitement of the unknown. They all blend together to create our need and urge for the perfect road trip. Now that flying is overrated, going on a road trip should be your number one way of exploring places nearby. You get to meet and bond with the people you’re with, it makes you much more spontaneous, you experience scenery you would have never been able to, and you will disconnect and reach that “zen” place like no other.

Not only are roadtrips incredibly amazing but going on a road trip at the Utah National Parks is otherworldly. Stunning scenery, plenty of things to do, one adventure after the other – from deep canyons to gorgeous nature, to panoramas that span hundreds of miles…You’ll be in for a treat.

Of course, in a perfect world, we’d tell you to spend at least a month there – but that’s not practical. If you have only one week, that would definitely be more than enough time to check all the most important highlights. Here’s an itinerary to help you figure out how to spend 7 days there.


Day 1 – Start With Salt Lake City

How to get there: Getting there completely depends on where you live. If you’re not from Utah or from nearby, then you will definitely need a plane to get there or to Las Vegas and then drive from there. There are so many ways to save money on tickets so it will not be that hard to find cheap flights and plan around all of this.

The Essentials: Whether you’ll be flying or not, you will need to rent a car. It’s simply essential because you will be moving from one place to another using that car and will be even staying at it at some points. You can rent your car from any car rental company, and if you want to avoid the hassle, you can always just rent one from the airport. Make sure you are well equipped to drive because there will be hard to drive on roads. Ensure that you are professional enough to drive in very steep roads, in narrow ones and bumpy roads as well. You don’t need to bring food and gas with you, Moab will have everything you need when you arrive.


Recommendations for where you can spend the night:

If you’re going to be staying at Moab, we recommend staying at Holiday Inn Express specifically for its great choice of food, and its free breakfast of course!

Your first day will be just you settling in at the hotel, getting ready for the next few days and preparing yourself in general so don’t rush. Enjoy the comfort of it all, and get ready!


Day 2: Move From Salt Lake City To The Infamous Arches National Park

Arches National Park will simply blow your mind. There are beautiful landscapes on earth but then there are incredibly dramatic ones – and that’s what you’ll find there. Expect to be surrounded by forces of nature that have been exposed to erosion for over 300 million years and incredible landscapes that soar into the sky. From spires to arches to pinnacles – this place is one of the places you just have to hike around in for a while.

How to hike: If you want to hike, then there is a 1.5 mile hike you can take that will take you through the famed Delicate Arch. You can also do any of these activities:

  • Backpacking around the park.
  • Drive or walk around Park Avenue.
  • Getting your bike and biking around.
  • You can even camp for the day if you’re feeling extra adventurous!
  • Rock climbing if you are well=-equipped.


Cost: It will cost about $80 to get in there (and all other national parks). If you want, you can find out how to save on the ticket price.

Tips: Always take water and food with you. The weather will get hot and it will be extremely uncomfortable to find food every now and then. Also make sure you have sunscreen and a hat with you so you don’t get sunburnt!


Day 3: Drive From Arches National Park To Canyonlands National Park

Canyon Lands is another place you have to visit on your road trip. You have pretty much 4 districts to choose from but if this sounds overwhelming to you, then we definitely recommend visiting Island in the Sky as it’s the most popular of them all.

You need to get ready to be nestled amongst deep canyons, some of the world’s best red rocks, and alluring landscapes that will keep you in awe.


What to see when you’re there:

  • Dead Horse Point State Park: This is where you go for some panoramic vistas of the Colorado River.
  • The Grand View Point Trail.
  • Drive the parks and enjoy sunrise and sunset along with the views.
  • Try out the hiking trails that are inside White Rim.


How to get there: First, you drive to Moab, then from Moab it’s about a 20 minute ride/75 miles to there.

Tips: If you want to take really nice pictures, make sure you do it either very early in the morning or very late in the afternoon for that magic hour that will have that wanted golden light to compliment the color of the rocks.


Day 4: Time To Move To Monument Valley!

Monument Valley is full of surprises – from the incredible panoramic views, to the buttes and mesas, you’re in for some incredibly iconic landscapes. The good news is…you can actually finish watching everything in two or three hours if you’re in a rush but of course we recommend against that. There are so many things to do over there, so it’s best if you take your time and truly experience every part of the park. The park has actually been the setting of Westworld, Mission Impossible, Forrest Grump and so much more!


Things you can do at Monument Valley:

  • Tribal Park Loops: You have to drive this 17-mile road that loops with buttes and fantastic movie-like views.
  • Take the Mystery Valley tour and check out the Anasazi sites along with the petroglyphs site that will add more of a cultural touch to your trip.
  • Go to Teardrop Arch and do a little bit of hiking, get lost in unexplored caves and revel in the one-in-a-million-views.
  • Visit the Forrest Grump point.
  • Go to the Valley of the Gods where you can also enjoy much less traffic from tourists around.


Day 5: Bryce National Park

Surreal, eerie and almost otherworldly, Bryce Canyon National Park boasts unreal pillars that soar into the sky, an eerily out-of-this-world experience with its silence and its majesty. You’ll see the wind going through pine trees and slot canyons and you’ll see the formations that look almost whimsical from the erosion they’ve been subjected to. Bonus point? You have a 200 mile visibility point from the canyon!


Things to do in Bryce National Park:

  • Hiking and backpacking: You can hike and backpack around the place. Make sure you visit the Mossy Cave Trail specially if you’re with your family or with your kids as it’s a fairly easy hike.
  • The views of hoodoos are unbeatable and can’t be missed out on!
  • Hike around the Queen’s Garden Trail which will give you perfect access to the canyon.
  • Camp for the night.
  • Stargaze all you want! You can see about to 7500 stars due to the very low level of light pollution.


Day 6: Zion National Park

Leaving the best for last is always a good idea! The Zion National Park strikes you with its overwhelming beauty and its magnificence. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, you will be struck with its majesty. Imagine being surrounded by mountains that pried fully soar into the sky, by gorgeous scenery and by one adventure after the other along with plenty of wildlife. It’s a place that caters to the needs of every single type of traveler – from the lone backpacker, to the families, to the adventurers and even honeymooners. It’s where you go to camp, ride a horse, spot some wildlife, hike along mountains, climb some rocks or much more.

Spend your time in Springdale where you can go for some food or check out some shops, and stay at a hotel because Zion needs at least two days! Instead of using your car, try and take a shuttle bus instead.


Recommended: Things To Know Before Going To Zion National Park


Day 7: Zion National Park

You can choose between many things to do in Zion National Park. From hiking Angels Landing to the Narrows, the hikes are usually not easy. Both of them need a certain level of fitness in general so be advised to climb and hike at your own risk.

Revel in the footsteps of the ancient native people who lived there, and experience the wild along with the rich history as well.


Popular: 15 Best Hikes Of Zion National Park


Day 8: Las Vegas Time!

After you’re done with Zion, it’s time to drive back to Las Vegas. The drive will take you about 2.5 hour driving time maximum, and you can then either drop your car a the rental company or at the airport.

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