The Best Utah National Parks: 5 Incredible National Parks

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Utah National Parks
Photo by Pixabay: Pexels

Utah state is located in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The state is formed by many landscapes consisting of plateaus, deserts, and mountains.

Utah has many stunning attractions, including national parks, recreation areas, and monuments. The state capital is Salt Lake City, situated in the north-central region of Utah. In southern Utah, you will find the five astonishing Utah National Parks.

Visit The Incredible Utah National Parks

Utah’s national parks offer the most spectacular landscapes. To experience the stunning vistas of Utah, you must visit the Utah National Parks and Monuments. Here you can witness much breathtaking rock art, sunrise point, sunset point, hiking trails, outstanding parks, and many more. So, get ready for scenic drives, camping, and rock climbing.

1. Arches National Park

Arches national park is located in Moab. This beautiful park is spread over 76,679 acres. This park has the highest concentration of sandstone arches. There are more than two thousand sandstone arches, giant rocks, and soaring pinnacles. You will find it over.

Hiking Trails In Arches National Park 

  • Delicate arch – Iconic arch

  • Double O Arch – Very unique arch

  • Park Avenue 

  • Landscape Arch- Largest arch on earth

Location And Direction 

This national park is located in Moab, 30 minutes from Canyonlands national park. You can access this place by car or air from Grand junction and Las Vegas.

Nearest Airports 

  • Salt Lake City International Airport – 3.5-hour drive to reach the park. Direct flights are available from many domestic and foreign destinations.
  • Grand Junction Regional Airport will take a 1.5-hour drive to reach the park. Flights are available from Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, and Salt Lake City.

Attraction 

  • Sandstone hallways and tunnels
  • Rocks to climb on
  • Red rock vistas
  • Sandy trails

Accommodation 

  • Devil’s Garden

2. Bryce Canyon National Park

This unique national park is situated in Southern Utah. It is spread over 35835 acres. According to National Park Service, Bryce Canyon has the highest concentration of hoodoos.

Bryce Canyon has several natural theatres beautifully carved into the edge of a high plateau. Bryce amphitheater is the most famous theatre, which has eroded spires of rocks.

At this national park, you can capture many spectacular viewpoints such as Rainbow point, Sunset point, Natural Bridge, and Inspiration Point.

From the Inspiration point of view, you can see the enormous landscape, mesas, cedar, hoodoos, and ponderosa pines.

The journey from Bryce Canyon to Zion is breathtaking. On the way, you will witness the Dixie National Forest and Red Canyon area to the east entrance of Zion.

You can explore the forests of the plateau by the beautiful hiking trails.

Hiking Trails 

  • Navajo Loop Trail – One of the best hiking trails in the park.
  • Wall Street Trail – While hiking this trail, you can experience the incredible scenery of Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Canyon
Photo by Bertrand Borie: Unsplash

Accommodation

  • Sunset Campground
  • The Lodge at Bryce Canyon
  • North Campground

3. Capitol Reef National Park

In red rock country, you will find the Capitol Reef National Park. It is famous for its canyons and cliffs in the Waterpocket Fold.

At Capitol reef national park, people can enjoy road trips, camping, hiking, and many outdoor activities.

Enjoy the scenic hike along with many stunning viewpoints. At Capitol reef national park, you will find many beautiful attractions such as ancient petroglyphs, canyons, rippled rock, and cliffs.

Capitol Reef
Photo by James Lee: Pexels

Attraction

  • Hickman Bridge
  • Stargazing
  • Grand Wash

Accommodation 

  • Capitol Reef Resort
  • Fruita Campground

4. Zion National Park

Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks you will find in Utah. People can capture the beauty of Zion not only in their digital cameras but also in their hearts. Zion National Park is situated in Springdale, Southern Utah. It is spread over 146,597 acres.

At Zion National Park, you will experience the big canyon walls. The park is divided into two parts, Zion proper and Kolob Canyon. Narrow canyons connect these two parts.

Hikers can enjoy many beautiful trails.

Hiking Trails

  • Angels Landing – The length of this trail is 2.4 miles. The trail begins at the Grotto drop.
  • The Watchman – The trail is 2.7 miles long
  • Popular Observation Point – The trail is 8 miles long
Zion NP
Photo by George Stackpole: Unsplash

Attraction 

  • Kolob Canyon
  • The Watchman
  • Checkerboard Mesa

Nearest Airports

  • ST. George Regional Airport – It is the closest airport to Zion National Park. Limited commercial flights are available here. It will take a one-hour drive to reach the park.
  • Cedar City Regional Airport – Flights are available from Salt Lake City. It will take a one-hour drive to reach the park.
  • Mccarran International Airport – This is the nearest airport to Zion National Park. Direct flights are available from many domestic and foreign destinations. It will take a 3-hour drive to reach the park.
  • Salt Lake City International Airport – Direct flights are available from many domestic and foreign destinations. It will take a 4-hour drive to reach the park.

Accommodation

  • South Campground
  • Watchman Campground
  • Zion Lodge

5. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is spread over 337,598 acres. It is situated in Moab, Utah. Canyonlands national park is divided into 4 regions and 3 districts – The Needles, The Maze, and Island in the Sky. Also, it is divided by the Colorado River and the Green River.

At Canyonlands, people can experience the breathtaking sunrise point. Don’t miss visiting the Green river overlook to witness the spectacular sunset.

Canyonlands
Photo by Dominik Schröder :Unsplash

Attraction 

  • Mesa arch
  • The Needles
  • Shafer Trail

Nearest Airports

  • Salt Lake City International Airport – Direct flights are available from many domestic and foreign destinations. It will take a 4-hour drive to reach the destination.
  • Grand Junction Regional Airport – Flights are available from Phoenix, Dallas, Salt Lake City, and Denver. It will take a 2-hour drive to reach the destination.

Accommodation

  • The Needle Campground
  • Island in the Sky Campground

6. Cedar Breaks – National Monument

Cedar Breaks is situated east of Cedar City, Utah. Cedar Breaks is centrally situated between Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks.

People can experience crystal clear night skies, bristlecone pines, subalpine forests, and meadows of wildflowers.

It is a natural amphitheater that stretches across 4.8 km and has a depth of over 610 m.

The height of this theatre is over 10,000 feet. Due to this structure, the park parts are inaccessible to vehicles from October through May.

cedar breaks
Photo by emptypokts Unsplash

Trails in Cedar Breaks

  • Nature Trail – The length of this beautiful trail is 0.6 miles and takes 30 minutes to complete. Here you can enjoy bird watching as well as park wildlife.

  • South Rim Trail – The distance of this trail is 5 miles and takes 4 hours to complete. This trail provides many spectacular viewpoints.

  • Sunset Trail – This trail is 2 miles long and takes 1 hour to complete. People can enjoy this trail with their pets.

  • Alpine Pond Loop Trail – The distance of this trail is about 1-2 miles and takes 1.5 or 2.5 hours to complete. While hiking this trail, people can enjoy many great views of the theatre.

7. Dinosaur National Monument

 It is located in Vernal, Utah. The rock formations in Dinosaur National Monument are unique.

You will find walls full of dinosaur petroglyphs and fossils at the Dinosaur National Monument.

People can enjoy many whitewater adventures provided by the Yampa and Green rivers.

Quarry Exhibit Hall 

Here, visitors can see the bones of different species of dinosaurs, such as the Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Camarasaurus.

In some places, you can see the fossils of real 149 million-year-old dinosaurs.

To see this Quarry Exhibit Hall, you must first visit the Quarry Visitor Center. Then you can access this place by your vehicle or by shuttle bus.

Dinosaur NP
Photo by Danny Grizzle Unsplash

Hiking Trails 

In eastern Utah, you will find many beautiful hiking trails. People can enjoy Kings Peak, The old ski Town Trail, Tokewanna Peak, Sound of Silence, Asphalt Ridge, Coyote Gulch, Eagle Ridge Trail, Rojo Trail, Moonshine Trail, and many more.

8. Natural Bridges National Monument

It is situated at the junction of Armstrong Canyon and White Canyon, Colorado river drainage.

The National Bridges National Monument is 50 miles northwest of the Four Corners boundary of southeastern Utah. It is home to the 13 largest bridges in the world.

The Sipapu, Kachina, and Owachomo bridges are formed through erosion. The height of these bridges is 220 ft, 210 ft, and 106 ft, respectively.

The height of this monument is up to 6500 feet.

People can enjoy the spectacular views in the daylight and at night. People can experience the dark sky with the light formed by the Milky Way.

This monument has secured the distinction of becoming the first International Dark Sky Park.

Natural bridges
Photo by Elizabeth Iris: Pexels

9. Hovenweep National Monument

It is situated in southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado. Here you will experience the different kinds of structures.

Hovenweep National Monument is famous for its six prehistoric villages.

In 1923, it was rewarded as a National Monument and governed by the National Park Service.

The International Dark-Sky Association designated it as an International Dark Sky Park in July 2014.

Hovenweep
Photo by Pixabay: Pexels

Hiking Trails

Hiking is the best way to explore Hovenweep’s stunning ancestral Puebloan structures.

While hiking the trails, you will experience the variety of plants and a closer look at Hovenweep’s geology.

Square Tower Group Trails 

There are two trails.

  1. Canyon Overlook

This trail is about 0.5 km and takes 10 to 30 minutes to complete. The paved path to the Canyon Overlook begins at the visitor center and ends at the rim of Little Ruin Canyon.

You can also take a trail guide from the visitor center

While hiking this trail, people can capture many scenic views of the Landscapes, Square Tower Group structures, and Little Ruin Canyon.

2. Square Tower Loop Trail

The distance of this trail is 3.5 km, and it takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. The trail starts at the Canyon Overlook and winds to the Little Ruin Canyon. This loop trail is lined with rock. While hiking this trail, you will see most of the Square Tower Group structures with views of the park’s natural beauty.

10. Rainbow Bridge National Monument

It was established on May 30, 1910, and governed by the National Park Service. It is one of the largest natural bridges in the world, located on the Colorado plateau.

The structure of the Rainbow Bridge National Monument is enormous. It is 275 ft wide, and the height of this monument is 290 ft.

The bridge is situated in Lake Powell, Utah.

Rainbow bridge
Photo by Brad Switzer: Pexels

Bottom Line

Are you excited to explore these breathtaking Utah National Parks and Monuments? Explore these stunning national parks with many scenic drives and make your trip memorable. Get ready with your backpacks to capture the stunning vistas of Utah. Don’t forget your hiking boots because you will experience the best hiking trails in Utah.

If you linked this list of Utah National Parks, then also check out the best places to visit in Utah.

Suggested reading: Best Time to Visit Florida.

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