Secret Solace in The Mighty 5®
Clear sunshine, cool evenings, astonishing Dark Skies and wide open national parks. It's time for an escape to the desert. Secret solace means an earlier morning cup from the Jetboil or pushing yourself a little further down the trail than the rest. It means staying up for the sunset and the show that doesn't start until after dark. Savvy travelers can escape crowds and find a little solace in the great outdoors of The Mighty 5®. Hike a little earlier, a little further, visit early in the spring or delay the escape to the latter weeks of autumn. Nowhere else in the world but in Utah does "desert escape" mean five stunning national parks within close proximity to one another.
Most Inspiring Escapes in
The Mighty 5®
Stroll to Emerald Pools
Start your tour of The Promised Land with a gentle three-mile stroll to the Emerald Pools. The cool waterfalls thunder following afternoon rainstorms and the cottonwoods, willows and hanging maidenhair ferns cling to the dwindling days of warm sun.
Hike the Rim Trail
Cooler temperatures at Bryce Canyon's higher elevation mean that sunny hikes along the canyon's rim are often comfortable and pleasant. The 5.5-mile Rim Trail hike takes you from the aptly named Fairyland, past hoodoos and redrock fins to majestic Bryce Point. For more solace, gear up, grab a permit and head for the backcountry Under-the-Rim Trail, if conditions permit.
Stargaze from Cathedral Valley
In a high-clearance vehicle, follow a 60-mile scenic drive through this remote valley where the desert hillsides are painted a rainbow of colors. Watch the sun sink beneath the towering Temples of the Sun and Moon rock formations, then get ready to see the stars as you've never seen them before. Permit required for overnight.
Bike the Island in the Sky
The Island in the Sky Mesa rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the river valley below. While many hard-core bikers enjoy the area's multiday White Rim Trail ride, just as scenic are single day trips bicycling the blacktop, as well as the 4WD dirt roads that wind along the mesa's top, offering staggering views in every direction. If your legs are feeling strong, try the Island in The Sky half-century out-and-back ride from Dead Horse Point State Park through the Island in the Sky.
Hike to Delicate Arch
The short 1.5-mile hike to this justifiably famous icon can be busy in the summer months. Travel earlier in the spring or make the most of the lingering longer days of summer and fall for an early morning or sunset hike to skip the crowds (bring a headlamp for the hike down!) — you can still find silence and solitude at this impossibly thin standalone arch, and the sandstone bowl that surrounds it.