History & Hoodoos
Just the national parks, ma'am. We get it. You're a bucket-lister with a checklist and a pen. We hope it has a lot of ink.
Start: Las Vegas
In the option shown below, you'll travel west to east from Zion to Arches. Consider adding an extra day or two for a more leisurely return drive and departure from Salt Lake City.
Alternate Route: Reverse the days, land in Salt Lake and start in Arches for a Zion finish and a departure from Las Vegas.
The legend is true: five national parks on one road trip. History and Hoodoos is all about hitting the best of the best quickly and efficiently. Log the best adventures across five national parks, take pictures of your accomplishments, post them, proceed.
This variation starts in Zion National Park by way of Las Vegas. The hikes at Zion include Angels Landing, a perennial top hike by any measure and 5.4 miles you’ll never forget.
After a dip (or extended walk) in the Virgin River that carved The Narrows, you’ll have the option to stay overnight in or near Zion or make way for Bryce Canyon via the historic Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive. Both parks offer very good reason to stay up for the pristine dark skies. During the day, tackle the Queens Garden/Navajo trail, easily one of the best 3-mile hikes around.
The All-American Highway Scenic Byway 12 fills your windshield with a splashy desert palette while you drive straight through to Capitol Reef National Park. There is a lot to see and do along the way, but you’ll have to save it for another trip. In Capitol Reef, cruise the scenic byway behind the visitor center to spot ancient petroglyphs or grab a short front country hike along S.R. 24.
Next up: Moab. To your west: Canyonlands. To your east: Arches. All around you: a landscape made for outdoor recreation. Reserve a tour of the labyrinthine Fiery Furnace, tour the 36-mile scenic drive and, yes, see the iconic Delicate Arch in person after a 1.5-mile slickrock hike (3 miles, round-trip).
Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park combine for some of the finest panoramas in the west. There are mild hikes like Grand View Point and Mesa Arch (a photographer’s choice at sunrise) or more strenuous options if you have time before the return trip home. It's seven hours back to Las Vegas or four hours to Salt Lake City. (See map, below.)
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