Double Arch at Arches National Park

The Ultimate Utah Road Trip

Get ready for the adventure of your dreams! On this ultimate Utah road trip, you’ll see all of Utah’s national parks along with other bucket list destinations that shouldn’t be missed.

We’ve visited Utah twice now and wanted to share everything we’ve learned so you have the best time and don’t have to spend hours researching (like we did).

Two Week Utah Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – 3: Zion National Park
Day 4 – 5: Bryce Canyon National Park
Day 6 – 7: Mystic Hot Springs & Capital Reef National Park
Day 7: Moonscape Overlook, Capital Reef National Park & Bentonite Hills
Day 8: Goblin Valley State Park
Day 9: Arches National Park
Day 10 – 11: Explore Moab
Day 12 – 13: Canyonlands National park
Day 14: Monument Valley

Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks

Utah is home to five outstanding National Parks, called the Mighty 5. If you’re making the trip here, it’s worth it to try to see all of them. These include Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches and Capital Reef.

1. Zion National Park

Zion is one of those national parks that you will want 2+ days to explore. It is one of the most popular in the United States and is always busy so you’ll want to get there early. Be aware that you have to take a shuttle throughout the park and parking can be tough to find.

Although the shuttle is what will take you to most of the hiking trails, we recommend taking time to drive along Zion’s Scenic Drive. This is where you’ll find my favorite hike, Canyon Overlook Trail.

Best Hikes in Zion

  1. Angel’s Landing – rated strenuous, 4.3 miles.
  2. The Narrows – rated moderate/strenuous depending on water levels, no set distance (hike as long as you want and turn around.)
  3. Canyon Overlook – rated easy, 1 mile.

Pro Tip: If you want to hike the most popular trail, Angel’s Landing, you will need a permit! Get one here by scrolling to Activities & Experiences

2. Bryce Canyon National Park

Navajo Loop at Bryce Canyon in Utah

Bryce is one of the most beautiful national parks that will take your breath away when you walk up to the rim. We spent two days here but you could do it in one and still see a lot.

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

  1. Sunset Point to Sunrise Point – rated easy, 1.1 miles.
  2. Queen’s Garden/Navajo Loop – rated moderate, 3.1 miles.
  3. Fairyland Loop Trail – rated moderate, 7.9 miles

3. Capital Reef National Park

Capital Reef is a hidden gem of a national park. While it’s not as popular as others, it’s worth the stop even if you’re just coming for pie! Yes, you read that right. I had one of the best pies of my life here.

Besides the delicious food, the hiking is beautiful as well. The entire park has a pretty high elevation which can make even easy hikes more challenging. However, they’re worth it!

Best Hikes in Capital Reef

  1. Cohab Canyon – rated moderate, 1.7 miles.
  2. Capital Gorge – rated easy, 1 mile.
  3. Chimney Rock Loop – rates strenuous, 3.6 miles.
  4. Bentonite Hills – not necessarily a hike but it does require some walking (more below!)

Gifford Homestead

Gifford Homestead in Capital Reef National Park
Gifford Homestead in Capital Reef National Park

The best place to get a pie is at the Gifford Homestead in Fruita Valley. It was settled by Mormon pioneers who raised all kinds of animals and lived off the land. Now, the homestead sells baked goods, jams/jellies, candles, soaps, toys, and more.

Pro Tip: It is open seasonally (typically mid March – November) and they sell out of baked goods quickly. We were there 5 minutes before they opened and a line was already forming.

Bentonite Hills (Rainbow Hills)

Drone View of Bentonite Hills at sunset in Utah
Drone View of Bentonite Hills

If you have a drone and want to capture some of the most stunning footage available on this planet (yes, it’s that awesome), you need to visit Bentonite Hills.

This place is commonly referred to as “Mars” or “another planet” on social media because of the dramatic layout and colors. In fact, The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is located within them. 

Pro Tip: While these hills are magical when seen from a drone, you cannot truly appreciate them without one – in our opinion. They are still cool to see during blue hour at eye level but don’t expect to be blown away without a way to see them from above.

Learn more about visiting & photographing Bentonite Hills here!

4. Canyonlands National Park

On top of Whale Rock at Canyonlands National Park
On top of Whale Rock at Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands is one of the least visited national parks in the US. It is divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers. With Island in the Sky being the most popular, we’re going to share our favorite hikes from that district here.

If you have more time, we recommend adding a few days to your Utah road trip to explore the other districts.

Pro Tip: You cannot get from one district to another once you enter the park. You will need to exit how you came in and drive around to a different entrance to get to another district. Because of the time and distance alone, most people choose only one district for their visit.

Best Hikes in Canyonlands

  1. Whale Rock – rated moderate, .8 miles.
  2. Mesa Arch – rated easy, .6 miles.
  3. Aztec Butte – rated moderate, 1.4 miles.

5. Arches National Park

Double Arch at Arches National Park

Arches National Park is exactly what you expect – lots of arches. However, the one thing you may not expect is their size. You feel like an ant when standing beneath them and who doesn’t love that feeling?

Hiking in Arches

  1. Delicate Arch – rated strenuous, 3 miles.
  2. Double Arches – rated easy, .6 miles.
  3. Tower Arch – rated strenuous, 2.6 miles.

Don’t forget to book these top-rated Utah adventures before they sell out.
If you book an excursion through these links, I get a commission to keep this site running at no cost to you. So thank you!

Utah’s State Parks

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1. Goblin Valley State Park

Valley of the Goblins at Goblin Valley State Park
Valley of the Goblins at Goblin Valley State Park

We heard Goblin Valley described as an adult playground and can now confirm that it’s true. The rock formations are bizarre and way bigger than we expected.

Goblin Valley is also a certified dark zone so practicing your astrophotography or simply stargazing is phenomenal. We recommend camping here.

Best Hikes in Goblin Valley

  1. Valley of Goblins – there are no trails here, you just explore as you’d like.
  2. The Goblin’s Lair – rated strenuous, 3 miles.
  3. Carmel Canyon Loop – rated moderate, 1.5 miles.

2. Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park Rim Overlook
Dead Horse Point State Park Rim Overlook

We loved watching the sunset here and admiring the overviews along the rim. Plus, you can even see the Potash Ponds from the Colorado River Overlook! 

Dead Horse Point is another Dark Sky Park so camping here to admire the stars and practice astrophotography is amazing.

Best Hikes in Dead Horse Point

  1. Dead Horse Rim Loop – rated moderate, 5.1 miles.
  2. Big Horn Overlook Trail – rated easy, 3 miles.
  3. Great Pyramid Loop Trail – rated moderate, 4.4 miles. 

Outside of the Parks

If you’re not a big park person, there are so many places to add to your Utah road trip. Below are our favorite spots!

1. Mystic Hot Springs

Nik & Jon in Bathtub hot spring at Mystic Hot Springs
Bathtub at Mystic Hot Springs

Mystic Hot Springs is one of the most instagrammable places we’ve seen. And overall, it’s a cool experience. These hot springs feature one big hot spring along with multiple bathtubs (5 when we visited in 2023) that the hot springs feed into.

When arriving, you’ll most likely think your map lied to you. There’s no grand entrance and the area looks a little run down. But as long as you park at a campgrounds site with buses and a cute office, you’re in the right place.

We’ve heard mixed reviews from others about how much they liked it but since we were here all by ourselves and were able to sit in any hot spring when we wanted, we loved our time. Be aware that the hot springs area is a little messy – there is construction and a rundown house. You can still get great pictures and videos with some creative shooting though!

Buy your tickets here.

2. Moonscape Overlook

Nikki standing at Moonscape Overlook at sunrise in Utah
Sunrise at Moonscape Overlook

This was our favorite spot in Utah! We came at sunrise and watching the sun light up the crazy landscape was magical. 

Moonscape Overlook is one of those must-visit Utah road trip destinations that requires driving down a long and bumpy dirt road. Because of this, Google Maps will tell you that you can get to this spot in a much quicker time than you actually can… unless you want to damage your car and drive way too fast.

Moonscape Overlook Coordinates
We are big on sharing coordinates so here is the exact destination to enter into your map; 38.451914, -110.838117

Vehicle Requirements to Make it to Moonscape Overlook
We drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee and had no trouble navigating along the dirt road. However, we still had to drive very slowly in certain parts. We recommend that you have an off-road vehicle, or at the very minimum, a high-clearance vehicle.

Learn more about visiting & photographing Moonscape Overlook here!

3. Crystal Geyser

Crystal Geyser in Utah

Crystal Geyser is a quick road side attraction not too far off Highway 70. The colors of the rocks here are very similar to those at Mystic Hot Springs, however, these colors are naturally-occuring.

We read in a review that the geyser erupts each hour so we waited but never saw it happen. While it would have been super cool to see, it was still a fun stop without it.

4. Moab

Moab is a super cute town to stay in and explore for 1-2 days during your Utah road trip. It is 10 minutes from Arches National Park and about 40 minutes from Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park. Outside of national and state parks though, we loved hiking to Faux Falls and Corona Arch!

Faux Falls

Faux Falls in Moab, Utah
Faux Falls from the trail

Everyone loves a good waterfall hike and this one was easy which makes it even better. It’s not a big waterfall and feels private. The hike took about 30 minutes round trip and we spent an hour relaxing.

Park at these coordinates: 38°28’49.0″N 109°24’46.0″W if your vehicle can make it. If not, you can park along this trail once it becomes too bumpy for your vehicle.

There is no fee for this hike.

Corona Arch

Honestly, this arch rivals the arches in Arches National Park and the hike is tons of fun! It has a steep incline with a rope to help you get up it and a ladder to climb as well.

There is no fee for this hike and very limited shade.

Pro Tip: This hike says it’s dog-friendly but I wouldn’t recommend it.

5. Monument Valley

Monument Valley View from Visitor Center
Monument Valley View from Visitor Center

Most people think of Monument Valley as a national park but it isn’t since it’s on the Navajo Nation Reservation. It is vibrant and unique and since there’s not much hiking we’re not including it with the other parks.

We only spent one night here so we could drive along the Scenic Loop and check out Forrest Gump Point. 

We recommend allotting three hours to drive through Monument Valley so you have time to pull over and admire the landscape. While the road isn’t paved, most cars should have no trouble driving along it.

Pro Tip: The entrance fee is $20 per car and to really explore the park beyond the scenic drive, you must schedule a tour.


Where and when to visit, convenient places to sleep and more!