Utah National Parks: The Mighty Five
One of the best things about visiting the United States has to be exploring the absolutely incredible national parks. I had always heard that Utah was an ideal place to see a variety of beautiful parks in close vicinity. With that in mind, I flew into Salt Lake City International Airport and made my way to the town of Springdale in the southwest part of Utah, right next to Zion National Park.
A Warm Welcome at Zion National Park
Springdale is a charming town full of art galleries and delicious restaurants. We enjoyed the sunset in the heart of Zion while sipping on a raspberry rosemary vodka drink at Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens, anticipating our adventure that was to begin the next day. After a delicious dinner, we drove under the full moon towards the clean and cozy lodges in Zion National Park.
Not wanting to waste a minute, we woke up early for a sunrise hike on the Canyon Overlook trail. The air was crisp, and the sounds of the river and surrounding wildlife immediately brought me a sense of peace. We made excellent use of the waterproof shoes and walking sticks we rented in Springdale as we traversed the river. It’s hard to express how beautiful this park is. Even the pictures don’t do it justice; it really must be seen in person.
Sunset to Sunrise at Bryce Canyon
The next stop on the itinerary was Bryce Canyon National Park. While it was only a bit more than an hour’s drive away, the landscape and climate were quite different and just as exciting. Following the advice of some travelers we met, we headed out to watch a stunning sunset at Inspiration Point. Sometimes your eyes see something so beautiful that it hits your heart at the same time, and it’s like falling in love.
The following day we had to leave, but made sure to wake up before sunrise and take a hiking trail of rare beauty to Sunrise Point for one last look. Bryce Canyon is as hard to leave as Zion National Park, but there are still three more parks in Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks!
The American West, Majestic Arches and So Much More
Located in the southeastern part of Utah, Monument Valley, while not technically a national park, is the iconic Utah landscape that was made famous by the films of the American Western. Near the eastern border with Colorado at Arches National Park, it’s almost impossible to believe that the vast stone arches and delicately balanced rocks are natural formations. Near the center of Utah, Capitol Reef National Park provides a seemingly endless landscape of earth and sky to explore. And near the eastern border, Canyonlands National Park features deep red clay earth and is famous around the world for mountain biking.
The national parks of Utah are amazing to see. I don’t know of another place that has such a variety of gorgeous landscapes that you can fit all in one trip. A visit to these parks is truly awe-inspiring, and a must-do for a lover of the outdoors.