Utah Parks and Grand Canyon Loop

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Hit all five national parks in Utah, plus the Grand Canyon in Arizona and countless other slickrock treasures, on this road trip loop starting in Salt Lake City.

Trip Overview

Incredible outdoor adventures, five national parks and ancient ruins combine to make this a trip of a lifetime. Start in Salt Lake City where you may be surprised by the craft brewing scene and how easy it is to get around this city framed by the Great Salt Lake and Wasatch mountains. Head south to Moab, home to Canyonlands and Arches national parks. From there stop in Blanding, Bluff and Monticello where ancient ruins, pioneer history, rafting and three incredible interactive centers await.

Then point your wheels toward Grand Canyon National Park where you can visit the South and North rims. Cool off in Page, Ariz., by exploring Lake Powell by kayak, motor boat or stand-up paddleboard. Don’t miss the 710-foot-high Glen Canyon Dam that created Lake Powell. Then explore the historic town of Kanab, home to artists, ranchers and hundreds of film shoots.

It’s an easy drive to nearby Bryce, Zion and Capitol Reef national parks where incredible red sandstone hoodoos, spires, canyons and slickrock await. What follows are some of the best things to do and see along the way.

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TIP: The Navajo nation spans four states. It follows daylight saving time, while the rest of Arizona is on mountain standard time. This means in summer, Navajo nation is an hour later than the rest of Arizona. After daylight saving changes in winter, the two share the same clock.


Road Trip Itinerary

Start: Salt Lake City, Utah

An overhead view of Salt Lake City in Utah

An overhead view of Salt Lake City in Utah

From a thriving performing arts scene to the world’s largest collection of geneology records, Salt Lake City is a fantastic place to start your Grand Canyon adventure. We share the top 12 things to do in the Salt Lake area.
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More: Visit Temple Square with 35-acres containing 15 attractions related to Mormon heritage and geneology.
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Stop 1: Moab, Utah

A boy having fun at Delicate Arch Viewpoint in Arches National Park. Photo courtesy Discover Moab

A boy having fun at Delicate Arch Viewpoint in Arches National Park. Photo courtesy Discover Moab

Moab is the gateway to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, as well as Dead Horse Point State Park, and the cool waters of the Colorado River.
Read more about Moab.

More: From a walk past life-sized dinosaurs at Moab Giants to rafting the Colorado River, your family trip to Canyonlands and Arches national parks will be full of adventure. Here are our top nine family activities to do in and around the Moab area.

Stop 2, 3, & 4: Four Corners Region

Stars and Smores program at the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education. Courtesy photo

Stars and Smores program at the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education. Courtesy photo

Monticello’s Four Corners School of Outdoor Education
If you could take the entire sensory experience of the Four Corners region and squeeze it into a building, it would look like the state-of-the-art Canyon Country Discovery Center. The center also offers outdoor trips in the Colorado Plateau.
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Edge of Cedars State Park Museum. Photo courtesy of Utah State Parks

Edge of Cedars State Park Museum. Photo courtesy of Utah State Parks

Blanding’s Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum
Get a true sense of the ancient peoples who inhabited ancient ruins in the four corners region of Utah.
Read more about Edge of Cedars and 6 other Utah State Parks.

Goosenecks State Park in Utah

Goosenecks State Park in Utah

3 Things to Do in Bluff. This small outpost is home to incredible family-friendly river trips, a great museum and one of the most-photographed attractions in the Southwest.
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Stop 5: Monument Valley

View from Hunts Mesa in Monument Valley at the Arizona-Utah border.

View from Hunts Mesa in Monument Valley at the Arizona-Utah border.

Located on the Arizona-Utah border near the Four Corners region, lies sandstone buttes on an iconic stretch of land in the Navajo Indian Nation. Stay at The View Hotel for a room view of the Mitten Buttes and Navajo-inspired meals.
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Stop 6: Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim

Sunset at Desert View Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Sunset at Desert View Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Open 365 days a year, the South Rim offers plenty of activities, restaurants and, of course, gorgeous views.
Read more on our Grand Canyon website.

Stop 7: Page, Ariz. and Lake Powell

Sunset at Almstron Point on Lake Powell in Arizona

Sunset at Almstron Point on Lake Powell in Arizona

With its turquoise waters and lively boating scene, Page, Ariz. is your oasis in the desert. Don’t miss these three attractions nearby.
Read more on our Grand Canyon website.

More: Set off on an outdoor adventure on a houseboat on Lake Powell with the comforts of home at hand and explore 2,000 miles of shoreline with incredible scenery at your own pace.
Read more on our Grand Canyon website.

Stop 8: Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim

Hiker at Bright Angel Point on the Grand Canyon's North Rim

Hiker at Bright Angel Point on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim

Offering fantastic views with less congestion, those willing to drive five hours and 212 miles from the South Rim will be rewarded a chance to see the canyon without the crowds.
Read more on our Grand Canyon website.

Stop 9: Kanab and Kane County, Utah’s Dramatic Scene

Hiking world-famous Buckskin Gulch on the Paria River. Photo by David Swindler courtesy of Kane County Office of Tourism

Hiking world-famous Buckskin Gulch on the Paria River. Photo by David Swindler courtesy of Kane County Office of Tourism

To avoid the crowds and have easy access to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and world-famous slot canyons, head to Kanab. For a movie-star day, pretend you’re in the movies at a Hollywood museum and then sleep in Frank Sinatra’s hotel room.
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More: Most travelers have heard of “The Wave” but are unaware of the surrounding canyons that are just as jaw-dropping such as White Pocket.
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Stop 10: Bryce Canyon City

Panorama of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Panorama of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon City is Ruby’s Inn and Adventures, at the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park. Stay at two hotels, an RV park, tipis, cabins, or the campground. Go on a horseback or ATV guided tour of the park or rent bicycles.
Read more about Ruby’s Inn.

More: Go on a Bryce Canyon adventure on a bike, ATV, or horse.

Stop 11: Capitol Reef Country

Hickman Natural Bridge in Capitol Reef National Park

Hickman Natural Bridge in Capitol Reef National Park

A diversity of landscape like no other in Utah, Capitol Reef National Park and surrounding area has red rock formations, arches, plateaus, meadows, forests, lush green valleys and astounding deserts.
Read more about Wayne County.

End: Salt Lake City, Utah