Incredible outdoor adventures, six 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 Monument Valley, one of the West's most iconic landscapes. Continue to the Hopi reservation for a day tour of Old Oraibi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in North America.
Then point your wheels toward Grand Canyon National Park to visit the popular South Rim and/or the less-visited North Rim. Afterwards, head north to the historic town of Kanab, Utah, home to hundreds of film shoots and great restaurants. Zion National Park is a short drive away. Then make your way north to Cedar City to visit the uncrowded Cedar Breaks National Monument. Explore Panguitch and Bryce Canyon National Park before heading to Escalante for a deep dive into spectacular slot canyons. What follows are some of the best things to see.
TIP: Utah, California and the Navajo nation observe daylight saving time, while Arizona does not.
Before You Go
Download the Gypsy Guide App
Enjoy the freedom of driving your own car while traveling with an entertaining guide that doesn't take up space. There are driving tours for Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon's South Rim. Learn more at gypsyguide.com
Take the Under Canvas Glamping Version of this Trip
Want to do a similar road trip but go glamping at every stop? Do the Best Southwest Glamping Road Trip.
Start: Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City Mythbusting
So you think you know Salt Lake City? We bet you don't know about it's thriving beer scene and five more surprises.
Basecamp in Moab for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
Moab's Top 7 Things to Do
With so many things to do in Moab, choose among our favorite seven things to do with family including a boat tour with Canyonlands by Night & Day, seeing life-sized dinosaurs at Moab Giants, and five more.
Go Retro in Moab at the Expedition Lodge
The retro vibes of this lodge will immediately take you back to a time before the kids could block out rounds of “99 Bottles” with earbuds and Spotify, when the journey was the destination, not the Instagram-worthy view. Learn more.
Home Comforts at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab
Kitchenettes, an indoor pool and convenient downtown location make Homewood Suites your perfect Moab adventure basecamp. Learn more.
Raft the Desert West’s Best River Stretches with OARS
Read these tips to incredible rafting trips for families, thrill seekers and those just looking for relaxation amid some of the country’s best scenery in Utah and Colorado.
Experience Hopi in Tuba City
Grand Canyon National Park - South Rim
Open 365 days a year, the South Rim offers plenty of activities, restaurants and, of course, gorgeous views. It is the most-visited part of the canyon.
Before you Enter the Park, Stop at Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Hidden secrets await in Tusayan.
48 Hours in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Get ready for adventure. Here are some of our favorite things to do while at the South Rim from biking in solitude to exploring some of the rim’s most historic treasures.
A Grander Stay at Yavapai Lodge
Sleep well and sustainably about a mile from the rim. The Yavapai Lodge's restaurant, tavern and nearby market and shuttle stop make navigating the rim easy.
Into the Deep
Read a family's story about hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and discovering there's more than meets the eye.
Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim
Offering fantastic views with less congestion, the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park offers those willing to drive five hours and 212 miles from the South Rim a chance to see the canyon without the crowds. There are places like Point Imperial where you can watch the distant rising sun gradually spread a blanket of warm red and gold light across the giant walls of rock and the singular spire of Mount Hayden.
Kanab's Fab Four Things to Do
Avoid the crowds, enjoy fantastic food and discover the hidden gems along the way to the Southwest’s most popular national parks.
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. Read more.
Zion National Park
Inside this national park, massive canyon walls reach toward the sky. As visitors drive through Zion National Park, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the size and vertical orientation of the canyon walls that are all around you. Read more.
Elevate Your Experience at Cedar City and Brian Head
While southwest Utah is known for its amazing red-rock landscapes, there’s a pocket of mountains topped by aspen trees, wildflowers and pine trees. Here are four reasons to stop and stay here.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Maximize your experience at Bryce Canyon National Park by driving to Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce viewpoints. These are all spectacular overlooks of the park’s red hoodoos shooting up against evergreen forests in the background.
3 New Ways to Experience Bryce Canyon Country
See the stars, squeeze through a slot canyon or visit in the winter near these little towns along Hwy. 12.
The Closest Hotel to Bryce Canyon is Ruby's Inn
Ruby's Inn and Adventures is at the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park. Stay at two hotels, an RV park, tipis, cabins, or the campground. Go on a Bryce Canyon adventure on a bike, ATV, or horse.
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.