Wander With Me | Utah National Parks
Over April vacation, we decided to travel out to Utah. It’s no secret that we are serious national parks lovers and Utah has lots of national parks to offer! I have serious travel OCD, so I had preplanned out the whole trip with hikes I wanted to see and things I wanted to do all along the way. We flew into Denver International, and started the winding drive through the Rocky Mountains to Utah. The drive was breathtaking, it was amazing to start off in the hot desert and travel up to the snowy mountains in a matter of hours. Our first stop along the way was Arches National Park, oh my goodness! This was my husband’s favorite park, he has never been out west to the desert before and was speechless. My only letdown of the whole trip was that we didn’t get to this park early enough, the Fiery Furnace hike was full for the day. We did all of the small hikes to the arches, but our favorite was the hike to Delicate Arch….this is absolutely a must see!
After grabbing some yummy lunch in Moab, we headed to Dead Horse State Park in the hopes of a desert sunset. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy for a sunset, but we did the rim trail to the point and enjoyed the gorgeous views. My kids loved climbing in all the caves and just running wild. This is one of the most underrated parks in Utah, I think the view from the point rivals Horseshoe Bend.
Our next park was Bryce National Park, I was in love! The tall, red, towering hoodoos were incredible! We did the Navajo Loop trail, which I highly recommend! Wallstreet was closed due to a landslide, but the loop was still awesome! We saw all of the famous points, and sooo much wildlife! We saw mule deer, the adorable prairie dogs, and lots of chipmunks and squirrels. We ended up the day with the Mossy Cave trail, the river through the hoodoos was super neat and my kids couldn’t believe how cold the water was in the middle of desert.
After Bryce, we headed to Zion…my favorite national park so far! I loved how lush and full of life this park was! Zion was the park that I was looking forward to the most, and I was not disappointed! We started off by climbing around the Checkerboard Mesa and driving the tunnel, which was super neat! Our first hike was the Canyon overlook trail, and it was my favorite hike of the whole trip. It was such a neat trail, cutting through the side of the mesa…and it was where we got our first glimpse of the big horned sheep….they walked feet in front of us! It ends with the most iconic view of Zion, the gorgeous green valley surrounded by tall red rock. We did the popular emerald pools and weeping rock trails, which were ehh, lots of people and not as beautiful as some of the other trails. We ended the day with the Hidden Canyon Trail, one of my kids favorites, and definitely not for the faint of heart. You hang onto chains on the side of the mountain sometimes, but you end up at this awesome canyon on the top a mountain. My kids even found tarantulas on the way, which they loved…me, not so much!
The next day we headed over to Grand Staircase Escalante and the Willis Slot Canyon. The road to the canyon is a dirt road that was all offroading. This one of of the most surprising parts of the trip, I had no idea how much I would enjoy this! I think that this would rival Antelope Canyon, the tall sides and narrow path were so neat! This is definitely a must do if you are in the area! We spent the evening, caving in the Mammouth Caves, I didn’t take any pictures…it was a little bit dark 🙂 My kids thought this was so neat, literally crawling through ancient lava tunnels and seeing the bats hanging from the cave roof.
We headed back to Bryce the next day to finish seeing the sites, we did the Queen’s Garden trail…which I loved! I would recommend adding it to the Navajo Loop, the terrain is unlike anything else I have ever seen! Afterwards, we did a bunch of the small trails at Red Canyon, a small part of Bryce National Park
My husband and I got up super early the next day to do Angel’s Landing, we were super excited to do this! Make sure to get there early, since you have to take the shuttle into the park and it gets really crowded! The hike was unlike anything else….we loved it! It was so exhilarating hanging onto the chains and literally climbing with huge drop offs next to you. The view from the top was gorgeous! I would highly recommend this hike to anyone who loves adventure!
Our next park was Capitol Reef National Park, if you go get some ice cream and pies at the Fruita area…it is stunning and delicious! We drove the scenic drive, and headed over to the Cassidy Arch hike. This park was so quiet, especially after Zion and Bryce. I loved the hike to the Cassidy Arch, and it was such a neat feeling to be on top of an arch after seeing all of the arches on our trip.
Our last park was Canyonlands, we only had time to do the north Canyonlands. We did the short hike to the Mesa Arch, and then the longer hike to the Canyon Overlook. The weather was gorgeous, and the hikes were both beautiful. I would highly recommend doing all of the national parks, they are all so different and unique. My kids got national park passport books and collected stamps at all of them. On the way back to Denver, we made a quick stop at a natural hot spring…which was really neat to see! I absolutely loved this vacation, I love adventure, hiking, and seeing everything!