The Best State And National Parks In Utah

From the rivers to the lakes, the giant sand dunes and breathtaking arches, Utah offers it all. For those looking for a spectacular adventure, you have certainly come to the right place. Hikers, bikers, and everything in between come to Utah for its beautiful nature, and National and State Parks. Whether you are interested in a relaxing day exploring, or up for an intense hike, Utah has the perfect State Parks around. Each park offers unique attractions, clims, sights and geology that you can find along the way. Here are a few of my favorite State and National Parks in Utah. 

Dead Horse Point State Park

Photo Credit: Jerry and Pat Donaho via Flickr CC2.0

Coining itself as one of the most beautiful viewpoints from a state park in all of Utah, Dead Horse Point State Park is one you don’t want to miss. Hike to the lookout where you will see views going over a gooseneck in the Colorado River. The lookout sits at about 2,000 feet off of the ground. You can also see THelma & Louise Point from the lookout, from the famous movie. Along with those two, you are able to see Potash Road as it runs alongside the cliff of the plateau below.  

Canyonlands National Park

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Considered the Grand Canyon of Utah, the Canyonlands National Park has copious amounts of hiking trails and PLENTY of spectacular views. Catch a photo from the Island in the Sky district of the park, or check out the carved landscape of plateaus and canyons. Embark on a short hike to Mesa Arch to witness the edge of a 500- foot drop. There are 3 different areas of the park but the most popular are the Island in the Sky and The Needles. All conveniently located just an hour away from Moab. 

Zion National Park

Photo Credit: J. Philipp Krone via Flickr CC2.0

Zion National Park is one of the most visited National parks in the United States, and for good reason. From the spectacular landscapes, massive cliff walls, and mountains, there is so much to see and do. The beautiful, sturdy mountains have given the park a nickname, “Vertical Park”. Take a picnic and enjoy as you see the waterfall pour off the ledges and lead into the Virgin River as it floats down through the canyon. With an extensive hiking system, you can go anywhere through ridges to canyons and giant rock walls. They also offer a free shuttle service that will take visitors along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. 

Arches National Park

Photo Credit: Jeff Moser via Flickr CC2.0

Arches National Park is a unique park as it has over 2,000 sandstone arches located within the park. These arches are the highest concentration of natural arches in the entire world. The well-known Delicate Arch is the logo of the park. The horse-shoe-shaped arch is perched spectacularly on a cliff wall in front of a sandstone bowl. The arches within the park are made up of all shapes and sizes, each offering its own unique character.  Set high above the surrounding desert near Moab, the park is home to giant stone fins, spires, and Slickrock. 

Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument

Photo Credit: naturejunkie99 via Instagram

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is one of the largest United States National Monuments by landmass. The diverse park takes up a large portion of southern Utah. For the most dramatic views of the park, check out Highway 89, along the southern edge between Kanab and Page. Bask in the colorful blend of hills, canyons, and valleys. If you have extra time, make sure you stop by the Paria ghost town, it is a recreated Old West Town that has been used as a filming location for several movies. The park has a ton of dirt roads and hiking trails to go and explore.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Photo Credit: Jim & Robin Kunze via Flickr CC2.0

Explore the beautiful cream, pink, and orange balanced rock formations and take in the breathtaking sights of the Bryce Canyon National Park. The park offers several different spots as lookouts, including a few along the canyon rim where you can look down at the bowl of hoodoos. Enjoy trails that cut through the canyons and wander through elevations as the park is between 8k and 9k feet. Make sure to check out the ancient bristlecone pines.

Capitol Reef National Park

Photo Credit: J. Philipp Krone via Flickr CC 2.0

This national park is known as one of the “Mighty 5” parks.  The beautiful rock formations, along with the tranquility and serene feeling that you encompass when you are at the park, will make you never want to leave. While many of the State Parks will be quite busy and highly trafficked, this park is different. It offers a more get-out and unplug feel. Giving you the opportunity to take in the scenic atmosphere. You will find yourself lost in the vibrant colors of the orange cliffs.  The park offers a unique drive through the park for a more close-up look at the canyons, rocks, and much more. 

No matter where you decide to visit, I hope that you get a chance to experience a few of the beautiful National and State Parks in Utah. From the canyons to the orange rock and arches you will not be disappointed. Let me know which ones you visit and what you think about them. Safe travels!

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