7 must-see places in Southern Utah
If you’re planning a road trip through Southern Utah, here are memorable sights to behold and things to do.
The ideal list would be about 14 places long, but in an attempt to keep the list doable in one road trip, we’ve narrowed it down to 7.
Bryce Canyon is home to the most hoodoo formations in the world. Hoodoos are tall reddish-orange formations that resemble cylindrical towers. The National Park Service describes the hoodoo formation process as a “Three-Step Recipe.” 1. Rocks from highlands are deposited in a lower lying area 2. Heat from plate tectonics pushes this newly cemented rock upward 3. Erosion & weathering from ice & rain sculpt hoodoo formations¹.
Likely the most popular lookout spot in Bryce Canyon National Park is Sunset Point pictured below.
You can begin the Navajo Loop Trail from Sunset Point where you walk through the hoodoos below you. Heads up, if you’re looking to walk through “Wall Street” where the massive Douglas Firs reside, it is closed in the winter. Otherwise, the Navajo Loop is 1.4 miles. Venturing down into the hoodoos and walking through them is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Slot canyons are narrow openings in a canyon wall created by rushing water. The slot canyons in Zion National Park were formed by the Virgin River. Not surprisingly, Zion is a popular canyoneering spot. Canyoneering can involve a combination of techniques including walking, climbing with ropes, swimming, scouting trails, and jumping. Don’t worry, you can explore Zion’s slot canyons without canyoneering.
The Narrows is one of the more popular hikes in Zion National Park. And true to its name, The Narrows is the most narrow part of Zion. This hike does require getting your feet wet. How wet is dependent on the timing of your hike.
Arches National Park is located in South Eastern Utah. It is about 30 miles from the i70.
The Delicate Arch stands 60 feet tall. Its trail is 3 miles. Fun fact: The Delicate Arch is the arch on Utah license plates.
The Grand Canyon doesn’t need much of an explanation. You can take a peek of the largest canyon in the United States at the Northern Rim.
Moab, Utah is just a few miles from Arches National Park and is one of the most popular spots to mountain bike. With a variety of trails and levels, it’s an adrenaline rush and a unique way to explore the area. Check out some trails on Poison Spider Bicycles website page. (Slickrock Trail is a popular one.)
Stay somewhere near Bryce Canyon, (could be miles away, but stay at the same elevation), to see a star performance without even needing to stay up late. Even if you’re an amateur photographer, if you have a DSLR camera, set a long shutter speed and see what you can capture. Here are some shots taken at Bryce Canyon Cabins by guests.
Lake Powell is over 254.1 square miles and extends into both Arizona and Southern Utah! Lake Powell is the second largest reservoir and was created by the Glen Canyon Dam. Given its beauty, it’s not surprising that over 2.5 million people vacation at Lake Powell every year.
There you have it folks. And if this doesn’t satisfy your road trip itinerary, throw in Capitol Reef National Park, Kodachrome State Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Canyonlands National Park. Then you’ll be tired but satisfied.
Trying to map this out in your head? We did it for you. Click here.
¹The Three-Step Recipe to Create Bryce Canyon. (2018, October 16). Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/brca/learn/nature/hoodoos.htm
In honor of the season of ‘everything pumpkin’, also known as fall, here’s one of our favorite fall recipes. Pumpkin bread.
This recipe will make 5 mini loaves or 3 regular loaves.
3 cups of sugar
1 cup of oil
⅔ cup of water
2 cups of pumpkin (preferably Libby’s)
3½ cups of flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
3 teaspoons of baking soda
1½ teaspoons of salt
1 cup of chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional)
Mix everything together in a mixer. Mix the flour in one cup at a time so the flour doesn’t ball up. Lightly grease pans. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Enjoy!! Happy Fall!
Utah is almost half the size of California but is home to 5 national parks and a national monument: 1) Zion National Park 2) Bryce Canyon National Park 3) Canyonlands National Park 4) Capitol Reef National Park 5) Arches National Park and 6) Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Zion National Park is famous for its towering canyon walls, slot canyons, rivers, natural arches, and of course the hiking trails throughout it.
The Angels Landing hike is well known for its incredible views and sheer dropoffs. Chains are bolted to the rock to keep you steady.
2. Bryce Canyon National Park (18 miles from the lodge)
Hoodoo rock formations are formed by alternating layers of hard and soft rock (National Park Service, “Hoodoos”). The formations are made up of red, orange, and white colors creating unique, breathtaking views.
Popular stops include the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater and the 1.3 mile Navajo Trail loop.
3. Canyonlands National Park (268 miles from the lodge)
In the Horseshoe Canyon section of the park, many petroglyphs can be seen.
4. Capitol Reef National Park (120 miles from the lodge)
The park is named for its dome-like features found on some of the cliffs. Capitol Reef offers a range of day hikes, as well as backcountry hiking for those looking for more of a challenge or secluded areas.
5. Arches National Park (256 miles from the lodge)
Before or after your stop at Canyonlands, explore Arches National Park located just 5 miles north of the outdoorsy city of Moab.
6. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (60 miles from lodge)
Close to Kodachrome Basin, Escalante is another awe-worthy stop. This expansive area was established as a monument in 1996.
Utah is a small but mighty home when it comes to parks. In addition to the above 6, there is also Kodachrome State Park (36 miles from the lodge), the Northern rim of the Grand Canyon (100 miles from the lodge), and Lake Powell (130 miles from the lodge). Happy exploring!