This post is the last to complete the series from my trip to Utah. After a deep plunge into photographs, let me go over a bit of the logistics for this trip, out of which I think I can share some wisdom. Keep in mind that my starting point is from Northern California, so you may have to adjust accordingly.
Utah’s National and State Parks are beautiful locations that – if you are into hiking and nature at all – you most definitely must visit. The richness of the landscapes makes it so unique, that you will want to take it all in; and take some of it home too. The one drawback of such richness is that there are many many parks and locations to explore.
The way I initially designed the trip was to start from Las Vegas, visit Zion and Bryce first, then drive North on Utah’s Scenic Byway 12, and reach Moab, which would be the base to go around and visit Arches and maybe plan for other outdoor activities. The plan is good, and can be carried out, as long as you stick with these mentioned parks alone, or you have much more than a week to visit everything else. My new planning, would be different.
I would divide the visit into two regions: Zion/Bryce and then Moab.
For the Zion/Bryce area, I would recommend flying into Las Vegas, and then find a hotel close to Zion National Park, from where you will be able to visit the whole area with little or reasonable driving times. On the way back, you could stop by Saint George, UT, if you wanted to visit Snow canyon, before catching your flight home.
For the Moab area, I would fly into Salt Lake City, and stay in Moab. From there, you have access to extremely scenic areas that can easily occupy full days. To mention some that you should not miss, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Fisher Towers and the Bowtie and Corona Arches Park, Dead Horse Point State Park. And then there are many activities that you can plan and enjoy, like mountain biking, rafting, canoeing, off-road vehicles and more.
There is a third area that is in between, and goes along Scenic Byway 12. Well, the Byway itself lends many opportunities for stops and breathtaking views of canyons and rocky formations. On it’s path, you’ll find Capitol Reef National Park, and Goblin Valley State Park.
This still leaves out Natural Bridges National Monument, Glen Canyon and Monument Valley. Did I mention it was a vast space to explore? :-)
I hope these few notes will possibly help you in planning your trips (yes, more than one) to the beautiful landscapes of Utah, and if you have more tips, share them in the comments!