Utah April 13, 2022
Spend 3 Days In 3 Canyons On This Weekend Road Trip In Utah
Utah is known for its breathtaking national parks. While you could spend multiple days exploring the best parks in the Beehive State, sometimes you just don’t have the time. To help you out, we’ve created this weekend road trip to three national parks – or 3 canyons – in just three days. While you won’t get to see everything that these parks have to offer, you can still enjoy a few sights that will leave you mesmerized.
This weekend road trip begins in Zion National Park and ends at Canyonlands National Park. It requires just under six hours of drive time and you will travel more than 300 miles. You can use
this interactive map
to customize your trip and add even more stops if you’d like.
Day 1 – Zion National Park
Zion National Park is 229 square miles, so you certainly can’t see the entire park in one day. However, you can still enjoy a large part of this national park by driving the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. This will give you beautiful views of the rocks, vegetation, and more. Plus, you will eventually pass through the
Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
, which is more than 5,000-feet long. Be aware that there are hours each day when the tunnel is closed. Plus, fees and escorts through the tunnel may be required if you are driving an oversized vehicle.
You’ll likely only have time for one hike in Zion and while there are many to choose from, we highly suggest the
Canyon Overlook Trail
. The trailhead is near the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and the entire trail is impressive with a jaw-dropping reward at the end. This is only a one-mile out-and-back hiking trail but be prepared for some challenging areas.
You can even spend the night in a stunning canyon. Under Canvas Zion is a glampground just outside of Zion National Park. The luxury canvas tents at this glampground vary in size and some even feature their own private bathroom. You can learn more and book your stay on the Under Canvas
Day 2- Bryce Canyon National Park
One day at Bryce Canyon gives you enough time to visit many of the viewpoints and overlooks off of the main road. We suggest starting at Sunrise Point, which is one of the very first overlooks you will come to as you enter the park.
Even if you don’t make it for the sunrise
, make sure you have your camera ready because this view is inspiring.
If you have the time and desire to go for a hike, consider the
Navajo Loop Trail
. This trailhead is found at Sunset Point and the trail is only 1.4-miles long. On your journey, you will hike into the canyon and enjoy a unique perspective of the hoodoos and cliff walls.
For a place to stay that evening, head to
. Located just outside of the park’s gates, this hotel offers multiple rooms and suites. There is also a campground for both tents and RVs if you’d like to sleep under the stars. Ruby’s Inn also offers excellent dining for when hunger strikes on this road trip in Utah. You can fill up at the
Cowboy’s Buffet and Steak Room
, which is located right inside the main lodge. This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 3- Canyonlands National Park
We will spend the last day of our road trip at Canyonlands National Park. While this national park is broken up into multiple districts, we recommend spending the entire day in The Island in the Sky District. This is the closest district to Moab and features a little bit of everything including overlooks, hikes, and more. You’ll definitely want to stop at
Grand View Point
, one of the more popular overlooks at this national park in Utah. Be prepared for a short hike to the viewpoint.
The Mesa Arch Trail
is also a must-do when visiting this national park. This is one of the most photographed arches in Utah with views of Buck Canyon 1,200 feet below on the other side of the arch. The hike to this arch is short — only half a mile — and there is little elevation change.
If you want to spend the night in this national park before venturing back home, check out the
Island in the Sky Campground
. This campground has 12 campsites, open year-round, and near some excellent attractions like the beautiful Green River Overlook. Make sure to claim your site early as this is a first-come, first-serve campground.
So, what do you think of this road trip in Utah? This is certainly a full three days, but every minute will be incredible. Are there any other stops or attractions you’d add to this weekend adventure? If so, let us know in the comments!
Address: Zion National Park, UT, Springdale, UT 84737, USA Address: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA Address: Canyonlands National Park, Utah 84532, USA