Dotted with small towns and the famous Great Salt Lake, the state of Utah is overwhelming and adventurous. Defined by its uniquely varied terrain, ranging from never ending arid deserts with sand dunes to prosperous alpine forests, Utah is geographically rugged and is located at the convergence of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. But what gives Utah its uniqueness are the mighty five national parks in Utah. Shaped intricately by the wind, water and time, the national parks in Utah offer an incredible experience and are a great spot for pursuing adventure. Here is a list of the big 5 Utah national parks that you must check out.
1. Arches National Park
Home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches including the world famous Delicate Arch, Arches National Park
has the highest density of arches in the world. Crowded by towering rock formations, massive pinnacles, and slick rock domes, the red rock wonderland of Arches National Park looks impressive. Trace your way through the rugged trails of the park on a terrain that has a timeless and an indestructible appeal to it. And when the sun sets in be ready with your cameras, as the crimson orange tinge of the sun paints up the rocks and lights up the entire park.
The entry for the park is priced at $10/person (children aged 15 or below are free to enter). Similarly, the price for motorcycles and private vehicles are $15 and $25 respectively.
Activities: Hiking, Camping, Canyoneering, Backpacking, Photography, Mountain Biking, Boating.
Must see: Delicate Arch, Fiery Furnace, Double Arch, Devils Garden Trailhead, Landscape Arch.
2. Bryce Canyon National Park
Located in the southwest of Utah in the United States, Bryce Canyon National Park
covers an area of 35,835 acres and is one of the best national parks in Utah with spectacular views. Surrounded by the majestic Bryce Canyon and dotted with red-orange amphitheaters, soak yourself in the mesmerizing national park of Bryce Canyon that looks a dream. As the place slowly reveals itself, you come across monstrous hoodoos and 5,000 years old Bristlecone pine trees that add to the subtle, eerie feel of the park. And while you are here don't miss out on the sunrise and the sunset, as it offers one of the unparalleled views of Utah, surpassing all the other national parks.
The entry fee to explore the park is priced at $15/person. For visitors with motorcycles it is $25 and for private vehicles, it is $30.
Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Scenic Driving, Stargazing, Skiing, Snowshoeing.
Must see: Bryce Canyon, Navajo/Queens Garden Loop, Inspiration Point, Navajo Trail, Bryce Point.
3. Canyonlands National Park
Divided into four districts by the combined rivers of the Green and the Colorado, Canyonlands National Park is spread across an area of 337,598 acres and is the largest national park in Utah. Sharing a primitive desert atmosphere, each part of the park has a distinctly unique character to it and encompasses one of the diverse population in Utah. Highlighted by carved-out canyons, pinnacles, mesas, and buttes, Canyonlands National Park is your gateway to witnessing some of the incredible and inspiring landscapes in the world. Time to include this in your travel plan
The individual entry for the park is priced at $10. And as far as the motorcycle and private vehicle entries are concerned, they are capped at $15 and $25 respectively.
Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Scenic Driving, Cycling, Rafting, Kayaking.
Must see: Mesa Arch, Island in the Sky, Grand View Point Overlook, The Needles, Shafer Trail.
4. Capitol Reef National Park
If you are curious to find out how the Earth might have looked like when there was nothing but sky and the land, then you should definitely visit Capitol Reef National Park. Situated in the south-central Utah of the United States, the park was established in 1971 to preserve the desert landscape that covers a length of 241,904 acres. Overloaded with a rich heritage and history that dates back to centuries, Capitol Reef National Park is filled with massive domes, twisting canyons and arches. But the significant attraction of the park is its scenic 100-mile long Waterpocket Fold which is also the reason for the naming of the park. Although this hidden gem of Utah is not as frequented as the other national parks in Utah, it is definitely worth the visit.
The Entrance fee for an individual is priced at $7, while the entry fee for motorcycles and private vehicles is priced at $10. There is also an annual pass that is available and it costs $30.
Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Stargazing, Camping, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, ATV.
Must see: The Hickman Bridge Trail, Burr Trail, Goosenecks Overlook, Fremont Petroglyphs, Fruita.
5. Zion National Park
Encompassing some of the visually appealing canyons in the country, Zion National Park
is one of the most scenic national parks in Utah. Located in the southwest of Utah, Zion National Park was announced as a national park in 1919 and has been thriving with wildlife - mule deer, mountain lions, and golden eagles. Adorned by a huge Zion Canyon, colorful hanging gardens, waterfalls, a 2,000 foot high Navajo Sandstone cliff, high plateaus, and mesas, Zion National Park is exquisite in nature and can be visited throughout the year.
The entry fee for the park is priced at $15/person. For motorcycles, it's $25 and for private vehicles, it's $30.
Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Horseback Riding, Cycling, Canyoneering, Scenic Driving.
Must see: The Narrows, Angel's Landing, Zion's Main Canyon, Observation Point, Canyon Overlook Trail.
While visiting the national parks in Utah, do carry plenty of water bottles with you. Because the soaring temperatures in the plateau can get you dehydrated very easily. Having said that, you will definitely have a memorable experience visiting the parks. Enjoy your trip.
Note: All the prices mentioned are for a week and are subject to change.