Home to uncountable national parks and monuments, Utah is the heart of the American wild wild west.The state drives many visitors fromaround the world throughout the year because of its rugged scenery,scenic byways and adventure activities.One of my friend asked me “Why do you want to visit all the national parks in Utah? They all look same”.I didn’t know the answer when the question was asked.This blog is written to answer the question why you should absolutely visit at least Mighty 5 national parks in the deserted state, if not all.
The Mighty 5 means watching sunrise over hoodoos and grottos in Bryce Canyon and sunset through various arch formations in Arches.It means taking one of the America’s dangerous hike in Zion and then standing in front of the petroglyphs in Capitol Reef.
This blog is going to be the big one, so I have divided it into 2 parts.In first part, I will talk about Zion and Bryce National parks.The second blog will be dedicated to Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyon Lands National Park.
Before visiting the park, do your homework diligently and decide well in advance what you want to do.It is impossible to cover all the trails and explore each and every region of the park.Know your own physical limitations and don’t push yourself to exhaustion.Wear good shoes and keep yourself hydrated all the time.The best part is when you are done visiting a park, you end up adding more activities to your bucket list which will tempt you to visit the park again:-)
Zion National Park
Personally,this is my favorite from the list due to diversity in its landscapes.You can camp inside the park or take an accommodation in nearby town called Springdale.
You can get the map of the park with all the marked trails and turn out points at Zion’s official site.
Point Of Interest – Temple of Sinawava, The Narrows, Big Bend, Weeping Rock,The Grotto, Court of the Patriarchs, Zion Canyon scenic drive, Arch of Zion and CheckerBoard Mesa.
Hikes that we did –
- Angels Landing :- Difficulty Level – Strenuous, Time – 4 hours, Distance – 5.4 miles, Elevation – 1488 feet.
- Lower and Upper Emerald Pool :- Difficulty Level – Moderate, Time – 1 hour, Distance – 1 mile, Elevation – 200 feet.
- The Grotto trail – Difficulty Level – Easy, Time – 30 mins, Distance – 1 mile, Elevation – 35 feet.
- Weeping Rock Trail – Difficulty Level – Easy, Time – 30 mins, Distance – 0.4 mile, Elevation – 98 feet.
Angels Landing, Observation Point and The Narrows are the popular hikes in the park.All 3 are strenuous hikes.
Angels Landing is rated to be one of the most dangerous hikes in US as hikers need to climb the last 0.5 mile of the trail taking support from anchored chains embedded in the rocks with a drop off altitude of over 2000 feet.
The Narrows is the hike through narrow canyons.The canyon is so narrow, the river covers the bottom in many spots and you have to either swim or wade through water.Its super fun but go with proper hiking and water gear as you will be completely wet.We didn’t have proper water gear so couldn’t complete the hike.
Was not able to do the Observation point.May be next time.Added to the bucket list:-)
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is known for its odd shaped hoodoo and grotto formation pillars created from the force of erosion.You can camp inside the park or take an accommodation in nearby town called Bryce Canyon.
Get the marked trails from below official site:-
Point Of Interest – Inspiration point,sunrise point, sunset point, Bryce point, Rainbow point,Yowimpa point, Natural bridge
Hikes that we did –
- Navajo Loop trail – Difficulty Level – Moderate,Time -1.5 hours,Distance-1.5 mile,Elevation-600 feet.
- Queens Garden trail – Difficulty Level – Moderate,Time-1.5 hours,Distance-1.8 miles,Elevation-320 feet.
- Rim trail – Difficulty Level – Easy.Distance-11 miles.You can start the trail from any point in the park.
Navajo loop trail is a must do in the park.The trail gives opportunity to explore the hoodoos up close.You can start with Navajo trail and join the Queens Garden trail at the bottom of the canyon.
Stay Tuned For Ultimate Utah Part 2 !!!
If you have all the time in the world, you can plan 2-3 week itinerary with below route map.