In my opinion, Utah may just be the most beautiful state in the nation. As I travel the globe and see the world’s most famous paintings and buildings, I realize that our national parks are the earth’s greatest masterpieces…and none of them were made by human hands, they are God’s handiwork. These are all museums of ‘Ancient Art’ and five of them just happen to be in southern Utah. Explore the colorful, canyons, and iconic arches of all five of Utah’s unbelievable national parks!
This southwestern state is a top destination for skiers and hikers, history buffs and adventurers. With outstanding geological formations and ever-reaching landscapes, its natural wonders (which tourists can either climb over or drive through), are unparalleled, from salt flats to red rock canyons, on to the desert and Rocky Mountains.
Utah’s “Mighty 5” National Parks are variations on a theme — petrified Jurassic sediments sculpted by wind, water and time — but each one is very unique in its own way. To my surprise, all five of the national parks in Utah are within a stone’s throw of one another — in fact, you could literally drive through them all in a busy single day. You could… but you shouldn’t. That’d be like sprinting through the Louvre!
Over 150 million years the soft stone sediments in these five spots relented in, beautiful and fascinating ways, cutting open a color spectrum of reds, pinks, yellows, grays and whites, and dusted with green. It’s a photographer’s dream!
There are 2,000 named arches in Arches National Park. (An opening in the rock earns a name and an “arch” designation by stretching 3 feet in one direction.) Forty-three are known to have fallen since 1977. Fortunately, humans didn’t cause any of them.
This area is a result of years of slow work of determined rivers and is located near Moab, Utah (just 30 minutes from Arches National Park). You will see carved-out canyons, sheer drop-offs and body-wide footpaths that slice through red rock. Exploring Canyonlands National Park is intense. The whole park is red rock that has been engraved and chiseled by years of endless wind and water.
It’s 100 miles long and is named for what it looks like white rock domes (like the U.S. Capitol) and rocky ridges (like marine reefs) — but isn’t — because it wasn’t like anything anyone had ever seen. Capitol Reef National Park is a pinch in the earth’s crust and is overloaded with geological, cultural and sensory aspects.
Your first view of the park is a dramatic unveiling! Wind through groves of pine trees until they break at the rim of Bryce Canyon National Park, revealing a magnificent panorama of goblins, towers and a hue of colors. One fun way to see it is by horseback.
Zion National Park is the oldest and most visited in Utah. Millions of years ago, ancient iterations of the Virgin River started carving out southwestern Utah. It’s a reddish-orangey-pink swath that’s eroded in spectacular ways. You can witness amazing desert geology firsthand, where ancient rock is shaped by the powerful and ever-changing flow of water.
If you want to add a little extra adventure and incredible scenery, hike up the Virgin River Narrows a mile or two. Know that the trail is actually the shallow river and you are walking on slippery rocks. You will need special equipment, like water-hiking boots and a walking stick. At an outfitter store they we help you prepare and provide an educational short film to watch so you know what to expect, becausethis is not a typical hike. I think The Narrows is one of America’s coolest, scenic and most unique hikes!
Our National Parks are our American Masterpieces. You can easily see the beauty of the Mighty 5 by driving through parts of these parks; it is probably the most stunning drive we’ve ever seen. Many of these parks are unique because you can see so much by car. It’s perfect for those who do not want to hike, are handicapped or for the elderly. But for those who do want to hike – it’s an awesome adventure!
Experience what southern Utah is all about as you travel through “Canyon Country” and work your way up the Colorado Plateau to some of the most incredible and diverse sights in the nation. There’s one iconic site after another. This trip promises to be unforgettable and will allow you to see and witness some of the most scenic and epic national parks in America!