THE UTAH MIGHTY 5
No U.S. RV adventure bucket list would be complete without the Utah Mighty 5. Nowhere else in the U.S. are there this many National Parks in such close proximity to each other – 385 miles traveling from Arches/Canyonlands to Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. You will also want to be sure to have an exciting RV adventure when you visit these Parks at different times of the day to experience the effect of the sun’s rays giving you a different perspective of the landscape.
You’ll find majestic sunrises, fiery sunsets, and views of the galaxy. Explore technicolored cliffs, massive arches and amazing hoodoos. Discover wide open spaces, brilliant slot canyons and monumental Jeep tours. You can find all of this in one state, Utah.
So get out your RV planner and begin your RV trip planning to see these wonderful destinations!
Moab is the gateway to massive red rock formations in Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park features mesas and buttes carved by the Green and Colorado rivers, plus Native American rock art. Moab offers many campgrounds, RV friendly gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, breweries and wineries. Activities abound for all ages and include:
- Outdoor Activities: Horseback Riding, Ziplining, Hummer Safari tours, Hot Air Balloon Rides, Mountain Biking, Scenic Flights, Stand-Up Paddleboards, High Rope courses, ATV/UTVs, and Skydiving!
- Water Activities – From mild to wild, Moab has an abundance of river recreation opportunities available to suit any taste.
- Jetboat Tours – Experience a Colorado River jetboat excursion that takes you into spectacular river scenery bordering Canyonlands National Park; these trips reveal spectacular, remote canyons of exquisite beauty.
Arches National Park
Arches contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches – over 2000 total. RVA has explored this Park many times and each RV adventure revealed sites we hadn’t seen before. The Park also contains colossal sandstone fins and massive balanced rocks. A paved scenic drive takes visitors to many of the major viewpoints within the Park.
There are many easy trails which make it fun for the whole family to get out of the RV and explore Arches up close. Experience the backcountry of Arches in a jeep guided tour where you get to climb to the top of seldom-seen, awe-inspiring overlooks. Go home with a new feeling of freedom and unforgettable memories of your time in this Park.
Canyonlands National Park
Near Moab is Utah’s largest National Park, Canyonlands diversity staggers the imagination. Canyonlands preserves a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The rivers divide the park into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves. While these areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and offers different opportunities for exploration.
The Island in the Sky district is the easiest way to see the Park for drivers and RVs with many pull outs to enjoy spectacular views along the paved scenic drive. From these viewpoints visitors can see over 100 miles in any direction, resulting in breathtaking panoramic views.
Located just 8 miles from the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey is aunique little tree-lined town surrounded by rose-colored cliffs and green meadows. Torrey is an outdoor lover’s paradise with spectacular scenery and many outdoor recreational opportunities. With restaurants, a bookstore and café, two art galleries, a general store, gift shops, RV campgrounds, RV friendly gas stations, and markets, Torrey is a convenient gateway town to exploring Capitol Reef National Park.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef is a beautiful place of scenic landscapes and outdoor adventures. This place serves as the perfect escape with a variety of hiking trails, outdoor activities and local activities. Stand in one place and you can view white and red sandstone cliffs, lush green riverbanks and colorful plants along the desert floor.
Be sure to:
- Stop at the visitor center and watch the Park movie.
- Tour Cathedral Valley or the Waterpocket District.
- Pick some delicious fruit when in season.
- Take a short hike, such as Hickman Bridge
- Take a longer hike, such as Cohab Canyon.
- Tour the Scenic Drive (approximately 90 minutes round trip). RV friendly.
- Visit the petroglyph panel, historic schoolhouse, or the Historic Gifford Homestead to enjoy fresh baked pie when in season!
No RV adventure would be complete without a trip to Bryce Canyon. Until 2007, this city was known as Ruby’s Inn. Bryce Canyon City became Utah’s 244th incorporated city in July 2007. Incorporation allows the city, which includes Ruby’s Inn and its surrounding 2,300 acres, to fulfill the dream of Ruby’s Inn founder Reuben C. Syrett, who established the motel in 1916 as a stopover for Bryce Canyon visitors.
Today the resort features 700+ rooms, 3 restaurants, an RV park and campground, a general store with fresh fruit, produce, meat and other sundry item, quaint souvenir shops, and outfitters providing horseback rides, ATV tours, Soaring Southern Utah Virtual Reality ride and scenic flights that offer visitors a different perspective on the area’s spectacular scenery.
Also nearby are restaurants, RV friendly gas stations and campgrounds.
Bryce Canyon National Park
One of the most unique National Parks, is actually a series of fourteen amphitheaters that run along the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau for a distance of about 20 miles. The largest amphitheater, Bryce Amphitheatre, is 12 miles long and 3 miles wide. The amphitheaters have formed over millions of years as layers of sandstone, shale, iron rich sandstone and conglomerates were deposited in layers. The last layers are part of the famous Pink Cliffs which form the upper portions of the Grand Staircase. Bryce is famous for it’s hoodoos. A hoodoo is formed with water flows from a plateau to create a fin, and the fins erode to create impressive individual tower formations.
If you’ve never visited the Park before we definitely recommend bringing a camera. The red rock canyons populated by “hoodoos”, unique natural towers carved by water and ice. These rock formations stand tall alone or in clusters to create a fascinating landscape unlike any other in America.
NOTE: Bryce Canyon is at an elevation of 8,000 feet. Allow yourself some time to get used to exertion at 8000 feet!
- Stargazing, horseback riding, hiking, ATV riding
- Bike riding – Bryce Canyon and its surroundings provides spectacular red rock mountain biking. Within the park itself, bicycling is only allowed on paved roads. However, many nearby trails are popular with cyclists. There are opportunities to ride on both single and double track trails, on forest roads, and on pioneer trails.
- Bike rentals available in Bryce Canyon
- Guided tours take you to key destinations within the Park
Although it is a tiny town of just about 500 people, Springdale hosts thousands of visitors every year. Located just outside beautiful Zion National Park, Springdale is the gateway to everything the park has to offer – rugged, car-free bike trails, challenging hikes, brilliant wildlife and breathtaking vistas.
Springdale offers visitors restaurants, RV friendly gas stations, and a free shuttle to the Park’s entrance from several locations within the town of Springdale.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a real paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. A prominent feature of the Park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles long and 2600 feet deep. The canyon walls are reddish and tan colored sandstone eroded by the Virgin River. Zion Canyon offers hiking opportunities along its floor in the 20 to 30 foot wide area known as The Narrows and the challenging area known as The Subway.
Notable geographic features include Angels Landing, The Great White Throne, the Court of the Patriarchs, the Sentinel, the West Temple, The Watchman, Weeping Rock and Emerald Pools.
Zion is renowned as one of the world’s best places for canyoneering, the sport of descending slender canyons (guided tours are available). The national park invites adventurers to lower into fantastic watery slots and river-filled canyons that range from strenuous hiking and wading to technical challenges with swimming and rappelling.
Scenic Drives – Other than the famous Kolob Canyons Road, be sure to check out the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. It’s a winding drive up the canyon and is only accessible by riding the Zion Park Shuttle. See tons of viewpoints alone the way – Court of the Patriarchs, Emerald Pools, Zion Lodge and the Temple of Sinawava, just to name a few.
Another popular attraction is Pa’rus Trail – one of the newer and more accessible trails in the Park. The Pa’rus Trail offers a paved, car-free alternative for bicyclists to connect with the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. It is the only trail in Zion that is open to bicycles and pets, and it is also one of the few wheelchair-accessible trails in the Park.
On your RV adventure, enjoy all the activities the Park has to offer including guided tours (jeep, canyoneering, hiking, horseback riding) and self-guided activities such as scenic drives, sunset and stargazing, biking, and hiking and so much more.
We hope this overview of the Mighty 5 National Parks got you excited to get out and begin your RV adventure by exploring the wonderful State of Utah.