Travel Bloggers Explore Utah: Home to Five USA National Parks

Utah is a photographer’s paradise located in the western United States. It is home to five US National Parks nicknamed the Mighty 5. They are Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. Utah’s winters boast the “Greatest Snow on Earth.”

The more we learn about Utah, the more we want to visit. It’s an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts, hikers, adventure seekers, winter sports lovers, and anyone who needs to rejuvenate. Many top travel bloggers have already explored the Mighty 5 and have allowed me to share their photos here:

Zion National Park

Zion, sometimes referred to as the promised land, is the most visited National Park in Utah. Larger than life sandstone cliffs creating narrow canyon slots are intermixed with lush wilderness and beautiful waterfalls.

Zion National Park photo by Noel Morata of Travel Photo Discovery

Zion National Park
It is a spectacular national park that is an easy drive from Las Vegas. Once inside, you can take a tram to all the main landmarks and do short to challenging hikes around these amazing monuments. It’s fun to explore and enjoy the vistas from any spot around this park especially late afternoon when the light is really spectacular.
Photo by Noel Morata of Travel Photo Discovery. See more at Noel Morata Photography.

Zion National Park photo by Olivia Christine

Zion National Park
Photo by Olivia Christine of O. Christine.

Bryce National Park

What can you say about a park famous for its hoodoos, other than, “take me there”?

Bryce Canyon in Utah, USA. Photo by Kevin Wagar

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon, situated in Southwest Utah, is not actually a canyon at all. It’s known instead for it’s towering hoodoos created by erosion and weathering. It makes for a stunning and unique landscape.
Photo by Kevin Wagar of Wandering Wagars. See more at 12 Must See Places in the American Southwest .

Bryce Canyon by Danielle Ditzian

Bryce CanyonNational Park
Photo by Danielle Ditzian of Like Riding a Bicycle.

Bryce Canyon sunrise photo. by Maria Haase

Bryce Canyon National Park
Photo by Maria Haase of Maria Abroad.

Capitol Reef National Park

Amazing colors in the rock formations, Capitol Reef is near the centre of the Mighty 5. Interestingly, it was given its name by early pioneers who thought the white dome shaped peaks reminded them of the US Capitol building.

Capitol Reef Park Utah Photo by Juergen Klein

Capitol Reef National Park
If you want a relaxed visit to one of Utah’s many parks consider Capitol Reef National Park. On hikes into the back country you might only meet a handful of people, thus allowing for an experience more in tune with nature.
Photo by Juergen Klein of Dare 2 Go.

Arches National Park

Referred to as a “Gateway to Another World,” this is the park you want to be in at sunrise and sunset. The natural orange sandstone arches will be easy to spot as there are more than 2,000 of them in this park.

Waiting for sunset at Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Utah. Photo by Antonette Spaan

Arches National Park
Waiting at Delicate Arch for sunset and the opportunity to capture the sun’s reflecting rays.
Photo by Antonette Spaan of We 12 Travel. See more at How to spend a day in Arches National Park.

Arches National Park in Utah, USA. Photo by Lyn Lindfeld

Arches National Park
Photo by Lyn Lindfield of The Travelling Linfields.

Canyonlands National Park

Filled with pinnacles, spires, buttes, and mesas, Canyonlands is Utah’s largest national park divided into four districts by the Colorado and Green Rivers.

Labyrinth Canyon section of the Green River, Utah. Photo by Shara Johnson

Canyonlands National Park
Canoeing the Labyrinth Canyon section of the Green River. 
Photo by Shara Johnson of SKJ Travel. See more at Canoeing the Green River – a spot of wind, a mining past, and the heights of geologic history.

Canyonlands National Park photo by Shannon Colman

Canyonlands National Park
Commencing a four-wheel drive down the Shafer Trail. Island of the Sky mesa in Canyonlands National Park.
Photo by Shannon Colman of Sole Seeking. See more at Descent into the Deep: A Daring Four-Wheel Drive in Canyonlands National Park.

Map to the Mighty 5:

From Las Vegas you can easily drive to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands.

Utah is also home to many state and regional parks. Here are two favorites of other travel bloggers who have already been there:

Monument Valley

Monument Valley Utah photo by Two Scots Abroad

Monument Valley
Photo by Gemma of Two Scots Abroad.

Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument Utah photo by Steve Smith

Hovenweep National Monument
Summer solstice sunset through ancient Anasazi portal.
Photo by Steve Smith, Associate Editor, In the Know Traveler.

Greatest Snow on Earth

And if that’s not enough, Utah boasts the “Greatest Snow on Earth” an expression so descriptive the state has copyrighted it. Utah is situated on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains and reports an annual snowfall of 13 metres. Skiers and snowboarders will tell you it is mostly light and dry. No wonder Salt Lake City, Utah was chosen for the 2002 winter Olympics. With 14 major ski resorts, there are plenty of opportunities to experience some of this powder magic.

Ski Utah photo by Chris Pearson

Ski Utah
Photo by Chris Pearson. ©Utah Office of Tourism. Used with Permission.

Practical Information:

  • Learn more about each of these Utah parks from their US National Parks pages Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands.
  • For a detailed itinerary, check out National Geographic’s National Parks Road Trip: Utah
  • If you are planning to visit multiple US National Parks, you can pre-purchase a national annual pass that will most likely save you money, or you can pick one up at any of the Mighty 5.
  • Salt Lake City is 2.5 hours drive from Las Vegas or a one hour flight from either San Francisco or Los Angeles.
  • The airport in Salt Lake City is also the closest major airport to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming or the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
  • If you live outside of the USA, there are several international ski passes available that offer discounts to multiple parks.

The beauty of this state reminds me of our recent drive down the Oregon Coast. While the scenery is completely different, both Oregon and Utah are stunning, relaxing, and remind me in some way of our New Zealand home.

Utah is calling to us, and maybe it will start calling to you too.

Have you been yet, or are you going to explore Utah?

This post is linked at Photo Friday, Sunday’s in My City, Through My Lens, Life Thru the Lens, and Our World Tuesdays.

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  1. says

    Oh, I just love Utah! Zion is wonderful, but my favorite park is Bryce – easy win! It’s just so unique and beautiful – lots of fun to hike down among the hoodoos. We are way overdue to take a trip back there – it’s probably been about 15 years now. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos!


    Book By Book

  2. says

    I’ve driven through Utah but we didn’t see any of those sights. My father hiked a lot through Utah and I have some stunning B&W photos I printed from his trek through Bryce Canyon.

  3. says

    We can just contemplate on the incredible age of these iconic nature monuments, nature being the greatest architect. And your photos are indeed always awesome. Thanks for the tour.

  4. says

    My ancestor, Issac Behunin, was one of the first to settle Zion and he is credited for naming it such. Utah is a fantastic place to visit if you are a nature photographer, hiker, outdoor adventurer! Last year we spent about a week in the Moab area and just loved it. Even my kids who are keen hikers appreciated the cool rock features. I hope you get there.

  5. says

    Thanks for the inclusion in this great collection. I could have contributed a number of photos from other State Parks in Utah, but I never heard back from you… Half way between Canyonlands N.P. and Capitol Reef is the Goblin Valley State Park, a small unique park full of – you might guess it – rock goblins.

  6. says

    Oh my gosh I’ve been there. It is so pretty! I could so go back. I love all the red rock. That photo with the hot air balloon is so cool! It’s really a fun place to hike.

  7. says

    Rhonda, what a fabulous post. These parks are amazing, some of the most beautiful in the US. I have only been to Zion and hope I can visit the rest soon.

  8. says

    Gorgeous! I’m a blogger posting at Wordless Wednesday where I spotted and pinned it. I explored all those Utah parks and am delighted to revisit through your amazing photos. Perhaps you’d enjoy my post taken in the morning in Tucson, AZ, “Wordless Wednesday at Tohono Chul Park.” Warm regards, Nancy A @

  9. says

    Utah, and the NPs there is on our short list of trips. Maybe next spring even. It is so busy there we are going to plan for early spring to hopefully miss most of the crowds. Great capture Rhonda, makes me want to go visit now.

    Lisa @ LTTL

  10. says

    We will be visiting the National parks in Utah next year–I hope to see all 5 eventually. This summer we visited Glacier National Park in Montana and Waterton NP in Canada. They were magnificent!

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