The Southwestern area of the United States has the most stunning landscapes in the entire country! There are so many parks and so many things to see that will blow your mind. Taking a road trip through this area is one of the best vacations you can go on! Watch sunset over the Grand Canyon, explore the trails in Zion, and admire stunning rock formations in Utah!
We were able to see 6 national parks, 3 state parks, and go on countless hikes in a week’s time. I highly recommend taking a road trip in this area, because it gives you the flexibility to change your plans based on weather or your desires. My cousin and I had an itinerary in mind, but we ended up changing it while we were there to see more things! Below you will find the best itinerary for a week in Arizona and Utah.
Table of Contents
Arizona to Utah Road Trip Details
Day 1- Fly into Vegas, Drive to Valley of Fire State Park Nevada, Drive to Zion National Park, Stay in Zion Day 2- Zion for the day, Drive to Bryce National Park at Night, Stay in Bryce Day 3- Explore Bryce, Drive to Capitol Reef National Park, Stay in Capitol Reef Day 4- Drive to Goblin Valley State Park, Drive to Dead Horse State Park, and Explore Canyonlands National Park, Stay in Moab Day 5- Arches National Park for the Day, Stay in Moab Day 6- Morning in Arches, Drive to Page, Horseshoe Bend, Go to Alstrom Point, Stay in Page Day 7- Antelope Canyon in Morning, Drive to Grand Canyon, Stay in Grand Canyon Day 8- Grand Canyon in Morning, Drive to Vegas, Leave at Night
Week in Arizona and Utah
Day 1: Valley of Fire & Zion
On our first day we picked up our van, stocked up on supplies, and got on our way. The first stop on the way was the Valley of Fire State Park. The park gets its name from the red sandstone that covers the park with interesting outcrops and formations.
We only had time to drive through and do the 1.5 mile Fire Wave hike, however there are so many incredible hikes you can do there! This state park was really beautiful and I recommend a quick stop through if you’re coming from Vegas.
The drive to Zion National Park is 3 hours and by the time we got there it was dark out. Before the trip I made a list of free campsites based on freecampsites.net. We ended up finding a spot for our van at North Creek Campground. When we woke up the next morning, we were pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous setting around us. You could see the red mountains with a creek running right next to the camp spots. Definitely a wonderful spot to spend the night.
Day 2: Zion & Bryce
We woke early so that we could get to Zion National Park before it was crowded. This park gets 4.3 million visitors a year and it is very crowded. You have to make sure that you get parking before you get into the park, because Zion has a system of shuttles to take you through and no parking within it. The lines for the shuttles are very long, but they move quickly so don’t get worried when you see that.
If you want a full guide on Zion you can get that here. We focused on doing the thrilling Angel’s Landing 5 mile hike because the Narrows were closed. If you are scared of heights, this hike is not for you! It features many narrow sections where you are walking on the edge of a cliff and ropes that you have to hold on. It’s also the most popular hike in the park, so try to get an early start. We were often forced to wait as other hikers were making their way down the narrow sections. The view at the top is stunning and a great spot for a lunch break.
After the hike, we stopped in town for an ice cream cone before driving to Bryce Canyon National Park. The drive to Bryce is two hours and we found a nice spot to stay at Ruby’s Inn Park and Campground, because the other spots we had scoped out were taken. We set up camp, cooked dinner, and went to bed early to catch a sunrise in the park.
Day 3: Bryce & Capitol Reef
Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for the hoodoos (spired rock formations) that are sprawled throughout the park. It’s one of my favorite parks that we went to on our Arizona to Utah Road Trip! We woke up early to catch sunrise and do the Sunset Point to Sunrise Point trail. This is an easy hike along the rim of the canyon and the sunrise views do not disappoint.
We connected this trail to the Navajo Loop to Queen’s Garden Trail and it was a great way to see the landscape of the park. After our two short hikes we drove through the park to take pictures. You can read more about Bryce Canyon National Park here.
At lunchtime we left Bryce to head to Capitol Reef National Park. We took Scenic Byway 12, which is also known as a Journey Through Time Scenic Byway. This road is indescribably beautiful and awe-inspiring. This road takes you through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and over Boulder Mountain. We spent plenty of time stopping to enjoy the views. This was a real highlight of our trip and I wouldn’t miss it.
We stopped to get a campsite at Thousand Lakes Campground, which looks out at the beautiful red mountains behind it, before entering Capitol Reef National Park. This National Park is one of the newest parks in the country and is far less crowded than the others in Utah. We spent the afternoon doing the Hickman Bridge hike, driving through the park, and catching the sunset at Gooseneck Point. We loved this park because it felt quiet and we were often alone in nature. You can read more about the park here.
Day 4: Canyonlands, Dead Horse & Goblin Valley
The next morning we wanted to get on the road early so that we could stop at multiple state parks and still have time to explore Canyonlands National Park. The drive from Capitol Reef National Park to Moab is about 2 hours. The first stop we made along the way was Goblin Valley State Park. This park features mushroom shaped hoodoos that are referred to as Goblins. We spent an hour or so exploring the valley of Goblins and climbing all around them. It was a fun, quick stop!
After Goblin Valley, we drove through to Dead Horse Point State Park. This park features a view of the Colorado River and the vast canyon that makes up Canyonlands National Park. I was seriously taken aback by the views that this park had to offer. We spent a while walking along the rim and staring out into the distance. You should definitely stop here if you plan on going to Canyonlands, because it’s right next to it and it’s stunning.
Canyonlands National Park is just down the road from Dead Horse State Park. This park is extremely vast and you will definitely want to have a plan before you go. There are four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and The Rivers. We mostly focused on the Island in the Sky District. Some highlights from our trip included the Upheaval Dome Trail and driving the scenic drive through the park. You can read more about the park here.
That night we headed to Moab to find a campground for the night. Moab is the town that is the center for various adventurous activities and parks. You can spend plenty of time in Moab because there is so much to do there! While we were there, there was a huge Jeep Safari Festival so we had a hard time finding a camp spot. We found a spot at Slick Rock Campground to spend a couple nights.
Day 5: Arches National Park
Due to the fact that we were based in Moab, we had plenty of time to explore Arches National Park. We woke up and went to Sweet Cravings Bakery for a quick pastry and coffee. Then we headed into the park for the day. The park has more than 2,000 arches in the park and there are many things you can do there.
We were able to hike 16 miles and see plenty of the arches along the way. I highly recommend driving through the park, exploring the windows section, and hiking to Delicate Arch (the quintessential arch that is featured on Utah’s license plates). You can read more about our day here.
Day 6: Monument Valley & Page
Our second to last day of the Arizona to Utah Road Trip was very busy. We spent the morning checking out the Windows Section at Arches for sunrise and stopped in for breakfast at Garage before heading to Page, Arizona. The drive is four hours and takes you through Monument Valley, which is famously featured in Forrest Gump. Of course, we had to stop and take a few pictures.
Page is located on Lake Powell and there are plenty of things you can do in the area, like hike or go out on a boat. We spent the day exploring Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Alstrom Point. The first two stops were extremely touristy and crowded, so you should be prepared to be surrounded by people. You can read more about our day in Page here. That night we stayed at Page Lake Powell Campground.
Day 7: Antelope Canyon & Grand Canyon
Our Antelope Canyon tour was in the morning, so we couldn’t leave for the Grand Canyon until mid-day. The Grand Canyon is obviously one of the most famous parks and therefore it is extremely crowded. We wanted to try and stay away from the crowds as much as possible. The first night we drove to a couple of the overlook spots and then went to go find a campsite before sunset.
The campsites near the Grand Canyon are a bit more pricey, but they were nice enough. We stayed at Grand Canyon Camper Village which was just rows of RVs and campervans. After we got a spot we headed back to the park to see the sunset at Hopi Point. The sunset was beautiful and we decided to get more activity by walking the Rim trail back to our car. By the time we got back to our van, it was time to eat dinner and sleep.
Day 8: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas
This was the last day of our trip, so we had to make good use of our time. We woke up early to Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge Trail, which is about 3 miles round trip. Most of the trails in the park require you to walk down into the canyon, which means you’re going to have to go back up at some point.
They highly recommend that you do not try to go all the way down and back in a day. This trail was the perfect length and difficulty after a long week of hiking. It was really nice to get down into the canyon and away from the crowded overlooks (the trail still had a decent amount of people).
We drove back to Vegas to catch our flights out of town. The drive is about four hours so make sure that you give yourself enough time to get where you need. The week my cousin and I spent in the Southwest was truly unforgettable. I will look back on my Arizona to Utah Road Trip as one of the highlights in my life.
Let me know if you enjoyed this itinerary in the comments!
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