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Utah's National Parks

1049.3 miles: 19 hours, 1 minutes

From the cottonwood-shaded banks of Zion Canyon's Virgin River to the pink-and-orange sandstone spires of Bryce Canyon, this tour of southern Utah's national parks consistently hits 10 on the scenery scale. Red rock arches, monoliths and mesas—they're all part of a high-desert, geologic wonderland that serves as backdrop for a classic American West road trip.


Salt Lake City to Moab

235.1 miles: 3 hours, 55 minutes

Getty Images/Jeremy Woodhouse

With the Great Salt Lake in your rearview, it's a long, largely uneventful drive (primarily on US 6) to the edge of canyon country, and your introduction to it couldn't be better. Just outside Moab, Arches National Park boasts the densest grouping of natural rock arches on the planet. A sunset hike to iconic Delicate Arch is a must for shutterbugs in good physical shape.


Moab to Capitol Reef National Park

200.7 miles: 3 hours, 56 minutes

Before departing the Moab area, gaze at a vast, spectacular wilderness of starkly beautiful buttes and mesas from the viewpoints at Canyonlands National Park's Island in the Sky District. On your way to Capitol Reef, the often-overlooked San Rafael Swell area (off SR 24) has a state park where thousands of hoodoos (mushroom-shaped rocks) make for otherworldly terrain.


Capitol Reef National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park

146.3 miles: 3 hours, 33 minutes

At Capitol Reef, the least visited national park on this route, you'll marvel at dramatic sandstone cliffs, domes and monoliths in relative peace. Next, drive to Bryce Canyon along Scenic Byway 12 (SR 12). A contender for this itinerary's most stunning stretch of blacktop, it snakes through the undulating slickrock country of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


Bryce Canyon National Park to Cedar City

92.1 miles: 1 hours, 35 minutes


Sure, you could do Bryce in a half-day, taking in one of Mother Nature's masterpieces from a series of overlooks. But if time permits, go below the canyon rim and hike this magical place. Leaving the park behind, you'll travel through forested high-country on steep, windy SR 14 en route to Cedar Breaks National Monument (think Bryce Canyon, only smaller) and Cedar City.


Cedar City to Salt Lake City

375.1 miles: 6 hours, 0 minutes

Easily reached from Cedar City, Zion National Park caps off your adventure with a majestic canyon that's been described as Yosemite in Technicolor. Spring through fall, you'll need to leave your wheels at the main Zion Canyon entrance and ride shuttle buses to access park highlights such as Angels Landing, Weeping Rock and the Great White Throne.

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