Salt Lake City Utah Big 5 National Parks Tour
8 Days 5 National Parks
Best Time of Year
- Knowledgeable Tour Guide
- All Meals and Lodging Taxes, Fees, and Gratuity for Activities included (Voluntary Tour Guide Tips Excluded)
- Ride on Jet Boat and Dinner
- Explore an Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) village
- Cowboy Dinner Show
- Comfortable Transportation SUV with small group sizes
- Standard tour groups can be from 1 to 10 guests; custom tours can be larger. (Please call in advance)
Cities & Landmarks
- Parts of Salt Lake City
- Heber City
- Canyonlands National Park
- Arches National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Zion National Park
- St. George
- Mossy Cave
Explore the five most amazing National Parks: Arches, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Bryce, and Zion. You will also see two additional locations Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante. On this 8-day guided tour in southern Utah, you will have a chance to explore them all. This 8-day adventure will include a small group of 10 guests and a private tour guide. Walking, picturesque views, local restaurants, and hidden gems are just waiting for you!
Day 1: Salt Lake City, Park City, Heber City to Canyonlands National Park
Enjoy a scenic ride through the majestic Wasatch Mountains over Soldier Summit. Ascend into Canyonlands National park. Visit the area called Island in the Sky. You’ll get a chance to see a wilderness of countless canyons, red buttes, mesas, and many geological features. These iconic rock sculptures have been carved slowly over millions of years by the Colorado and Green Rivers. Hike along the canyon’s rims and visit one of the park’s most photographed geological features – the Mesa Arch. Spend a little time walking along the cliff’s edge to Grandview Point, Murphy Point or Upheaval Dome. Return to Moab that night for dinner and an enjoyable evening before retiring at the hotel.
Day 2: Arches National Park
Arches National Park offers an opportunity to explore some of its 2,000 + arches. Some describe this park as timeless, dreamlike, or out of this world. With a variety of geological features, including fault lines, petrified dunes, arches, bridges, balanced rocks, spires, and many others, this landscape of ever-changing formations offers an endless list of sights to see. Wake up today and hike to Delicate Arch before the crowd arrives. Afterward, travel to the park and explore Park Avenue, Windows Section, Balanced Rock, Courthouse Wash, and other areas on the park’s southern front. Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch are all on the list of formations that must be seen. After these famous arches, you can explore the Cove of Caves, the Garden of Eden, the Petrified Sand Dunes, the Fiery Furnace Viewpoint, the Double O Arch and others. A fun jet boat and dinner has been prepared specially for you. Afterward, you will be taken back to your hotel for the evening.
Day 3: Canyonlands area to Capitol Reef National Park
Today you’ll explore the other side of Moab. After breakfast, head off with a scenic drive along the Colorado River and a short hike to Petroglyph Panes, Dinosaur Tracks, and various geological formations that are just outside the park. Later that day, enjoy lunch in Capitol Reef National Park along the San Rafael Swell and along the Fremont River. Relax during the afternoon drive to Capitol Reef National Park. Capitol Reef is one of Central Utah’s hidden gems. It is one of the least visited parks in the United States. This means you’ll get to experience everything without the frustration of big crowds. It is filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, bridges, petrified wood, geodes, and fruit orchards. All this in the middle of the Waterpocket Fold, which is slowly exposed by erosion to a 100-mile geological monocline. This park offers you the opportunity to experience 15 + individual rock layers in a small area with geological formations from the top layers of the Grand Canyon to the top of Mesa Verde. Your guide will also share stories of those who have lived in this area for thousands of years. Including early Spanish settlers, pioneers and American Indians. Here you will learn about the rich cultural history of the geological formations in this area. You’ll also see petroglyphs and historic buildings left by the previous owners. Sulfur Creek Overlook and Panoramic Point will be your final stop for the day. You’ll then retire to the hotel in Torrey, Utah, where you’ll be staying for the night.
Day 4: Capitol Reef National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park
After you leave Moab, you’ll see more great scenery. Be sure to look out for Mars! Yes, Mars. In Hanksville, Utah, they are doing the training for the upcoming Mars mission The Mars Desert Research Station – MDRS.
Enjoy the beautiful sunrise from your hotel before returning to Capitol Reef National Park for a great morning of hiking and exploring more of this park. Options for today include Hickman Bridge, Cassidy Arch, Grand Wash, Cohab Canyon, Chimney Rock, and Sulphur Creek. Each one offers an experience unique to its area with different rock layers being available for exploration.
On your way to Bryce, we stop in Boulder at Anasazi State Park. The park is focused around the reconstructed ruins of an ancient Anasazi village, referred to as the Coombs Village Site. This is located directly behind the museum. There are self-guided trails that visitors can take through the village with interpretive signs. Thus, explaining the various features of the town and the culture of the people who once lived there.
Once finished, you will transfer to Bryce Canyon National Park (4-hour drive) along the Scenic Route 12, one of the most scenic roads in America. You will climb over the Aquarius Plateau. (topping out at 9,600 feet) Drive down into Boulder, Utah. Then over the “Hogback” with a drop of hundreds of feet on either side of the narrow road. Travel the extensive labyrinth of canyons that form the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument.
Once in Bryce Canyon, you will begin with a short hike to Mossy Cave along the East Fork of the Sevier River. The beautiful river cascades down into the valley of Tropic. (Only runs in the spring, summer, and fall). Your first experience in this magical landscape filled with Hoodoos and other interesting geological formations. In the evening, you will get to relax in Bryce City, Utah.
For those interested, you can attend the Night Sky/Astronomy program offered by the park service at the visitor’s center. (Available from May to October, weather permitting)
Day 5: Bryce Canyon National Park to Zion National Park
Sunrise at the rim offers those willing to wake up with the sun the chance to see this landscape transforming from a gray mass into a colorful wonderland filled with strange pillars and rock walls. Hoodoos are found worldwide, but here, they are colored in ways that are unparalleled by any other area on earth. Bryce Canyon has three distinct climatic zones within its borders, spanning over 2,000 feet in elevation. This landscape will become a playground for you to enjoy, created by faulting, geological uplift, and frost wedging processes. From a comfortable walk along the river to the Queen’s Garden / Navajo Loop or Fairyland Loop trail, you’ll have a full morning in the hoodoos, spires and other geological features. You can see pronghorns, antelope, deer and other mammals on this high plateau along with hiking. You will be transferred to Zion National Park around lunchtime. (Two hours). You’ll enjoy lunch in one of the many local restaurants available along the way. Coming into the Zion National Park’s east entrance, you’ll see the top layers of some of the largest dunes ever created. You will enjoy the opportunity to see bighorn sheep climbing the area, pine trees growing from the side of sheer cliffs and the individual layers of sand over millions of years. After a stop at Checkerboard Mesa, you’ll have the opportunity to walk up to look at Canyon Overlook and view the bottom of Pine Creek and Zion Canyon. (around 2500 feet) After crossing the historic 1.1-mile tunnel, you will enter the main canyon and continue to see why this landscape was sacred to the Native Americans who lived here for thousands of years. Once you’ve finished, you’ll transfer to the park entrance for a relaxing evening in Springdale, Utah. Night accommodation in Springdale, Utah. You have art galleries, restaurants, and other fantastic shops to explore nearby the hotel before you call it a day. This day includes breakfast and lunch.
Day 6: Zion National Park
On both sides of the road, the towering red and yellow cliffs of Zion National Park are above. Spend the day in the National Park. Your guide will meet you in the lobby and then go to Zion National Park with you. You’ll explore places such as the Great White Throne, Angel’s Landing, the Patriarch’s Court, and the Narrows. There are hikes for all ages and experience levels, starting with beautiful paved walks, all the way up to rugged hiking. The choices are yours. Let us know, and we can tailor the trip for you.
Day 7: Zion National Park
Wake up early and explore the canyon or relax from your hotel’s balcony in the shade of 3000 + feet of cliffs. You can walk along the Virgin River Narrows which is world-famous for its slot canyons. You can attempt to conquer Angels Landing or for something more relaxed walk to the Emerald Pools. If you’re feeling up to it, you could climb the East Rim Trail to the top of the park or visit the Cable Mountain or Observation Point. You’ll leave the park for your journey back to the hotel and a nice dinner.
Day 8: Depart to Salt Lake City
For your journey back to Salt Lake City, Utah, you’ll leave the park. You’ll stop for lunch along the way in historical Beaver, Utah at Cove Fort. Cove Fort Historic Site welcomes visitors year-round and is located approximately 30 miles south of Fillmore, Utah. The rock fort was built in 1867 and protected telegraph lines and travelers on the road between Salt Lake City and settlements further south. Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints called families to manage the fort and ranch, and these families made Cove Fort their home. Their legacy of sacrifice and service can still be felt today. You’ll also travel along the faultlines of Hurricane and Wasatch. You will travel through the Provo Canyon to Salt Lake City or Park City.
These are all the available hikes for this tour:
- Navajo Loop–Trail Type: Hiking, Length: 1.3 miles round trip Difficulty: Moderate
- Queens Garden Trail Type: Hiking Length: 1.8 miles round trip Difficulty: Moderate
- Mossy Cave Trail Type: Hiking Length: 1-mile round trip Difficulty: Easy
- Fairyland Loop Trail Type: Hiking Length: 8.3 miles round- trip Difficulty: Strenuous
- Rim Trail Trail Type: Hiking Length: 4.7 miles one-way Difficulty: Easy
- Peekaboo Loop Trail Type: Hiking Length: 5.5 miles round-trip Difficulty: Strenuous
- Mesa Verde Top Loop Road
- Upheaval Dome This out and back hike visits two overlooks along the rim of a puzzling three-mile-wide crater.0.6 – 1.7 miles
- Whale Rock This out and back hike ascends a whale-shaped sandstone formation near Upheaval Dome.1 mile
- Aztec Butte, This lollipop loop hike, climbs a dome-shaped butte that boasts Puebloan granaries and a beautiful view of Taylor Canyon.1.3 – 1.8 miles
- Mesa Arch This loop visits a picturesque arch spanning across the mesa’s edge.0.7 miles
- Murphy Point This out and back hike visits a west-facing point on the Island in the Sky overlooking canyons carved by the Green River.3.6 miles
- White Rim Overlook This out and back walk visits the end of a peninsula in the Island in the Sky with 300-degree views of the canyons below.1.8 miles
- Grand View Point This out and back hike travels along the mesa’s edge from Grand View Overlook to the southernmost point on the Island in the Sky.
Zion National Park
- Weeping Rock
- Distance: 0.4 miles/0.6 km Length of Time: 0.5 hours Difficulty: Easy Zion Shuttle Stop:
- The Canyon Overlook Trail Distance: 1-mile Length of Time: 1-hour Difficulty: easy to moderate
- Zion Lodge Distance: 1.5 to 3 miles Length of time: 2 to 4 hours Difficulty: easy to average
- Zion Shuttle Stop: Temple of Sinawava, stop #9 Distance: 2.2 miles Length of Time: 1.5 hours Difficulty: Easy
- Zion Shuttle Stop: Weeping Rock, stop #7 Distance: 3 miles Length of Time: 2 to 3 hours Difficulty: moderate
Arches National Park
- Balanced Rock. Distance: 0.3 Mile. Difficulty: Easy. …
- Windows Loop. Distance: 1 Mile. Difficulty: Easy. …
- Double Arch. Distance: 0.5 Mile. Difficulty: Easy. …
- Fiery Furnace. Distance: 2 Miles. …
- Delicate Arch. Distance: 3.2 Miles. …
- Tower Arch. Distance: 3.4 Miles. …
- Broken Arch Loop. Distance: 2 Miles. …
- Park Avenue. Distance: 2 Miles.
** All hotels fill up quickly in the summer. We will book accommodations for you in area hotels whenever possible.