My life is an adventure and I love it! In 2016 my friend Grace and I went on the ultimate 7-day southwest national park road trip to Utah and Arizona. We visited Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and a couple of other beautiful spots the states have to offer. I can’t wait to see what other amazing places we’ll visit next!
The best 10-day southwest national park Road Trip
This road trip itinerary will provide you with information about each stop, how long to spend in the different locations and the best things to do in the national parks.
Start your road trip in las vegas
Fly into Las Vegas, it is the closest airport to Zion National Park which is the first stop on this national park road trip. If your flight gets in early, you can either get a jump start on the drive up to Zion, or you can spend the day in Las Vegas exploring the city. I recommend staying the night if that’s the case and leaving early the next day. OYO on the strip is an affordable hotel that won’t break the bank. The Cosmopolitan is a beautiful luxury alternative with a sparkling crystal chandelier bar.
Short on time?
Stop 1: Zion National Park- 3 Days
On your way to Zion, I recommend stopping in St. George for some supplies. Snacks, water, and any camping gear you forgot- because this is the last large city you’ll be in for the remainder of the trip. Zion National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. With its towering red cliffs, majestic landscapes, and countless hiking trails, it’s no wonder why. Check out the East Zion Slot Canyon Tour on an ATV! There are also helicoptor tours of Zion National Park where you can see the park from an aerial perspective. If you’re looking for an extreme adventure in Zion, drive an ATV to go canyoneering through the amazing slot canyons. If you don’t feel like driving and just want to relax, check out this Peekaboo Slot Canyon Jeep Tour and have a tour guide drive you.
Where to Stay in Zion National Park
- Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort: Located on the top of Zion National Park amidst a forest of Ponderosa pine trees, these unique accommodations include quaint wooden cabins, Vacation Homes, Cabins Suites, Cowboy Cabins, Conestoga Wagons, and RV / Tent Campground.
- Cable Mountain Lodge: Luxury lodge near the cliffs of Zion National Park, with shopping, dining, and outfitting adventure conveniently nearby.
- Under Canvas Zion: Extraordinary glamping experience in luxury tents. This camp is located on 196 acres bordering Zion National Park just moments away from incredible trails to explore.
Download the Zion National Park Map
Popular Hiking Trails:
- Angels Landing: 5.4 mi / 8.7 km, 4 hours *Permit Required
- The Narrows: up to 9.4 mi / 15.1 km, up to 8 hours *you can hike as long/short as you want, bring water shoes, and expect to get wet, sometimes fully submerged in water.
- Emerald Pool: Lower 1.2 mi / 1.9 km, 1 hour; Middle 2.2 mi / 3.5 km, 1.5 hours, Upper 1.0 mi / 1.6 km, 1 hour
- The Grotto: 1 mi / 1.6 km, 30 minutes
The Best 10-Day Southwest National Park Road Trip
Stop 2: Bryce canyon national park – 2 days
Come explore Bryce Canyon National Park with me! Bryce Canyon National Park offers a variety of hikes that will take you through some of the most amazing scenery on earth. From the easy to moderate Rim Trail to the strenuous hike down into the canyon, there is a hike for everyone.
Where To Stay in Bryce Canyon National Park
- Bryce Glamp & Camp: Glamping domes, where luxury meets nature. Ideal for couples and families alike to experience the great outdoors without having to sacrifice comfort.
- Bryce Country Cabins: Individual log cabins come furnished with two queen beds, a private bathroom, heating and A/C, microwave oven, refrigerator, cable TV, hair dryer, in-room coffee, and free wireless internet.
- Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn: modern amenities and thoughtful design, the hotel is located in Bryce Canyon City.
Discover the magic of Bryce Canyon National Park, home to the greatest number of hoodoos on Earth.
Hoodoos (irregular columns of rock) exist on every continent, but here is the largest concentration found anywhere on Earth. Situated along a high plateau at the top of the Grand Staircase, the park’s high elevations include numerous life communities, fantastic dark skies, and geological wonders that defy description.
Park elevations reach over 9,000 feet (2774 meters). Even mild exertion may leave you feeling light-headed and nauseated. Remember, most hikes in Bryce begin with a descent and end with a climb. Leave yourself enough energy for your return trip.
The Ultimate 10-Day southwest national park road trip
Stop 3: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park- 1 Day
If you’re looking for a breathtaking view and some of the most unique sand dunes in the world, look no further than Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab, Utah. The sand appears pink in color due to the high amount of iron oxide present. The park is also home to a variety of plant and animal life, making it a truly special place to explore. With its stunning red cliffs and sand dunes, the park is a must-see destination. Visitors can enjoy hiking, ATV riding, and camping in the park.
Book a Campsite at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, UT or
Find an amazing treehouse to stay in!
Adventure-seeking travelers will love sandboarding down dunes near the entrance to the beautiful Zion National Park. You’ll get there on a fun UTV ride, driven by a guide so you don’t have to worry about self-driving. Sit down or stand up on the dune boards, depending on your comfort level. Continue the UTV tour to Peekaboo Slot Canyon and admire the impressive views. You might also like one of the canyoneering tours offered in the area.
Where to stay near coral pink sand dunes
- Canyons Boutique Hotel: Southern Utah’s finest and most luxurious inn. Offering Full Hot Breakfast options (for a fee), WiFi, Spa Tubs, Fireplaces, Luxurious linens and bedding, and a beautiful outdoor swimming pool.
- Red Canyon Cabins: If you looking for a place to rest your head you’ll find it nestled on the East side of the city of Kanab, UT. These adorable cabins all have mountain views with a cute porch to watch the stars at night.
- Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile: Innovative pet-centric lodging in the village of Kanab, Utah with complimentary continental breakfast, and complimentary guest laundry.
Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters.
Stop 4: Lake Powell national recreation area – 1 day
The majestic Lake Powell National Recreation Area is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Surrounded by red-rock canyons, the area is home to a vast array of flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing, and boating in this beautiful natural setting.
Where to Stay near Lake Powell National Recreation Area
- Courtyard by Marriott Page at Lake Powell: Picturesque views of Glen Canyon and the Lake Powell Golf Course. Our well-appointed Antelope Canyon hotel rooms offer free WiFi, plush bedding, and mini-fridges. Enjoy a meal at Pepper’s Restaurant, and take a dip in our seasonal heated outdoor pool & hot tub.
- Canyon Colors Bed and Breakfast: excellent full breakfast including blueberry pancakes, Waffles or French toast with bacon or sausage, fresh fruit, juices, eggs to order, and your choice of Coffee or Tea. On arrival, guests are met with freshly baked cookies and water or lemonade.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson: conveniently located just off Highway 89, offers modern rooms and suites near the southern shores of Lake Powell.
Stop 5: Horseshoe bend – 30 minutes
Horseshoe Bend is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the American Southwest. It is a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona. The parking lot is right by the lookout so you won’t need to spend too much time here. We snapped a few photos and then headed over to Antelope Canyon for a tour of the upper canyon.
Where to Stay Near Horseshoe Bend
I recommend staying in one of the hotels listed above near Lake Powell in Page, Arizona.
Stop 6: Antelope Canyon – half day
“Have you ever seen something so beautiful?” I asked my friend, Grace, as we both stared in awe at the sight before us. We were standing at the edge of Antelope Canyon, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Arizona. Antelope canyon is known for its unique rock formations and slot canyons, which are formed by erosion from flash flooding.
The guide showed us the different shapes and forms the shadows made with the light streaming in as we tried to capture the beauty of the cave. The first picture looks like a Mama & baby bear, while the last photo looks like a swirling fire flame.
Where to Stay near Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is just minutes away from Horseshoe bend and Lake Powell. I recommend staying in one of the hotels listed above near Lake Powell in Page, Arizona.
stop 7: Grand canyon national park – 3 days
One of the most amazing places on Earth, Grand Canyon National Park is a must-see for anyone who loves nature and wants to experience beauty on a grand scale. Carved over millions of years by the Colorado River, the grand canyon is a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide in places, making it one of the most massive canyons in the world.
On our last day, we spent some time in Grand Canyon National Park checking out the sights and seeing what we could with the small amount of time that we had. I wish we would’ve had more time to explore the park, so I recommend spending at least 3 days in Grand Canyon National Park if you can. Check out Grand Canyon West tours and choose your own Winter Adventure starting at $64. Offers expire on February 28th, 2023.
Places to Stay By Grand Canyon National Park
- The Grand Hotel: Luxury hotel one mile from the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, with scenic South Rim of the Canyon just a short car ride away.
- Red Feather Lodge: Pet-friendly lodge provides vacationers with affordable accommodations, and easy access to golf, hiking, and horseback riding as well as the Grand Canyon National Park.
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand Canyon: Located one mile from the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim entrance. Dining and entertainment are within walking distance. 1/2 mile from the Grand Canyon Airport and Helibase. Air tours, jeep rides, and raft trips can be arranged from the hotel. Free continental breakfast.
popular Trails in Grand Canyon National Park
- Desert View Watchtower via Visitor Center – 0.4 miles, est 10 minutes
- Yavapai Point via Rim Trail – 1.6 miles, est 32 minutes
- Shoshone Point Trail – 2.1 miles, est 45 minutes
- Maricopa Point – 4.7 miles, est 2 hours
- Rim to Rim Trail: Indian Garden – 6.1 miles, est 3.11 hours
Want to extend your trip?
Valley of Fire State Park is along this road trip roate just an hour before you arrive at Zion National Park. A popular state park in the Mojave Desert, Valley of Fire is known for its bright red Aztec sandstone outcroppings. Named from the red rock formations that look like they’re on fire when they’re illuminated by the sun, this park is on fire.
If you drive 4 hours north west of Las Vegas then you can explore Death Valley National Park. Located in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park is one of the hottest and driest places on Earth, but despite its hostile environment, the valley is home to a diverse array of plants and animals. Visitors can explore canyons, mountains, sand dunes, and badlands, or take a dip in one of the park’s many hot springs.