Western National Parks In One Week
A loop through some of the western National Parks of America makes a great driving trip. If you're interested in seeing just how big the American West is... this is one way to do it. If you want to see natural wonders... here they are. If you like hiking... there are hikes galore.
You will need about a week to drive a representative loop through Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The actual starting point for the loop listed in most guides is Las Vegas. For the loop through the western National Parks we're describing here, you will be driving about 1050 miles (1,690 km).
You can fly directly to Las Vegas from many cities in the U.S. You probably will want to spend a day or two in Las Vegas to gamble, see some shows, or just satisfy your curiosity about "Sin City", so allow time for that too.
The first stop on this drive is Zion National Park. It is a deep canyon carved by the innocuous looking Virgin River. There's a great hike up this river into a slot canyon called "The Narrows Hike".... and the canyon does narrow to only 20-30 feet across in places. You will spend 60% of your time IN the river as the canyon walls soar above you. (You must check on conditions at the visitor center... flash floods are possible.)
If you're not up for that strenuous hike, there are other hikes that let you see much of what the park has to offer. Scenic drives let you see some sights by car. There is a Lodge in the park and more accommodations are available outside the park. Campgrounds are available.
Bryce Canyon National Park is your next stop. It's a small National Park, but some visitors come away saying this was their favorite park. It's famous for its colorful spire-shaped "hoodoos". A hike into the canyon will make you feel you've entered a fairy wonderland. This park has a Lodge in the Park and good lodging nearby. Two campgrounds are near the visitor center.
The drive to Capitol Reef National Park follows along Route 12 and is very pretty. The main feature in this park is the formation known as the "Waterpocket Fold"... an ancient wrinkle in the earth's crust. No lodging is available in the Park. Find some motels about 12-15 miles (20-25 km) from the park entrance. Some camping is available in the park.
You can pass though Natural Bridges National Monument. A scenic drive will take you to overlooks to view each of the three bridges that were formed by meandering streams. Allow a couple of hours for this. Lodging is about 30-40 miles away. There is a small campground available.
You might want to make it a long day of driving and get to Monument Valley Tribal Park. This huge valley has those iconic wild-west sandstone formations that you've seen in the movies... "The Mittens" are the most photographed, but there are other pinnacles and arches, bluffs and buttes.
You can get guided tours from Navajo tour operators. There are accommodations in the area; the only one in the Tribal Park is the new hotel called The View. Bring your camera.
We're saving the most famous of the western National Parks for last. The Grand Canyon. Clearly this is one western National Park that you must see. There is accommodation and camping available in the park and many options nearby with shuttles into the Park itself.
This is such a popular destination that driving is restricted in the park in some areas. Parking can be a nightmare, so just use the shuttles.
Another day of driving will have you back at Las Vegas. By driving this loop instead of staying in town, you will have kept Las Vegas from getting too much of your money, and you'll be far richer in experiences... of the Western National Parks.
Tags: western national parks, monument valley, natural bridges, zion national park
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Travel | FFF 2014 – Salt Lake City
The city is located in the Great Salt Lake Valley
, with the Wasatch Mountains on
the east and ... Mostly laid out on a square grid, major streets run north south and
, with the grid's origin at Temple Square. ... National
& State Parks
Zion National Park
– 4.5 hours ... Natural Bridges National Monument
– 5.5 hours
Grand Circle Land of Canyons - DesertUSA
In the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
, both near Moab, the agents of ...
6500-foot-high Natural Bridges
, a comparatively remote and
... its 2000-mile-long shoreline; the small Goblin Valley
State Park, a setting with
a ... Zion National Park
, located south of Cedar City and on the western
edge of ...
Guided Tour of the Canyons, Deserts, and National Parks of the ...
Bryce, Glen, and the mighty Grand Canyon join a list of national parks
monuments ... Visit Monument Valley
with included traditional Navajo lunch and
guided ... Visits to Natural Bridges
National Monument and Capitol Reef National
Park ... to Zion National Park
; Embark on a narrated tour of Zion National Park
with its ...
Advice For Shooting in Utah's National Parks - Digital Photography ...
Utah bills itself as the National Park
capital of the United States and I happen to ...
here), approached via a 4×4 only trail or by foot in the park's Western
limits. ..... I'll
also strongly recommend Natural Bridges National Monument
(on one of the ... to
the other parks
), which is worth a day's visit, and Goblin Valley
September | 2014 | RalieTravels
Sep 14, 2014 ...
[Las Vegas; Hoover Dam; Grand Canyon; Monument Valley
; Mesa ... Arches
Park; Canyonlands National
Park; Natural Bridges
; ... Continue west
12 from Bryce and then south on US 89 through Kanab towards Page, Arizona. ...
Getting back to US 89, one turns on Utah 9 into Zion National Park
More Great Boomer Roadtrips – Jan's Itinerary (and Tips) for Utah ...
Aug 2, 2014 ...
Go to Natural Bridges National
Monument en route. Stay at the Hampton Inn in
Kayenta. 4. June 28: Coral Pink Sands State Park
, then on to the Best Western
Plus Bryce ... breakfast, newspaper, and Internet, and proximity to the parks
. ... Mt.
Carmel (close to Zion
) and in Kayenta (close to Monument Valley
Monument Valley | Bluff, UtahMonument Valley
will give any visitor a taste of its rich Navajo and Anasazi ... In
1958, the Navajo Tribal Council established the tribal park
making the area ...
Learning that a major Hollywood studio was looking to film a Western
Arches National Parks
, along with Natural Bridges
and Hovenweep National
Hiking in Utah - Best Hikes, Guides, and Trail Maps | EveryTrail
At Arches National
Park, you will find some amazing arch formations and ...
These three parks
in southern Utah are highlights of any trip to the ..... It was the
first official trail in Zion National Park
that went from valley
floor to ... The Hickman
trail is a very relaxing and scenic trail in Capitol Reef National