Utah Mighty 5 National Parks

Utah’s “Mighty 5” National Parks are a collection of stunning natural wonders that showcase the diverse landscapes of the state. These parks are known for their breathtaking scenery, unique geological formations, and opportunities for outdoor adventure. Here’s a brief overview of each of the Mighty 5 National Parks:

  1. Bryce Canyon National Park: Known for its unique hoodoos, Bryce Canyon features a series of amphitheaters filled with thousands of tall, thin spires of rock. These formations, which are the result of erosion and frost-wedging, create a surreal and otherworldly landscape. Popular activities in the park include hiking, horseback riding, and stargazing, as Bryce Canyon is renowned for its dark skies.
  2. Arches National Park: Located near Moab, Arches National Park is famous for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, as well as numerous other unique rock formations such as spires, fins, and balanced rocks. The park’s most iconic landmark is Delicate Arch, a slender, freestanding arch that has become a symbol of the American Southwest.
  3. Canyonlands National Park: Also situated near Moab, Canyonlands is characterized by its dramatic canyons carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The park is divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. Visitors can enjoy hiking, backpacking, whitewater rafting, and off-road driving in this rugged and remote landscape.
  4. Capitol Reef National Park: Capitol Reef is characterized by its colorful sandstone cliffs, domes, canyons, and natural bridges. The park’s Waterpocket Fold, a nearly 100-mile-long warp in the Earth’s crust, is one of its most distinctive features. Visitors can explore historic orchards, hike scenic trails, and marvel at ancient petroglyphs left behind by the region’s indigenous peoples.
  5. Zion National Park: Zion is renowned for its towering sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and verdant river valleys. The park’s main attraction is Zion Canyon, carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River. Popular activities include hiking the iconic Narrows, ascending the challenging Angels Landing trail, and taking in the views along the scenic Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.

Utah Mighty 5 in 6 days

You can visit Utah Mighty 5 National Parks in 6 days. I did it in the spring of 2024. Following was my itinerary for your reference. I landed in Las Vegas the day before. If you want to do all 5 parks in 6 days or less, be prepared for a lot of driving. I drove over 2400 miles (almost 4000 km) from Vegas to the 5 parks and stopped at Grand Canyon for a night before going back to Vegas.

  • Day 1 – Drove from LV to Bryce Canyon (City). It was a four hour drive. Bought the National Park Annual Pass because I would visit other national parks later. Hiked some of the trails in Bryce Canyon, especially the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden trail.
  • Day 2 Morning, visited some of view points in Bryce Canyon NP. After noon, drove to Capitol Reef (Torrey). That was a three hour drive. At Capitol Reef, hiked Hickman Natural Bridge Trail. Hiked some other trails (I think it is called Natural Bridge over look or something that you can look at the Hickman Natural Bridge from above).
  • Day 3 – Morning, visited some of view points in Capitol Reef NP. Then drive to Canyonlands National Park (Island-in-the-sky district). It was a 2.5 hour drive. Visited some of the viewpoints in the island-in-the-sky-district. Then Needles district of the Canyonlands NP. It was almost 2 hour drive from island-in-the-sky district to the needles district. Left the needles district and stayed in Moab, UT.
  • Day 4 – Drove to Arches National Park. Arches NP was a 30-minute drive from Moab. Hiked some of the trails, like devils garden trail, double arch trail and delicate arch trail. Visited some of the viewpoints in between.
  • Day 5 – Visited some other viewpoints in Arches NP. Drove to Springdale (Zion National Park). It was a 5-hour drive from Moab to Springdale.
  • Day 6 – Hiked Angels Landing, and the emerald pools trail.
  • Day 7 and beyond, drove to Grand Canyon and back to Vegas

Bryce Canyon Nation Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Zion National Park