The Big 5 National Parks in Utah

We’re taking you to each of the big 5 national parks in Utah to explore the best hikes and sights in each of these unique natural wonders. How many national parks are in Utah? Five! And this episodes goes into each one. We’ve been to all 5 on different trips and love each one for different easons. 

In this episode we share the best hikes to do,  things to see and tips for exploring Zion National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. You can explore all 5 national parks on one epic road trip (use our detailed itinerary!) or break it up into different weekend trips like we did. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to visit all 5 national parks in Utah on one road trip, we have the itinerary for you! You can download our PDF guide where we lay out this Mighty 5 Road Trip including the route to take, mileage, where to stay, where toe at, and what to do in each of these national parks.

Conquering UtaThe Big 5 National Parks in Utah – Episode Transcript

3 (58s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re going to talk all about Utah’s mighty five National Parks. You’ve heard us mention the mighty five, so many times on this podcast. I’m sure, but today we are going to take you on a deep dive into those five parks here in Utah.

1 (1m 17s):
We’re going to take you through the National Parks from east to west Arches, Canyonlands Capitol reef, Bryson’s ion and Jamal. And I have completed all five of Utah’s mighty five. We were able to complete three out of five of them in the year of 2020. And you could do them each individually. You can hit a few at a time or you can make an amazing road trip and hit them all at once.

2 (1m 39s):
It’s funny, you guys have been to all five. I have only been to two out of these five. I would love to go to the other three, a 10 day road trip to see all five would be freaking amazing, and it would be such a fun trip to do. And it’s funny, we actually just recently came out with our Utah’s mighty five trip. Itinerary is 10 days fully detailed out route on what to drive the hikes to do where to stay, what to eat, all of the details that you need for this 10 day road trip that I’m definitely going to be using. When I do the mighty five loop,

3 (2m 12s):
It’s really funny. You know, Brittany mentioned how we were able to complete three of the five during 2020 here in COVID funny enough, Utah’s a mighty five. All in that road trip that you’re talking about was one of our COVID backup plans. When we were thinking of another vacation that was potentially going to get canceled. If it does what we were going to do, Utah was open and we were going to do this in this rotation just as well. So we’ve all done them separate times, never in that repertoire here of a road trip, but it’s still something that I want to do. But nonetheless, you guys should partake in and do yourselves.

2 (2m 45s):
If you guys are interested in that 10 day itinerary, you can find that on our website at Travel Squad, Podcast dot com, but for now, let’s get into this episode. So you get a little taste of what you’ll expect

3 (2m 54s):
As always tip first. Let’s start with the tips

2 (2m 57s):
Tips first.

1 (2m 58s):
So one of the tips that we’re going to give is to buy the America, the beautiful interagency annual pass. It’s only $80 and it gets you into any national park for a full rolling year. And let’s say you buy it at the very beginning of March or whatever. You’re going to have it through the end of March for the next year. So you’re not going to have to buy it again until April and then again, you’ll have it for a whole year through the end of April. So a

2 (3m 24s):
Little bonus month there, a little

1 (3m 26s):
Bonus.

2 (3m 27s):
Another thing to pay attention to for Utah is the weather. And the time of year that you’re going, it can be really hot in the summer, over a hundred degrees. A lot of these parks don’t have a lot of shade and it can be really cold in the winter. It snows in Utah,

3 (3m 39s):
Not just really cold, like super cold. One of these mighty five parks that we went to very recently, it was seven degrees in the morning when Brittany and I started and I’m not talking Celsius, I’m talking Fahrenheit. It was seven degrees, really, really cold.

1 (3m 55s):
So it’s best to visit these parks in spring or fall because the winter can be a little harsh and very cold outside. And the weather’s much more tolerable in the spring or fall.

2 (4m 5s):
The other thing about summer, even though it’s really hot, it’s also really crowded at a lot of these parks.

1 (4m 9s):
Yes, super crowded, not a lot of shade. And another tip that we have is to rent an SUV. Some of these roads are off-roading. If you do some of the scenic drives, it’s better to have an SUV, depending on what time of year you’re going through some of the mountains. You’re going to want an SUV for the comfort and the safety factor.

3 (4m 27s):
Yeah, one of the times, Brittany and I had gone, we flew into salt lake, made the drive. You have to go over a mountain pass. It was during winter, you needed that four wheel drive SUV that we had. So based on the season, but even outside of that, you do want it because you’re in rugged areas. I think SUV’s are always best when you’re exploring places like this.

1 (4m 47s):
My favorite tip is to download offline maps. I set it in almost all of our episodes, but you’re going to be in some remote areas where you might not have self service. So make sure to download offline maps for all of the areas that you’re going to be in so that if you don’t have service, you can still navigate safely to your next destination.

2 (5m 5s):
Another great tip is to dress in layers. And this is obviously important for the winter months, but equally as important for summer, because we had gone to Zion in June of 2021. And we got up early because we wanted to start a hike very early in the morning, before the hundred and six degree weather it was kicking in, but it was 7:00 AM and freezing cold. Remember how windy it was. And we were all bundled up and jacket.

1 (5m 29s):
Yeah. It was like, oh, I’m definitely going to bring my sweater because it’s too cold to be without it.

3 (5m 34s):
I was telling you ladies to save her that because very soon after it got warm,

2 (5m 39s):
So you definitely want layers to shed.

1 (5m 41s):
And no matter when you go winter, summer, spring fall, make sure to wear sunscreen because the sun is shining. You’re still gonna feel the rays of the sun and make sure to pack plenty of water as well and stay hydrated.

2 (5m 55s):
Okay. So before you start this road trip, you’re going to need to get to Utah. There are two main airports that we would recommend you utilize for this trip. One is in Utah, that salt lake city and the other is Las Vegas, Nevada.

1 (6m 10s):
And so you can do it one of two ways. You can fly into an out of salt lake city, or you can fly into salt lake city and then fly out of Vegas or vice versa, depending on how you want to do this trip. If you’re doing it all in one shot.

3 (6m 22s):
Yeah. In a squad tip on that Is if you do utilize Las Vegas as your hub of where you fly into or out of, or you do a combination of both, Nevada is one hour behind Utah and a different time zone. So plan accordingly. And just remember that logistically it’s one hour behind in Nevada

2 (6m 44s):
Can kind of work in your favor. If you’re trying to catch a flight out of Vegas and you’re driving back from say Zion and you gain an hour back, so could work in your favor there too.

1 (6m 53s):
So the first part we’re going to start at is Arches National Park and the closest city to Arches is Moab. We talked all about Arches and Canyonlands and episode 78, and Arches is known for its natural sandstone, arch formations. And in Arches National Park, there’s over 2000 arch formations.

2 (7m 12s):
This park looks so pretty. I haven’t been to this one, but I definitely want to

3 (7m 16s):
It’s really, really nice. I like it a lot. Brittany mentioned how many Arches there are in there, and there are, but not that many are as grant, as of a scale as the large Arches that you are going to see in those are the main focal points, right? So there is a good handful of ones that are the must sees and the must do’s of it. I think I even mentioned this in the episode episode 78, when we were talking about Arches, if you’ve ever looked at a Utah state license plate, so they have different ones, but one of them has delicate arch, which is the most iconic arch in Arches, National Park. So famous, they put it on their license plate. Right. So, I mean, if you’ve seen a Utah plate, you know what delicate arch looks like?

1 (7m 55s):
Yeah. Delicate arch is definitely a must-see I here at sunset. It’s a very gorgeous that the beige orange and reds just aluminate during sunset. So that would be really, really nice. We didn’t go at sunset, but I would go back and do that. I also hear that stargazing at night from delicate arch is really, really popular because there’s not a lot of light pollution. That would be really cool to be there, like laying under the arch and looking up at the sky.

2 (8m 22s):
So to that point is the park open that late at night?

1 (8m 26s):
I believe it’s open 24 7. Oh,

3 (8m 29s):
They only close it when it reaches capacity. And as of late, just FYI, two squad is out there. It has been hitting capacity By 9:00 AM. Yeah. So they’re closing gates and not letting people in. And we’re going to get to this as the next park. You’re going to have to funnel over to Canyonlands. Cause it’s really a twofer there, two National Parks by each other. We’ll save that for a little bit later. We’re going to get back into Arches here, but yeah, they are filling up fast these days,

1 (8m 53s):
But there are so many other iconic areas, Arches National Park, as you drive through, you’re going to see balanced rock, which is another iconic feature. It stands like 128 feet tall and it looks like a rock balancing on like a pillar. So that’s really cool to see. And then another favorite area is like the window section, which houses like three Arches in that one hike. And then right across from that is double arch, which is the tallest and second largest arch in the park itself. And I would definitely not miss out on double arch

2 (9m 24s):
Is Arches National Park. A lot of that orange rock that you see in other parts of Utah, the orange and red,

3 (9m 30s):
I didn’t really feel like it was no, no. I mean, there is good colors, but not in my opinion as vibrant, I think more orange when we get to it. And Bryce, like, I really feel like that’s more orange. Zion is a little bit more red. Obviously you’re going to have the different colorations of the rock, but I’m trying to remember. I don’t think anything was just like, wow, this is standout color color-wise for me, it’s really the rock formations and the Arches that really make it

1 (9m 54s):
So you can spend an entire weekend in Arches. I would say one and a half, two days is really good amount of time. We got it done in one, we just packed it all in all of the things that we talked about, we were able to just hit the ground running and pack it all in one day. Because the next day we went to Canyonlands National Park, which is a second national park that we’re going to talk about in this episode.

2 (10m 13s):
And about how long of a drive is it from Arches to Canyonlands,

1 (10m 17s):
It’s about an hour drive and on a map, they look super close together, but you have to go up some windy roads to get to the very top of Canyonlands. If you go to the island in the sky district, which is where we spent most of our time. And so because of that, it’s about an hour drive. Okay.

3 (10m 34s):
Yeah. So canyon lands and Arches National Park, like I said earlier, they’re kind of like a two for their, by each other. The city of Moab, Utah is in between them. That city is there because it’s really base camp for people who are going to both of these National Parks. And so Brittany is correct. She gave that time distance to get to the one district island in the sky of Canyonlands. Canyonlands is actually broken up into three districts. We’ll name the other two later, but one of the other ones, if you want to get to it, you can’t get it from the entrance of island in the sky. You have to go the complete opposite direction to the south and around, and it takes longer. So there’s not one road that goes through it. So depending on what and where you want to explore, it could be really a lot of time from Moab or even Arches to get to where you want to go on Canyonlands

1 (11m 17s):
And Jamal really, really liked Kenyon. Lynn’s he actually likes it a little bit more than the grand canyon because there’s a ton of canyons everywhere. It’s a whole land of canyons. Hence the name Canyonlands.

3 (11m 29s):
Yeah. The grand canyon is carved out by the Colorado river. So as Canyonlands National Park right here, but this is more at the start of the Colorado river. And so it was just amazing. You know, when you’re at the grand canyon, you could see the other side when I was here at Canyonlands, I couldn’t see the other side. It was just like vastness. So it just stretched on forever. And it was absolutely breathtaking. I did enjoy it a lot. And what we saw Canyonlands was just that island in the sky district. Like I said, there’s not really a lot of hikes there, but you’re at the plateau and top of the canyon. So it gives you views into the canyon itself. The other two sections of the park one is called the needles and the other is the maze. And you can’t reach them from that section of how you get into island in the sky.

3 (12m 12s):
You need to get in separate roads that obviously you can access from Moab, Utah. We did not do those. I forgot what section, whether it be needles or amazed, but they tell you that you really shouldn’t go in there unless you have strong navigational skills. If you’re going to do hiking and the maze, I guess that makes a lot of sense why they call it that cause you can really get lost down there. So if you can’t self navigate, you really shouldn’t do the maze.

1 (12m 36s):
Canyonlands is great for everyone, whether you enjoy hiking or whether you don’t like to hike. And you just like to look out at viewpoints, it has some of the most beautiful panoramic overlooks in so many different areas. And some of the major highlights we saw was the Mesa arch, which we saw at sunrise, which was amazing. We had the orange hue from the sun coming through the rock. It was beautiful. The sun rises right through that arch and all of the photographers are lined up, are ready to get that one moment. And it’s just a really magical experience being there before the sun even rises sitting on the rock and then watching it rise up and light up the canyon was amazing.

3 (13m 15s):
Yeah. Just imagine it’s called the Mesa arch. It’s literally right on the edge of the cliff overlooking the canyon itself. And it’s a rather large arch, but to compare it to delicate arch and Arches, it’s a small one, right? So it’s almost like a personalized picture frame of a natural arch that you really watching the sunrise over the canyon itself. Like you really can’t describe it. Like you have to see it, but the arch is your own personal frame to look at the sunrise. It’s absolutely beautiful and majestic and in its own. Right.

2 (13m 43s):
Did you have any issues getting a good picture with all of the photographers out there?

3 (13m 48s):
You know, it was hard to kind of squeeze your way in. I had somebody who was, I’m assuming of professional photographer. They have their tripod all set up. They were there early. They were really nice. She said to me like, I’ve gotten this photo like a hundred times and she was nice. And let me squeeze in to get the photo. So you’re able to see it from the back, but with all the people in front of you, it’s hard to get that like camera shot of it or picture shot of it. But if you’re just standing behind to see it, you have yourself a view, but if you don’t want to watch it through the arch, there’s definitely places where you could stand off to the side and get amazing views of the sun rising over the canyon also. But if someone’s nice, you can get in there and catch that photo. And we were able to catch good photos through that arch.

1 (14m 28s):
Another favorite of the park is the grand view point overlook and hike. And it gives a really, really amazing views of Canyonlands. And you’re really going to like the edge of a cliff to see all the canyons in the land around you. It was amazing. It’s a short and sweet hike. I definitely would recommend it. It was one of my favorite things that we did there. Second to the Mesa

3 (14m 50s):
Arch. I wouldn’t even really call it a hike. It’s more a trail cause quite honestly, you know, it is two miles round trip. It’s an out and back, but you really only have an elevation gain of about like 173 feet. So that’s just really stepping up and over a few rocks on that two mile round trip, right? So it’s really more a trail than a hike and it just gives you awesome, awesome views. You think you’re looking into the canyon, you’ve seen it all, but then you look to another side of it and it’s the same, but different, but different in a really good way. That’s still on inspiring when you check it out.

1 (15m 23s):
And the whole time that you’re hiking, you’re hiking on length, the canyon edge, very, very scenic. And for it not being very long, this hike wasn’t very crowded and you would expect like a short sweet hike to be more crowded than what we saw.

3 (15m 36s):
Yeah. And like we said before, we really only did the island in the sky area. Other than that hike that we had just mentioned here for you. Most things that you’re looking at here are really viewpoints. One thing that I do want to do in the section of the needles is the white rim road and it’s a hundred mile loop down into the canyon itself and just do that drive. So I do want to go back and see that. And one last little thing I do want to say is we didn’t mention this for Arches, but the entrance fee to capital reef is $30 for seven days. And so if you’re in the area, it makes sense for our tip to get your inner agency pass a national park pass because already right there, if you want to go to canyon lands and to Arches National Park, that’s 60 bucks, you’re already $20 away from hitting your 80 for the national park pass.

3 (16m 25s):
So really recommend that and want to highlight that to you guys.

1 (16m 28s):
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2 (16m 39s):
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1 (17m 16s):
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3 (17m 30s):
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1 (17m 42s):
So heading more west from Canyonlands National Park, head over to Capitol reef national park. We talk all about Capitol reef in episode 89 and Capitol Reef National park is located in Utah, south central desert, and it protects the water pocket fold, which is a wrinkle in time. And it exposes layers of the Earth’s crust. And there’s so many different sand stone and geological structures that are there and rock formations that you get to see. And it has again so many overlooks. So again, if you’re not a hiker, this is another awesome national park for you to visit.

3 (18m 16s):
Yeah. And this is really in the middle of nowhere, it’s between the other four National Parks really in the center. And this was, I think why it was the last of Utah’s mighty five for Brittany and I had to get to, and I really loved this park. We had gone in winter. This is the one place where I was saying earlier that at its coldest, it was seven degrees in the morning. So it is a little bit nippy. We did go in December, but if you were to go during the summer it’s desert area, it’s sun exposed, not very much shade at all. So again, keep that in mind pros and cons, but it’s just absolutely breathtaking to really see literally a layer of the Earth’s crust that has made its way up to the surface and creates this natural barrier.

3 (18m 58s):
That’s running through the desert. You can see the striations going through, but other than that, there is a lot more to do there. There are Arches. So even though we’ve moved ourselves away and more west from Arches and Canyonlands National Park, you’re still finding different arch formations out here. Also,

1 (19m 14s):
It’s such a remote area that for the majority of the park, you don’t have to pay an entrance fee, but there is one section where it has the scene of drive. It’s a $20 entrance fee, which still isn’t a lot of money in comparison to some of the other National Parks like Arches and Canyonlands are $30 each. And I really want to go back here because they have orchards in this area. And every single year they take fruit from the orchards and they make pie and they open on pie day. Like that’s the start of the pie season. And unfortunately when we were there in December, they weren’t an operation for the pie. So I’m going to have to go back to get some of those pies. And I hear their cinnamon rolls are really good too.

3 (19m 52s):
I actually had a friend that I went to high school with he road trips, that a lot with his girlfriend. And he was just at the Capitol reef here. And he ended up going in and getting those pies that we missed out on. Cause we weren’t there during the appropriate season. So I saw him post a story on it on Instagram, showed it to Brittany and Brittany was jealous and it inspired her to go a little bit. But some of the hikes and activities that are worth mentioning that you should do, one of them is going to be chimney rock. It’s a 3.6 mile loop. It does have, you know, a moderate elevation gain of about 800 feet. And what I really liked about this hike as you really start at the bottom of the canyon itself, you see what it’s famous for and the name comes from the chimney rock formation, but that’s really the gist of it, of where you’re going to see it because once you get up, you don’t really have a view of that anymore.

3 (20m 42s):
You’re hiking along those Mesa of the canyon. You get amazing views of the water pocket fold at that time. So it gives you an awesome view from an elevated position to see it. And so it just gives you this awesome view of the different rock formations, and then you can see the different layers of the rock also. And it’s not a very heavily trafficked height either. So you really get to enjoy those beautiful things all by yourself.

1 (21m 4s):
I don’t know if it was because it was in December or just due to the remoteness or because we went and COVID, but while we were on this trail, we didn’t see anyone else. We were like the only car in the parking lot.

2 (21m 14s):
So you kind of, I was just going to ask that and you kind of just answered it. Do you think that Capitol reef national park is that little bit of crowdedness? Like always or because it was winter COVID do you think it gets more crowded than when you were there?

1 (21m 28s):
I’m sure it does get a little bit more crowded, but I think that because of the position of where it’s at and like it’s in the middle away from Canyonlands and Arches on one side and then Bryce, since I on the other, it’s like dead straight in the middle and it’s probably a two-hour drive from either of those that it’s more remote and a lot of people don’t go there and it’s a lot lesser known.

2 (21m 48s):
What is the closest city to this national

1 (21m 50s):
Park? There is a city called Tori and Tori is where we stayed. It’s right outside of the national park. And while we were there, and again, I don’t know if it was winter or COVID. She was like, yeah, there’s like three places to eat in town tonight. So like it’s a very,

3 (22m 5s):
As small town, it’s about a population of 250 people. So outside of the national park, I mean, we were just mentioning this Mo app it’s there because Arches and Canyonlands, here’s another national park and you know what, there’s not a town around it. And by that, obviously there is Tori, but 250 people, so they don’t have the infrastructure. So I do think that during summer, for sure it gets a little bit more crowded and it’s geared towards that. But if the population is only that many people, I don’t think a lot of people really traverse through there.

2 (22m 35s):
Yeah. So would you say it’s underrated?

1 (22m 37s):
I would say it’s underrated. I loved

3 (22m 38s):
It. It lets you get into nature and be by yourself. And that’s an awesome thing that I think people really take for granted when they go to National Parks. Cause a lot of them, I hate to say are becoming like Disneyland now, like really crowded. But when you get to see those majestic places in our alone, it’s a lot more humbling and grounding experience to immerse yourself in nature. That way.

1 (22m 57s):
My favorite part of Capitol reef national park was actually a hike we did to Cassidy arch. I loved it. Even though you’re out of Arches National Park, there was still two Arches that we got to hike to during our time and Capitol Reef and Cassie arch was a Trek to get there. You had to hike along the cliffs and it’s fun at strenuous it’s steep, but it has beautiful views the entire way. And you start to incline, you see the arch and you’re like, how are you going to get to that? But you finally make it. And when you get to it, you get to stand on top of the arch. Like you’re not under it, you’re standing on top of it. And then you look down and you see how far down the cliffs like you are. And it’s a really humbling experience.

1 (23m 39s):
And it really just puts nature in perspective.

3 (23m 41s):
Yeah. It’s quite honestly scary. You’re standing on top of it and you think yourself, my gosh, like if this collapses I’m done because the arch is really at the edge of the cliff. So you’re standing on the top part, which is really forming a bridge. So if that goes, you go and it was high up. I mean, we were at least, you know, 750 plus feet up,

2 (24m 2s):
Brittany loves to hike to the top of things that are at risk of killing you. If something happened.

3 (24m 9s):
Sometimes I think she debates pushing me when we’re at the edge of those things. I don’t know

2 (24m 13s):
A little flicker in her.

3 (24m 15s):
Yeah. She starts thinking and I don’t think it’s nature inspiring her. She’s thinking something.

1 (24m 20s):
No, I’m not. But this was one of the most beautiful hikes that we did. You know, it’s gotta be pretty popular. And again, there wasn’t a lot of people there on our way up, we only crossed paths with another couple. And on the way back down, we saw a few more. But really like you would think that this place would be packed otherwise.

3 (24m 38s):
Yeah. And that’s one of the hikes, there is the scenic drive that Brittany mentioned, which is a point where you have to actually pay to enter the national park. And I would highly recommend doing this. If you go during the summer, you can do this drive. And then there is an offshoot of this scenic drive that goes into a canyon and it is not paved. So if you do that, you would want to utilize an SUV and you really get to the thick of it inside the canyon, you see the sheer walls going up. But if you go during summer, instead of driving the car, not on that scenic drive, but into the canyon on that little offshoot, I would recommend actually getting out because it’s going to be a shaded area. You can really be out of the vehicle, look up, just see how high these cliffs are going and really be in it that way.

3 (25m 21s):
So do utilize the scenic drive, even though most of the stuff we mentioned you can actually do without paying the entrance fee, I would highly recommend doing the scenic drive they have and their little offshoots into the canyons and actually get out and walk those.

1 (25m 33s):
And again, there’s a lot of overlooks in this park. So we mentioned them all in our itinerary that we’ve mentioned on our website, Travel Squad, Podcast dot com. So go check those out. But next we’re heading more west to Bryce Canyon, National Park, which was a squad trip we took,

2 (25m 49s):
We do have an episode on this that’s episode, number 33, if you want to hear the details of this weekend trip that we took, but there’s definitely some highlights of this park. As soon as we got there, I was really impressed with just the beautiful colors, the hoodoos and the formations and the arches and all of that are really pretty. But the coloring is bright orange and reds and whites. And it’s so pretty. Hoodoos are what this park is really, really known for. They’re basically stacks of rocks in the way the rocks have formed maybe Jamal, you know, the actual way they’re formed.

3 (26m 22s):
Well, I do, but to explain it like a teacher in geologists would be very hard for me about basically just imagined spires of rocks, just shooting up. And basically they’ve eroded over time from wind sand. When it freezes out there, the water gets within the cracks itself water when it freezes, it expands and then it breaks the rocks off. So you have these tall, thin spires of rock. So that’s what really makes the scenery dramatic. You have thousands of those in the canyon below. So that’s really what it’s famous for. That’s what a Hoodoo is. Just imagine those rock towers, thousands of them with those bright orange colors that you were talking about, it’s absolutely a scene to be seen that is for sure.

3 (27m 4s):
And during the winter times and months, it does snow out there too. So we didn’t go there during winter. We went in April, so we didn’t get to see it with snow, but I’ve seen photos with the snow and absolutely breathtaking. I think that’s one thing to just say about any one of Utah’s national parks is that during the summer months, it’s always going to be a lot more crowded, but there’s always going to be that give and take. You can do more stuff during the summer cause trails are open, but you get a different look in the winter and get that scenic beauty with the dust layers of snow that they have going throughout it. So pros and cons all around, but absolutely amazing

2 (27m 38s):
Hike that I would recommend doing in Bryce Canyon. National Park is the figure eight trail. This one kind of takes you through a couple of different trails and through the hoodoos and through the peekaboos. And it’s a good long hike to, I think it’s about six miles or just a bit more of six miles, but you get to see some of the most beautiful hoodoos and viewpoints and outlooks at this park. Has you really get to see it all on this trail? So if you’re trying to do a one and done, this is the one I would recommend. I think my favorite part was at a certain part in this trail, there is a big Archway tunnel, kind of a thing that you walk through. And if you want to do a jumping picture in this spot, it will produce one of the most beautiful pictures.

2 (28m 20s):
You will be able to post on your Instagram. You’ll have the tunnel. You gorgeous orange rocks in the background. I’m speaking from experience here. So you definitely want to take that picture.

3 (28m 30s):
And Kim takes her photos seriously. So she’s given you a recommendation on a spot. It’s a good spot, but whereas she gave you the figure eight trail. One trail that we did that I would highly recommend is the fairy land loop trail. We all did this one. This one is a long one. I’m not going to lie to you. 7.8 miles long takes about four hours. But what makes us really cool as you start along the canyon edge and then Mesa, and then you hike down into the canyon. You are amongst the hoodoos and then you hike your way out of the canyon and an awesome, awesome loop. It’s not to be missed. I think it’s probably the best hike that we did when we were there. And we did several of them. And again, you know, we’re going over some of the highlights here. I don’t want to say brushing over the details, but do go back and listen to each one of these episodes individually for further in depth, because we really dive into it, give solid recommendations.

3 (29m 18s):
And another thing that’s really cool about Bryce Canyon, National Park is the town that is around it. It’s not like Tori there at Capitol reef and 250 people. The town is geared for the fact that people come to Bryce. It had a lot of cool stuff and activities, good restaurants. I love little quaint towns and this one had it right outside here at Bryce too. So it was cool and made it a lot more fun also.

1 (29m 39s):
Yeah, it’s a really awesome trip to take. Whether you go when you’re going on the 10 day trip itinerary, or if you’re going to Bryce, just all on its own, definitely worth going to see. So going to the last national park, we’re going even more west now to Zion national park, which is in the Southwestern corner of Utah.

2 (29m 59s):
I just put on an episode that’s number 97, completely dedicated to Zion national park. And honestly we could talk about Zion national park for five straight episodes. It’s so beautiful there.

3 (30m 10s):
We really can’t. I mean, all these other National Parks, the mighty five we’ve been to once we’ve been to Zion national park multiple times, I think one of the reasons is because it is close to Las Vegas. So when we go to Vegas, we go and we just love it so much. It really is one of our favorite national parks. So highly recommended for that. And you know, there’s lots of stuff to do in there. And Zion, some of the main highlights. And again, we’ve said this in the zine episode, we’ve said in other episodes, I guarantee you, you have social media, you’ve seen somebody’s video or reel of them, hiking Angel’s landing, which is an iconic hike in Zion national park. That requires you to go from the canyon below all the way to the top.

3 (30m 50s):
It’s famous because the last half mile you have to utilize chains going up a sheer cliff on either side of you. There’s five feet of stable ground. And then on each side is a thousand plus foot fall.

2 (31m 2s):
You don’t have to do the chains part. I just want you guys to know out there, if you don’t like Heights, you can do the hike. It’s beautiful. You’ll see spotted Mexican owls and you’ll see beautiful canyons and the red rocks. And that’s good enough. You don’t have to do the chains and risk. Your life

3 (31m 19s):
Says the person who backed out of the chains. I

2 (31m 22s):
Didn’t back out. I never was going to do them from the start.

3 (31m 25s):
Oh, that’s what she says. I don’t know if I believe that or not, but yet there’s angels landing. And then maybe the most famous, the narrows hike, which is part of the Virgin river. You Wade through the river, go upstream on it. It’s anywhere from ankle to shin high at very few points. It gets to chest high and maybe you even need to swim, but you’re really hiking through the river. You have the narrow canyons to the side of you. Crazy colors, crazy formations. It’s crowded when you first start, but the further you get in the crowds thin out and you have more of that majestic canyon to yourself to enjoy as you’re wading through the water.

2 (32m 2s):
There’s a lot of questions people have about the narrows. Like, do you need to stick? What shoes do you wear? How far did you hike in it? Was it hard? And we talk all about that in the episode, as well as in the itinerary, we give you every tip, you need to be prepared and, and make your way through it and have the best time possible there. The narrows is there like top 10 hikes that you have to do that you’ll always remember, like Inca trail Havasupai falls, the narrows, they’re all up in that category of like ethic height.

1 (32m 30s):
And if you love slot canyons, this is a great hike to do because when the walls really thin on you and you just look up and there’s just sheer cliff, all around you, it’s amazing. And the further you go in again, the less crowds you have, and it’s a really nice to be able to Wade through the river and have parts of that all to yourself.

3 (32m 49s):
And again, I just want to reiterate the fact that really this isn’t a plug. Even for us, you should go back and listen to these episodes. Or if you get the itinerary itself, we give the tips of like what shoes to have, what pair of clothes you need for hiking, the narrows to change it. Other stuff for the other parks, we go into more detail. If we were really to talk about all of these hikes and parks in depth, this would be too long of an episode. Hence the reason why we have a different episode, each one of these parks, but we’re putting it together really to inspire you guys to say, Hey, people are exploring America right now with COVID. People want to get out of nature and going out here into Utah and doing all of these parks or even just a couple of them at a time is a really solid option right now.

3 (33m 30s):
And a trip that we want to take ourselves all as five and make that round.

1 (33m 35s):
I think Utah’s a really underrated state when people are like, oh, I’m going to Utah. You’re like, what are you going to Utah for? But Utah has so many beautiful landscapes and it has five of some of the prettiest, most beautiful national parks that I’ve ever been to.

2 (33m 49s):
Yeah. Utah and nature. That’s what you taught has is gorgeous nature, amazing hikes. And luckily, I mean, for being five National Parks and some states don’t even have one, you can do this all in one trip and they’re close enough that you can make that happen and it’s not unreasonable. And I think that’s really cool and special about Utah.

1 (34m 9s):
Like when you drive from one to the other, getting to each one is no more than two to three hours, you know, from like Arches to Canyonlands, that’s an hour. And then from Canyonlands to Capitol reef, that’s probably like two, three hours in there. Same to Bryce. And then same from Bryce to Zion. They’re all just in a row. So it makes it really accessible. Really drive a bull. You can do it all in one trip, which we’ve seen a lot of people do, or you can break it up if you just don’t have the time to dedicate. But you know, we have used this as a back-up trip several times where like, if this trip gets canceled, we’re going to go do this, this and this from the Utah’s mighty five.

2 (34m 45s):
Yeah. I know we said that this was a 10 day trip. If you’re going to do all five, it doesn’t have to be 10 days could be five days. You can really get it done. You could. And I think that with that being said, there’s almost no excuse not to do it.

3 (34m 57s):
Yeah. The amount of time you’re going to spend doing it as how down and dirty you want to get, how long a hikes are you going to do? But like you said, it can be quick and out, but if you’re doing it, some of these parks, I think deserve two days or a little bit more time,

2 (35m 10s):
Some of these parks you can spend a whole weekend.

3 (35m 12s):
Absolutely. I think most National Parks you could spend at least two or three days and depending on, right. But yeah,

2 (35m 19s):
Well Squatty is that is Utah’s mighty five. Thank you so much for tuning into our episode this week. Please go back and check out all those other episodes that we noted. So you can get a deeper dive into these parks. And if you end up taking these trips, tag us in your adventures, and if you’re planning a trip here, send us in your questions of the week and we’ll answer it on upcoming episodes.

3 (35m 40s):
If you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always guys, you know it, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every Travel Tuesday for new episodes,

1 (35m 54s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you by

3 (35m 59s):
Squaddies

keep the adventures going

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