UTAH: SOUTHWEST ROAD TRIP
In December 2016, Jim and I went on an epic 2-week Utah road trip. It was winter (the “off season”), we both had a bunch of time off, and some killer flight deals. We hadn’t seen much of this part of America, and this was our opportunity! Side note: unless you’re desperate, do not book with Frontier. Not a good experience. A story for another time!
Anyways, on this trip we explored the states of: Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. This post shows only images from our experiences in Utah. These are days 6-10 on the itinerary below. We purchased an America The Beautiful National Parks Pass before we left for the trip. That was well worth the price, as we visited a bunch of national parks and lands on this part of the trip! Also, we rented a Jeep Compass. The 4×4 capability was quite useful on a couple occasions during this wintry trip. Highlights on this section include: Moab, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Goblin Valley SP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, and Zion NP.
I feel like we barely scratched the surface to what this part of the country has to offer! The landscapes are ever-changing and vast on our Utah road trip. We got caught up in a nasty blizzard at Bryce Canyon. Most trails and roads were closed due to the snow storm. We couldn’t see a thing! The whole point was to gaze at the red rock formations in the canyon. We were pretty bummed. We hung out anyway and snapped some photos of the snow covered trees around the park. The photos were well worth falling on the ice and running around deep snow for.
Our trip lined up with us visiting Zion National Park on Christmas Day. And it just so happened to snow a bunch the day before. There were so many people there! Apparently snow that sticks in the park is pretty rare, so we got a treat. On the flip side, half the park’s roads and trails were closed to the bad weather. That was a bummer. We drove around a lot (seriously no parking spots), and ended up on the bridge over Virgin River for sunset (best spot). The next morning we got up before the sun and trekked up the Canyon Overlook Trail. A short hike with big views! It was insanely beautiful in the morning light. I would recommend at least two days in Moab, Utah (so much to see around the area!) and Zion National Park.
Ready for a Utah road trip yet? Or a Utah elopement? This state is perfect for having an adventure either way! I have a ton more information and love trip planning! Just shoot me an email and I’ll happily share my advice, experiences, and itinerary details.
SOUTHWEST ROAD TRIP ITINERARY:
Days 1-2: Phoenix + Scottsdale, AZ
Day 3: Sedona, AZ + Grand Canyon NP
Day 4: Flagstaff, AZ (Horseshoe Bend)
Day 5: Lower Antelope Canyon + Monument Valley
Days 6-7: Moab, UT (Arches NP + Canyonlands NP)
Day 8: Goblin Valley + Capitol Reef NP
Day 9: Bryce Canyon NP
Day 10: Zion National Park
Days 11-13: Joshua Tree National Park
Day 14: Las Vegas, NV
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Emily Hary is an adventurous outdoor wedding + elopement photographer.
Although based in the Midwest, she is available for worldwide travel.