5-Day National Park Itinerary
Jun 8, 2017
By: Chad Taylor & Jake Wilhelmsen
See enough canyons, cliffs, arches, bridges and petroglyphs to last a lifetime. You’ll go home with a profound sense of awe, a full memory card and several pairs of reddish socks.
You know that road trip through Utah’s famously scenic parks you’ve always wanted to take, but the thought of planning out your own food, arranging your own campsites, knowing which airport to fly into, and finding the right trailheads has scared the hoodoo out of you?
Luckily the folks at Mountainbased have it all figured out. Fly into Vegas, (see some shows, lose some hands of blackjack,) meet up with two super cool guides, hop in a comfy van and embark on a five-day, 1,000-mile, eight-park camping trip. This is how you see Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley, Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon in one week of PTO. [(Or, if you have more sick days than PTO:) You looked a little flushed. I wonder if you’re coming down with something…]
Morning: Leave Las Vegas and drive to Zion National Park.
Midday: Fuel up with a delicious lunch before hiking in the park.
Afternoon: Your guides will customize an adventure with hiking trails that fit your ability level.
Evening: Head to a camp you don’t have to set up, sit by a campfire you don’t have to build and enjoy s’mores you might even be able to get your Mountainbased guide to cook for you. (But who doesn’t like roasting marshmallows?)
Morning: Enjoy a hot breakfast before departing for Moab.
Afternoon: Arrive at campsite, then head out to Arches National Park for an afternoon/evening of hiking, including Utah’s famous Delicate Arch. You know, the one on the license plate.
Evening: Retire to your campsite in Moab and gaze at the billion-star view.
Morning: Get nourished and strengthened with a guide-prepared breakfast before journeying to Canyonlands National Park. Take a couple of amazing hikes in the park’s Island in the Sky district. Rough, rugged, desolate and almost unbelievable.
Afternoon: Dead Horse Point State Park. Did a horse really die there? You’ll find out if you’re not too busy taking selfies high above the snaking curves of the Colorado River. Bonus fact for those who have their friend’s HBO Go password: Dead Horse Point has been a frequent backdrop for the series “Westworld.”
Evening: Hang out at camp, eat a yummy dinner and sack out, starry-eyed once again.
Morning: Arise early and grab breakfast, sunny side up. Embark on a scenic drive (like way more scenic than what usually passes for a “scenic drive”) to back-to-back whirlwind tours of Capitol Reef National Park and Goblin Valley State Park.
Afternoon: On to Bryce Canyon (it’s not actually a canyon; rather an eroding, retreating plateau margin) National Park, set up camp and enjoy a sunset unlike any you’ve seen before.
Evening: Enjoy what will probably be the darkest sky of the trip (or your life?) — perfect for stargazing.
Morning: Breakfast followed by some serious exploration of Bryce Canyon’s famous hoodoos, including a hike on what’s been called “the greatest 3-mile trail in the world.”
Midday: Relaxing lunch followed by a fond farewell to Bryce and the beginning of the trek back to Las Vegas.
Afternoon: Plenty of interesting stops along the way to Vegas including Red Canyon State Park, which is like a mini-Bryce.
Evening: Arrive in Vegas around 6:00 p.m., which leaves you plenty of time to grab a quick shower and experience things you may never tell anyone about. Or just fly home. Your call.
And yeah, that’s it. Five national parks, three state parks and one nest egg lost betting on red. The perfect vacation!
Click here to check pricing, availability and to reserve your spot on an upcoming tour.