Utah's Mighty 5 Road Trip

5 of America’s 59 National Parks call the state of Utah home. Although the parks are located in a similar geographical area, they each possess their own unique beauty. Exploring what Utah native’s call the “Mighty Five” in one visit is very doable… as long as you’re ready for one epic road trip. Pack up a tent or pick up a ride from Native Campervans in Salt Lake City to begin this grand adventure.

01. Zion

A 4.5-hour drive to Zion from SLC, this is the most visited of the 5 parks. Angel’s landing is a busy hike but totally worth it, and crowds thin as you venture further into the Narrows.

Camping recommendation: Free camping close to the park at Sheep Bridge or Gooseberry Mesa BLM. Great spots especially if you’re driving a conversion van. 

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02. Bryce

Head to the Hoodoos! Less than a two-hour drive from Zion is Bryce Canyon. Panoramic views of this otherworldly landscape will leave your jaw dropped. Hikes like Navajo Loop or under the rim trail provide stunning scenery.

Camping recommendation: If you’re living the #Vanlife, pullover and camp along Tom’s Best Spring Road just 15 minutes from the park.

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03. Capitol Reef

Crowd relief? Head to the Reef! Less than 2.5 hours cruising on SR-12 from Bryce is Capitol Reef. This is the least visited of the Mighty Five. You’ll see why this place is underrated after hiking here.

Camping recommendation: Fruita campground or west of Capitol Reef NP has great camping.

Credits: National Geographic - Photography by LARRY GEDDIS

Credits: National Geographic - Photography by LARRY GEDDIS

04. Arches

Just over 2 hours from Capitol Reef is the park featured on Utah’s license plate: Arches. Whether you’re a Utah native or first time visitor, the iconic red rock formations here leave a lasting impression.

Camping recommendation: If there’s availability, camp along SR-128. This route displays stunning canyon scenery for your road trip.

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05. Canyonlands

Only 30 minutes from Arches is Canyonlands. This is the largest park of the Mighty Five. It’s so expansive that it’s divided into three huge sections: Island in the sky, the needles district, and the maze.

Camping Recommendation: Lockhart basin road near the entrance of the Needles District. Plenty of spots here to pullover in a campervan or set up a tent.

All good things come to an end…. Except in a campervan. That experience stays with you forever.

Watch the desert landscape transform into majestic mountains on the 3 hour and 45 minute road back to Salt Lake City. Drop off your ride at Native Campervans and hop on the train to the airport. Then, just let it all sink in.