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Travel News Utah Road Trip Itinerary

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Utah Road Trip Itinerary

The perfect Utah road trip itinerary. All the must-see towns and nature, plus suggestions on where to stay and stop along the way!

Utah Road Trip

Planning a Utah road trip? It’s probably safe to assume that you’re looking for the jaw-dropping nature and outdoor adventures that have become synonymous with this state out West.

Names like Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Canyonlands have steadily climbed the ranks of popular National Parks in the United States. All it takes is a glimpse of the Beehive State’s unbelievably picturesque nature to trigger a Utah travel itch. And a Utah road trip is the mode-of-choice for most visitors.

Whether you’re driving from out of state, or flying into Salt Lake City and renting a car, it’s easy to take a Utah road trip that checks all the most popular boxes.

Rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, and, of course, hiking… the options are endless for adventure activities in and around the national parks.

Interested in a cross country road trip? Check out these options and top tips for planning.

Starting Point: Salt Lake City

Start your Utah road trip in Salt Lake City.

The Utah state capital is worth one’s salt when it comes to trendy eateries and bars. While some may associate the state’s Mormon majority with a negative impact on the quality of nightlife, Salt Lake City has taken it upon itself to prove visitors wrong.

Tavernacle (their name is a pun on the Mormon tabernacle choir) is a lively dueling piano bar in the downtown area. New breweries are popping up all the time. Fisher Brewing originally opened in the 1800s and has reopened a few years ago in downtown Salt Lake. This popular brewery hosts a different food truck each night of the week.

Top Golf, drive-in movies, galleries, and bike tours are a few of the options for filling your days in SLC.

Utah Road Trip Itinerary

Stop 1: Moab for a few nights

Drive time Salt Lake City –> Moab: about 4 hours

Stop #1 on your Utah road trip is Moab. This is the perfect base to spend a couple of nights while you explore nearby Stop #2: Arches National Park, a mere 15 minutes away by car. The natural rock formations in the Arches rival the best of Utah.

Stop 3: Canyonlands

Canyonlands is only 45 minutes from Moab and many people choose to make the city their base for the first half of their Utah road trip. Canyonlands National Park is home to a fascinating array of buttes, towering above the canyons formed by the Colorado and Green rivers. Dinosaur tracks and Native American rock art can both be found here.

Back in Moab, check out the museum to see more of the top artifacts that can be found in the nearby parks.

Stop 4: Spend a Night in Torrey

Drive time from Moab –> Torrey: about 2.5 hours

From Moab, you’ll take highway 24 which goes through part of Capitol Reef (which you can decide to add on if you have the time and desire) and then head to Torrey to spend the night.

The next day, from Torrey to Bryce, you’ll take the scenic byway Highway 12.

Drive Time from Torrey –> Bryce: about 2 hours

Stop 5: Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is one of the most unique parks you’ll find anywhere in the world and it’s all thanks to a little (big) thing called hoodoos. Hoodoos are the long thin rock spires, also known as fairy chimneys. And they occur in greater numbers in Bryce Canyon than perhaps anywhere on Earth, creating an other-worldly landscape and a photographer’s dream.

You can stay in Bryce Canyon City after a long day of exploring in the park.

Stop 6: Zion National Park

Drive Time Bryce Canyon City –> Zion: About 1.5 hours

It’s not a Utah road trip if you’re not visiting the state’s first (and arguably most beloved) national park. Zion, the land of towering sandstone cliffs in all shades of red.

Venture first thing in the morning to Angels Landing and The Narrows to avoid the crowds that frequent the park’s top sites.

Fun fact: you’ll find more species of flowers within Zion than you will anywhere else in Utah 🌺.

Where to End Your Utah Road Trip

From Zion, you have two or three options.

First, you can return to Salt Lake City and be done with your Utah road trip. Zion –> SLC is a 4.5-hour straight-shot drive.

Second, if you really haven’t gotten enough of the state’s natural beauty yet, consider driving back to Salt Lake City and then continuing road tripping the north of the country, namely State Route 150 and the Mirror Lake forests.

Or, continue on from Zion to Las Vegas, just a 2.5-hour drive. You could even swing a visit to the Grand Canyon if you wanted.

Okay, fine… there are basically endless options for your trip after Zion–but that’s really the beauty of a Utah road trip anyway. 👍