Southern Utah national parks road trip

In late May Emily and I went on a road trip to Southern Utah with her parents, her sister, and her sister’s husband. Mostly you should just look at the pictures (see the “best of” album if you’re normal and don’t feel like looking at 251 photos). I also made a few photospheres.

Emily and I drove there. The other four flew in and we met in Moab. We stayed in rental houses in Moab and Kanab, and a hotel in Springdale (just outside of Zion). We mostly drove to scenic parking areas and did short day hikes. We did do two longer hikes: 10 miles round-trip to see The Wave and 8 miles round-trip to Observation Point in Zion.

Big Country

The most succinct way to describe the places is “big country.” You can see really far and the distant objects are huge. The landscape is mostly barren. There are scattered trees and shrubs and grasses and sparse animal life. The plants and animals are fragile. There’s a lot of sand and rock. Big canyons.

List of Places

  • Arches National Park – Many natural arch formations in rock. The Fiery Furnace tour was cool.
  • Canyonlands National ParkAmazing views of distant canyons.
  • Goosenecks State Park – Basically just a parking area with a great view of a winding river.
  • Antelope Canyon – A beautiful slot canyon on Navajo land. Expensive compared to the other things we did (you have to purchase a guided tour), but I enjoyed it. I liked the challenge of taking pictures more than I was expecting.
  • The Wave – Remote, striped rock formation in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. We didn’t win the lottery for the Coyote Buttes North permit. We decided to enter the wilderness with a Coyote Buttes South permit, which made for a difficult hike.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park – Huge open canyons filled with rock towers called “hoodoos.” High elevation. Woodsier than the others.
  • Zion National Park – An accessible lush canyon. Reminded me of Yosemite with red and white rock instead of black. The Observation Point hike was nice.


Here are a few representative photos. See my Flickr collection for the rest (especially the “best of” album).

Delicate Arch

Monument Valley

Antelope Canyon

The Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona, USA

A flower in Zion National Park

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