17 Best National Parks and Monuments in Utah: Explore the Wonders of the Mighty Five

1. Arches National Park

Marvel at the natural wonders of Arches National Park, home to over 2,000 sandstone arches.

Hike to iconic formations like Delicate Arch or explore the Devil’s Garden.

Traveler’s Tip: Visit at sunrise or sunset for the best lighting and fewer crowds.

2. Zion National Park

Experience the grandeur of Zion National Park, renowned for its towering cliffs and narrow slot canyons.

Hike the famous Angels Landing or take a scenic drive through Zion Canyon.

Traveler’s Tip: Utilize the park’s shuttle system to navigate the main attractions more efficiently.

3. Bryce Canyon National Park

Immerse yourself in the surreal beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park with its distinctive hoodoos.

Take a leisurely hike along the Rim Trail or descend into the amphitheaters for a closer look.

Traveler’s Tip: Don’t miss the opportunity to stargaze in one of the darkest skies in the country.

4. Canyonlands National Park

Discover the vast and untamed landscapes of Canyonlands National Park, where the Green and Colorado Rivers converge.

Explore the dramatic cliffs and intricate canyons, and witness the mesmerizing sunrise at Mesa Arch.

Traveler’s Tip: Be prepared with plenty of water and sun protection, as the park’s trails can be strenuous.

5. Capitol Reef National Park

Uncover the hidden gem of Capitol Reef National Park, characterized by its unique geological formations and orchards.

Drive the scenic Capitol Reef Scenic Drive or hike to Hickman Bridge.

Traveler’s Tip: Taste the fresh fruits and homemade pies at one of the orchards near the park’s entrance.

6. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Experience the iconic beauty of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, famous for its towering sandstone buttes.

Take a guided jeep tour to explore the majestic landscape and learn about Navajo culture.

Traveler’s Tip: Capture the mesmerizing sunrise or sunset views for breathtaking photographs.

7. Natural Bridges National Monument

Marvel at the impressive natural bridges of Natural Bridges National Monument.

Take a scenic hike to admire Sipapu, Kachina, and Owachomo bridges.

Traveler’s Tip: Plan your visit during the night to witness the stunning dark skies and the Milky Way galaxy.

8. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Discover the splendor of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, encompassing Lake Powell and the dramatic Glen Canyon.

Enjoy water activities like boating, fishing, and kayaking or hike to breathtaking viewpoints like Horseshoe Bend.

Traveler’s Tip: Rent a houseboat for a unique and immersive experience on the tranquil waters of Lake Powell.

9. Goblin Valley State Park

Enter a whimsical wonderland at Goblin Valley State Park, where unique rock formations known as “goblins” dominate the landscape.

Explore the maze-like formations and embark on scenic hikes.

Traveler’s Tip: Visit during sunrise or sunset to witness the otherworldly glow of the goblins.

10. Dead Horse Point State Park

Witness the breathtaking vistas of Dead Horse Point State Park, offering panoramic views of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park.

Hike to the overlooks or enjoy mountain biking along the park’s trails.

Traveler’s Tip: Capture the stunning sunset views from Dead Horse Point Overlook.

11. Hovenweep National Monument

Step back in time at Hovenweep National Monument, where ancient Puebloan ruins stand amidst a rugged desert landscape.

Take a self-guided hike to explore the unique architecture and learn about the ancestral Pueblo people.

Traveler’s Tip: Attend a ranger-led program to gain a deeper understanding of the monument’s cultural significance.

12. Cedar Breaks National Monument

Admire the vibrant colors and unique rock formations of Cedar Breaks National Monument, often referred to as “Utah’s Bryce Canyon.”

Marvel at the amphitheater and hike along the rim trails to enjoy breathtaking views.

Traveler’s Tip: Pack warm clothing, as temperatures can be significantly cooler at this high-elevation park.

13. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Embark on an adventure through the vast and rugged terrain of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Explore slot canyons, hike to stunning waterfalls, and discover hidden natural arches.

Traveler’s Tip: Check weather conditions and be prepared with proper gear and navigation tools for off-the-beaten-path exploration.

14. Bears Ears National Monument

Immerse yourself in the cultural and natural heritage of Bears Ears National Monument.

Discover ancestral Puebloan ruins, hike to picturesque viewpoints, and connect with the rich Native American history of the area.

Traveler’s Tip: Respect the fragile environment and sacred sites by practicing Leave No Trace principles.

15. Dinosaur National Monument

Travel back in time at Dinosaur National Monument, where you can see well-preserved dinosaur fossils embedded in the rocks.

Take a scenic drive, hike the trails, or even participate in a paleontological excavation program.

Traveler’s Tip: Plan a visit to the Quarry Exhibit Hall to see the impressive wall of dinosaur fossils up close.

16. Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Marvel at the natural wonder of Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the world’s largest natural bridges.

Take a boat tour on Lake Powell or hike to the bridge for a closer look at its impressive size and beauty.

Traveler’s Tip: Check the tour schedules and plan accordingly, as access to the monument is limited.

17. Anasazi State Park Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Ancestral Puebloans at the Anasazi State Park Museum.

Explore the archaeological site, view artifacts, and gain insights into the daily lives of the ancient inhabitants.

Traveler’s Tip: Participate in the interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for a more engaging experience.


Utah’s national parks and monuments offer a diverse array of natural wonders and cultural treasures.

From the towering arches of Arches National Park to the ancient ruins of Hovenweep National Monument, each destination invites you to explore its unique allure and connect with the rich heritage of the region.

David Kingston

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