Collectively, they are known as The Mighty 5. Utah's National Parks attract more than 10 million visitors to the southern half of the state. They are drawn to a landscape carved by wind and water, filled with lush canyons, twisting rivers, strange hoodoos, towering arches, and giant monoliths. Utah's National Parks are open year-round, you just need to find the time to visit.
Just outside Moab, Arches is a wonderland of more than 2,000 natural stone arches and hundreds of pinnacles, fins, and balanced rocks. From the aptly named Balanced Rock to the most famous arch in the US, Delicate Arch, and the longest, Landscape Arch, the park wows with amazing scenery. The red-rock landscape delights visitors and the nearby Canyonlands National Park adds to the draw, making it the second most visited National Park in Utah.
Hoodoos can be found on every continent, but Bryce Canyon is home to the largest concentration on Earth. These fairy rock towers dominate the landscape in shades of orange, white, and red standing in deep contrast to trees surrounding them. They are easily viewed from the rim of the plateau where Bryce Canyon sits, most notably Bryce Amphitheater, but best appreciated up close as you try to make out what figures they resemble - two of the most popular in the park are Thor's Hammer and Queen Victoria. Only 1.5 hours from Zion, it is an easy visit on any trip to southern Utah.
Carved by wind and erosion, Canyonlands invites visitors to explore its' countless canyons and massive buttes in a primitive desert environment just 40 minutes from Moab and Arches National Park. Utah's largest National Park, it is divided into 4 sections. Island in the Sky towers above the park, offering views of the rivers and canyons below in a site reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. The Needles takes hikers through dazzling sandstone spires. The remote Maze area cannot be explored without extensive backcountry knowledge. And the Colorado and Green Rivers offer some of the best rafting in the states.
Located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with narrow slot canyons, sandstone domes, and massive bridges. At its heart is the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles. Historical evidence of human activity over thousands of years is distributed across the park from the well-preserved Fremont petroglyphs to the Mormon settler town of Fruita. Dramatic beauty, history, backcountry hiking, and small crowds drive visitors to visit Capitol Reef.
In southern Utah, Zion contains some of the most scenic canyon country in the US. The Virgin River has cut a series of canyons featuring 2,000' sandstone cliffs and narrow canyons which dazzle visitors with their bright colors, lush greenery, and hanging gardens. Utah's most visited National Park, 4.5 million visitors head to Zion annually to explore its beauty and experience some of the country's best adventure hikes including The Narrows and Angel's Landing, as well as other gems like Kolob Arch and The Subway.
There are 5 National Parks in Utah and they are often referred to as the 'Big 5' or the 'Mighty 5'. The 5 National Parks are Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion.
Zion is the most popular National Park in Utah - almost 4.5 million visitors head to the park annually. Check out the rankings below to see Utah's National Parks ranked by popularity:
The largest National Park in Utah is Canyonlands National Park - it is 337,597 acres. Check out the rankings below to see Utah's National Parks ranked by size:
The 5 National Parks in Utah are often referred to as The Mighty 5. Visitors to the state often visit all 5 National Parks as part of a road trip. The most common route is to fly into Las Vegas and head to the parks in the following order: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches. It can be completed in as little as 5 days, but ideally you are able to allocate 2 weeks to the trip.