Utah National Parks Vacation

In August and September 2007, Jeff and I spent three weeks vacationing in southern Utah. We spent most of our time visting four of the five national parks in Utah. Below is a map to help get you oriented, and following that are brief descriptions of the places we visited. To view the pictures we took, click in the outlined areas of the map or on the links listed above the map.

Moab Area       Bryce Canyon       Zion   

Moab Area

There are two national parks close to Moab, Utah - Arches and Canyonlands. Rock formations, including lots of natural arches (of course :-) ) are the primary features in Arches National Park. We took many photographs along the main park road, and hiked the Park Avenue and Devils Garden trails. Canyonlands encompasses an area around the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. In the northern section of the park that we visited, there are beautiful views of river canyons, mesas, and buttes. We rented a Jeep for this part of the trip, so in addition to driving and photographing along the main park roads, we included a couple of 4WD trips in our travels.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is not really a canyon, but a natural ampitheater formed by erosion of the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southwest Utah. The rock formations left by this erosion, called "hoodoos", are unusual and very beautiful. We took several hikes in the park, one that follows the rim, and two (the Navajo and Peekaboo Loop trails) that go down into Bryce Ampitheater. We also visited nearby Kodachrome State Park, which features cliffs colored brilliant red contrasted with grey, and chimmney-like formations called sand pipes.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, in the southwest corner of Utah, features towering multicolored and textured sandstone cliffs. We spent most of our time in and around Zion Canyon, formed by the North Fork of the Virgin River, and located in the middle of the southern half of the park. We hiked two trails that started in the canyon. The first lead to a series of small pools, called "Emerald Pools", that are fed by water flowing in canyons north and west of Zion Canyon. The second trail took us part way up the cliffs to a narrow side canyon, called "Hidden Canyon". We also hiked one trail from the eastern border of the park to Observation Point, overlooking Zion Canyon. Finally, we spent one day in the northwest section (Kolob Canyons) of the park, in which we hiked up Taylor Creek to a huge grotto and blind arch carved into the cliffs.