2 WEEK ITINERARY: GRAND CANYON & UTAH’S MIGHTY FIVE

In the summer heat of July, my family decided to go on a vacation out west. My Dad had been dreaming of this for a long time, and he wanted to mix in overnight camping/backpacking with staying in hotels. We flew out, rented a car, and explored the wild west!

This is our 2 week itinerary. It includes details on what we did each day, and where we stayed. It required a lot of driving, but it is all incredibly scenic- and we were able to see all of Utah’s MIGHTY FIVE!



Day 1: PHOENIX, ARIZONA

  • Fly into PhoenixDinner at Four Peaks Brewery
  • Drive 3.5 hours to town of Tusayan (Gateway to Grand Canyon National Park).
Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Trail

Lodging/Overnight: Grand Hotel Tusayan



Day 2:  GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

  • 5 minute drive from Tusayan to entrance of Grand Canyon National Park
  • Hike “Bright Angel” trail halfway down, then hike back up.
    • Be sure to go early, because it is VERY hot.
    • Be on the lookout for rattlesnakes, especially if you plan to sit on a rock!

Lodging/Overnight: Grand Hotel Tusayan



Day 3: GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK ⇒ ZION NATIONAL PARK

  • Breakfast at local treat, R.P.’s Stage Shop
  • Stop at many of the scenic overlooks near the park

  • Drive 5 hours to town of Springdale, Utah: Swim in hotel pool, explore town

Lodging/Overnight: La Quinta Inn: Springdale



Day 4: ZION NATIONAL PARK

  • Go in to town, and get rental items for hiking the watery trail of “The Narrows”
  • Drive five minutes to entrance of Zion National Park
  • Begin to hike “The Narrows”- a famous and stunning hike through a slot canyon
    • A thunderstorm begins halfway through the hike, so we ladies turn back. My Dad and husband keep going, and we are anxiously waiting and worrying. The park closes the trail due to a flash flood hazard, but they  make it back safe. Don’t be like them!!
    • The trail is, of course, very slippery. Make sure you are wearing sturdy walking sandals, and I recommend a hiking stick for balance too.
  • Dinner in town : Wildcat Willie’s

Lodging/Overnight: Public Campsite: The Watchman Campground



Day 5: ZION NATIONAL PARK

  • My dad, sister, & husband hiked the strenuous but beautiful ANGEL’S LANDING trail (5 miles).
    • It is steep, and narrow- some parts have a chain railing to help you keep balance. Start early in the day, bring lots of water, and don’t do it if you’re scared of heights!
Angel’s Landing Trail
The Watchman at Zion
  • Next, we took a scenic drive to stop at various overlooks. We climbed the abstract rock formations all around the park area, including Checkerboard Mesa. We also saw several bighorn sheep!

Lodging/Overnight: Public Campsite: The Watchman Campground



Day 6: ZION NATIONAL PARK ⇒ PANGUITCH, UTAH

Lodging/Overnight: Marianna Inn



Day 7: BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK

Lodging/Overnight: Iron Springs Campsite



Day 8: BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK

  • Hike 4 miles uphill to get back to our car from Iron Springs (fun!)
  • Stop at various overlooks of the hoodoos, including Sunset Point

Lodging/Overnight: Campsite at the Park: North Camp



Day 9: BRYCE CANYON ⇒ CAPITOL REEF

  • Drive 2 hours to Torrey, Utah: Home of Capitol Reef National Park
  • Explore town, drive around the park, and get stuck in a bad storm!
    • Road floods due to flash flooding! See several “pop-up waterfalls”

Lodging/Overnight: Rim Rock Inn



Day 10: CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK

Lodging/Overnight: Rim Rock Inn



Day 11: CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK ⇒ MOAB, UTAH

  • Hike the “Sulphur Creek” trail with my Dad and husband (5.5 mile, 1 way hike)
    • The hike has several deep water areas, which we weren’t expecting.
    • The hike also has a few steep waterfall drops, with no other way down than to jump them. I hate heights, so this is scary for me!!
    • During our hike, it begins to thunderstorm, and I’m terrified there will be a flash flood in the narrow canyon. Note the warning on the website (that my family apparently ignored). Overall, this is a horrible experience for me because of the weather!
  • Visit the Gifford Homestead
    • Eat pie at the historic cabin, and see lots of deer and turkey near the barn!
    • Storm worsens, and we experience marble-sized hail

Fremont Petroglyphs- carved circa 600AD
  • Drive 3 hours to the town of Moab, Utah

Lodging/Overnight: VRBO House Rental: Rim Village Condo



Day 12: ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

  • Late evening hike uphill to see Delicate Arch at sunset (3 mile trail going up 480 feet)
    • Hiking back down in the dark was a bit scary, so bring a flashlight!

Lodging/Overnight: VRBO House Rental: Rim Village Condo



Day 13: ARCHES NATIONAL PARK ⇒ CANYONLANDS

  • Stop at the Canyon Voyages Office Moab to rent kayaks for the day
  • Kayak down the Colorado River (13 miles)
    • We experienced some whitewater, but nothing major, and no crowds at all
    • At the end, when you have to bring your boats to share, the current pulled our kayak downriver. It was a big fiasco trying to chase it down!

Lodging/Overnight: VRBO House Rental: Rim Village Condo



Day 14: MOAB, UTAH ⇒ SALT LAKE CITY


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10 Comments

  • Reply Brooke Eliason January 30, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Amazing post! Thanks for the link back- looking forward to seeing more of these places in 2017!

  • Reply Gokul Raj March 5, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Another Iconic landscape…..would love to visit the canyons one day.

  • Reply Punita March 6, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Each of them is fascinating in its own unique way. Difficult to decide which to skip. It great that you covered them all in a 2 week trip.

  • Reply TravellingDany March 6, 2017 at 3:25 am

    We love the Grand Canyon! Last time we’ve been lodging in one of the Xanterra facilities and it was much better, because we were also able to experience Sunset and Sunrise without having to wake up at an ungodly hour!! 😀

  • Reply Clare March 6, 2017 at 5:35 am

    I did most of this trip about 18 months ago, it is such a beautiful area. I loved Zion its a beautiful park but I didn’t get a chance to hike the narrows as flash floods were forecast and 6 hikers were actually killed the day I was there (in another part of the park). Bryce I hiked down into the canyon even though it was raining, it was beautiful. Arches was one of my favourite parks, I did most of the hikes. Canyonlands too was beautiful and so was the Grand Canyon, though sunset was a little disappointing. I also made it over to Death Valley on this trip too.

  • Reply Angela @ Dang Travelers March 6, 2017 at 8:20 am

    YES!! This is a road trip to be reckoned with! We spent all of last summer visiting 13 national parks across the U.S. and in Canada. We hit a few of these and will going back this fall to hit the rest. Perfect itinerary for those planning to be in the area for only a few weeks.

  • Reply Corinne March 6, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I absolutely loved this post. I think Utah is one of our prettiest states, and you guys did it up right! I want to go!

  • Reply Paul March 6, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Great post! Your pictures are amazing, makes us really want to visit and explore the Grand Canyon and the national parks! Your trip there looked epic I’m so jealous!

  • Reply stacey veikalas March 6, 2017 at 11:21 am

    WOWOW super itinerary and the sights are fantastic ! It looks like an epic trip and gorgeous! I love Petroglyphs so that would have been my highlight !

  • Reply Viki March 6, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    The pictures of the snake convinced me not to go! haha I’m super scared of them and I usually just freeze and it takes a while until I restore my normal operating mode.
    If I get over it, Angel’s Landing will be my trail to hike!

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