If you’re thinking of taking a road-trip, maybe traveling through Utah and Arizona, many beautiful vistas await. Driving through those two states, and the Indiana Reservation lands amongst them was one of my favorite trips, because it is simply so scenic, with so many long drives in-between places.
If you rent a car and travel to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon is only an hour and a half drive away, and it is easy to stay in one place and explore the different regions nearby, or go on the Grand Circle, where many National Parks can be visited in one week or two, if you want more time to explore, although that it up to you. No matter what you do, wherever you go, there exist so many vast and sweeping scenic landscapes full of natural beauty, everywhere.
Traveling through the Canyon Lands of the Southwest is one of the most beautiful drives you will ever do, because of the long distances and vast landscapes of plateaus.
Below, there are Five of the Most Beautiful Places in Utah and Arizona to explore:
- Bryce Canyon National Park
The colorful plateau of orange and white sparkling hoodoos, mixed with some pine trees, makes Bryce Canyon number one on my list. Since I’ve been to all these places I’m recommending, I can tell you Bryce Canyon is by far my favorite, simply for the sheer stunning beauty and the joy of seeing so many different colors in the light during sunrise, sunset, and throughout the day, when the light hitting the rocks makes them sparkle.
For a good hike, the Navajo and Queen’s Garden trail leads you around the canyon and the pine forests, and takes about an hour to two hours to complete (2.75 miles).
The scenic drive is worth it, with multiple different stopping points along the way. The Bristlecone Pine Trail loop (1.0 mile) at the end leads to multiple scenic views, and is not very strenuous.
2. Zion National Park
The land of the giants. Zion has a quietness to it, which one still can experience despite when it is full of tourists, aged as it is by time,
eroded by the Virgin River. In snow, the cliffs look even more majestic.
Good hikes: I recommend the Upper, Lower, and Middle Emerald Pools trails, as they are easy (the Lower Emerald Pool Trail is paved), and very beautiful, leading through a grove of trees on a mostly level path, with views of the tall monolithic cliffs all around. For a longer hike, loop around on the Middle Emerald Pool trail to the Grotto, starting and ending at the Lodge in a circle (roughly 3.5 miles hike in total).
3. Buckskin Gultch, Starting from the Wirepass Hiking Trail, in Paria Canyon
A slot canyon in Paria Canyon that leads 13 miles in length all the way to the Colorado River, you can stop wherever you want and double back, following a 1 mile river wash to the slot canyon itself. I highly recommend starting this hike in the early day time, as the light shining through the slot canyon gets stronger, waning in the evening, and you can go a longer distance by starting earlier, or simply seeing the sunlight rays hitting the canyon when the sun is out.
The views are breathtaking with some of the prettiest coral colors I have seen, and is truly a magical place, one of the most beautiful that I’ve seen.
4. Kodachrome Basin State Park
I loved hiking the Angel’s Palace Trail in Kodachrome State Park. A 1.6 mile loop winding through rock formations and hoodoos, it looks you have landed in a different country. The varied geological features is one of the most amazing things about Utah, and one not to be missed! Besides, Bryce Canyon is only a 15 – 20 minute drive away on the Scenic Highway 12.
5. Horseshoe Bend
A little ways away from Utah, where I stayed in Kanab, lies Page, where the slot canyons are famous world round. The Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River is also a high-class attraction, with plenty of sights, depth, and tourists. Be careful, there is a 1,000 drop off the cliffs to the water below, and don’t be afraid to linger.
The sunset here was one of the most lovely experiences I’ve seen, making my trip to Utah and Arizona of my most favorite travel experiences ever.
Photo by: Kumar Nishant
The sheer beauty and varied colors in the rocks, as well as the surprisingly beautiful pine forests in the Kaibab National Forest, make driving through the Indian reservation lands a sacred, spiritual, and beautiful experience. These five must-sees are a worthwhile part of your trip to Utah and Arizon, America’s southwest. It is a place that can only be explored by driving long distances, but that’s part of the experience, and some of the drives are so scenic.