What outdoor lover doesn’t have a trip to the Utah national parks on his or her bucket list? Everyone has seen the iconic photos of Delicate Arch, Bryce Canyon, and the Virgin River in Zion, but planning such a trip can be daunting! Many people try to see all five national parks in a week, which means too much driving and not enough time to do the premier hikes in the parks.
A pretty amazing thing happens when you Google “National Parks.” Right at the top of the page appears a series of thumbnail images: A bison on the edge of a steaming mineral pool represents Yellowstone; a dome-shaped rock colossus thrusting up into a dark blue sky represents Yosemite; twin waterfalls plunging from red, rocky cliffs into a green grove of vegetation represents Grand Canyon. They’re all there, identified almost instantly with the slimmest of information – a tiny thumbnail image.
Utah is home to five spectacular national parks that offer visitors to the southern part of the state impressive views of red sandstone cliffs, arches that are perfectly placed for catching a sunset, glimpses into the past through ancient petroglyphs, and more adventure than one could ever imagine.
Every great nation has endowed the international community with a new idea, a piece of greatness that enriches the cultural legacy of our collective histories, and the United States is certainly responsible for many—representative democracy and the balance of powers, the power of flight, central air conditioning and the Shamwow. The list is long.
Utah's five national parks are a wonderland for landscape photographers. A person could spend a lifetime bouncing around from park to park and season to season and still find unusual and fascinating subjects to capture. The fascinating and unusual geologic history of this state has created formations that simultaneously boggle the mind and fire the imagination. Dramatic weather systems move through with authority and completely transform a scene.
The National Parks Service was created by Congress on August 25, 1916, 44 years after Ulysses S. Grant signed the law making Yellowstone America's first national park. Part of the Department of the Interior, the mandate of the National Parks Service is to protect areas under management while facilitating public experiences of these areas, a balancing act indeed.
Southern Utah has a truly incredible concentration of national and state parks, monuments and forests all within a relatively small area. Mile for mile this area can match any scenic stretch in the country. It's never too soon to start planning an epic road trip, and for this one you can get a lot done in less than a week. The best part is that you won't be spending most of your time on the road because the average drive between each park is less than two hours long.
Once you've visited our national parks in the winter months, you may never go back to the more crowded summer explorations. Though access to certain areas may be limited and you may need to plan differently, wintertime in the parks offers a completely different and often more tranquil experience. Congested roadways give way to cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, rocky mountain faces become a backcountry skier's paradise, a cool blanket of snow gives the already beautiful landscapes a soft, fresh feeling.