Two Week Utah Itinerary – The National Parks and more

If you have 10 to 14 days to explore Utah, you’re in the right place! In this two week Utah itinerary you’ll find a route that allows you to see as much of Utah as possible. This itinerary includes travel time, suggested accommodations, and where to dine.

Sightseeing and hiking suggestions are also offered for each stop. If you’re looking for more options or in-depth descriptions, check out each National Parks Post linked throughout the article. Let’s get planning!

Utah National Parks Road Trip

Day 1: Salt Lake CityDay 8: Grand Staircase
Day 2: MoabDay 9: Bryce Canyon
Day 3: CanyonlandsDay 10: Bryce Canyon
Day 4: CanyonlandsDay 11: Zion
Day 5: ArchesDay 12: Zion
Day 6: Capitol ReefDay 13: Zion
Day 7: Capitol ReefDay 14: Salt Lake City

DAY 1 : Salt Lake City, Utah and Lake Blanche Trail Head

After landing, or driving into, in Salt Lake City, pick up your rent-a-car so the two-week Utah itinerary fun can begin. Stock up on whatever food and gear you might need at REI and then head to the Lake Blanche Trail head.

From here you have two choices:


1. Pack your bags for an overnight trip and hike the 3 and a half steep, completely uphill miles to Lake Blanche where you will camp for the night. Find a great campsite, enjoy the sunset, and hang out on the rocks but keep your distance from grazing moose in the Twin Peak Wilderness! You’ll likely find them in the meadow to feed at dusk, we were lucky enough to spot two large bull moose from a safe distance. Please Leave No Trace by camping on durable surfaces and carrying out everything you carry in!

2. Complete Lake Blanche as a day hike to experience the Utah Alpine landscape before traveling into the desert for the next 10-14 days. Return to your car after taking in the beautiful views and head off to a nearby campsite or hotel to retire for the evening.

DAY 2: Salt Lake City to Moab

Did you camp? Wake up, enjoy breakfast in an alpine paradise, and hike back down to the car. Enjoy the trail on the descent, it’s truly beautiful, but a tad difficult to appreciate when you’re struggling up it. Although there is no swimming in Lake Blanche, Big Cottonwood Creek at the parking lot makes for a great place to wash off before climbing in the car for the 4 hour (237 Miles) drive to Moab.

Where Should I Eat in Moab?

Breakfast: Sweet Cravings Bakery and Bistro and Wake Bake Cafe

Dinner: Milt’s Stop & Eat, Sunset Grill

Where Should I Stay in Moab?

The Lazy Lizard Hostel in Moab is an amazing budget option that includes running water, air conditioning, and good company! With the ability to utilize the kitchen, the amount of money you will spend on meals will decrease as well. We paid $46 a night for a private cabin. Splitting the cost among the three of us made it dirt cheap and well worth it.

If air conditioning and four walls aren’t a necessity for you, Canyonlands and Arches each host Campgrounds that can be reserved in advance at Recreation.gov.

As always, BLM land in the Moab area is available for primitive camping options. It is free and provides perfect solitude from the summer crowds of Moab.

There are a variety of hotels in Moab as well for those who prefer all the amenities. This two-week Utah Itinerary will include hotel suggestions based mostly off of research; to keep on our budget we camped for about 12 days of our 17-day stay.

DAY 3: Canyonlands National Park: The Needles District

One hour and twenty-five minutes from Moab you will find the visitors center for The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

Along the way you will drive right by the Wilson Arch to the East of Highway 191; take a stop on your way back and climb on up. Although it is simply a drive-by attraction 24 miles south of the Town of Moab, this impressive arch will definitely wow you.

Top 3 Hikes in Canyonlands Needles District

  • Cave Springs
  • Pothole Point
  • Druid Arch

The Needles District is more primitive in nature and a great place for an overnight backpacking trip or a long day hike. I suggest Cave Springs and Pothole Point for a short and sweet day hike due to their simplicity and unique landscapes; if you’re looking for a more difficult hike, Druid Arch or Peekaboo Springs are at the top of my list!

Check out our Best Hikes in Canyonlands Post for a full list of The Needles District’s top trails.

girls looks out over canyon in Canyonlands National Park

DAY 4: Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky

A mere half-hour from Moab and full of amazing hiking opportunities, Island in the Sky is certainly the busiest of Canyonland’s three districts. Arrive early in the morning, preferably before sunrise, to have the famous Mesa Arch to yourself. After welcoming the sun embark on further adventures within the park to complete your day.

Canyonlands National Park Mesa Arch View

Top 3 Trails of Island in the Sky, Canyonlands

  • Mesa Arch
  • Aztec Butte
  • Upheaval Dome

Upheaval Dome, White Rim Overlook, and Aztec Butte are all great moderate level hikes for you to move onto after Mesa Arch.

If you’re feeling full of energy and ready for a challenge, complete all three before hiking out to Murphy’s Point for a gorgeous sunset. Don’t forget your headlamp, a sunset worthy snack, and be sure to look out for low flying bats. We were able to complete all of these hikes without arriving at Mesa Arch until about 9:30 AM!

For a detailed list of Island in the Sky’s best hikes, check out our full Canyonlands National Park Post!

  • CHECKING OUT THE ANCIENT GRANERIES
  • A GIRL SITTING ON THE EDGE OF A CLIFF AT UPHEAVAL DOME, CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
  • TWO GIRLS WITH BRAIDS ENJOY WHITE RIM OVERLOOK IN CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
  • MURPHY'S POINT FOR A SMOKEY SUNSET

DAY 5: Arches National Park

The best part of Arches National Park is that it is right outside of Moab and only one, 18-mile road long. Another early start can bring you a full day of amazing hikes. Definitely stop at the visitor center in Arches; it has so much information on the geology of the park!

looking towards landscape arch in arches national  park
LANDSCAPE ARCH

Top 3 Hikes in Arches National Park

  • Delicate Arch
  • Devil’s Garden
  • Double Arch

For a full list of Arches hikes read our Full Trail Guide for more information.

There are so many amazing arch-focused hikes in Arches National Park. We started our day in the park with Devil’s Garden, taking the primitive trail around and through to hit all of the beautiful arches along the way.

From here, we mosied around and checked out Double Arch, North and South Window, and balanced rock. Heading to Delicate Arch for sunset is a great way to end your day.

girls with braids and a bucket hat looking towards double arch

If you have already been to Arches National Park and want a completely unique and thrilling experience, reserve a Fiery Furnace Tour. These typically run from Spring through Fall and sell out quickly!

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DAY 6: Moab to Capitol Reef National Park

Wake up in Moab, grab breakfast, and take the drive to Capitol Reef. After driving through what seems like the driest terrain in all of southern Utah, you’ll drive into the Waterpocket Fold. In this space along the Fremont River, you will find the juiciest U-pick Orchards and lucious foliage river-side foliage.

As you drive through, stop and hike Hickman Bridge. At just under 2 miles this popular trail brings you to a 133-foot natural bridge with stunning canyon views. After your hike, settle into your new digs and grab dinner just outside the West Entrance in Torrey.

Where Should I Eat Near Capitol Reef National Park?

Breakfast: Castlerock Coffee, Austin’s Chuckwagon Deli

Dinner: Cafe Diablo, Torrey Grill and BBQ, The Rim Rock Restaurant

Where to Stay In Capitol Reef?

The town of Torrey is just west of the Capitol Reef Park Entrance. The Capitol Reef Resort, The Torrey Schoolhouse B&B (which is open seasonally from April through October), and the Broken Spur Inn all 4+ star hotel options.

There are a number of RV Parks and campgrounds within 15 minutes from the park’s Western entrance. Read the full article to choose the RV park or campground that suits all of your needs! Whether you’re looking for free, dispersed camping or an RV resort with all of the best amenities, we have you covered.


If you’re looking to stay inside the park, Fruita Campground is a very family-friendly option which you can book through Recreation.gov. If free, dispersed camping is more your style, check out the BLM land that runs along the East entrance to the park down Notom-Bullfrog Road. Free, dispersed camping is definitely the most budget-friendly option for executing your two-week Utah itinerary.

DAY 7: Things To Do in Capitol Reef National Park

There is so much to do in Capitol Reef! Miles of hiking trails, an scenic drive, U-pick fruit orchards, and pastries – yeah, I said pastries and I meant it – can be found within the National Park’s boarders.

Make a day out exploring Capitol Reef from the car, or tack these sights onto your morning of hiking. You don’t want to miss the seasonal fruit from the U-PICK orchards within the park; there is nothing more refreshing after a long, hot hike.

Enjoy ranger-led programs regarding the history of the Capitol Reef Area and pastries from the 1908 Gifford Homestead. Let out your inner child at the Ripple Rock Nature Center, and be sure to embark on the 8-mile scenic drive. For a small fee enjoy stunning views and dirt spur roads that lead to Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge.

VIEW FROM NAVAJO KNOB

Hike Capitol Reef

Choose from this list of the most popular hikes in the park.

  • Hickman Bridge Trail
  • Grand Wash Trail
  • Cassidy Arch Trail

The full Capitol Reef Post includes 10 amazing hikes inside the park.

DAY 8: Capitol Reef to Grand Staircase Escalante

Remove this stop if you have less than 14 days to complete this itinerary!
You will drive straight through from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon to save time.

Pack up camp and head South to Lower Calf Creek Falls Campground in Grand Staircase Escalante. Stop at Larb Hollow Overlook for a quick break from the desert sand and a beautiful, mountain view! This quick pull off would be a great spot for sunrise. This is a super scenic drive with quite a few pull-off opportunities and I suggest taking them all!

The trail leaves from the campground and is an absolutely beautiful route with a stunning ending. Take a pamphlet and enjoy an education along the way before meeting the 126-foot cascading waterfall, which is only the lower portion of a larger 214-footfalls. It is the perfect spot for lunch after cooling off with a swim. Be sure to bring your camera because you won’t want to forget this view!


Enjoy your views on route 12. This scenic byway shares astounding beauty. Do your best to reach Grand Staircase by noon and snag a campsite at Lower Calf  Creek Falls Campground; after setting up camp, take a 5.5-mile round trip hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls.

DAY 9: Grand Staircase Escalante to Bryce Canyon National Park

Grand Staircase has so many wonderful hiking opportunities that it wouldn’t be a poor choice to stay and play a day longer! However, if you’re looking to spend a couple of days in Bryce and Zion, you should head that way today. Or, if you would rather spend an extra day in Bryce or Zion, drive right through Escalante on Day 8. This will tack on an extra day in either park.

Upon your arrival to Bryce, check in to your new digs and head out to do some sightseeing!  Learn about the eroding plateau that makes up Bryce Canyon National Park at the visitor center before venturing out to see the magic. Enjoy your scenic drive and stop at all the overlooks along the way; notice trailhead parking to be prepared for the next day’s hikes!

Where Should I Eat In Bryce Canyon?

Breakfast: Bryce Canyon Coffee Company

Dinner: Valhalla Pizza (inside the park), IDK Barbeque


Where Should I Stay Near Bryce Canyon?

Bryce Canyon Inn, Stone Canyon Inn, Bryce Canyon Country Cabins, North Campground in Bryce Canyon National Park  

NORTH CAMPGROUND, BRYCE CANYON

Day 10: Hike Bryce Canyon National Park

Wake up early and catch the sunrise at Rainbow Point! After sunrise, head to your desired trailhead to really experience Bryce Canyon.

Top Bryce Canyon Hikes

  • Queens and Navajo Loop
  • Rim Trail
  • Fairyland Loop

Our Ultimate Guide for Visiting Bryce Canyon highlights all of the hikes in the park!

GREGORY PACK AND BUCKET HATS AMONGST HOODOOS
Bryce Canyon National Park

For one day in the park we highly suggest the Queens and Navajo Loop. Both allow you to ‘Hike the Hoodoo’s’ by bringing you down among the orange spires of the plateau.

Participate in the Hike The HooDoos Challenge by taking your photo with three different benchmarks found throughout the park. Claim your prize at the visitor center but don’t forget to bring your proof, the Rangers will ask for it!

Enjoy the view from your campsite and stargaze through the night.
The night sky is one of the most beautiful parts of Bryce Canyon National Park!

DAY 11: Bryce Canyon National Park to Zion National Park


Take the trek to Zion early if you’re hoping to secure a first come first serve campsite! We arrived around 10:30 AM on a summer week day and we were able to snag the last of two left.

Create as much shade as possible before heading out for a late afternoon hike; we decided to explore the Canyon Overlook Trail on our first day in Zion to see what Zion was all about!

Girl sits on edge on Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion
CANYON OVERLOOK TRAIL

Head over to the visitor center to check the upcoming days’ forecast if you’re interested in hiking the Narrows; there will also be a list of trail closures and a plethora of the best resources out there – park rangers!

Where do I Eat Near Zion?

Breakfast: Cafe Soleil, Deep Creek Coffee Company

Dinner: Oscars, Bit & Spur, Spotted Dog Cafe

Dessert: Stop by the Bumbleberry Gift Shop for their Bumbleberry Pie & ice cream selection.


Where Should I Stay to See Zion National Park?

Under Canvas Zion (NOT IN THE CANYON), Majestic View Lodge, South Campground or Watchman Campground

DAY 12: Zion National Park

Wake up early and catch the first shuttle to Weeping Rock (stop 7) and start the long trek up to Observation Point. Sitting at a higher elevation than angels landing, this viewpoint provides an amazing perspective of Zion Canyon. On your hike you will pass the turnoffs for Weeping Rock and Hidden Canyon; be sure to hit these on your way back to the shuttle to check off everything at top 7! Hidden Canyon is an exciting little side trip that feels like a true adventure!

OBSERVATION POINT LOOKING DOWN ON ANGELS LANDING

Upon returning to your hotel or campsite, go for a swim (Virgin River or Pool) to cool off and relax, before returning to the park for a sunset hike. Hike the Watchman trail for a fun, 3-mile round trip, trail for a rewarding sunset of pastel hues cast upon red rock. Don’t forget to pack snacks/dinner and a headlamp! If night hiking is your ‘thing’, hang out up on the edge of Watchman’s Bench for some Zion stargazing.


GIRL WITH BRAID LOOKING DOWN ZION CANYON
THE WATCHMAN TRAIL

DAY 13: Zion National Park

If weather permits, hop on the first shuttle to Riverside Walk (Stop 9) to hike The Narrows today. Be sure you have the appropriate equipment; renting boots and a walking stick from Zion Outfitters was a great choice personally but others might not need any equipment or may need more.

Hike out to Big Springs and enjoy the lush greenery and water that falls from the canyon walls. On your return be sure to adventure as far down Orderville Canyon as you’re capable and enjoy an adventure free of many other hikers.

BEAUTIFUL WATERFALLS POURING OUT OF THE ZION CANYON WALLS AT BIG SPRINGS
BIG SPRINGS, THE NARROWS TRAIL, ZION


If you have been to Zion before and have already enjoyed The Narrows, I would suggest looking into a permit for The Subway! The much more remote and technical version of the Zion Narrows. For both of these hikes, you must pay close attention to the weather forecast. Flash flooding in slot canyons is lethal.

There are tons of hikes inside and outside of the canyon to look into if you plan on spending more time here at Zion. Take a look at our Incredible Hikes in Zion post!

DAY 14: Zion National Park to Salt Lake City

While on our adventure, we purchased quite a few souvenirs for family and friends as well as our own mementos to remember a place by. On our way out of Springdale we stopped at the post office and filled up two flat rate boxes with all of the books, patches, t-shirts, artifacts, etc. we had since we travel light!

Aside from our duffel full of camping gear for two we each brought our Gregory Day packs and a small suitcase with our clothes for two weeks. Stopping to ship home the good stuff helped lighten our load and prevented us from going over the weight limit for checked luggage.

map, patch, sticker, suivineers

Break the drive from Zion to Salt Lake City up with a stop at Cedar Breaks National Monument if you have time; it’s about 40 extra minutes of driving but worth the adventure. Sitting at 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks supplies tons of family fun in the form of campgrounds, viewpoints, hiking trails, seasonal mountain biking and/or skiing/snowboarding.

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Utah Road Trip From Las Vegas

Change your starting point around and begin in Las Vegas. You can complete the trip in a reverse loop if you’ll be traveling from Nevada or Arizona. No matter where you begin, you’ll experience dramatic landscapes and unique rock formations.

If you’re exploring Utah’s Mighty 5 from Las Vegas, I would suggest leaving out Lake Blanche and Salt Lake City. Instead, visit Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada prior to, or after, visiting Zion National Park.

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RENT-A-CAR, GRAB A MAP, TAKE AN ADVENTURE!

Published by Kaitlyn Fortier

Hello everybody! My name is Kaitlyn Fortier. I'm a Middle School Teacher and 3-season Athletics coach in Central New York. I utilize this platform to share actionable tips, 'best-of' lists, and budget-friendly travel guides for explorers of all travel interests.

14 thoughts on “Two Week Utah Itinerary – The National Parks and more

  1. Can’t stop looking at all of these beautiful landscapes! Looks like an amazing adventure!

  2. Utah definitely brings back some memories, however, I only really explored SLC because I used to go there with my mom every year. Not anymore though, but I still really liked the city! It seems like I have so much more to explore OUT of the city though !!

  3. Road trips like these, exploratory, are my favorites. I have traveled to many places but never to Utah!

  4. this looks amazing and totally do-able! we are trying to plan a covid vacation in may and have been thinking about Utah and its magical parks. you certainly packed a bunch in this trip, would you still advise the same given the times in 2021?

    1. Absolutely! The beauty of a national parks road trip is that it’s largely outside… which makes social distancing a lot easier. If you plan on camping as well, that really limits the amount of times you’ll need to be inside/interacting with other people – it’s an unforgettable trips. That’s for sure!

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