Lay of the Land
“This grand show is eternal…Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”~John Muir, 1938
There are several ways to tackle the greater Four Corners region in the American West, chockfull of national parks, monuments and natural splendor, and all involve a good car rental, at least a week of vacation and a keen sense of editing the sights. It’s impossible to see everything, so try to select two or three experiences and do them properly.
Utah has five of the country’s most famous National Parks, including Arches, Bryce and Zion. It is also the country’s thirteenth-largest state, so driving distances are significant. Depending on what your itinerary entails, you can fly into Las Vegas, Salt Lake City or Denver (Moab, which is where Arches and Canyonlands are located, is close to the Colorado state line).
Utah’s glorious landscapes easily offer enough activities to fill weeks worth of exploration, but a trip here can also be easily combined with visits to the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Arizona’s Red Rock area around Sedona.
The accommodations in the national parks are often booked up to one year in advance. If you can get a room at Zion or Bryce, book it and know that these are not five-star accommodations but that the point of staying here is waking up within the confines of these gorgeous parks.
- Salt Lake City to Moab: 3h45min
- Denver to Moab: 5h30min
- Moab to Capitol Reef: 2h30min
- Moab to Bryce Canyon: 4 hours
- Moab to Zion: 5 hours
- Las Vegas to Zion: 2h30min
- Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon: 4h
- Bryce Canyon to Zion: 1h20min
- Bryce Canyon to Lake Powell: 2h30min
- Bryce Canyon to Grand Canyon (North Rim): 3 hours
- Bryce Canyon to Grand Canyon (south Rim): 4h30min