5 Days/4 Nights
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City
See what southern Utah is all about as we travel through “Canyon Country” and work our way up the Colorado Plateau to some of the most incredible sights in the American Southwest. One iconic site after another, this tour will provide an unforgettable experience to see all 5 of Utah’s National Parks including Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef, plus additional State Parks as a bonus!
Today, we’ll depart from Salt Lake City and drive through the beautiful Wasatch mountains en route to incredible canyons of southern Utah. First up for the five National Parks is Canyonlands, known for being rough, rugged, and desolate…but with much beauty to behold! We will explore the district called Island In The Sky where we’ll hike to some outstanding viewpoints and see an iconic natural arch.
Additionally, we will stop at Dead Horse Point State Park for one of the most awe-inspiring views of the mighty Colorado River. This amazing place has been featured in many movies and television shows ranging from “Thelma & Louise” to HBO’s recent series “Westworld”.
This evening we will set up camp just outside of the town of Moab. Your guides will provide you with all the camping gear necessary, provide a detailed tutorial on how to set up tents, then let you get settled in as they cook up a hot meal. This night we’ll relax by the fire and enjoy the dark southern Utah night sky.
Driving time: 4 Hours
Hiking: 3+ miles – Minimal elevation gain
Accommodation: Kane Creek Campground or similar
Wake up to breakfast provided by your guides (including lots of coffee!). Today we’ll be exploring one of the greatest collections of natural arches on the planet at Arches National Park! We will depart early to view the Windows, Double Arch, and hike 3-miles round-trip to one of the most famous features in the entire southwest, Delicate Arch.
“A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us—like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness—that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours” – Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
After some additional active options in Arches National Park, we make a trip to their visitor center before returning to Moab for a couple hours of down time at our campsite. Depending on group preference, some additional options this afternoon may include a visit to Castle Creek Winery for some wine tasting or a stop at the Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage. This evening, we will have a group dinner in the town of Moab.
Driving time: Local
Hiking: 3-5 miles – 700+ feet elevation gain
Accommodation: Kane Creek Campground or similar
Departing from Moab, we drive 2 hours to our first adventure for the day at Goblin Valley State Park. This place is out of this world! It is hard to envision a more “alien-like” landscape than what you’ll see here. Small hoodoos, locally known as goblins, fill a former tidal plain and make for one of the most unique destinations in the American Southwest.
After Goblin valley, we’ll enjoy one of America’s most scenic drives as we explore Capital Reef National Park for a possible hike to view a famous Natural Bridge. Capitol Reef National Park includes 241,904 acres of amazing red rock formations, cliffs, canyons and natural bridges. It is Utah’s wilderness at its best. Capital Reef is also the least visited of Utah’s National Parks, so it’s definitely worth checking out!
This evening we will spend near Bryce Canyon.
Driving time: 5 Hours
Hiking: 2-3 miles – 400+ feet elevation gain
Accommodation: Rubys Campground just outside of Bryce Canyon
This morning we will enter Bryce Canyon National Park just in time to capture the sun rising over a collection of sandstone spires called “hoodoos”. Explore several viewpoints before we descend into the Bryce Amphitheatre on “The world’s best 3-mile hike”. This trail is rated as moderate and is a wonderful way to view a variety of geology, flora, & fauna.
Tonight we head closer to Zion and set up camp under Ponderosa pines. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the campground amenities including a swimming pool and recreation barn, then enjoy a fresh dinner prepared by your guides.
Driving time: 2 Hours
Hiking: 3-4 miles – 600+ feet elevation gain
Accommodation: Zion Ponderosa just outside of Zion
Today we explore our 5th National Park in 5 days at Zion National Park! Marvel at the giant red cliffs that rise over 2,000 feet above the blue-green waters of the Virgin River. We’ll spend the day exploring much of what this park has to offer before making our return trip to Salt Lake City.
Our activity today will likely include an adventure down the world-famous Narrows where you’ll experience hiking knee-deep in cool, rushing water as towering cliffs rise up on both sides. This trail begins on a paved path that follows the Virgin River for approximately 1 mile and provides a great opportunity to spot Mule Deer before we enter the river section for the rest of the hike.
*Due to many natural variables in the outdoors, we take what mother nature provides for us when deciding on which hike we will do. Other amazing options may include an adventure to the Upper Emerald Pools or similar.
After several hours of optional hiking and exploring, we depart from Zion National Park and begin our return 4.5-hour drive to Salt Lake City.
Driving time: 5 Hours
Hiking: 3-6 miles – minimal elevation gain
Return to Salt Lake City: We plan to return to SLC by approximately 7:00pm. If you plan to depart from Salt Lake International Airport after the trip, be sure you do not book a flight prior to 10:00pm or 22:00 due to various circumstances out of our control.
Check out a more in-depth list of what to bring here.
MountainBased has expanded to these two great parks. I went on the Utah 5 with them two years ago and couldn’t wait to join them again! So much fun! Justin... read more and Eric created the greatest trip. Hiking to Mount Washburn. Rafting the Snake River. S’mores...More
My daughter and I recently did the Utah Mighty 5 | 5-Day Camping Trip. MountainBased, as well as both of our guides, exhibited top notch excellence! The planning... read more and design of our trip was super, and our knowledgable guides ensured that every moment of the...More
I can’t say enough great things about this experience! This amazing hiking/camping trip through Bryce and Zion was led by brothers Jared & James and boy, do they have... read more it all well organized and exceptionally executed. They are both so nice and easy going, yet so knowledgeable about the parks, hikes and surroundings that you have an amazing experience in every way. Great camping sites and they take care of everything!
I’m a recreational hiker (at best) and not a camper but wanted to go with a group to experience these beautiful locations. I didn’t want a “drive by” park experience where you are just on and off a bus. We spent significant time on the best hikes in both parks so you really get a true sense of the diverse beauty they each have. This trip surpassed my expectations and the best part was I didn’t have to plan anything! MountainBased did it all and well enough to please me, a very particular person. Thanks guys for an amazing trip! Highly recommend to anyone looking for a great way to see the beauty of America’s national parks. More
Based on other 5 star reviews, I chose MountainBased to see the mighty five national parks and it was one of the best travel decisions I have ever made.
Trip exceeded my expectations. Justin and Eric (our guides) were competent, caring and a whole lot of fun. Thank you for creating a trip I will always treasureCan’t wait for... read more Tetons 2019!
The hiking trip through the national parks with Mountainbased exceeded any expectations I had. Jared and Eric were fantastic guides. They are fun and very thoughtful of all their... read more guests. They have all the details covered. Outside of the hiking, all you have to do...More
My wife and I enjoyed every part of this trip - the people, the camping, the hiking, and the spectacular scenery. Our guides - Justin, Nick, Nick, and Steve -... read more were very friendly, informative, organized, efficient, flexible, helpful, tireless, and patient. They set the tone...More
I did the 5 day "Southern Utah" trip covering Bryce, Zion and Grand Escalantes with 2 of my friends in a group of 12 people. The trip organization was amazing... read more with great camping locations, georgeous hikes, yummy food and perfectly planned itinerary. Nick 1 and Nick 2 were knowledgeable and friendly guides and went to great lengths to make our trip most enjoyable and kept the whole group engaged with their efforts and planning. Our fellow campers were also hugely cooperative and great folks to be around. I had a blast during the trip. Will be looking forward to do the Yellowstone a d Teton soon with MoutainBased.