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! Click here to learn more about our relaxed booking and travel options.
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.
This was an amazing trip. There isn’t much guides can do about the mix of people in a guided trip but what they can do is create the perfect... read more environment and opportunities for the group as a whole and each individual to have a great trip! This trip was perfect with amazing hikes and guides that were both friendly and super knowledgeable. I was nervous about hiking Angels Landing but our guide Jerud made sure we all got there safe and feeling as secure as possible. James provided stellar substitutions for those that didn’t want to do that hike. The parks are beautiful! James and Jerud with MountainBased we’re truly some of the best guides I’ve had and I’ve taken several guided trips. I will be back! This trip is the perfect mix of hiking in Bryce and Zion as well as ample opportunity to shop and some solo time relaxing if you want it. The van is comfortable and gear provided was top notch! Food was yummy and filling! Perfect mix of “rugged outdoors” and “relaxing vacation”! Best part was how well the guides knew which hikes and what times for us to feel like we were VIPs in the parks! We missed crowds and still saw both the famous hikes and some hidden gems! Thanks for a great bucket list trip to Utah! More
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!
More than a vacation, this recent trip was a walk down the memory lane. We made nothing but memories over the week while Erick & Megan as our tour guides... read more made sure that those memories were only happy ones.
We are considering our next trip with them and bring some friends along, it was such a great trip.
Words are somewhat inadequate to describe the beauty of Utah and the excellence of our guides, Jared and Eric. This was a five star experience from start to finish. My... read more husband and I wanted a way to share a unique experience with two of our...More
This was an amazing trip! Justin & Megan were knowledgeable, extremely professional, and tons of fun. They made sure everyone had a great time. The hikes were well thought out... read more and the sights were breathtaking. MountainBased provides all the camping gear, great food, beautiful hikes, and tons of fun. I will definitely be booking with MountainBased in the future.
Where to begin? My daughter and I just returned from the Mighty 5 camping trip and it was a fantastic trip from every perspective. The landscape is simply breathtaking. ... read more Nick and Eric are top notch guides! They guided what seemed like a seamless journey through Utah taking in five National Parks and two State Parks. Lots of mileage but it didn’t feel like it because of the multiple hiking and bathroom breaks along the way. They did an excellent job of assessing the abilities within the group and adjusting accordingly. Meals were delicious. Appreciate all the fresh fruit and hearty stew. Campfire every night. I hope to travel with Mountainbased again in the future. I’ll have no hesitation booking another trip.
Having done several multi-day hiking / camping trips around the world, I would say that this trip with MountainBased by far surpassed all of my prior experiences. Our guides (the... read more two Justins) were very personable, had an immense wealth of knowledge about the parks, and genuinely cared about ensuring we were comfortable throughout the trip. All of the meals were delicious, healthy and nutritious. The camping equipment was all new, and withstood some cold and windy nights without any issue. All in all, I had a wonderful experience with MountainBased, and would definitely do another trip with them in the future!
Jared and Justin were phenomenal tour guides and made the entire trip fun and accommodating. They both went out of their way to ensure we were having fun. So... read more much laughter! Thank you for the great experience and hope to do another trip with you guys! Your hospitality was greatly appreciated.
Lori and Brian Schaben
Amazing experience!! My guides were Justin and Justin (dubbed JC). They were awesome, knew so much information about the parks, were friendly and outgoing, and kept us as comfortable... read more and well-fed as possible! The campsites were great (first one was my favorite). We spent our evening chatting around the fire. Our group always had our own little area at the campsites. The pace of the trip is quick, but the guides planned it to a 'T' and was perfectly timed for the 5 days.
This was my first time in the West and as a solo traveller. I could not have asked for a better trip. I plan to schedule another with Mountain Based in the future!
Check out a more in-depth list of what to bring here.