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.
Me and my husband just finished our second camping trip with MountainBased to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, our first one was Utah Mighty 5 (five national parks) earlier... read more this year. This crew really goes above and beyond - their customer service and dedication...More
My wife and I travel frequently and I must say this was one of the best trips we have ever made. The guides Jared and James, whom are brothers... read more were exceptional in all aspects. Both parks were exceptional in regards to their beauty. That said, they are both extremely busy. The last thing that I wanted to do was worry about was the logistics involved. Mountain Based took the worry out of everything. They were able to meet the needs of all, from experienced hikers to the less traveled hikers. I'm also very happy that I chose the camping versus lodging. The camaraderie within the group was truly amazing in short time. We can't wait to do another tour with these guys. Mario More
My son (18 years old) and I traveled with MountainBased last summer so were eager to go on another adventure with them and they did not disappoint! Top notch... read more planning, equipment and meals coupled with beautiful parks, scenery, wildlife viewing and superb customer service, the...More
Hiked Bryce Canyon and Zion with great guides Nick and Nick. Great equipment, camp mates, food, transportation, hiking, etc. You will not be disappointed. They will make... read more sure you are well taken care of. Camped in 2 great campgrounds.
I booked this trip for a family adventure. There were 13 of us ranging in ages from 11 to 77. Our guides, Justin and Jason, were fantastic. They accommodated all... read more of our needs and always with a smile. The destinations were incredible. Had we attempted...More
I did the Southern Utah Hiker trip with MountainBased from Sep 2-6, 2019 and I cannot say enough good words about my overall experience. My guides for this trip were... read more Nick and Nick and they run the whole 5 day trip with the most effortless professionalism and expertise I have seen. Very friendly. Engage the whole group. Prepared the most awesome food. Drive us to every site in their van with enough breaks for snacks and refreshments. Time the hikes to perfection depending on weather and sun. This was my first time hiking, camping and in Utah and I cannot possible imagine having a better introduction to hiking that this trip with MountainBased. The whole trip has just been one high after the other. I highly recommend doing a trip with MountainBased and look forward to doing another one myself. More
What an adventure. We did the southern Utah hiking adventure and no doubt, the parks are awesome and stunning and all that. But most of all, these guys made this... read more adventure spectacular!! They make sure you get the best experience!! Seriously, they will taylor the...More