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.
Being on my own on this trip, I didn’t want to hike the five wonderful National Parks of Southern Utah on my own due to safety reasons. I decided... read more after reading many great reviews of MountainBased,that they were the ones to go with. I was...More
Our family (including 2 boys 11 & 14) had a great time with Nick & Nick as our guides. They were easy-going, knowledgeable, fun, and took great care of... read more our group! The food was good, the camp sites were nice and the hiking was beautiful!...More
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
We camped with MB last year on the Utah Mighty Five, and had such a great experience that we came back this year for the Yellowstone/Grand Tetons. MB knows... read more how to experience the outdoors. Their knowledge of the areas together with their love for the outdoors yields the perfect campsite selections, the perfect timing for seeing the sites,and camaraderie among their guests that leaves you wanting more. The integrity and passion of the MB group is outstanding, and is why so many of us give them rave reviews!
If you want to go on a trip where you wake up after 9am and just chill all day, then this trip is NOT for you! Mountain based has... read more certainly found a formula for sucess with this Utah Mighty 5 camping trip, where the itinerary...More
We had an incredible time! Jared and Eric are amazing! Professional, knowledgeable, and fun! The hikes were gorgeous and the lodging was incredible. The views were truly remarkable! They’ve thought... read more of everything! We plan to book the Yellowstone trip next and will be shouting how...More
Highly recommend for families and friends. Guides are caring, professional and as excited as you to see natures beauty. Moderate hikes through iconic parks, high-quality food prepared on-site,... read more & excellent equipment. Great family memories that will last a lifetime. Disney World - your days are...More
I went on the Mountain Based new hiking trip offered to Bryce, Zion, and Grand staircase with my sister. It was a wonderful trip! Justin and Eric were our guides... read more and we had Steve and Nick who were guides in training. They were amazing! We...More