Travel to Utah’s National Parks – Episode 503

categories: USA Travel

Which National Parks should you see in Utah and what should you do there.


Hear about travel to the National Parks in Utah as the Amateur Traveler talks to Scot and Emily McKay from about their travels in the Beehive State.

We talk about Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as well as nearby Moab Utah and Monument Valley.

“You can’t do all the parks in one week unfortunately, but there are a couple of options. I usually like to do half the parks on one itinerary and if you have the chance to come back again you do the other half. So I would start with Zion, work my way over to Bryce and then on over to Capitol Reef. That could easily be done in one week. And then you can do the other half of the parks, Canyonlands, Arches, visit Moab City and if you have a little extra time skip on down to Monument Valley.”

Along the way Chris talks about his two favorite hikes in the United States. The first is hiking the Narrows as you hike up the Virgin River in Zion National Park in a deep slot canyon. The second is to venture down Navajo Trail into the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park in an area known as “Wall Street”.

Those with no fear of heights can hike up to Angel’s Landing in Zion or along on top of the Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park.

Or you can drive the winding white knuckle Shafer Trail in Canyonlands. Hopefully your drive will end better than that of “Themla and Louise” which was filmed here. “You get on this rail and you are looking at America’s version of the Yungas Road in Bolivia, the “Road of Death”. It is a shear drop, I mean a mile down. One thing we have to say about Canyonlands is that if there wasn’t a Grand Canyon this place would be world famous. One of the surprises of this trip is just how amazing Canyonlands is.”

Come and explore the arches, mesas, hoodoos, rivers, cliffs, canyons and mountains that make up the rather spectacular scenery of the National Parks of Utah.

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Show Notes
Utah National Parks
Southwest USA Road Trip – Antelope Canyon – Episode 15
Southwest USA Road Trip – Grand Canyon – Episode 16
Southwest USA Road Trip – Bryce / Podcast Expo – Episode 17
Southwest USA Road Trip – Zion National Park – Episode 18
Zion National Park
Chris’s Zion Photos
Capital Reef National Park
Torrey, Utah
National Park Junior Ranger Programs
Bryce Canyon National Park
Chris’s Bryce Canyon Photos
Moab, Utah
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Travel to the Navajo Nation (Arizona) – Episode 383
Travel to the Four Corners Region in the American SouthWest – Episode 278
X and Y on the Fly
The Chick Whisperer


We have wonderful new baby who can often only be calmed down by being held and walked, so I’ve taken to walking him in circles around my hallway, kitchen, and living room. Using my phone I estimate that I’ve walked about 250 miles this way listening to your podcast over the past four months–at .01 miles per circle, that’s about 250,000 round trips.

Your wonderful interviews with travelers from Western Sweden to the Silk road have allowed me to visit places in spirit even as I walk through a very monotonous environment. Even your early issues have held up well–I dug through your back catalog to learn about Vancouver for an upcoming conference and was very impressed.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.


on Travel to Seattle, Washington – Episode 502 see the comments from Elinor and Sam

Which National Parks should you see in Utah and what should you do there.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

5 Responses to “Travel to Utah’s National Parks – Episode 503”



Honored to be a guest with Emily McKay on The Amateur Traveler podcast, the #1 travel destination show!




I was confused why you kept referring to “Southeastern Utah”. Zion, and Bryce are definitely Southwest, Capitol Reef and Escalante is central. Arches, Canyonland Land are both SEastern, but really, collectively they are Southern Utah



Geographically challenged? Should have been looking at a map as I said that.

Mark Carrara


What’s in a name? The government gets complicated when deciding names, for example Grand Staircase Escalante National monument is not run by the National Park Serve(NPS), but the Bureau of Land Management(BLM). While Cedar Breaks National Monument is run by the NPS. Which bring me to my comment, Cedar Breaks NM is another smallish(by western standards) park with few visitors and interesting scenery. We spent a week based in St George UT visiting Zion, Cedar Breaks and Bryce. With a bit of the Staircase thrown in. I would agree with your guest that driving Monument Valley is car friendly. We drove it with a Subaru Forrestor with no problems.



According to VisitUtahParks “Folks do not 4 wheel on Lions Back anymore. haven’t for several years.”

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