Utah National Parks + Monument Valley & Grand Canyon

January 27, 2018

Andi and I were living in Austin in 2014. I was getting my MBA, and he was studying abroad at UT. We both had a spring break, and we had always wanted to go on a road trip. We planned it out so we would hit as many national parks as possible. We visited Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon. It was March, so it would be colder but that meant less people. It turned out to be one of our favourite trips.

Day 1) We flew into Las Vegas around lunchtime and had a buffet. Because the buffets in Vegas are amazing.

Then we drove to Zion National Park. Our first stop. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas (Nevada) to Zion National Park (Utah).

Day 2) In the morning, we drove into the National Park and hiked Angel’s Landing.

The evenings were pretty chill, and always included Blue Moon.

Day 3) We woke up early for our second hike in Zion- Observation Point! This one was longer and harder.

After the hike we went to another lookout point, but this one was really short.

Then we drove to our hotel close to Bryce Canyon National Park, and saw some cool things on the way. The two parks are about 1.5 hours apart.

We took a little peak at the canyon before bedtime.

Day 4) We did a hike in Bryce Canyon, and then drove to Capitol Reef.

After making our way a bit farther into the hike, the people completely disappeared. It was fantastic, but also a bit eerie being the only ones at the same time. 

On the road again. After Bryce Canyon, we drove to Capitol Reef National Park

We liked our car. 🙂

We arrived at our hotel in Capitol Reef. It was actually super creepy. There was hardly anyone around and the small town seemed like a ghost town. When we went to get gas there was a car waiting with it’s door open, but no one around and the store itself was closed.

Also fun story, in the middle of the night I awoke to our door being pushed open but the inside lock was blocking the door from swinging open. I sleepily opened the door and no one was there. WHAT THE FAAAACKKKK. It must have been the wind. But still. Scary.



Day 5) We drove into Capitol Reef National Park to do some hiking.

Despite parking in a clear area and finding the sign above, we couldn’t find the trail head. Things started getting a bit creepy. No one was around, and the longer we searched the more freaked out we got (but we still managed to take happy pictures). We never outright said that we felt we were being watched until we both got back in the car, and then we both freaked out! 

On to the next point! Hickman Bridge was a better trail- easy to find and more people. We felt well likely to be murdered.

On the road again! We read about an insane road that takes you to a place that doesn’t feel like earth. It took us a while to find it and at one point we had to stop by a very strange motel on the side of the road to ask for directions. We eventually made it to 490 West Cathedral.

The pictures don’t do this place justice. All I can say is that I felt like we were in a post apocalyptic world, or another planet entirely. We were the only ones surrounded by constantly changing massive rocks and formations. It was unlike anything we had seen before. It amazing, unusual, and a little bit unsettling.

I started freaking out because there were a lot of warnings online not to drive too far in case of a storm. The road was dirt and rains were known to come quickly and without warning. It was easy to get stuck, and there was no one around so naturally I figured we would probably die.

So we left on to our next adventure.

We arrived at a motel in Moab near Arches National Park.

Day (6) – The day was filled with hikes in Arches National Park and seeing some badass formations.

The oh so famous Delicate Arch. We were really lucky. It was off season and when we arrived for sunrise no one was there. Win!

Next was Landscape Arch.

Devil’s Garden.

and Double O Arch

Tunnel Arch.

After a day filled with arches, we decided to go back to our favourite one for the sunset – Delicate Arch.



We were so sweaty, but actually not too bad looking here. haha! We RAN to the arch because we were scared we’d miss sunset, so what was normally a 30 minute hike became a 10 minute run uphill. Shoot we were beat.

Day (7) This day was spent hiking in the Canyonlands

Our hike in Canyonlands was a crazy one. We had heard of a “less traveled” hike that wasn’t on any maps, but people talked about it online. The picture below is when we have no freaking idea of where to go. I was starting to freak out (naturally) because again, we were completely alone and it started to get creepy. Luckily, we started to see the familiar markers (small rocks stacked on top of one another) leading the way to an epic outlook.

Green River Overlook

Mesa Arch

 This is probably one of my most favourite pictures of him…

Day (8) On our way to Monument Valley (Arizona) and out of Moab we had some tasty breakfast…

Next was a visit to Horseshoe Bend

Day (9) We made a quick trip to Horsehoe Bend to see it at sunrise, and then made our way to Antelope Canyon

You’re only able to enter Antelope Canyon with a guide. It’s pretty sweet. There’s just a staircase in the middle of nowhere leading you to a very awesome place.


How unreal does that look!?

On our way to the Grand Canyon we stopped by Lake Powell and had a nice little picnic

We made it to the Grand Canyon!

and the sunset was sweet.

Day (10). We did a day hike to Skeleton Point and back.

It was hot on the way back. And yeah, I might have been getting a little tired…

After our hike we made our way to Sedona, Arizona. We flew out of Phoenix the following day. 

Fudge please

Our last evening was spent in Phoenix

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