Get ready for an unforgettable road trip! Zip from Zion National Park to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and experience three incredible national parks. The drive takes under five hours, but who can resist the call of scenic stops along the way? This guide is packed with all the details on where to stop, stay, and explore for a memorable trip from Zion to the Grand Canyon.
Explore Zion National Park
Immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of Zion National Park with at least two full days of exploring all this park has to offer. Between April and October, take advantage of the free shuttle bus service from Springdale, which conveniently makes nine stops along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to some of the most popular trails and photo spots.
Angel’s Landing Hike
Begin your adventure with the exhilarating Angel’s Landing Trail, a 5.4-mile ascent that rewards you with unrivaled panoramic views atop Zion Canyon. The journey demands planning and grit but promises an unforgettable experience. This permitted hike requires a little planning but is well worth it for the adventuresome hiker.
Emerald Pools Hike
For a gentler excursion, the Emerald Pools Hike offers a 2 to 3-mile round trip to glistening pools and cascading waterfalls, perfect for families seeking a leisurely and scenic adventure.
The Narrows Hike
Navigate the most popular hike in Zion through the Virgin River’s towering canyons and rock formations. Be ready to wade through water and enjoy this famous trail’s refreshing, unique pathway, offering an adventurous journey through the heart of Zion.
Experience the rugged beauty of Zion on a guided horseback tour. Trot along scenic trails, navigate paths lined with wildflowers, and ascend to viewpoints offering sweeping panoramas of Zion’s diverse landscape.
As day turns to night, Zion’s remote locale is the ideal backdrop for viewing celestial wonders. Join a ranger-led program or view at your leisure for a dreamy end to your day in this recognized Dark Sky Park.
Where to Stay Near Zion National Park
After adventure-filled days, retreat to Under Canvas Zion, a luxurious oasis spread over 196 acres of remote desert terrain just a stone’s throw away from the park located in Springdale. Immerse yourself in a panoramic display of soaring cliffs and desert skies, staying in safari-style tents fitted with upscale amenities, ensuring comfort in nature. The camp is open from March through early November.
Detour to Bryce Canyon National Park
Drive time from Zion: 1.5 hours
On your journey to the Grand Canyon, set aside time to witness the unique wonders of Bryce Canyon National Park. Consider spending one or two days fully appreciating the towering hoodoos and dramatic landscapes that make this park so special.
Scenic Drive on Highway 12
Embark on a self-driven adventure with an 18-mile scenic drive on Utah’s All-American Road. Witness many of the park’s highlights from the numerous overlooks, including its famed hoodoos and the Bryce Amphitheater. Each viewpoint offers a different perspective of the expansive natural amphitheater and the vibrant hues of the red rock formations.
Join an experienced guide and set off on the picturesque Red Canyon Bike Path on an e-bike tour for a half or full-day adventure, ensuring a delightful and memorable journey amidst nature’s displays.
Bristlecone Loop Trail
This one-mile, easy-difficulty trail allows hikers of all levels to embark on an accessible and awe-inspiring hike through ancient forests, home to some of the world’s oldest trees. As you navigate the trail, bask in the scenic views, breathe in the fresh air, and relish a tranquil escape amidst the bristlecone pines.
Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon National Park
Make your stay memorable by spending one to two nights at Under Canvas Bryce Canyon. Situated just 15 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park, it blends luxury and the great outdoors, ensuring a rejuvenating rest before continuing your grand journey to the Grand Canyon. The Bryce Canyon camp is open from May through September, allowing you to spend a day delving into the wonders of Bryce and the next day journeying to the nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Detour to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Drive time from Bryce: 30 minutes
Venture just beyond Bryce Canyon for a breathtaking detour to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Spanning close to a million acres, this sprawling expanse is a geological marvel, with a chorus of cliffs, plateaus, and slot canyons waiting to be explored.
Highway 12 Scenic Drive
Take a drive on Highway 12—the same highway that crosses part of Bryce Canyon—renowned as one of the most beautiful highways in the world. It offers multiple stops with exceptional viewpoints, allowing you to absorb the monument’s vastness, unique formations, and landscapes.
Calf Creek Falls Hike
This 6-mile moderately strenuous trail takes you to see petroglyphs on the mountainside and ends with a cascading 126-foot tall waterfall.
Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyon Hike
For a unique hiking experience, venture along the 4.4-mile Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyon Trail. This moderately difficult hike invites you to navigate through narrow passages and extraordinary slot canyons, promising an unforgettable adventure.
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Explore hiking trails that wind through an ancient petrified forest. Enjoy paddle boarding or kayaking in the reservoir, and enhance your geological knowledge at the visitor center and museum.
Head to the Grand Canyon
Drive time: 4.5 hours
Continue your adventure from Bryce Canyon to the breathtaking vistas of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Embark on a 4.5-hour drive through landscapes brimming with vibrant hues, unique formations, and historical charm. This journey leads you to explore one of the world’s natural wonders. You’ll want to plan on spending two to three days in the Grand Canyon to experience the best of the South Rim.
Within a 5-minute walk from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Mather Point unveils a grandeur all its own. On clear days, your gaze stretches over 60 miles into the distance and down to where the Colorado River winds through the canyon depths. Catch the sunset here, painting the vast sky in brilliant hues against the pink, orange, and red rocks.
Grand Canyon Village
Experience historic charm and delightful dining at the Grand Canyon Village. Amidst sweeping views of the canyon’s expansiveness, enjoy delicious food and drinks, all while soaking in the panoramic display of nature’s grand design.
South Rim Trail
Navigate this accessible, paved path offering ever-changing perspectives of the canyon’s magnificence. Stretching 13 miles, embark on as little or as much as you desire, continually treating your eyes to epic vistas and photo opportunities.
Explore Historic Route 66
Add a touch of retro to your journey by visiting a nearby section of Route 66. Indulge in a delightful shopping spree and savor mouth-watering delicacies at quintessential American diners, absorbing the nostalgic essence of this famed highway.
Where to Stay Near the Grand Canyon
Set upon 160 acres of secluded piñon and juniper forest, Under Canvas Grand Canyon is just 25 minutes from the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. Named a ‘Top 15 Resort in the U.S. – Southwest’ by Condé Nast Traveler, Under Canvas Grand Canyon offers upscale accommodations near one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Experience the luxury and natural beauty from April through October at Under Canvas Grand Canyon, where luxury accommodations in nature meet the grandeur of the landscape.
Have more time to explore? Extend this memorable journey by taking the Grand Circle Road Trip for the ultimate national park adventure. This legendary 1,000-mile route spans six National Parks, including Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, and the Grand Canyon, unfolding a grand panorama of the American Southwest’s diverse and stunning landscapes.