It's National Park week (April 16th-24th 2016) which means FREE admission to all 400 parks in the National Park System. Friday is also Earth Day! In honor of our beautiful National Parks and the amazing planet we call home, we wanted to share 5 National Parks that are definitely worth visiting: Utah's Mighty 5.
Known as the "Mighty Five" are Utah's 5 national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands. Nowhere in the world can you visit 5 breathtaking and awe inspiring places in one epic trip. Each park, unique in its own right, are worth exploring. You could probably hit them all in 5-7 days if you're aggressive. But if you want to dive a little deeper than scenic outlooks and easy hikes, you might need a little more time. Biking, hiking, climbing, river rafting, camping, and stargazing are just some of the activities available in the parks.
Park 1: Zion
Towering Bright red cliffs characterize this park which is just a 4 hour drive from Las Vegas. One of the most visited parks, carved by water and time, offers an array of hiking trails from easy breezy to extremely advanced. The Narrows, one of the most popular Zion hikes and top 10 in the world is a upstream hike, sometimes in waist deep water, through towering canyon walls.
Park 2: Bryce Canyon
Just a short 1.5-hour drive Zion and you've arrived at Bryce. Unlike Zion where you're standing at the bottom of a canyon looking up, you're at the top with trails leading down. Looking out over the orange-pink hued rocks are the famous hoodoos, creating an out of this world landscape. So many trails to choose from, you can't go wrong! The Fairyland Loop, although strenuous, takes you along the rim and then into the canyon.
Park 3: Arches
Just outside Moab, Utah is Arches. The incredible sandstone Arches, over 2000 of them, formed by millions of years of erosion, cover this park. Many of the trails and paths take you right up to and under the arches. Delicate Arch, one of the most photographed arches in the World, and a state symbol is one of the must do hikes.
Park 4: Canyonlands
Just a skip away from Arches is Canyonlands. The Colorado River, Green River, and their tributaries have carved canyons, mesas, and buttes into this expansive landscape. If you're into mountain biking this is the spot. The 100 mile White Rim Road loops around the Island Mesa, 1500 feet above the canyon floor. The rivers also provide an enjoyable and peaceful way to float through the canyon.
Park 5: Capital Reef
Described as a "wrinkle" in the earth, Capital Reef is one of the largest and exposed monoclines. From seemingly out of nowhere, parallel ridges rise up into the sky. Scattered throughout the 100-mile stretch are domes, arches, and canyons. Perhaps the most differentiating aspect of this park is the history of early inhabitants. Petroglyphs, Native Americans created thousands of years ago, can be viewed right off the main road as well as on some harder to reach backcountry hikes. Slightly off the beaten path, you will probably find the most peace and solitude at this park.
Visiting any or all five of these parks, no matter how adventurous you are is sure to take your breath away and leave you amazed by the power of nature. The best part is the parks are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although during the winter months, certain roads and trails might be closed, it's also the time you are not going to encounter much traffic or tourists. So whenever you can make time, the parks are waiting.