Bryce Canyon National Park & Around
The Grand Staircase, a series of steplike uplifted rock layers stretching north from the Grand Canyon, culminates at this very popular national park (435-834-5322; www.nps.gov/brca; Hwy 63; per vehicle $25; visitor center 8am-8pm May-Sep, to 4:30pm Nov-Mar, to 6pm Oct & Apr) in the Pink Cliffs formation.
Zion National Park
The white, pink and red rocks of Zion (435-772-3256; www.nps.gov/zion; Hwy 9; per vehicle $25) are huge, overpowering and magnificent – you’re guaranteed to be awed. More than 100 miles of trails offer everything from leisurely strolls to wilderness backpacking and camping.
Capitol Reef National Park
Not as crowded as its fellow parks but equally scenic, Capitol Reef contains much of the 100-mile Waterpocket Fold, created 65 million years ago when the earth’s surface buckled up and folded, exposing a cross-section of geologic history that is downright painterly in its colorful intensity.