Welcome to Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks
Connect with the mystery and mysticism of southern Utah in this fantastic and wild landscape of sand, stone and sky.
Perhaps nowhere else in the Southwest can compete with southern Utah when it comes to the sheer number of geological works of art. Soaring pinnacles and arches, dizzyingly deep canyons and rainbow-colored, alien-looking rocks are all par for the course. The bones of the earth – and the powerful natural processes that shape them – are laid bare. Take the time to observe the different-colored layers stacked one upon the other: Kayenta, Navajo, Temple Cap, Carmel. These are snapshots of the planet's distant past, and an amazing opportunity to take in the work of 240 million years in a single glance.
There's no better way to get a feel for this red-rock wonderland than by having some fun. Serious fun. Whatever your sport, there's a good chance that Utah sets a pretty high standard. Hikes lead to majestic freestanding arches, secret oases, desert labyrinths and exposed traverses across narrow fins. Canyoneers rappel into the earth's wrinkles to explore dark, mystical passageways filled with adventure. Moab's slick-rock trails set the standard for mountain biking decades ago, while desert spires and mighty big walls are the envy of rock climbers around the world.
Though southern Utah's majestic parklands are hardly drive-by attractions, scenic roads abound. In fact, they're an essential part of your journey here in canyon country, whether you're driving, cycling, riding the park shuttles in Zion and Bryce or negotiating a teeth-rattling, nerve-wracking 4WD road in the rugged backcountry. And if there are moments when you feel as if you've seen that view before in a Hollywood film, it's because you probably have. Up that road less traveled, adventure awaits in one of America's last great wildernesses.
You could spend weeks immersed in the national parks and monuments. But then you'd be missing out on some of the most memorable places, from arty, alternative-minded towns like Moab to Native American tribal lands and sites where prehistoric denizens made their mark. Detours are always worthwhile here, whether for an earthy plate of organic, farm-fresh food or to capture another top-of-the-world vista. Local state parks (Snow Canyon, Goblin Valley) and wilderness areas (Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs) deserve consideration, as do off-the-grid wild areas found in Grand Staircase–Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments.