The highlights of this National Parks road trip include visiting five of America's National Parks and one National Monument (however you could easily add side trips to Mesa Verde and Capital Reef National Parks if you have the time).
THE 7 DAY DRIVING ITINERARY & MAP
This 7 day driving itinerary begins in Las Vegas and loops around Northern Arizona and Southern Utah finishing off back in Las Vegas. This will mean no one way drop off fee if you are renting a vehicle!
You can do this loop road trip in reverse if you prefer, but we recommend finishing off in Zion because it is most definitely worth spending an additional night there.
MAP OF THE NATIONAL PARKS LOOP DRIVING ITINERARY INCLUDING STOPS.
This road trip allows you to visit 5 national parks in one week spending a night at each place with room to spend an additional night at a place of your choosing.
Of course if you have the time it would be preferable to spend at least two days in each park. You could also add Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado to your trip as an extension. See a suggested itinerary below.
Finish your trip relaxing ....or partying in Las Vegas!
Day 1 Drive Route 66 and visit Williams - Spend the night in Williams or Tusayan
Day 2 Visit Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon Dam & Antelope - Spend the night in Page
Day 3 Visit Monument Valley - Spend the night in Monument Valley
Day 4 Visit Arches National Park - Spend the night in Moab
Day 5 Visit Bryce Canyon National Park - Spend the night in Bryce
Day 6 Visit Zion National Park - Spend the night in Zion
Day 7 Another day in Zion - Spend the night in Las Vegas
We recommend getting yourself a guide book to the South-west to make the most of you trip!
We always take a travel guide book with us to ensure we don't bypass any special stops. They also come in handy in area's where there is no phone reception!
Because you will be visiting 5 national parks we recommend you buy a national park pass as this will save you money in the long run. Passes are good for one year and can be bought online or upon entry to the parks.
This part of the United States is nothing short of spectacular so make sure you have your camera batteries charged!
Begin National Parks Loop Driving Tour
LAS VEGAS TO WILLIAMS - 216 MILES
DIRECTIONS: head south on the 93 and then east on the 40 until you reach Williams. It should take about three and a half hours.
Williams is a charming, western-themed town located on historic Route 66. This is the best preserved stretch of route 66 and the perfect place to find kitschy souvenirs along with some great local art and crafts.
There are quite a few activities and attractions in Williams including the Historic Train Depot, Route 66 Zipline and the Bearizona Wildlife Park.
You can even step aboard an old locomotive train and ride into the Grand Canyon National Park from Williams if you want! See the train schedule and route here.
There are plenty of reasonably priced motels and a great selection of restaurants to grab western style food and home made milkshakes. If you visit during the summer months they have some great live music at some of the establishments.
Because Williams is only an hour from the Grand Canyon you can spend the night here and then head into the park early in the morning next day.
There are quite a few campgrounds and RV parks in Williams and on the outskirts of town.
HOTELS DEALS IN WILLIAMS
There are plenty of inexpensive motels and hotels in Williams! It is not too far from the Grand Canyon and a great alternative to staying closer to the park not only because of the price but because there are plenty lots of restaurants to choose from. Some bars even have nightly entertainment during the summer months.
AIRBNB AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO CAMPGROUNDS
If for some reason all the campgrounds in the area are full, you can always check airbnb as they have plenty of hosts offering their propeties for you to camp on... some even come with breakfast! You can view all the hosts offering camping here.
If you haven't used airbnb before you can sign up through this link and receive $40 off your first nights stay!
WILLIAMS TO THE GRAND CANYON - 60 MILES
DIRECTIONS: Head north on the 64 until you reach the south entrance of the Grand Canyon National Park.
This colorful gorge carved out by the Colorado River is one of the seven wonders of the world and on almost every traveler's bucket list. And today you will tick it off your bucket list!
There are plenty of adventures to be had here; you can take on the grueling hike to the valley floor, go white water rafting on the Colorado River, organize a mule/camping package tour to the bottom or just take in the vista from above.
If you are not afraid of heights and don't mind splurging a little bit of cash, you can have a once in a lifetime experience flying over the canyon in a helicopter complete with lunch included!
It can be really hot here in the summer or extremely cold in the winter so come prepared. Our visit was in the fall and while the days were still warm, the nights were surprisingly very chilly.
There are lodging options inside the park including campsites however advanced bookings are recommended as they fill up fast. Don't worry if you can't get a reservation though, there are quite a few lodging options located just outside the park that are reasonably priced.
GRAND CANYON TO PAGE - 130 MILES
DIRECTIONS: Drive east on the 64 and then north on US89-N which will take you all the way up to Page in Arizona.
Page is a small town in northern Arizona located on the southern shores of magnificent Lake Powell.
In Page, you can visit the Glen Canyon Dam which holds back an amazing 9,000,000,000,000 gallons of water! There is a great Visitor's Center here where you can learn all about the construction of the dam and the history of the area or organize boat tours of the river. However the best thing about the Visitor's Center is the view of Lake Powell!!
The dam is a spectacular sight to behold with the colorful gorge surrounding it. You can see images of the dam in the photo gallery above.
The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has miles of red rock canyons that border the crystal waters of Lake Powell and the Colorado River and offers desert hiking, back-country adventure's, and water-based activities.
Another major attraction very close to the town of Page is Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon has grown in popularity dramatically over the past few years since the invention of Instagram and is probably the most photographed slot canyon in the world! It is practically on every traveler's photographic bucket list.
Tours are operated daily by several Navajo Tribal Park approved concessionaires to both the Upper and Lower sections of the canyon.
GRAND CANYON TO MONUMENT VALLEY - 174 MILES
You will arrive at Monument Valley via the 160/163 and once here you will marvel at the valley below that boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower 100 feet above. Clouds cast shadows and the sun at different angles accent the monolithic structures providing spellbinding visuals. You can take narrated jeep tours through the valley if you want to get a little more up close or even by horseback. Keen photographers may want to time their visit around sunset for some truly magical pictures. There is an interesting Visitors Center with some great native American arts and crafts. There aren't many accommodation options directly outside of the park and it is recommended you drive about 30 minutes north to the town of Mexican Hat which has a range of options to suit everyone's budget.
MONUMENT VALLEY TO ARCHES NATIONAL PARK - 150 MILES
DIRECTIONS: Head north on SR163 and then take SR191 all the way until you reach Arches National Park.
Arches National Park contains the world's largest concentration of natural sandstone arches including massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles and colossal sandstone fins which tower over the hiking trails below.
Visitors can drive along a scenic road to many of the major viewpoints however it is worth getting out of your vehicle to get a close up perspective and check out the local flora.
Your best bet on finding accommodation is in the town of Moab located just 5 miles away which has
the Colorado River snakes its way nearby which offers some great campsites and awesome views. There are many natural roadside attractions worthy of stopping at along US-191N on your drive to Arches N.P. or that are a slight detour. Some of these include Wilsons Arch, Needles Overlook, Corona Arch and Hole N' The Rock, a unique home carved out of a huge rock.
There are quite a few campgrounds in the vicinity of Arches National Park and Moab.
Most lodging options can be found in Moab. There is quite a range to suit all budget styles.
For something different you could rent a vacation home in the area. There are plenty to choose from in Moab! Check out the rates... you an get a whole house for almost the same price as a hotel room!
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK TO BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK - 360 MILES
Bryce Canyon is most notably known for its crimson colored hoodoos (limestone, spire-shaped rock formations) that tower above you from the desert floor.
The hoodoo's are striking seen from above but are something else when seen from below. Don't worry if you don't think your legs will make it to the bottom of the amphitheater as you can organize a tour to the bottom on horseback.
Try to get in a sunrise or sunset on your visit to the park as it is truly a magical sight over these stunning rock formations that change color in the differing light.
The park does have a free shuttle to make life easier for you. This place is even prettier in the winter when the hoodoo's are covered in snow.
BRYCE CANYON TO ZION NATIONAL PARK - 72 MILES
DIRECTIONS: Head north on UT-63 briefly before getting on UT-12 West and then south on US-89. At the Mt Carmel Junction take UT-9 West into the park.
Be prepared to be amazed... Narrow slot canyons, red and white sandstone formations, 3,000 foot vertical walls and the crystal clear Virgin River is what makes this place a natural wonderland.
In our opinion this is one of the best national park's in America so try to devote as many days as you can to exploring this spectacular place!
Once you Zion National Park, you won't be needing your vehicle as there is a free park shuttle bus that departs the Visitors' Center every 15 minutes that you may hop on and off as you please.
Zion has some of the most incredible hiking trails in America such as Angels Landing, Observation Point and The Narrows.
For those of you who make it to the top of Angels Landing or Observation Point, you will be rewarded with a birds eye view of the jaw dropping gorge below. Be sure to pack lunch to keep your energy levels up and bring swimming attire if you plan to hike the Narrows.
There are a handful of lovely hotels located just outside Zion National Park between Rockville and Springdale entering the park from the south entrance. There is also one lodge located within the park and there are a few lodging options at the Mt Carmel Junction (east entrance) including the Zion Mountain Ranch, which has some gorgeous high end log cabin in a stunning scenic setting.
ZION NATIONAL PARK TO LAS VEGAS - 160 MILES
DIRECTIONS: From Zion National Park take UT-9 West to the I-15 all the way down to Las Vegas. To get to the Valley of Fire, you can detour via NV-169 South. Approximately a 2 1/2 hour drive.
On your way back from Zion National Park to Las Vegas, you can choose to detour via the Valley of Fire if you have time.
TheValley of Fire State Park is known for its 40, 000 acres of bright red sandstone outcrops and contains ancient petrified tree's and petroglyphs dating back more than 2000 years! There is a Visitor's Center where you can learn all about the history, geology and ecology of the park.
End your road trip in Viva Las Vegas where the dazzling lights and elaborate themed casinos capture the imagination of the world like no other city.
If like us, you spent the majority of your time on this road trip hiking, then spend your time in Las Vegas relaxing and lounging poolside for the next couple of days.
If you are still feeling energetic, Vegas has attractions that cater to everyone's taste. Hit the casino's, take in a glitzy show, shop til you drop, check out the art galleries, ride some roller-coasters or take a tour out to Red Rock Canyon or Hoover Dam.
Planning on spending some time exploring the beautiful state of Nevada? Visit our Travel Nevada page to see this state's top destinations including some off the beaten path places!
HOTELS DEALS IN LAS VEGAS
Organize guided tour's or day trip's to Utah's National Park's or the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.
If you are limited with time on your U.S. travels then you can organize a day trip to any of Utah's national parks from Las Vegas. Almost everybody fly's into Vegas so its a pretty convenient place to start! No need to worry about getting lost. Just click on the images below to see tour itineraries.