I had often wondered when I'd roadtrip around Utah. I knew I would do it one day. And it turned out I ended up right where needed to be to do it. I had a small window of time so I went for it. St. George is 2.5hrs from Las Vegas and the last major city you'll find before starting the loop. The fall is the ideal time with comfortable temps and crowd size. And you can catch some season foliage in sections. So I went for it.
The first leg out of St. George is Zion, a quick one under an hour. But I started very early, hiking by 6am, because I'd be moving on for my reservation in Antelope Valley. Plus you beat crowds and can grab sunrise. I went with Angels Landing trail for it's accomplishing view of the valley. Its the picture you most commonly see. What a view. What a hike. I planned to be driving away from the park by 11am. Its a little under 2hrs now to Lower Antelope Canyon for my 3pm reservation.
On schedule so I could make a view stop at Horseshoe Bend on the way. Then right in time for check-in at Dixies tour. This is hands down one of, if not thee, most visually stunning natural viewing walks you will ever have. Its incredible. The tour is finished within 2hrs so I had some daylight left for your last leg of the day. Kayenta is just 1.5hrs away and will be my much deserved stay for the evening. Rest time. Now positioned perfectly for an early morning to grab sunrise in Monument Valley.
Up early and driving by 7am. Just 30min away and I'd pulled up to one hell of a desert sunrise. The classic. As I pulled away to head on there is a spiritual feeling in this area. No kidding. Its a privilege. And there's no doubt it has something to do with the native land you are being welcomed on. Anywho, just cruisin now, and enjoying the desert drive north to Moab. Although, just outside of Monument Valley there's some great little diners in Mexician Hat. If you hadn't had breaky yet. From there it was straight to Moab. Where CanyonLands is also I but skipped with this itinerary.
Little over 3hrs to my hike in Arches. The Delicate Arch is a great hike that drives you through the park to get to. And its really a hike for anyone. A beautiful view with a very relaxed vibe with others having lunch, drawing & painting etc. Cool spot. So at this point its late afternoon and I had a choice. Stay in Moab and enjoy the great little town for the evening. Good chance to get out of my hikers and into my leather slip ons. Or I could make a little more ground 1hr up the road and stay in Green River. I went with the 2nd and just got some rest.
Another early rise for the next phase of the trip. From here I'd be jumping off the major Freeways. Exiting the 70 onto the 24 into Capital Reef then 12 into the Grand Staircase and onto Bryce. For the allotted time for my trip this section was a thoroughly enjoyed drive through. Its a fantastic drive. Capital Reef welcomes you in a beautiful winding drive through bright yellow foliage and contrasting red rock. Then you make it to the wide open beauty atop the Grand Staircase. A mesmerizing drive.
Then after all that beauty I pulled up around noon to the view of Bryce Canyon. Here I chose to do the the Peek-A-Boo Trail winding around in the canyons. It was a pleasure of a hike knowing it would be my last of the trip. I stayed that evening in Bryce and got back to St. George that next morning. I'll say this. Now having nearly accomplished The Mighty 5 drive, technically 4 skipping Canyonlands with the itinerary. Do the loop. Don't just add Bryce or Zion or Moab to an another road trip. The unmatched transitional beauty, that is both felt and seen, can only be experienced looping it all. And I promise you. You will be grateful for this drive.
ProTip: You could perfectly add another day or two to view North Rim Grand Canyon in between Zion and Antelope. Keeping in mind it closes Oct 15th. And do make time for Canyonlands and a camp stop night in Capital Reef.
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