Drive The Western National Parks

A loop through some of the western National Parks of America makes a great driving trip.

If you're interested in seeing just how big the American West is...

...this is one way to do it.

If you want to see natural wonders... here they are.

If you like hiking... there are hikes galore.

When we have friends visit us from Europe, they love to make this driving loop if they have time.

Sometimes we have people ask us why we travel the world when there is so much to see in the United States...

We love travel in America AND the rest of the world.

Actually, we travel a lot in the U.S. too.


We decided it was time to share some of our favorite destinations with our international readers..... you!


To Drive The Western National Parks Loop
You Need AT LEAST A Week

In a week, you can drive a representative loop through Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

The actual starting point for the loop listed in most guides is Las Vegas.

For the loop through the western National Parks we're describing here, you will be driving about 1050 miles (1,690 km).

Start In Las Vegas

You can fly directly to Las Vegas from many cities in the U.S.

You probably will want to spend a day or two in Las Vegas to gamble, see some shows, or just satisfy your curiosity about "Sin City", so allow time for that too.

Zion National Park

Virgin River in Zion National Park

The first stop on this drive is Zion National Park.

It is a deep canyon carved by the innocuous looking Virgin River.

Hike IN The River

There's a great hike up this river into a slot canyon called "The Narrows Hike".... and the canyon does narrow to only 20-30 feet across in places.

You will spend 60% of your time IN the river as the canyon walls soar above you. We loved this hike... it made us feel like real adventurers.

(You must check on conditions at the visitor center... flash floods are possible.)

Other Hikes and Where To Stay

If you're not up for that strenuous hike, there are other hikes that let you see much of what the park has to offer.

Scenic drives let you see some sights by car.

There is a Lodge in the park and more accommodations are available outside the park. Campgrounds are available.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon - Hoodoos on the Navajo Loop

Bryce Canyon National Park is your next stop.

It's a small National Park, but some visitors come away saying this was their favorite park....

It's certainly one of ours.

It's famous for its colorful spire-shaped "hoodoos".

A hike into the canyon will make you feel you've entered a fairy wonderland.

This park has a Lodge in the Park and good lodging nearby. Two campgrounds are near the visitor center.

Capitol Reef National Park

The drive to Capitol Reef National Park follows along Route 12 and is very pretty.

The main feature in this park is the formation known as the "Waterpocket Fold"... an ancient wrinkle in the earth's crust.

No lodging is available in the Park. Find some motels about 12-15 miles (20-25 km) from the park entrance. Some camping is available in the park.

Natural Bridges National Monument

You can pass though Natural Bridges National Monument. A scenic drive will take you to overlooks to view each of the three bridges that were formed by meandering streams. Allow a couple of hours for this.

Lodging is about 30-40 miles away. There is a small campground available.

Monument Valley

You might want to make it a long day of driving and get to Monument Valley Tribal Park.

This huge valley has those iconic wild-west sandstone formations that you've seen in the movies... "The Mittens" are the most photographed, but there are other pinnacles and arches, bluffs and buttes.

You can get guided tours from Navajo tour operators.

There are accommodations in the area; the only one in the Tribal Park is the new hotel called The View.

Bring your camera.

The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon from the South Rim

We're saving the most famous of the western National Parks for last. The Grand Canyon.

Clearly this is one Western National Park that you must see.

There is accommodation and camping available in the park and many options nearby with shuttles into the Park itself.

This is such a popular destination that driving is restricted in the park in some areas. Parking can be a nightmare, so just use the shuttles.

Complete The Loop

Another day of driving will have you back at Las Vegas.

By driving this loop instead of staying in town, you will have kept Las Vegas from getting too much of your money, and you’ll be far richer in experiences...

...of the Western National Parks.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

International Travel Tips l Europe Travel Tips
Hotel and B&B Tips l Packing Lists
Go from Western National Parks to MouseToursTravels Home Page

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.

Timely Tips

The Holidays are Here!

Time to remind you we have tips on
Surviving Holiday Flights

Remember, if you’re carrying gifts, it’s better not to wrap them… airport security might make you open them!

Have time for a quick trip to prepare for Christmas? We have ideas...
European Christmas Markets
German Christmas Markets
Seiffen Germany Makes Christmas Decorations
Cold Weather Packing List

We're going to explore some of those Christmas Markets ourselves this year!

The holidays can be hectic, but treat yourself..

Take the holiday time to explore more pages here... Get ideas for travel destinations and how to get there.
NOW is the time to start planning for a great trip next year.


Need Travel Ideas?
Things to See in Europe
Africa Calls!
Travel In America

Don't just dream about it...
Start making plans!

Custom Tour Planning List
International Travel Planning Tips
Foreign Is Fun - Not Scary!
Get Your Passports and Visas

Search

Search MouseToursTravels
Travel questions or destination info?
Find our answers faster..
.

Translate

We want you to feel comfortable out in the world and on our pages - so surf away in your own language...

Updated Tips & New Travel Stories

  1. 2018 Travels - We Tried Group Tours

    On our 2018 travels, we tried group tours. Always independent travelers, we discovered that for some areas, tours are best… and group tours can be fun if you choose the right one.

    Read More

  2. A Blitz Through The Balkans

    We called this a blitz through the Balkans because we tour through 8 Balkan countries in only three weeks. Definitely highlights only… but great fun.

    Read More

  3. Exploring The Caucasus Region

    Just what is the Caucasus? It’s the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and home to the Caucasus Mountains. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Explore it here.

    Read More

Two Ways To Like Us!

Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below
Thank You!

More On
Western National Parks

Western National Parks
Bryce Canyon
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Mule Trip
Grand Canyon Skywalk
Hike The Grand Canyon
Zion National Park

A Good Starting Point
Las Vegas

Navigate Our Site

Related Pages
on
Foreign Rental Car Tips

Ideas

Road Trip Ideas
Packing for roadtrips

General Information
Worldwide Roadtrips
Foreign Rental Cars
Driving In Foreign Places
Driving On the Left
Toll Roads
What Is A Highway
US Highways
Highways or Backroads
Reading Roadmaps

Know The Rules
International Roadsigns
Traffic Laws Abroad
Autobahn Etiquette
Parking In Cities

RV Stuff

RV Road Trip
Rent An RV
Traveling With An RV
RV Travel In Europe
Sharing An RV

And Just For Fun

Amusing Confusing Roadsigns
Funny Polish Detour Sign
Border Crossings
Document Rental Car Damage

Ready For A New Adventure?

We escape by traveling…
But there are more ways to escape. 
Work on something you LOVE…
With A Website
SBI Teaches You Everything

First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life