Utah is a land of many landscapes and adventures. Whether it’s Zion National Park, Moab, or the ski resorts near Salt Lake City, the state really has something for everyone. However, if you’re looking to take your campervan on a trip like no other, Southern Utah is the perfect destination. Not only can you experience five different national parks in this region, but you can also see tons of wildlife, eat delicious cuisine, and soak in those Southwestern views. In this post, we’ll talk about several different adventures in Southern Utah. We’ll tell you all about the best hiking trails, where to eat, where to stop along the way, and where you can find the top camping spots for your van!
Southern Utah: The Land of National Parks
If you’re ready to vancamp like you never have before, Southern Utah is the place to be. With wide-open spaces, tons of campgrounds, and adventure just seconds from your door, it’s no wonder why Utah is a top van camping destination.
Found in Southern Utah is a whopping five national parks, referred to as the “Mighty Five.” This list includes Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches. While having five national parks in all of Southern Utah is awesome, they’re also located about two hours from each other! This makes for a pretty epic road trip in your campervan!
Keep reading to learn how you can make this trip an unforgettable adventure.
Where to Stop Along the Way
Before you cross into Southern Utah, there are plenty of cool spots to stop. Check them out below:
The great state of Arizona sits just below Southern Utah. Here you can find the Grand Canyon, a massive ponderosa pine forest, the scorching heat of Phoenix, and top-notch mountain views. As you’re traveling up, stopping in Flagstaff, AZ is a must. Here you can see the magical San Francisco peaks, which feature the tallest mountain in all of Arizona.
With Colorado bordering the eastern edge of Utah, passing through the Rocky Mountains is a sight worth seeing. Depending on where you are, we recommend making stops in Denver, Breckenridge, Aspen, Telluride, and Durango. From fantastic scenery to some of the best skiing in the world, Colorado has it all.
Driving south also provides several cool views and destinations. If you start way north, you can’t pass up Glacier National Park. From grizzly bear sightings to incredible jagged mountains, it’s an adventure-seekers paradise. Heading south, you’ll pass through Yellowstone National Park, featuring geysers and an abundance of wildlife. You’ll also eventually get to Salt Lake City, which has tons of ski resorts close by.
When heading east, Lake Tahoe is a destination worth stopping at for a few days. Try to experience Desolation Wilderness, Sand Harbor, and the many beaches on the east shore. Oh, and don’t forget to hit the slopes at the legendary Heavenly Mountain Resort!
Southern Utah: An Outdoor Adventure Paradise
Southern Utah is one of the most remarkable places on the planet. With so many national parks close to each other, including the several areas to camp, you can spend weeks in this region.
Check out these fun activities to enjoy while in Southern Utah:
Of course, the top areas to see some incredible views are in the region’s national parks. Zion offers dramatic mountains in all directions as the Virgin River cuts through the canyon. Even a bus ride through the national park features scenery you won’t believe!
For some of the most interesting and beautiful rock formations you’ll ever see, you have to stop by Bryce Canyon. Here you can find layers upon layers of jagged rocks pointed straight up in the sky.
Arches is another park that features astonishing views. You’ll witness huge open spaces, rocky terrain, and plenty of massive arches found in between. There really isn’t anywhere like it.
With so much open desert land, Southern Utah offers endless campgrounds and dispersed camping opportunities. Dozens of campgrounds are found just minutes outside of Zion, meaning adventure is right outside your van window! Many of these spots offer incredible views of the surrounding area.
You can also find plenty of sweet campgrounds around the other national parks, especially the popular Bryce Canyon. Many of these campgrounds have dozens of sites available, creating the perfect opportunity to invite your van camping buddies!
As Southern Utah has national parks in every direction, hiking trails are found everywhere. Angels Landing is a popular trail located in Zion, featuring a steep climb while holding onto a chain for assistance. And if you’re looking for an adventure you’ll never forget, throw on your water shoes and travel through the Narrows in Zion. This trail meanders through a breathtaking canyon while stepping through a calm stream. As you look up and see the canyon walls over a thousand feet above you, it’ll feel like you’re dreaming.
The other four national parks in the region also feature some breathtaking hikes. Navajo Loop Trail is a popular route in Bryce, and Devil’s Garden Trail is a top spot in Arches.
Here are some travel tips to keep in mind when venturing in Southern Utah:
These national parks can get crazy busy, especially Zion. Luckily, there are plenty of places to get away from the crowds. But regardless, it’s a good idea to get an early start. If you can get to a trailhead in the early morning, then there’s a solid chance you’ll see fewer people on your adventure.
Prepare for the weather
Utah is known for having weather that changes frequently. While it may be sunny one minute, it can be pouring rain the next. That said, always check the weather before your journey. Also, make sure to pack sunscreen, a rain jacket, and a hat.
Stop at the many viewpoints
If you’re trying to cram in all the scenery you can, hiking can take a while. That said, depending on the length of your trip, try stopping at as many viewpoints as possible. This allows you to see more scenery, all right outside your campervan window!
Here are the locations of some of the area’s top spots:
• Sunset Campground: Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764
• Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort: 479 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767
• Fruita Campground: Camp Ground Rd, Torrey, UT 84775
• Willow Flat Campground: Green River Overlook Rd, Moab, UT 84532
• Devils Garden Campground: Arches Entrance Rd, Moab, UT 84532
• The Narrows: Zion National Park
• Navajo Loop Trail: Bryce Canyon National Park
• Chimney Rock Trail: Capitol Reef National Park
• Mesa Arch: Canyonlands National Park
• Delicate Arch: Arches National Park
Looking to avoid the crowds? If so, check out these off-the-beaten-path destinations in Southern Utah:
• Dead Horse Point State Park
• Valley of the Gods
• Natural Bridges National Monument
• Needles Overlook
• Goosenecks State Park
Take a Campervan On Your Southern Utah Adventure!
With five national parks to explore in Southern Utah, you could spend weeks adventuring in the area. No matter what journey you take, Rec Van wants to make your dreams a reality!
We’re happy to be a trusted source for buying and selling top-of-the-line campervans. Check out our wide selection of adventure vans today!