Utah Journals

National Parks in Southern Utah

A travel journal to Utah by Chris & Carinne

Quote: I've been on a mission to visit all the National Parks (not including National Historic Parks or National Monuments) in United States. This journal provides thoughts on my visit to the parks in Southern Utah and Arizona in 2004.

Utah

South Desert Overlooks/Cathedral Valley

Attraction | "Best Way to Take in the Park in a Day"

Quote:
Capitol Reef was the most surprisingly beautiful park I've visited. Of course, the surprise started with low expectations; I hadn't heard much other than the area had been settled by Mormons. The "Scenic Drive" did little to impress me, but it is the only way to get to trailheads for some short but decent hikes. At each of the three parking areas, you have a choice between a short and shorter trail; pick based on your time, though Cassidy Arch is a must if you haven't been to Arches, and the Tunnels was almost not worth the short hike. By far the most impressive part of the park was off the beaten trail: the Burr Ridge Loop (from the Visitor Center, down through the Waterpocket Fold and across the Gra...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 13, 2009

South Desert Overlooks/Cathedral Valley
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park

Attraction | "Get Out of Your Car"

Quote:
Those who say Bryce Canyon is more spectacular than the Grand Canyon probably didn't get out of their car. Indeed, the vistas along the length of the park road offered nice views of various landscapes and geologic features, but you cannot truly appreciate the park without taking a hike down to the magical orange fairyland of the canyon floor. The Navajo Loop-Queen's Garden-Rim Trail is a wondrous but short (3 miles) loop down into the canyon. My time driving to Rainbow Point probably would have been better spent extending my hike. I saw a chilly but inspiring sunrise at Sunrise Point; it might have been even nicer at Bryce Point, the highest in the park.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 13, 2009

Bryce Canyon National Park
Southwestern Utah
Bryce, UT 84717
(435) 834-5322

Arizona

Grand Canyon North Rim

Attraction | "Even Here It's Too Busy"

Quote:
Everybody needs to see the Grand Canyon, but you don't need to see everybody. That's why I avoided the South Rim, and I should have done the same with the North Rim Visitor Center. The views were superior and less crowded at Point Imperial, Angel's Window, and Cape Royal, and I could have saved my energy for a longer descent down the legendary Kaibab Trail. I still don't feel like I have a real feel for the sheer depth of the Canyon, which a future descent (and arduous ascent) or raft ride should remedy. Five hours was enough to feel satisfied that I had "been to" the Grand Canyon, but a multi-day trek to the canyon floor is likely necessary to feel like you've truly "experienced" it.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 13, 2009

Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park

Attraction | "Start in the North First for Solitude and Adventure"

Quote:
Pulling over at every stop and walking every mile of maintained trail provided a pretty complete experience of the park in just 2.5 hours. Certainly, ONE of the petrified forest trails is a must, and the Blue Mesa trail was cool, but the day didn't start for me until I entered the Wilderness Area in the northern part of the park, which has all the features of the rest but with absolute solitude and the challenge of finding those features without a trail. If only I had gotten here earlier, I might have spent more time in a cooler Painted Desert.Five hours allowed me to do absolutely everything in the park. Use the same amount of time to start in the north, find the Onyx Tower in the Painted...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 13, 2009

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona 86028
(928) 524-6228