There are SO many awesome spots around the border of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. You can see a lot of them within a 2-4 day Utah & Arizona road trip! Check out my guide and start planning your adventure.
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Planning a southwest road trip for the weekend? Check out this Arizona & Utah road trip itinerary to hit all the best spots. Depending on how much time you have, you can pick and choose your favorites from this guide to plan a trip that works around your schedule!
Utah Arizona Road Trip Overview
- PTO/Vacation Days Needed: 0-3
- Nights: 2-4
- Cost: $
SEE ALSO: White Pocket, AZ: An Epic Alternative to The Wave
I recommend flying into Las Vegas, renting a car, and driving about 3 hours. Other options are Salt Lake City (~5 hours away from this area) or Phoenix (about 5.5 hours away).
Where to Stay in Northern AZ / Southern UT
One option for your Utah & Arizona road trip is to rent an RV and hit the road. Download the Dyrt Pro app to find the best spots to park your RV for the night!
Check out my post How to Find RV Deals for an Epic Road Trip for more.
If you want to camp but also want the comforts of home, renting a campervan is a great option! My favorite campervan company is Travellers Autobarn. Their vans have a stove, microwave, fridge and sink, and can sleep 3 people inside of it. Also, they have unlimited miles which is something that most campervan companies don’t offer! You can pick up the van at their location in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Las Vegas.
Best Hotels in Kanab, UT:
I’ve been to this area a few times, and have found that one of the most central locations to get a hotel is in Kanab, UT. I’ve stayed at both the Quality Inn Kanab (if you’re trying for the walk-in Wave lottery, this hotel is right next door) and The Travelodge Kanab. Both hotels were simple and cheap, but great, and had comfy beds!
There’s also some great VRBOs, like this cool house nestled next to some picturesque red rock formations!
Best Hotels in Page, AZ:
Another common location for lodging in this area is in Page, AZ. This is central to the Lake Powell/Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend sights.
One of the best hotels in Page, AZ is the Hyatt Place or the Best Western View of Lake Powell hotel, with a beautiful view of the Glen Canyon Dam.
There’s also spots like this awesome cabin in Page with a hot tub and view of Lake Powell!
Utah and Arizona Road Trip Packing List
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- Nano Puff Jacket (packs up small and keeps you warm when it gets chilly at night!)
- The COLDEST Water Bottle (seriously – it stays colder than Hydroflask!)
- Hiking Boots (these are my fave)
- REI Soft Cooler (I have this and love it!)
- Cliff Bar Energy Chews (great to give you a boost of energy on hikes!)
- Sony A6000 (I’m just starting to learn photography, but this is the camera I’ve been using! I love it)
- Day Pack
- SmartWool Hiking Socks
Utah & Arizona Road Trip: Day 1
The Wave, made famous from a Windows desktop background (and Instagram) is an absolutely amazing geological rock formation. The only catch is – you can only go with a permit, which is tough to get. Only 20 people per day (10 from online and 10 from walk-in lottery) are able to go. Try your luck at the walk-in lottery while you are in the area – you might get lucky!
Check out my post How to Win the Wave Lottery for more details.
If you aren’t one of the lucky 20 people to get to go to The Wave – don’t worry! I’ve got an alternative option for you. White Pocket is another epic area right near The Wave with similar features. It legit looks like a different planet!
You don’t need a permit to go to this lesser-known spot – you just need 4WD to get there. If you don’t have 4WD, I recommend booking a tour to White Pocket with Dreamland Safaris. This is what we did, and it was awesome! Having a guide not only gets you there safely, but you also get to learn about what makes this place so special.
Read more about this hidden gem of a spot: White Pocket, AZ: An Epic Alternative to The Wave Hike
Located in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, the hike to get to the Toadstools is a quick 1.5 miles round trip. Once you arrive, you’ll see these cool rock formations that look like mushrooms!
Utah & Arizona Road Trip Day 2:
Wake up early and head over to Page, AZ (74 miles from Kanab, UT) for today’s activities. I recommend starting with checking out Lake Powell– only a few miles away from Antelope Canyon. One of the best ways to get a great intro to Lake Powell is to take a boat tour!
You can book an hour-long boat tour through Antelope Point Marina for only $30/person! This is a quick and affordable way to get out on the lake and soak in the awesome views as you meander through the canyons. I would love to come back sometime in the summer and spend a whole weekend on the lake! It’s seriously awesome.
Also, you can bring your own snacks and drinks onboard! There’s a convenient store at the dock right next to where you board the boat where you can stock up.
Antelope Canyon is definitely a must-see if you are in the area. It’s amazing!
Antelope Canyon is made up of two different slot canyons: Upper Antelope Canyon or Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is the more famous of the two (and more crowded) and is above ground. Lower Antelope Canyon is not quite as crowded, and is below ground and a bit more adventurous. This is the one that I did. You descend down 5 flights of stairs and squeeze through narrow passageways throughout the canyon while you gradually ascend back up to ground level.
Since it is on Navajo land, the only way to see Antelope Canyon is through a guided tour, which you need to book ahead of time. Tours run about every 20 minutes, with about 15 people per group.
There are only two tour outfitters for Lower Antelope Canyon- Dixie Ellis and Ken’s Tours. We chose Dixie Ellis and had a great experience. The price comes out to $38 each, which includes the Navajo Reservation Fee.
If you enjoy photography and want to bring along your nice camera, you have the option to book a longer, more expensive photography tour of Lower Antelope Canyon
Check the weather patterns beforehand, and pick a time where the sun is directly above in order to have the best lighting. We did our tour at 1:15pm in early December- which gave us great lighting for pictures!
If you are visiting in the high season (or on a holiday weekend) be prepared to wait in line for up to 1-3 hours to enter the canyon. Thankfully, going in December we had no wait time at all! Although there are no light beams shining through to the ground in winter months, there is still light shining through on the canyon walls and it still looked completely amazing!
After your Lower Antelope Canyon tour, grab some food somewhere in Page, AZ before heading to Horseshoe Bend to watch the sunset. There are several restaurant options in Page- we opted for a Mexican restaurant that our Lower Antelope Canyon tour guide recommended (El Tapatio)- it was great! Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to Horseshoe Bend for sunset.
Tips for Horseshoe Bend
- Horseshoe Bend is about a 10 minute drive from Page, AZ- right off of Hwy 89
- Get there an hour before sunset to make sure you get a parking spot in the lot, and have enough time to walk down and get a spot with a view. If you’re visiting in the high season (Spring/Summer) the parking lot may be full, so you might have to park on the street.
- It’s a quick, half-mile hike down on a clearly marked path to get to Horseshoe Bend. There will probably be a good amount of people there (especially if you go in the high season), but no worries- there is a lot of room to spread out on the surrounding rocks to get an unobstructed view (and to get great pictures!)
- Although sunset at Horseshoe Bend was beautiful, the sunrise view is equally amazing. You can always customize this road trip itinerary to switch up the order if you would rather catch the sunrise here!
Utah Arizona Road Trip – Day 3
Bryce Canyon National Park
Wake up early and head 1.5 hours north to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah to catch the sunrise- believe me, it’s worth it!
Bryce Canyon Sunrise Tips:
- Best spot to watch the sunrise: Bryce Point (if you put this in your Google Maps, it will take you right to it)
- Park in the parking lot and then follow the short walking trail to the overlook area to catch the most beautiful view of the canyon
After the sunrise, head to Sunset Point Overlook, and do the Navajo Loop hike. This 1.5 mile trail takes you on several switchbacks through the “hoodoo” formations that Bryce Canyon is known for, as well as through “Wall Street”- a narrow canyon with a towering Douglas Fir tree growing in between. When you get down to the bottom, you have the option to extend the hike by taking “Queens Garden” trail for an extra 1.7 miles. This combination has been called the “World’s Best 3-Mile Hike”, for good reason!
There is so much to see in Bryce Canyon- you could spend the entire weekend here! I definitely want to go back someday. If you have more time, I would spend at least the whole day here.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Next stop on your Utah & Arizona road trip is Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park! Located about 1.5 hours southwest of Bryce Canyon (and only 30 min from Zion), this park literally looks like you’ve stepped into the Sahara desert.
The entrance to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park costs $8 (they do accept credit cards). Once you get in, turn right on the road and park at the first parking lot to access what looks like one of the biggest sand dunes in the park. Be prepared for a slightly strenuous, sandy walk to the top of the dunes!
On the way out of the park, you drive on this long, straight road with a beautiful view of the mountains in the background- great photo op!
Utah & Arizona Road Trip: Day 4
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is epic. Since you are now making your way back to the Vegas area where you will fly back, you should spend the night here instead of backtracking to Kanab or Page.
Where to Stay in Zion National Park
If you like camping, Watchman Campground is awesome. Located inside the park, these campsites have beautiful views of the surrounding red rocks, AND it’s walking distance to a brewery.
If you’re looking for lodging, the Cliffrose Hotel is located right on the Virgin River and looks beautiful!
Best Things to Do in Zion National Park
I definitely recommend doing the two most popular and iconic hikes in the park – Angels Landing and The Narrows.
Angels Landing is the more strenuous of the two. This 5.5 mile roundtrip hike starts off with switchbacks up to the top where you then pull yourself up rocks and along steep edges while holding on to a chain for stability. If you’re scared of heights, this hike might not be for you!
The Narrows is a super unique hike in Zion National Park, where you are hiking through a river between two red canyon walls. This hike can be as long as you want it to – you can turn around at any time! It’s truly amazing.
Check out more with my 2-Day Zion Itinerary post to plan this part of your Utah & Arizona road trip!
Seven Magic Mountains
When you head back to Vegas to fly home, take a short detour to check out Seven Magic Mountains! This colorful art installation 30 min outside of Vegas is definitely worth checking out before your flight home.
Want more? Check out The Most Epic Places to Visit in Arizona
This Post Has 2 Comments
Your tip on avoiding park fees in Bryce is selfish. The park fees are there to help keep the parks looking beautiful. Pay the fees and enjoy the parks.
Thank you for calling me out on this. This was the first blog I ever wrote, back in the day. I just edited to remove that tip. Thank you!