15 Days/14 Nights – Gateway: Salt Lake City

1 & 2: Salt Lake City, UT

Welcome to Salt Lake City! Combining the amenities of a major metropolitan area with the friendliness of a small western city, Salt Lake City is fast becoming one of America’s foremost destinations – and for good reason. While here you can enjoy a sunset dinner cruise on the Great Salt Lake, or take in a concert by the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Dig up facts about dinosaurs or pioneer history and within a day’s drive there are fifteen national parks and monuments.

2 nights Salt Lake City

3, 4 & 5: To Moab/Arches National Park/Canyonlands (234 mi/390 km)

Scenic wonders abound as you spend three days exploring the fabulous National Parks surrounding Moab, Utah. Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. Canyonlands preserves a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Utah’s Grand Canyon – Dead Horse Point State Park is perhaps Utah’s most spectacular state park. Towering 2,000 feet directly above the Colorado River, the mesa that is Dead Horse Point provides breathtaking views of the canyon country of southeastern Utah and the pinnacles and buttes of Canyonlands National Park.

3 nights Moab, UT

6 & 7: Durango, CO – Mesa Verde (161 mi/270 km)

Your destination today is Durango, Colorado, steeped in both historical and outdoor attractions. Take a day to visit Mesa Verde National Park, offering a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years. Today the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. Another wonderful excursion is the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad.

2 nights Durango, CO

8 & 9: Santa Fe, NM (212mi/353km)

As you travel to Santa Fe, NM today, you may want to stop at Petroglyph National Monument. Here people who lived along the Rio Grande for many centuries come alive again through images they carved on the shiny black rocks. Hike the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains and explore ancient Native American ruins by day, then enjoy Santa Fe’s nightlife. Visit Bandolier National Monument, best known for mesas, sheer-walled  canyons, and the ancestral Pueblos found among them.

2 nights Santa Fe, NM

10 & 11: To Grand Canyon (477 mi/793 km)

Today, travel to the world-famous Grand Canyon. Begin at the Desert View Information Center – located at the park’s east entrance on the South Rim to get an orientation on the park. Continue along the Desert View Drive, which follows the canyon’s rim for 26 miles to Grand Canyon Village and Mather Point to catch the shuttle to Canyon View Information Plaza. Here you will find the visitor center, and a large bookstore. Several outdoor exhibits provide a variety of information about Grand Canyon National Park and what to do once at the park.

2 nights Grand Canyon

12: To Lake Powell, AZ (138 mi/230 km)

An easy drive to Lake Powell, named after John Wesley Powell, the first person to fully explore and write about the canyons of Colorado River. It was still terra incognita in the early 1950’s when the Bureau of Reclamation proposed building a dam, one of many proposed for the Colorado River, at Glen Canyon’s southern end. Construction of the dam began in 1956, it was completed in 1963 but did not completely fill until 1980

1 night Page, AZ

13 & 14: Zion National Park/Bryce Canyon National Park (371 mi/620 km)

Travel to Zion National park, one of the gems of the National Park system and one of Utah’s most beloved tourist destinations. Here, massive canyon walls ascend to toward a brilliant blue sky. They could be described as sand castles crowning desert canyons. After your day here travel towards Bryce Canyon National park, named for one of the many canyons that form a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters on the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. Erosion has carved colorful Claron limestones into thousands of spires, fins, arches and mazes.

2 nights Bryce Canyon

15: To Salt Lake City/Home (303 mi/500 km)

Return to Salt Lake City today to begin your homeward journey.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email