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The Mighty 5 - Utah's National Parks

Grand Circle

See the Mighty 5 on the Grand Circle Road Trip

Points of Interest: Zion & Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef & Grand Canyon, Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, Monument Valley Tribal Park. The Grand Circle

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Canyon lands National Park, a unique destination full of spires, buttes, arches, rivers and most spectacular of all, vast canyons. This park is home to The Needles, Maze and Island of the Sky districts. Each area offers its own unique scenery and vastness that provide feelings of solitude. Canyon lands is sliced into these three areas by the Green and Colorado rivers. Beautiful vistas and overlooks have kept park visitors in awe for many years. Canyon lands is still an untrammeled and quiet mass of canyons that often appeal to the more rugged of hikers, 4 wheel drivers and mountain bikers.

If you plan to visit Canyonlands National Park, summers are hot and winters cool, if not sometimes very cold. Any time of year it is best to travel with layers and as water is not available in most parts of the park, plan ahead by picking up water in the nearby towns such as Moab… Canyonlands National Park

Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef National Park

The Waterpocket Fold defines Capitol Reef National Park. A nearly 100-mile long warp in the Earth's crust, the Waterpocket Fold is a classic monocline: a regional fold with one very steep side in an area of otherwise nearly horizontal layers. A monocline is a "step-up" in the rock layers. The rock layers on the west side of the Waterpocket Fold have been lifted more than 7000 feet higher than the layers on the east. Major folds are almost always associated with underlying faults. The Waterpocket Fold formed between 50 and 70 million years ago when a major mountain building event in western North America, the Laramide Orogeny, reactivated an ancient buried fault. When the fault moved, the overlying rock layers were draped above the fault and formed a monocline. More recent uplift of the entire Colorado Plateau and the resulting erosion has exposed this fold at the surface only within the last 15 to 20 million years. The name Waterpocket Fold reflects this ongoing erosion of the rock layers. "Water pockets" are basins that form in many of the sandstone layers as they are eroded by water. These basins are common throughout the fold, thus giving it the name "Waterpocket Fold". Erosion of the tilted rock layers continues today forming colorful cliffs, massive domes, soaring spires, stark monoliths, twisting canyons, and graceful arches… Capitol Reef National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is known for its' remarkable natural red sandstone arches. With over 2,000 catalogued arches that range in size from a three-foot opening, to Landscape Arch which measures 306 feet from base to base, the park offers the largest concentration of natural arches in the world. Towering spires, fins and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of landforms in a relatively small area.

Arches lies near the heart of a desert called the Colorado Plateau in the state of Utah. Arches has plenty to keep you busy during your visit with various hiking opportunities to a gorgeous scenic drive through the park…. Arches National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, a place home to the Narrows, Canyon Overlook, Emerald Pools, a petrified forest, a desert swamp, springs and waterfalls, hanging gardens, wildflowers, wildlife and more!

Zion has become quickly a popular park for national park explorers. Zion is a wilderness preserved, full of the unexpected. It includes what might be the world's largest arch - Kolob Arch, spanning 310 feet. It also boasts some more simpler natural wonders such as; small waterfalls and clear backcountry pools. Zion is part of the Southwest's "Grand Circle" of national parks, monuments, historical areas, and recreation areas - one of the world's great concentrations of outstanding natural and cultural features… Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is a small national park in southwestern Utah. Named after the Mormon Pioneer Ebenezer Bryce, Bryce Canyon became a national park in 1924. Bryce is famous for its worldly unique geology, consisting of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater has shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called hoodoos.

Famous for its unique geology of red rock spires and horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters, Bryce offers the visitor a "Far View" from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah… Bryce Canyon National Park