Conveniently situated in the Western United States, Park City lies in the perfect spot for those looking to experience the beauty and majesty of the west. With multiple national parks to the west and the east of the city, it is the perfect base camp for a first-time or seasoned adventurer.
Jensen and Company have assembled a list of some of the closest national parks in the area. The only work you must do is decide which ones to visit first!
Zion National Park
One of the questions we frequently get asked is: Is Zion National Park close to Park City? It’s not super close but is an easy half-day drive to the southwest part of Utah. The park is off well-traveled I-15 and will take you about five hours to reach from Park City.
The park is well worth the drive. In Utah’s first national park, you will walk the same paths as ancient native Americans and western pioneers did. See massive, soaring pink and cream sandstone cliffs and explore a narrow slot canyon full of wildlife.
There are multi-day hikes available as well as family-friendly trails perfect for day trips. There is plenty of lodging available both in the park and outside of it. The Zion Lodge is the only “in-park” hotel, so make reservations well in advance.
However, if it’s not available, there is plenty of options in and around the town of St. George that is very near the park.
Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park is one of the closest National Parks to Park City. Located in the town of Moab, Arches is home to over 2,000 natural stone arches. One of its most famous arches, Landscape Arch, is the longest natural stone arch in the USA.
The instantly recognizable Delicate Arch, a symbol of Utah and a fixture on the state license plates, is one of the most popular hikes in the park. Other great trails include the challenging Devil’s Playground, the permit-only Fiery Furnace, and the towering cliffs on Park Avenue.
This is also an excellent park for families. Most of its trails can be managed by kids, and there are easy-to-access viewpoints throughout the park.
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
With its endless rugged landscape and colorful desert rock, Capitol Reef National Park is a wonderful place to visit. The significant feature of Capitol Reef is Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile-long buckle in the earth’s surface that has created deep, narrow canyons and fascinating rock formations.
Capitol Reef is an accessible and great park to explore. Highway 24 cuts through the park and showcases the beautiful Panorama Point, Goosenecks Overlook, and Sunset Point. The Capitol Reef Scenic Drive, an 8-mile scenic drive, leads the way through the most magnificent scenery in the park and includes access to the Hickman’s Bridge trail, where Capitol’s Reef natural stone arch sits.
Remember that the five Utah National Parks (Canyonlands, Arches, Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef) can be explored together on a Utah National Parks road trip.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Located in eastern Nevada near the Utah border, Great Basin National Park is centered around the dry and mountainous Great Basin region between California and Utah. This park is incredibly diverse, with a stunning mix of alpine lakes and limestone caverns to explore.
The park is home to Nevada’s only glacier and the oldest living trees on the planet: its 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine trees. Great Basin National Park is also known for its beautiful night skies, which should not be missed!
A few fun highlights of this park include the Lehman Cave tour, the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail, the Bristlecone Trail, and the trail to the summit of the second-highest peak in Nevada, Wheeler Peak.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Canyonlands is the largest of Utah’s National Parks. It is known for its vast and dramatic landscape that comprises colorful canyons, buttes, and mesas. Canyonlands is divided into four distinct districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers.
The districts are located quite far apart, so this should probably be a multi-day trip. Island in the Sky is the most accessible and is a 30-minute drive from Moab. This is where Mesa Arch, the most famous and photographed arch in Utah, is located.
Mesa Arch is only a 10-minute hike from the nearby parking lot, perfectly framing the surrounding canyons and rock formations.
Many of Canyonland’s best viewpoints are also nearby this spot: Grand View Point, Orange Cliffs, Buck Canyon, Candlestick Tower, and Green River. These are all fantastic overlooks, while White Rim Overlook and the Gooseberry trail are all popular hikes.
Most people combine a trip to Canyonlands National with a visit to Arches National Park – both are within 30 minutes of Moab, Utah, which can be used as a base for both.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
With its signature hoodoo rock columns, Bryce Canyon National Park is a truly magnificent sight. Its series of natural amphitheaters are carved into the edge of a high plateau, and there are some spectacular viewpoints along the rim: Rainbow Point, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, and Bryce Point all offer sweeping views.
We highly recommend the Queens Garden trail and the Navajo Loop trails, as these are the most popular in Bryce and only run about 1.5 hours.
Bryce Canyon is Utah’s smallest National Park and can easily be explored in a single day. Bryce Canyon is only a 1-hour, 30-minute drive from Zion National Park, so a visit to the two is often combined.
These beautiful nearby natural wonders make Park City one of the best places to live in the nation. For those looking to purchase property in the area, contact Jensen and Company today to help you make a new start.