When the walls feel like they are closing in and I need a boost again, I return to the wide-open spaces of the southwest and the healing peacefulness of the canyons for a road trip in Utah and Arizona.
Nothing can put life into perceptive better than cruising through red-rock pinnacles, hiking to crystalline waterfalls, sleeping next to a roaring river, watching bright stars in the pitch-black sky, or whitewater rafting a mile deep inside a two-billion-year-old canyon – the Grand Canyon.
There is no better pick-me-up road trip than the “Grand Circle Loop” predominantly in Utah and Arizona linking the most iconic national parks. Along the way you will discover the most diverse and extraordinary national wonders – red rock arches and buttes, bizarre hoodoos, thick forests of Ponderosa pines, and enormous canyons – all within driving distance of each other.
Any roadmap will show you this imaginary circle through the desert nicknamed the “Grand Circle Loop”. This road trip can be done in a week with short stops in each park, but the ideal would be two weeks so you can keep an easy-going pace, meander through one-horse towns, meet local characters, poke through small trading posts, explore canyons with petroglyphs and soak in the otherworldly natural wonders.
Departure points can be Las Vegas, Salt Lake or Phoenix. It’s easy. Rent a car or an RV and off you go. Scroll down to read my full story and at the end you’ll find links to resources. This story was first published in Travelgirl Magazine. For the story about a family trip on horseback in Arizona, click here.
Where to Stay and How to Organize the Trip.
Accommodations along the Grand Circle Loop can be as varied and as much of an adventure as your time on the road. In addition to chain hotels, there are historic national park lodges, campgrounds, and even cozy B&Bs. Find free maps, guides and tour suggestions on the official Utah Tourism Website. www.utah.com
Consider an RV or camper rental. Check out these sources: https://utah.com/utah-rv-rentals
For first time RV renters, here are great tips as well as suggested apps to help you plans: . https://danahfreeman.com/first-rv-trip/ and https://campingtipsforeveryone.com/rv-rental-101-motorhome-rental-tips-rv-camping-tips/
In Moab, check out the Moab Adventure Center for help with activities, condos, campgrounds, RB parks and accommodation choices.
Let the Pros Plan It with A Custom Trip
For a 6-day, 5-night hike and bike, custom tour in Utah’s National Parks, check out Austin Adventure’s’ Guided Family trip. Similar custom trips available for groups of 2-20. https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/utah-bryce-canyon-zion-family/
Stay current on the latest news and park access through the Utah Corona Update Website. https://utah.com/utah-coronavirus-updates