Salt Lake City is surrounded by some of the country's most iconic parks. In just a short time, you can travel from a busy city to a deserted canyon deep in the earth's crust. See how long it will take for your next getaway.
Distance: 230 miles
Approximate time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Arches contains some of the country’s most amazing natural wonders—mammoth rocks and arches formed from erosion. Perhaps one of the most important facts about Arches is that the park is constantly evolving. In the past 18 years, two major collapses have occurred: A major piece of Landscape Arch in 1991, Wall Arch in 2008, and Rainbow Arch in 2018. Both serve as reminders that these structures will not last forever—all the more reason to visit soon.
Distance: 357 miles
Approximate time: 5 hours, 40 minutes
This 27,705-acre Colorado park draws fewer than 500,000 visitors per year, making it one of the least-visited national parks in the U.S. national park system. No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths visible here.
Distance: 268 miles
Approximate time: 4 hours, 2 minutes
No other national park showcases what natural erosion can build than Bryce Canyon National Park. Giant sandstone creations, known as hoodoos, attract more than one million visitors annually. Many take to the trails choosing hiking and horseback riding to get an up-close-and-personal look at stunning fluted walls and sculptured pinnacles.
Canyonlands National Park
Distance: 254 miles
Approximate time: 3 hours, 49 minutes
In this geological wonderland, rocks, spires, and mesas dominate the heart of the Colorado Plateau cut by canyons of the Green and Colorado rivers. Petroglyphs left by Indians hundreds of years ago are also present. The Colorado and Green rivers divide the park into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves. While the districts share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and offers different opportunities for exploration and the study of natural and cultural history.
Distance: 218 miles
Approximate time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
The 241,904-acre park in south-central Utah draws more than a million visitors per year. It protects the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long warp in the Earth's crust, as well as the unique historical and cultural history of the area.
Distance: 392 miles
Approximate time: 6 hours, 31 minutes
About five million people visit Grand Canyon National Park each year and it comes as no surprise why. The main attraction, Grand Canyon, is a mammoth gorge stretching 277 miles showcasing amazing depths of colorful geology. It boasts some of the nation’s cleanest air and a great deal of the park’s 1,904 square miles are maintained as wilderness. Visitors cannot help but be blown away by stunning views from almost any vantage point.
Distance: 282 miles
Approximate time: 4 hours, 42 minutes
With the magnificent Teton Range as a backdrop, this park is one of the most uniquely beautiful spots in the United States. Towering more than a mile above the valley known as Jackson Hole, the Grand Teton rises to 13,770 feet above sea level.
Distance: 234 miles
Approximate time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
This 77,180-acre Nevada park draws only about 80,000 visitors a year, making it one of the least visited of the US national parks. Among its natural features are streams, lakes, abundant wildlife, a variety of forest types including groves of ancient bristlecone pines, and numerous limestone caverns, including Lehman Caves.
Distance: 358 miles
Approximate time: 5 hours, 50 minutes
Mesa Verde, Spanish for "green table," offers a unique opportunity to see and experience 700 years of history. From approximately A.D. 600 through A.D. 1300 people lived and flourished in communities throughout the area.
Distance: 426 miles
Approximate time: 7 hours, 20 minutes
Peaks towering more than 14,000 feet shadow wildlife, wildflowers, lakes, and forests in these 415 square miles of the Rockies. This park is most well known for its large animals, particularly elk and bighorn sheep, but also offers opportunities to view a variety of other wildlife as well.
Distance: 321 miles
Approximate time: 4 hours, 40 minutes
Mixing geothermal activity with the natural world of the Wild West, Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park exemplifies iconic Americana. Established in 1872, it was our country's first national park and helped establish the importance of protecting the United States' natural wonders and wild places.
Distance: 309 miles
Approximate time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Located in Utah's high plateau county, the Virgin River has carved a gorge so deep that sunlight rarely reaches the bottom! The canyon is wide and completely stunning with sheer cliffs dropping some 3,000 feet. Weathered sandstone shines red and white, and creates amazing sculptured rocks, cliffs, peaks, and hanging valleys.