Getaways

National Parks Bucket List: Our Ultimate Guide to the Most Majestic Natural Escapes in the West

Arches National Park, Utah (Courtesy of National Park Services)
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While the fate of our country's most majestic swaths of nature hangs in the balance, there is no time like the present to visit our national parks.

So, break out your bucket list and start checking them off: Here's how to get the best of our 10 favorite national parks this side of the Colorado River.


Utah's National Parks: For Stargazers and Geologists

Bryce Canyon National Park

(Courtesy of Utah.com)

Bryce Canyon National Park

One of the smaller national parks, Bryce Canyon is nestled in the rockery terrain of southwest Utah. Dew-drenched ponderosa pines can be seen towering atop the park's high-altitude meadows; the songs of resident swallows can be heard emanating from the bellies of horseshoe-curved canyons. Bryce Canyon epitomizes the notion that great things do, in fact, come in small packages. (A 35,835 acre package, to be exact.) Don't forget to checkout the hoodoos Bryce Canyon's famous for.

  • Established: 1928
  • Camp: Northbound and Sunset campgrounds offer $20 to $30 nightly fees.
  • Main Attractions: Annual geology and astronomy festivals, and ride horseback through the canyons.
  • Like a boss: Get the best views of the naturally carved-out amphitheaters from Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point.

// Bryce Canyon National Park, UT-63, Bryce, Utah, nps.org


Arches National Park

First occupied by humans nearly 10,000 years ago, Arches National Park is the byproduct of the glaciers that receded during the last ice age. Fast forward to the present day, Arches National Park is now widely regarded as one of the country's go-to destinations for star gazing and geocaching. Devil's Garden serves up sin-worthy amounts of no-filter-needed panoramas—like the ones waiting for you at Broken Arch, Double Arch, and Mesa Arch. The pictures you'll be tiling your Instagram with are worth the road trip itself.

  • Established: 1929
  • Camp: The 50-site campground at Devil's Garden is currently closed; lodging can be found at the neighboring city of Moab, Utah.
  • Main attractions: Cave wall art and sandstone art from the ancient Pueblo and Fremont peoples; don't forget to stop by Delicate Arch—which is featured on Utah's state license plates.
  • Like a boss: Beautiful wildflowers and seven geologically baffling arches can be seen on the 7.8 mile Devil's Loop Hike.

// Arches National Park, 2180 US-191, Moab, Utah, nps.org



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