The Utah Triangle: National Park Wonderland
With 58 parks in the United States it could take a lifetime to check them all off of your list, but one way to maximize your time is to visit a place where you can easily see more than one park in a single trip. No other place makes this a viable option like Utah. Within a 150 mile drive you can visit three unique and distinct national parks; Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands.
First up on this epic road trip is Capitol Reef, one of the lesser known and least visited parks in Utah. Take a stroll on the boardwalks to view petroglyphs from the Fremont and Pueblo Native Americans.
Staring at the ancient carvings on the red canyon walls is the perfect way to begin your trip, it will make you step back and realize just how long humans have inhabited this somewhat inhospitable yet magnificent state. Continue on down the road and make the trek to Hickman's Bridge, a great primer for the arches that lay ahead.
Two hours down the road lies one of the most iconic parks in the entire U.S. park system, Arches. Even if you aren't a seasoned outdoorsy-type you have most likely seen images of this park. It graced the state's quarter a few years back and was even used in a Super Bowl commercial this year. Even if it is filled with hordes of tourists you have to make the three-mile hike to the Delicate Arch, one of the most recognizable geological features in the world. I'd recommend getting there right at sunrise before it becomes too packed and then heading out to explore the rest of the park which contains more than 2,000 other arches.
And last but certainly not least is Canyonlands National Park, a mere 30 miles from Arches. It is the largest park in the state and is split into 3 districts naturally divided by the Colorado and Green Rivers. By this point in the trip you may be running low on time so stick with the district closest to Moab; Island in the Sky. Hike, bike, 4-wheel or kayak your way to more arches and of course towering canyon. If you're feeling up for it ask some of the locals or park rangers about the hidden features of this park that aren't mapped out. I promise you will not be disappointed.