The Best Utah National Parks for Baby Boomers
Updated 04.01.2019: With 5 national parks and numerous national monuments, Utah is an active boomer traveler’s dream destination. On our Utah national parks road trips, we’ve soaked in sweeping vistas, photographed mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets plus enjoyed unique adventures without the crowds typical of the national park scene.
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Tips for planning a Utah National Park trip
What makes a Utah national park good for boomer travelers? In our experience that means beautiful scenery, moderate hikes, fun dirt roads to drive plus an unexpected adventure or two.
When is the best time to visit a national park in Utah? We prefer visiting Utah national parks in the spring or summer when the temperatures are pleasant. And, as boomer travelers, we’re all about avoiding crowds. Although that’s becoming increasingly hard to do in U.S. national parks. Traveling during the shoulder season helps.
Check out our Utah Travel Planner for more resources and tips.
Where are the best places to stay in Utah National Parks? When we’re on a Utah national park road trip, Alan and I leave our luxury ways at home. If there’s a national park lodge, we stay there for the history and proximity to trails and scenery. But you’ll need to book those types of accommodations well in advance.
We’re happy to spend the night in a comfortable bed and breakfast, inn or an occasional luxury resort. We start our search here, then head over to read the reviews at TripAdvisor. This is one area of the country where traveling in an RV travel is a definite plus.
The best Utah National Parks and Monuments for baby boomers
Discovering Canyonlands National Park
Canyons, mesas, two rivers, deep gorges—boomer travelers won’t know where to look first when visiting Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. This vast national park covers three distinct regions—Island in the Sky, Needles and the Maze. You’ll be hard-pressed to visit them all in one trip. On a first-time visit, we recommend combining Island in the Sky and Arches National Park as they are fairly close together. Read more about our experience by clicking on Discovering Canyonlands National Park.
Canyonlands National Park Photography Tour
Try our two-day Canyonlands photography tour to experience Canyonlands from a photographer’s point of view. You might see the park with new eyes. We offer detail information on where and when to be for the best sunrises, sunsets and landscape photos. Boomer travelers will love photographing this distinctive national park. To read more of our advice, click on Canyonlands National Park Photography Tour.
Nature’s Windows at Arches National Park
Over 2,000 natural sandstone arches fill Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. Active baby boomers will discover them while hiking, biking or car touring in this easy-to-explore national park. Combine your exploration with a visit to Canyonland’s Island in the Sky region. To read about our Arches National Park experience, click on Nature’s Windows at Arches National Park.
Natural Bridges Scenic Drive
Natural Bridges National Monument, located on the Colorado Plateau in southeastern Utah, isn’t exactly easy to get to, but completely worth it. Along the 9-mile scenic drive, you’ll find hiking trails to natural arches and bridges in a less-crowded setting. Did you know that Natural Bridges was the first dark sky park? I recommend headquartering in Bluff, Utah. Read my Tips for a Natural Bridges National Monument Scenic Drive.
Hiking to Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante
On a visit to Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Alan and I discovered one of the best waterfall hikes we’ve ever experienced. This hike has everything—desert views, petroglyphs and a beautiful waterfall. Go in the spring or fall as this hiking trail becomes crowded with summer visitors. It’s a great active boomer adventure after hours spent sitting in the car while exploring the dirt roads of southern Utah. Click on Hiking to Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase to read more about our experience.
Tips for Visiting the Devil’s Garden
Besides the heat, there’s nothing devilish about Utah’s Devil’s Garden in Grand Staircase-Escalante. However the sandstone arches really are out of this world and you can hike really close to them. Did we mention the wicked dirt road you’ll need to drive to reach Devil’s Garden? Click on Walking Around in the Devil’s Garden to see the incredible photographs.
Driving the Burr Trail
Alan and I are huge fans of driving the country lanes and dirt roads of America. On a visit to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah near Boulder, we chose to take the Burr Trail. On the drive, we discovered a hidden slot canyon and an amazing landscape. Check out our experience Driving the Burr Trail.
Capitol Reef: Utah’s Forgotten Park
While Capitol Reef encompasses a unique geological formation, it also contains the fields and orchards of an early Mormon settlement cradled in the lush Fruita Valley. Combine a trip to Capitol Reef with Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Bryce for a unique Utah national park road trip. Click on Capitol Reef: Utah’s Forgotten Park to read more about this incredible site.
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