We extended our Memorial Day long weekend (May 2018) to a 4 day Nevada/Utah/Arizona roadtrip. We flew to Las Vegas, did things that stays in Vegas, then started our journey to Bryce/Zion in Utah, which is a fun ~4 hours drive from Vegas.
Day 2: Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters which is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion). Bryce has the largest collection of hoodoos in the world! The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views.
Here are the points on Google Map that we easily covered in a day.
Day 3: Zion National Park
Zion National Park is like the set of a movie that’s so grand you know it’s fake, but you don’t care because it’s delicious to look at; the kind of flick where the art director was given carte blanche and didn’t worry about believability.
It is believed the first people to explore what is now Zion National Park entered the canyon looking for food. Thousands of years later more than 4 million people come every year from around the world to feed more than their bodies. Most visitors today come to nourish their souls with the sight of the verdant valleys and vermillion cliffs of Zion, one of the most visited national parks in the United States.
We camped at Zion View Camping the night we reached Zion under the star-studded skies. This was an amazing camping spot and refreshed my memories from Rishikesh/Triund in India in a much different set-up.
I recommend having 2 days for Zion if possible, because these are 2 absolutely must-do day hikes – Angels Landing and The Narrows. We went during a very busy season when it’s best to leave the car outside the main entrance of the park, and take shuttles which run every 15 minutes across the park. We just had a day for Zion, so we went with the Angels Landing hike. It was absolutely breathtaking, one of the best hikes of my life. Kindly go prepared as these are strenuous hikes. You actually chain-hike the last part of Angels Landing, which is completely doable but can be scary to some. We did bits of the narrows, but had to return due to time constraints. I am definitely visiting this heaven again!
Day 4: Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
I am sure it’s already in your bucket-list if you haven’t already visited. If not, Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend both are highly accessible (3/4 and 1/4 mile hike) and are NOT to be missed. These two special places are hands-down two of the most iconic images of the Southwest.
Few geological formations are as picturesque and awe-inspiring as Antelope Canyon, a magnificent slot canyon just east of Page in Northern Arizona. With tall winding walls, it’s a monumental sandstone sculpture. A photographer’s dream, the canyon is known for its wave-like structure and the light beams that shine directly down into the openings of the canyon, creating a supernatural appearance.
Antelope Canyon includes two separate, scenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as “Upper Antelope Canyon” or “The Crack”; and “Lower Antelope Canyon” or “The Corkscrew”. We did both, but I personally liked the Lower Antelope better. Kindly book tours in advance and get a time slot between 11 am – 2 pm on a sunny day, as the light beams create gorgeous colors on the canyons.
We finally enjoyed our ~4.5 hours drive back to Vegas through sunset. I was already feeling nostalgic and reminiscent but eventually meddled back into the city humdrum.