What to Do After Eloping

The Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping through Utah’s National Parks

You just eloped! Congratulations! Now you get to begin your marriage adventure! So, what should you do after your elopement? Why not start with another adventure: visiting the Mighty 5 national parks in Utah! Grab your America the Beautiful Pass, pack your camping gear, and get ready to go on an incredible adventure. Your honeymoon should be what ever you want it to be. 

Why You Should Visit Utah’s National Parks

The Mighty 5 display a vast array of scenery from sandstone sculptures, to canyons, to winding rivers, and lots and lots of red dirt. You will be finding a lot of said dirt in your boots after you hike iconic trails like the one that leads to Delicate Arch, up Angels Landing, or down in Bryce Canyon Amphitheater.

There are so many unique adventures to be had in each park. Southern Utah is paradise for those who seek unique adventure.

 

What the Weather Will Be Like

Southern Utah makes up the Colorado Plateau, a vast ecosystem that is made up of buttes, spires, mesas, and canyons. Like most deserts it has hot summers, cold winters, and is dry all year long. Here’s a more in depth look at the weather by season.

Spring

  • Temperatures range from 60-90 during the day, and 30-60 overnight
  • Rain is likely and canyon hikes may be off limit because of it
  • Get ready to see spring blooms

Summer

  • Temperatures can get well over 100 degrees
  • Hiking in the early morning or for sunset is wise
  • You have the perfect reason to go rafting or visit a lake

Fall

  • Temperatures range from 60-80 during the day, and 30-50 overnight
  • Fall foliage is present and beautiful
  • Rain can happen so pack layers

Winter

  • Temperatures range from 20-50 degrees and can drop below freezing at night
  • Some trails and roads are closed due to snow. Other trails or roads may be impassable
  • The contrast of snow against sandstone is absolutely beautiful

The busiest times in the parks are from April to June and from mid-September to October.

No matter when you go, just getting to experience Utah’s national parks is a real treat!

What You Will Need

  • An American the Beautiful Pass
  • A flight into SLC
  • A rental car

          or

  • Road trip to Utah in your own car
  • Plenty of water + snacks
  • Your hiking boots
  • A rain layer
  • A warm jacket
  • Your camping gear
  • Stoke for your adventure!

Want to rent the ultimate road trip car? Check out Native Campervans local to SLC!

 

The Logistics

While you could see all 5 national parks in 5 days, I recommend spending two weeks exploring Southern Utah. This will give you plenty of time in each part, time to catch sunrises and sleep in, and time to even visit some of the other locations I’ve listed below. I highly recommend checking out Mystic Hot Springs.

From Salt Lake, you can choose to either start in Zion or in Moab. From Zion the best route is to go to Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and then Canyonlands. If you want to fly home from Las Vegas, the best route is to go to Arches or Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and then Zion.

 

Travel Time from Zion to Canyonlands: 6.5 hours

Mileage from Zion to Canyonlands: 360 miles

Your Honeymoon Road Trip Destinations

ZionArchesCanyonlandsBryce CanyonCapitol Reef

Zion National Park

Why Adventure in Zion National Park

Dropping down in Zion Canyon, or … as it is known to the indigenous people, is an unreal experience. Sandstone walls stretch to the sky. The Virgin River rages through the canyon. Petrogylphs can be find on rock walls, and there are so many adventures to embark on within the park. With iconic hikes to keep you busy for a week, you definitely want to take your time in this beautiful park.

What to Do in Zion National Park

  • Hike angels landing
  • See petroglyphs
  • Hike the narrows
  • Go rock climbing or canyoneering
  • Take a jeep or ATV to a slot canyon
  • Visit the nearby town of Springdale and grab ice cream or a local beer

Where to Stay

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Bryce Canyon National Park

Why Adventure in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is a strange looking place that you may think you have driven into another planet. Hoodoos rise from the floor- sandstone scultpures formed by the wind and rain that cluster together like trees to create a sea of orange. Watching the sunrise over the hoodoos is pure magic as the colors change from pinks to oranges and reds. Hiking down into Bryce Canyon Amphitheater is a must, and the winter provides unique adventures across the snow.

What to Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Hike the Navajo Loop Trail
  • See the sunrise at Inspiration Point
  • Go for a trail ride
  • Hike the Rim Trail
  • Go on an ATV tour
  • Hike the Peek-A-Boo Loop
  • See a waterfall on Mossy Cave Trail
  • Go snowshoeing, sledding, or cross country skiing in winter

Where to Stay

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Capitol Reef National Park

Why Adventure in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef is definitely a hidden gem. The park has two parts, a scenic drive takes you through the southern section while an off-roading vehicle can get you to the northern section. Both inspire wonder with sandstone towers, hoodoos, and views that stretch the the horizon. Backpacking and getting a piece of pie from the Gifford House is a must!

What to Do in Capitol Reef National Park

  • Hike to Capitol Gorge
  • Go for a scenic drive
  • Hike to Cassidy Arch
  • Enjoy a piece of pie at the Gifford House
  • Rent a 4×4 vehicle and see Cathedral Valley
  • Find a slot canyon

Where to Stay

Campsites:

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Arches National Park

Why Adventure in Arches National Park

Arches is home to over 200 arches, the most famous of these being Delicate Arch. Watching the sunrise while laying on the sandstone before this grand arch is such a treat. Arches offers lots of different adventures. Take the path less traveled and opt t do a guided hike of the Fiery Furnace, or off-road on one of the many back roads.

What to Do in Arches National Park

  • See Delicate Arch at sunrise or sunset
  • Go on a 4×4 tour
  • Try to count as many arches as you can
  • Visit Balancing Rock, the Windows, and Double Arch
  • Hike in Devils Garden
  • Do a ranger guided hike in the Fiery Furnace

Where to Stay

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Canyonlands National Park

Why Adventure in Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands offers awe inspiring views of canyons carved by the Colorado River. The park has two sections: The Island in the Sky and The Needles. Both sections of the park offer stunning overlooks, hikes, and off-roading adventures. I highly recommend getting up early to watch the sun rise behind Mesa Arch.

What to Do in Canyonlands National Park

  • Go off-roading or mountain biking on White Rim Road
  • See Mesa Arch at sunrise
  • Hike or have a picnic at one of the many overlooks
  • Hike to Upheavel Dome
  • Check out Elephant Hill

Where to Stay

Campsites:

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Tips for a Successful Road Trip

I’ve been on a ton of road trips. Some have been long and spread out, while others have been short but included lots of driving. I’ve learned a lot of ways to enjoy your road trip despite all the hours of driving. Here is what I’ve learned.

  • Always carry extra water and snacks
  • Always stop when you need to go to the bathroom
  • Add extra time to your drive especially if you are trying to get to a destination by a certain time
  • If you need a break from driving take it
  • Make road trip playlists to sing along to
  • If camping during your trip it is ok to stay in a hotel for one night
  • Never pass up the hot springs
  • Making extra stops for the experience is always worth it

 

Other Locations to Visit on Your Road Trip

 

adventure elopement photographer halie west

Halie West is an elopement and adventure wedding guide and photographer based in Utah who helps couples create their greatest adventure yet. Let’s make a day that feels right for you and your love.

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