Utah's National Parks

Zion

Arches

Canyonlands

Capitol Reef

Bryce Canyon

            When we returned from our trip to the five national parks of Southern Utah I was discussing our visit with a friend.  I described the aspects of each park and he asked me “What was the best part of the trip?”.  The question gave me pause as I tried to choose among the best of the parks.  Then I realized that the best part of our trip was not one park over another, but rather that we were able to get “inside” each park and not just see the park from the periphery looking inward.  

            Thankful for our health, we were able to hike in the parks, to walk the trails that provided us with an opportunity to see the distinctiveness of each park and also to become a part of what that park offers.   By hiking the trails we became a part of the environment, it was all around us and we were then one with nature.   It sounds clichéd, but it is amazing that we could feel a part of the rock formations, the flora and the fauna. 

            This was our fifth trip to these parks in southern Utah.   Not unlike the other national parks in our country, these parks are a treasure for those who come and savor the wonderful experience of the natural beauty and the natural architecture of the land.  As I said above, it is an extraordinary place to go to be alone…in both mind and body and yet a unique place to share with someone close to you.   Each time we plan our trip to these parks we experience a warm sense of belonging.   And, when we are actually here, well, we are home once again…an opportunity to not only appreciate life, but to be aware of the beauty that is around us.

           On our fourth trip here, just four years ago I wrote in detail about the five parks… Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park.  That article, National Parks of Southern Utah (2002) is currently available for review on this web site.  It would not be reasonable with this visit to once again write about these parks in any manner that would be different than I did in that article.  

Accordingly, I refer you to the National Parks of Southern Utah (2002) article for a broader discussion of the parks and their design.  For this article, however, I focused on an explanation of one trail in each park.  I provided a description of that trail as we experienced it hiking through the park.   I have included pictures with illustrative captions to describe our experience, rather than using just a detailed narrative.   For each park trail discussed herein there are pictures that show both the trail as we saw it and also the panorama we viewed on each hike.    Although, we hiked many trails in each park, for this article I concentrated on only the following trail in each park:

 

Trail Pictures and Comments Slideshow
Arches National Park --- Delicate Arch Trail Arches
Canyonlands National Park --- White Rim Overlook Trail Canyonlands
Capitol Reef National Park --- Hickman Bridge Trail Capitol Reef
Bryce Canyon National Park --- Navajo Loop-Queens Garden Trail Bryce Canyon
Zion National Park --- Angel’s Landing Trail Zion
Click on the park or trail name to open the linked page or slideshow
 
So here goes…just click on the park or trail name in the above table to bring up the linked web page with my story.   Obviously, it is not realistic to completely reproduce our experiences, but I hope to impart some of what we learned and sensed about the landscape as we found ourselves within these most special places on earth.

The pictures below provide only a glimpse of each park......

 

ARCHES
CANYONLANDS
CAPITOL  REEF
BRYCE CANYON
ZION