Explore Utah’s Mighty 5
By Redtail Air Adventures
When you think of Utah, grand images of roaring rivers, awe-inspiring arches, blue skies, and red desert rocks might begin dancing around your head! These iconic desert features make up a unique landscape in the American west that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Utah’s five incredible National Parks- Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands make up the “Mighty 5.” Each park has special and distinct features that are worth a visit! While you can travel through each of the parks by car and on foot, there are also plenty of unique ways to experience the parks that will make your vacation unforgettable. Mountain biking, river rafting, four wheeling, and scenic flight tours over Utah’s National Parks are just a few of the adventurous ways you can experience the Mighty 5 and the Moab area!
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is truly unique because it holds the greatest number of natural sandstone arches in the world! While it boasts over 2,000 of these amazing features, you can also find pinnacles, balanced rocks, fins, and even ancient petroglyphs peppered throughout the park.
When you visit Arches, be sure to check out some of the most popular sights. After all, they are iconic for a reason! Delicate Arch, the Courthouse Wash Rock Art, and Landscape Arch are all amazing formations that you will want to make time for. These formations are all accessible via hiking trails. It is important to stay on the designated trails when you visit Arches National Park to protect the delicate biological soil crust.
Canyonlands National Park
While it is only a half-hour drive from Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park offers unique terrain. Unlike Arches, this park is famous for its world-class mountain biking.
In the Island in the Sky district of the park, you can find the 100 mile White Rim Road. If you are an experienced biker who can handle the distance, this ride is worth the time (and the sweat!)
Some of the popular hikes in Canyonlands National Park that are less strenuous include White Rim Overlook, Upheaval Dome Trail, and Grand View Point Trail. While these hikes are short, it is important to carry water with you in the dry summer heat.
Capitol Reef National Park
While Capitol Reef National Park is lesser known than the other Mighty 5, it is a gem nonetheless! There are plenty of cliffs, canyons, domes, petroglyphs, and bridges to explore in the park. If you want to see some incredible features and also skip the crowds, be sure to stop by this park — you won’t be disappointed!
Some popular sights in Capitol Reef include Capitol Dome, Chimney Rock, and the Fremont Petroglyphs. These sights are all easily accessible by hiking trail, and definitely worth the trek!
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is famous mainly because it boasts the largest number of hoodoos in the world! Hoodoos are beautiful tall, thin spires that protrude from the bottom of canyons. Like many other rock formations in the area, they result from millions of years of weathering and erosion.
The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon can be enjoyed from the rim of the canyon via the Rim Trail, or you can choose to venture down into the canyon to explore them from the bottom. Taking in the views from the rim is less strenuous, and offers plenty of great vantage points. On the other hand, venturing down into the canyon can give you a more immersive experience. Navajo Loop Trail is a popular trail that takes you down into the canyon, and around some of the most iconic hoodoos the park has to offer.
Zion National Park
Some of the most scenic canyon views in the country are located in Zion National Park! The first-ever National Park in Utah is home to massive sandstone cliffs, endless slot canyons, and a unique community of plant and animal life.
If you aren’t afraid of heights, the infamous Angel’s Landing hike is a must-do! This trail is heavily trafficked, but the view from the top is unbelievable. The final climb takes you along a narrow ridge with a chain-assisted rocky section. It is very important to watch your footing and maintain awareness of your surroundings on this thrilling venture.
If you want to avoid the crowds, there are many less-populated trails to choose from that still offer stunning views. Hidden Canyon Trail is exhilarating just like Angel’s Landing, but allows you to forego the crowds. To get there, you start at the Weeping Rock trailhead and ascend from the valley floor. Like Angel’s Landing, this trail becomes narrow and offers chain-assistance at times.
On Foot or By Plane?
The Mighty 5 National Parks in southern Utah each offer unique views, and incredible experiences to last a lifetime! To visit all of these parks by car and foot is a great experience, but it requires a lot of logistical planning and many days to execute.
Redtail Air gives you the opportunity to explore Utah’s National Parks in a truly special and unique way. The parks in southern Utah are vast, and have a lot of technical terrain that cannot be reached by foot. That’s where we come in! From the air, you get the opportunity to see features and entire areas that cannot be easily reached on the ground.
It’s a great idea to spend a few days hiking and exploring the Mighty 5 on foot, and then taking a scenic flight tour to get a whole new perspective! Moab also has plenty of options for rafting, mountain biking, and Jeep tours.
Know Before You Go!
Plan Well In Advance
Having a game-plan in place is very important for any vacation, but especially for visiting Utah’s national parks and monuments. The Mighty 5 are popular tourist attractions, so planning in advance will help to ensure that you have a place to stay, and get to everything on your to-do list! If you are considering a scenic flight tour, it is important to book your flight in advance online or give us a call!
Stay Hydrated and Fuel Yourself
When exploring in the Moab area, be sure to carry plenty of water and food with you. Desert temperatures are no joke, and it is easy to get dehydrated out there! Make sure you and your family are well-prepared for your adventure.
Leave No Trace
Practicing the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles is very important when traveling in the highly-trafficked Mighty 5. Leaving things you find, packing out your trash, and respecting other people, wildlife, and plants will allow the parks to remain clean and preserved for many years to come.
Superbly colored and varied views of these features are breath-taking from the ground, but even more amazing to behold from the air.
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