Explore the Mighty 5 national parks as we take you deep into the heart of America’s red rock country! Utah’s most popular national parks, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches, are collectively known as the Mighty 5. They are famous for their one-of-a-kind landscapes, unique rock formations, and amazing hikes. Their close proximity to one another makes it perfect for this 7-day camping adventure.
Starting from Los Angeles and ending in Las Vegas, this one-way road trip will take you across 4 states and leave you awe-stuck at the natural beauty of America’s southwest. You’ll visit wonders such as Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley, all on your way to Utah. It’s important for you to know, that some of the campgrounds we suggest can be fully booked during peak travel seasons, so be sure to reserve them as early as possible. However, there are plenty of cool apps and websites, like Hip Camp or KOA, that offer you alternatives to crowded campsites that have more options and more availability.
Day 1: Los Angeles – Joshua Tree (130 miles / 2.5 hours)
** You can save one travel day by skipping Joshua Tree and going straight to the Grand Canyon (circa 490 miles / 8 hours). You can consider adding an extra day at Moab and/or Grand Canyon.
For a hike with a view visit Ryan Mountain which is great for sunrise and sunset hikes. (Make sure to take a headlamp if hiking up/down in darkness).
Tip: before you leave the 10 Freeway for the Joshua Tree turn-off, stop at the Cabazon Outlets Malls for some last-minute gear and road-tripping outfits.
Check out Hadley Fruit which is close by to stock up on dehydrated fruit and sample their famous date shake.
If you want to go rock climbing, there are several climbing schools for private or group lessons in the area.
Campground: Ryan Campground requires a reservation and is located inside the park and near many hiking trails. Alternatively, book a stay at Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground for plenty of entertainment, desert art, and fishing.
Day 2: Joshua Tree – Grand Canyon South Rim (377 miles / 6 hours)
If time allows it, we recommend spending more than one day here.
Stop in the town of Seligman, located on Historic Route 66, and have a burger in one of the diners, like the famous Delgadillo’s Snow Cap.
Go for smaller or longer drives, hike along the South Rim, or hike into the canyon on the Bight Angel Trail or the South Kaibab Trail.
Treat yourself to a fancy meal at El Tovar, the crown jewel of Historic National Park Lodges, right on the rim.
Settle into your camp (Grand Canyon Camper Village, reservations required) and try to catch the sunset at the South Rim.
Campground: Reserve your spot at Grand Canyon Camper Village and make friends with your fellow RVers. To get closer to the action, Mather Campground and Desert View Campground are located inside the National Park but require reservations months in advance.
Day 3: Grand Canyon – Lake Powell – Antelope Canyon (147 miles / 2hrs 45 m)
Book a tour of Antelope Canyon and walk in between the smooth sandstone walls that have been eroded and shaped by water over millions of years.
Stop by the Instagram famous spot of Horseshoe Bend and snap a photo of yourself near the cliff edge.
Cool off at Lake Powell. Hang out by the beach or turn up the fun and rent a boat or jet ski for a few hours.
Campground: Wahweap RV and Campground for a gorgeous view of Lake Powell. Or 20 minutes north you can find primitive camping that is first come, first serve at Lone Rock Beach Campground.
Day 4: Monument Valley –Canyonlands – Arches National Park (210 miles / 4hrs 30m)
Another location that could be extended to more than 2 or 3 days if possible.
Drive the iconic Scenic Byway 163 through Monument Valley. The landscape will impress you and you can reminisce on the hundreds of movies that have been filmed here: Forrest Gump, Easy Rider, Mission Impossible, and the list goes on.
In Canyonlands National Park, spend some time floating or rafting down the Green River.
At Arches NP, put on your hiking boots to get a closer look at the balancing arch formations. Hike Balanced Rock Viewpoint and Trail, Double Arch Viewpoint and Trail, and Skyline Arch Trail.
At many of these locations, you can take on any outdoor adventure you desire: mountain biking, dirt biking (motorcycles), 4-wheel drives, horseback riding, and lots of climbing.
Campground: Stay at Moab KOA Holiday for a quiet night’s sleep and a good view. Or find another unique overnight stay on KOA.
Day 5: Arches- Capitol Reef – Escalante -Bryce ( 270 miles / 5 hours)
View ancient Native American petroglyphs carved into the walls along Capitol Reef’s Highway 24. Look for the small parking lot between the Hickman Bridge trailhead and Fruita.
Stop off in Escalante, Utah, and explore the wonders of the petrified forest, Zebra Slot Canyon, and Devil’s Garden.
Have fun completing Bryce Canyon’s very own Hike the Hoodoos. You will have to seek out information placards on this 3-mile hike/scavenger hunt adventure.
View the changing of colors in the valley at Sunrise or Sunset Point, where you can also see the well-known formation Thor’s Hammer.
Campgrounds: For a campground near Escalante, we recommend Canyons of Escalante RV Park with full hooks up and extra amenities like laundry and hot showers. If you wish to get closer to Bryce Canyon, then stay at Ruby’s Inn RV Park and Campground.
Day 6: Bryce Canyon – Zion National Park (84 miles / 2 hours)
Hike The Narrows, a thousand-foot deep gorge where the river is only twenty to thirty feet wide at times. It’s one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park for a good reason, nonetheless, you will get wet.
Walk the ½ mile trail to the interesting Weeping Rock and discover how it got its name.
After you’ve worked up a sweat, fill your bellies with authentic Mexican food at Oscar’s Café.
Campgrounds: Visit Watchman Campground to sleep inside the camp and wake up to the beauty of Zion. For a rustic resort with on-site entertainment, head to Zion Crest Campground and RV Park. Please note that reservations must be made in advance.
Day 7: Zion – Las Vegas (160 miles / 3 hours)
Drop off your roadsufer in Las Vegas and explore the city if you have time.
This action-packed adventure can be adapted depending on how many travel days you have to play with. Nonetheless, this road trip will leave you feeling amazed after having visited some of the most beautiful natural wonders such as Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, and Utah’s most popular national parks. Save time by renting a one-way RV camper van in Los Angeles and return your rental to Las Vegas.
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