In two weeks the Modern Magellan is packing up the Subaru and heading to Utah. My girlfriend and I are driving out from Denver, spending 4 days and 5 nights camping and hiking around Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. Utah is just awesome. Not too long ago we drove out there to explore Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, and as soon as we got back, we kept telling ourselves we needed to go back. And ever since we returned from Patagonia back in February, we’ve been itching to get out on another adventure.

Our plan is to hit the road on a Tuesday afternoon and drive to Moab, Utah. Zion is 9-10 hours away from Denver, and Moab is a little over half-way. We have a couple super sweet explorations planned so far. A sunrise hike to the delicate arch in Arches NP. The Angels Landing and Narrows hikes in Zion NP. A scenic drive around Bryce Canyon NP. The campgrounds in Zion were already all booked up, so we are going to try our luck with BLM campgrounds. In Bryce, all of the campgrounds are first come first served. Here’s a little itinerary of the road trip:


Leaving Denver late afternoon

Drive to Moab, Utah and camp that night


Sunrise hike in Arches NP

Drive from Moab to Zion 

Afternoon Hike in Zion

Camping near Zion NP (BLM camping)


Narrows hike in Zion NP

Camping near Zion NP (BLM camping)

The Narrows in Zion NP (photo credit: Quirkster blog)


Angels Landing  Hike in Zion NP in morning

Drive to Bryce Canyon in the afternoon

Camp in/near Bryce Canyon NP

Angels Landing Hike in Zion NP (photo credit: Joe Braun Photography)


Hiking and Drive around Bryce Canyon NP

Camping in/near Bryce Canyon NP

Bryce Canyon Amphitheater (photo credit: wikipedia)


The long drive back to Denver

We are looking forward to outrageous rock formations, epic sunsets, breathtaking landscapes, and camping under the starry night sky. In fact, this part of Utah has some of the darkest nights in the whole country, meaning tons and tons of stars. Be sure to follow my Instagram during the trip and be on the lookout for a “What’s in the Pack” post later next week. Explore on!




  1. I’ve been to Zion 3 times and Bryce twice — driving from Vegas. Hopefully the waterfalls will be flowing in Zion. They can be really spectacular. As you probably know cars are restricted in the Valley but the bus system to the most popular trailheads works pretty well. Aside from the Valley,I was impressed with one of the hikes in the high area of the much less traveled northern unit of the park.

    Bryce was the site of my quad tendon injury in 2012 near the bottom of the steep Wall St. trail so watch your footing! Back then the rangers had to rescue me and carry me up to the rim, about 1,500 – 2,000 feet, all 200+ pounds! A few of the trails accessable from the main road between the park and Virgin, UT are less steep but still give you decent views of a lesser seen part of the park and as I remember there are several short trails. It’s smaller than Zion. Checking out the different sites on the rim — about 10-12 of ’em in a 40 mile or so loop drive is not to be missed even if you want to avoid (mostly European) tourist crowds. Most of the trails in Bryce are very steep – you can get a lot from the rim views.

    You have a packed schedule but Capitol Reef NP is pretty cool if it’s on the way from Moab. The drive between Capitol Reef and Bryce is one of the real Utah treasures, is never very crowded, and can be almost as spectacular as the national parks themselves.

    Ever been to Banff up in Canada? I’m thinking about it in September.

    1. Thanks for sharing Howard! I’m a really looking forward to the trip. We are going to be doing some pretty awesome hikes and some backcountry camping. The drives through Utah are spectacular!

  2. Sounds like you’ve got quite the adventure planned. Can’t wait to hear more about it. I’m fascinated with the Southwest right now, and although I’ve never been it’s pretty high up there on my “Would LOVE to go” places!

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