Southern Utah is my favorite place in all of the world. And I’ve been to 30+ countries, so I believe this says a lot on how spectacular of a place it is. We had an opportunity to work in Bryce Canyon NP in the summer of 2012. Six months of spending every day off exploring the wonders of this unforgiving but uniquely beautiful landscape. This is the first chance we’ve had to return since that summer.
First stop Zion NP. What a zoo! At the entrance the park ranger laughed at us when I asked if there was any camping for the evening. We spend the night at a private campsite outside the park. The next morning we hiked Angels Landing, one of the two most popular hikes in the park with the Narrows being the other. A string of 50 people behind followed us up the multi hued yellow, white and red sandstone cliffs as we stepped aside and let another 100+ hikers descend.
Further East we visited Capitol Reef NP, which in my opinion is a hidden gem living in the shadow of the more popular parks of the Southwest like Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon. Natural Bridges NM is also a beautiful quiet reprieve from the overcrowded popular parks to the West. Crossing into Colorado we spend a morning driving the park road overlooking the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde NP before heading into the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The mountain passes and old mining towns separating Durango and Montrose along highway 550 have to contain some of the prettiest scenery in all of North America.