So this is going to be a very different type of post. I just couldn't NOT share the details of this epic trip my husband and I took for our 5-year wedding anniversary. So if you've ever thought about going to Utah or taking a road trip in a van, this post is for you. I am going to lay out the entire route we took, the places we stayed, and the highlights of our trip. If you have any questions after reading this, don't hesitate to reach out to me directly. I would love to answer anything you may be wondering. And if you're curious, I HIGHLY recommend this trip and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Okay, now for the good stuff...
Leaving Colorado Springs, we headed West towards Colorado National Monument. We took the scenic Rim Rock Drive and made a few pitstops along the way. The canyon views here gave us a little taste of what was to come on our trip. We were so excited to get to Utah that we didn't stay here very long, but it's definitely a spot worth noting.
We continued on Highway 70 towards the scenic Highway 128 into Moab. After grabbing a bite to eat and a drink at the local brewery, we set off to find our camping spot for the night. About 15 minutes north of town near Arches National Park, we found ourselves an amazing little spot off Willow Springs Road (BLM land). We set up camp for the night and watched one of the most epic sunsets we've ever seen, followed by some equally epic star gazing. It was such a dark night and we could see SO.MANY.STARS. We seriously could not believe our eyes.
The next morning Ryan woke up early and drove into Arches National Park. We knew it was going to get HOT quick, so we were on the trails by 7 am. Devils Garden Trail is an awesome hike for all ages and skills levels. If you do the whole thing, it's about a 7-mile loop complete with eight arches and some of the best views in the park. We didn't quite make it the whole way tbh... that desert heat is NO JOKE!
Back in the van, we cooled down with some AC and drove the scenic route through the rest of the park. Next, we drove over to Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District. Taking the scenic route (always) through the park, we stopped along the way taking photos and walking some shorts trails.
Once we were ready to settle in for the night we drove South and camped off Valley of the Gods Road. THIS may have been my favorite camping spot of the whole trip. There was not a single other soul in sight, and we had 360-degree views of the Valley. It was a pretty surreal experience, and yet again, we experienced one of the most amazing sunsets of our lives.
The next day we woke up early and set off towards our destination, Grand Canyon National Park. On the way, we stopped at Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. The river bend can be viewed by walking about a mile from the parking lot and standing on the edge of the canyon. It's a pretty popular spot (for obvious reasons), but the views make the crowds totally worth it. A fairly short drive later, we were just in time to catch a beautiful sunset at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. That night we camped (and showered - YAY) at Mather Campground in the park.
Bright and early the next morning, we made our way up 89 North to Bryce Canyon National Park. Once there, we hiked the Navajo Loop Trail. This was roughly a 1.5 mile loop rated as moderate. The trail drops down into the amphitheater and passes through "Wall Street," a narrow switchbacked slot between sheer cliffs, with towering trees growing along the trail. Because of the steep elevation changes, it can easily take a few hours to complete the hike. But, I will say, this hike was SO WORTH IT. It may be one of the coolest hikes I've done to date.
That night we camped off Casto Canyon Road (BLM land). Can you spot our Kuku Camper Van?!
Okay, ZION here we come! This was by far the most crowded park we went to on our trip, so we were lucky to be one of the first in line when they opened. We got an early start on our hike through the Narrows, which is the narrowest section of Zion canyon and takes you through a river.
That night we camped in Kodachrome Basin State Park where we rode our bikes, took a moonlit hike, and slept under the stars.
The next morning we drove through Escalante, stopping for a coffee and breakfast burrito at Kiva Koffeehouse. Upon arriving at Capitol Reef National Park, we decided to go horseback riding! We had the best time with our horses Rocko & Bella. That night we stopped in the small town of Hanksville for an early dinner at Duke's Slickrock Grill before finding our camp spot off Chute Canyon Road. We settled in for the night in this other-worldly location and hiked around as we watched the sun go down. What a way to end our trip!
This was our last day of the trip. Since it was our anniversary trip, we decided to stop at the Lodge where we got married in Breckenridge, Colorado on our way home. Totally worth it.