In June of 2023, I embarked on an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking landscapes of the Mighty 5 National Parks throughout Utah. I was eager to explore these iconic destinations in the heart of the American Southwest, and they did not disappoint. This blog post will cover my experience at Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. The National Park entrance fee is $30 USD per vehicle per park. If you are planning to visit three or more parks, it’s worth purchasing the America the Beautiful Annual Park Pass for $80 USD. From towering cliffs to mesmerising hoodoos, get ready to immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of Zion and Bryce Canyon.


picture of the entrance to Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in Springdale, a small town in Washington County. Springdale has a population of approximately 580 residents, therefore they have a very active and tight-knit community. Springdale does have a few facilities that are open to the public, including tennis courts, a nine-hole disc golf course, and the George A. Barker River Park. There are a few events that are open to the public, including the Zion Earth Festival and the Butch Cassidy 10k/5k race.They hold the Earth Festival in April, and they organise the race every November.

Dining Options

Springdale does have a variety of dining options; my pick is Oscar’s Café, a Mexican restaurant. Don’t be put off by the inability to book a table. Despite the size of the crowd waiting, you should not wait for longer than 30 minutes for a table. The food is worth waiting for.

My second choice would be Whiptail Grill, who is also a Mexican-inspired restaurant but more fusion than strict Mexican. The jalapeño margarita, if you like things spicy, is a must try.


While visiting, I stayed at the Cliffrose by Hilton. This is a lovely four-star hotel which is a five-minute walk from the National Park. This property has two pools: one large family pool and a smaller adults-only pool called the ‘Relaxation Pool’. I would recommend upgrading to a river view room, as it overlooks the surrounding canyons and rivers in the area.

Another accommodation option in the Zion area is the Zion Mountain Ranch. This is a western-style ranch that definitely needs a car to reach. There are individual private lodges, gorgeous landscapes, and a roaming buffalo herd. There are farm-to-table dining options, and plenty of activities to partake in, such as horseback riding and canyoneering. I would advise clients to stay here before heading to Bryce Canyon or Kanab.

Zion National Park

The National Park itself was absolutely spectacular. Visitors can drive cars into the park, but they’re only permitted as far as the Zion Lodge. The remaining roads are exclusively for shuttles and e-bikes. I would recommend to clients with limited mobility or with small children, to utilise the shuttle and opt for easier trails. In saying this, even the easy hikes are elevated on rocky terrain, so a certain level of mobility is needed. Ebikes can be rented for $79 USD for a full day.

From the parking lot, the park road extends 12.4 kilometres to the Temple of Sinawava, where the Virgin River has sculpted a natural amphitheater. This spot heralds the start of the Narrows, the narrowest segment of Zion Canyon.

Zion National Park offers an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature’s grandeur. Its towering cliffs, winding canyons, and rich cultural history make it a must-visit destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. In essence, Zion promises an experience that will leave a lasting imprint on the soul.


Bryce Canyon

picture of Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon City, nestled in the stunning red-rock country of southern Utah, serves as the gateway to one of America’s most remarkable natural wonders.  Despite its small size, the city has a vibrant atmosphere, welcoming visitors with its charming accommodations and dining options. The city earns its nickname ‘the city of hoodoos’, alluding to the natural rock and limestone spires within the National Park. A rodeo hosts nightly shows from Wednesday to Saturday during the summer, charging $15 USD per adult for tickets. Bryce Canyon City offers travellers a comfortable base from which to explore the breathtaking landscapes that define the American Southwest.

Dining Options

For dining options, there are three in Bryce Canyon City that are well worth the visit. First of all, there’s the Cowboy’s Buffet and Steak Room. This is located inside Ruby’s Inn, and they’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Cowboy’s Buffet is a family-style western dining restaurant known for its steak and rib dishes.

Next is the Canyon Diner, a fast food diner that makes a wide variety of dishes. They’re best known for their Piccadilly Pizzas and their burgers.

Finally, open from April to October, Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill is a live country music dinner show. Their main cuisine is barbecue, and despite the prices being slightly on the higher side, it’s an all-inclusive experience, with drinks, dessert, taxes, and live music all included in the one charge. With its friendly service and tasty menu, Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill is a must-visit for anyone passing through the area.


In Bryce Canyon, two standout lodging options under the Best Western banner offer tourists exceptional comfort and convenience. I stayed at the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel, a wonderful accommodation option with mountain views, an indoor pool and hot tub for relaxation, and a complimentary breakfast. From plush bedding to modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, every detail is tailored to ensure a comfortable stay.

On the other hand, Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn provides a blend of rustic charm and contemporary comforts, with accommodations to suit any budget. There are a mix of cosy rooms, cabins, and RV campsites with full amenities. There is also an outdoor pool and hot tub, perfect for unwinding under the stars. Both hotels also offer convenient access to Bryce Canyon National Park, ensuring that guests can make the most of their stay amidst the breathtaking landscapes of southern Utah.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park stands as a geological marvel and a testament to the raw power of natural erosion. As visitors gaze into the vast amphitheaters carved by wind and water over millions of years, they encounter a spectrum of colours, from deep reds to vibrant oranges and delicate pinks. Out of all the national parks I visited on this trip, Bryce Canyon was the coolest and windiest due to the elevation.

This park offers a myriad of hiking trails through a labyrinth of gorgeous geological phenomena, including the iconic Sunrise and Sunset Points. One of these trails is the Navajo Loop Trail. Starting from Sunset Point, hikers descend into the canyon, winding their way through towering rock formations and narrow switchbacks.

On this trail stands one of Bryce Canyon’s most iconic formations: Thor’s Hammer. Named for its striking resemblance to the legendary hammer wielded by the Norse god of thunder, this towering hoodoo is a focal point for visitors exploring the park’s wonders. You can easily view this hoodoo from a distance without exerting much effort. Whether admired from one of the park’s scenic viewpoints or encountered up close on a hiking trail, the sight of Thor’s Hammer never fails to leave a lasting impression on those fortunate enough to witness it.

Bryce Canyon National Park is the epitome of the remarkable forces of nature, sculpting awe-inspiring landscapes over millions of years. Among the park’s many trails, the Navajo Loop Trail stands out, leading hikers to iconic formations like Thor’s Hammer, a testament to the park’s natural beauty. In addition to the natural wonders of Bryce Canyon National Park, the nearby Bryce Canyon City serves as a welcoming gateway to this geological marvel.


For more information or inquiries about planning your trip to these National Parks, feel free to contact us.