7 National Parks to Visit Before Summer Ends

Adventure is just around the corner in Utah. With plenty of attractions to see, activities to do and places to go, Utah offers non-stop fun. That said, summer gets busy with work, family gatherings and outings with friends. Here is a list of seven national parks to visit before the frost settles.

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1. Visit the Super Six: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Goblin Valley National
Parks along with the San Rafael Swell and Swasey’s Beach. This awesome excursion allows you to see multiple national parks and two geographical features. San Rafael Swell is a 75 by 40 miles giant dome-shaped anticline. Infrequent, powerful flash floods shaped this area into the sedimentary rocks, valleys, canyons, gorges, mesas and buttes you see today. Swasey’s Beach located just north of Green River provides the perfect place to cool off while touring the rest of the Super Six. A white sandy beach shaded by cottonwood trees and refreshing water make this beach the perfect spot for families to play.

2. Monument Valley
Located within 27,000 miles of Navajo Indian Reservation, Monument Valley is known for its picturesque red mesas, buttes and surrounding desserts. This Navajo Tribal Park has been in numerous films and commercials. The famous Valley Drive consists of a 17-mile self-drive dirt road complete with several pullout areas for viewing the spectacular scenery, famous sights and formations. Visit the Monument Valley Visitor Center For more information and guided tours.

3. Zion National Park
Utah’s first national park provides an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and a rich geological history. The gorgeous sandstone cliffs exposing the red, pink and cream canyon entices people from all over the country. You can enjoy a large variety of unique plant and animal life while you are backpacking, biking, canyoneering, climbing, horseback riding, boating or bird watching through this natural wonderland.

4. Dinosaur National Monument
Numerous Jurassic period fossils have been discovered at Dinosaur National Monument. In fact, visitors can see fossils embedded in the wall of Carnegie Quarry. This cross-section of mountains, rivers and desert is perfect for exploring, hiking, rafting and camping.

5. Golden Spike National Historic Site
To the north of the Great Salt Lake lies the point where the first transcontinental railroad formed. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads joined at the Golden Spike National Historic Site on May 10, 1869 when the last spike also called the “Golden Spike” was ceremonially driven in. The Visitor Center helps illustrate the importance of the railroad in opening up and exploring the west.

6. Bryce Canyon
This national park is known for its hoodoos. Wind and water eroded odd-shaped rock pillars over time. Filled with a variety of hiking trails with easy, moderate and strenuous options, the park allows you to spend as much or as little time in the park as you want. You can even go horseback riding along some of the trails and go camping with your family and friends. Stargaze on one of the guided moonlight hikes.

7. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
One of the less crowded national parks in Utah, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument provides a sense of remoteness and tranquility. You can drive for miles down paved and dirt roads without ever seeing another car. However, you will see plenty of beautiful scenery mixed with canyons, arches, hills, waterfalls, forest and scrubland.