Last spring break, our family road tripped to Utah to explore in and around Zion National Park, and let me tell you, this is a must for families! My husband is the outdoorsy one of the bunch, and this was his dream spring break trip for our family, so he did all of the planning. We had so much fun, and I received so many questions from friends as I shared photos on social media, so I wanted to share our one week itinerary. It’s always nice to hear from other families on what did (and didn’t) work in their travels.
We traveled the second week of April which was perfect for us – right before the busy season and not too hot!
Arrive in Moab, UT
Day 1: We braved the drive from Wichita to Moab, Utah – but you could easily fly into Moab and rent a car from there. Moab has a really cute main street with murals, breweries, coffee shops, and a darling food truck park.
Accommodations: We used Hyatt points and stayed at the Moab Hyatt Place. We loved it because it had a great outdoor pool and hot tub with a beautiful view!
Canyonlands National Park
Hike White Rim Overlook Trail
Day 2: Considered one of the more “underrated” of Utah’s national parks, this canyon is extremely large (527 square miles) and a bit more rugged in comparison to other parks. We decided to take on a smaller hike in Island in the Sky (the navigation systems either don’t work due to lack of service or take you down an incorrect path – so here is a map to use). This was a great first hike of the trip for our girls, ages 8 and 6.
Drive White Rim Overlook Road
The White Rim Road is a 100 mile loop around Island in the sky. We drove a portion of this, but my husband wants to go back to drive the entire loop (we had already been in the car for far too long after driving from Wichita the day before).
To get to the White Rim Road, we took Shafer Trail (in our jeep) which were steep switchbacks down the mountain. Do not recommend if you are fearful of heights – which I am not, but I was a nervous wreck on this trail.
Arches National Park
Day 3: Arches National Park was my favorite part of our entire trip – I loved the drive through the park, the Delicate Arch Trail hike, and the overall views. I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked. I was fully in the moment and in complete awe of the natural beauty.
We made the hike to the iconic Delicate Arch (on Utah’s license plate), which is a 3 mile roundtrip hike which took us about 2 hours. There are some climbs on this hike, so we were happy we started early before the sun got too strong. *Starting early also helped us miss the crowds – there was an extremely long line of cars to get into the park as we were leaving at 11am.
Zion National Park
Day 3 (contd.) The Drive to Zion: We did opt to veer from Google Maps (strongly recommend doing this!) and take a 20 minute detour for the scenic route into Zion.
Accommodations: We stayed in Springdale, UT at a darling lone cabin at Zion Canyon Campground at the base of the mountain. We absolutely recommend and thought this was the perfect hub for our family. It had a laundromat (which we totally used), a pool, and bunk beds for our girls. It was called the Crawford Ranch Cabin, and the caretaker Rene was wonderful and responsive and left us a s’more kit upon arrival. So sweet.
Restaurant Recommendations: Springdale was full of cute shops and eateries but we absolutely loved Zion Pizza & Noodle Co. (highly recommend the European Trail pizza) and Oscar’s Cafe (the Impossible Burger was seriously delicious) – 5 star review from our family!
Canyon Overlook Trail
This was easily one of our family’s favorite hikes! It’s one that could easily be missed if you don’t plan for it – so it is a must on the itinerary! We knew about it thanks to Earth Trekkers, who gave so many helpful tips here.
From highway 9, this 1-mile hike is great for varying ability levels and ages, and it takes approximately one hour. More importantly, when you make it to the top, you have the most breathtaking view of Zion! It was a perfect pit stop on our way into the park.
Day 4: Bike Rental Day: We decided to give our wobbly legs a break and rent bicycles for the day. We biked around town, to lunch, and to Springdale’s darling town park.
Emerald Pool Trails
Day 5: This was a 3 mile roundtrip hike that took us around 3 hours to complete, and I would consider it a moderate level hike. We had an 8am shuttle pass (you have to use the shuttle to get into Zion National Park), and so once again, we beat the crowds! The first part of the hike was an easier walk to the Lower Emerald Pool, and then we decided to keep going to the final climb to the Upper Emerald Pool (you can opt to keep going or make your way back down the mountain). The final climb was a bit more strenuous and challenging, but was totally doable for our 6 and 8 year olds.
This one my husband took solo. The difficulty is ranked “strenuous”, and it takes approximately 3-5 hours to complete. But, it is the most popular hike in Zion, and the final climb (not suitable for kiddos) is considered to be extremely thrilling for adventure-seekers (as your climb is assisted by a chain) and has the most spectacular mountain-top view. You can read all about the tips and tricks for Angel’s Landing here.
Day 6: On the road again and off to our final destination before heading home – our pit stop was Glenwood Springs, CO.
Glenwood Springs, CO
I’m so glad we made this stop for dinner and a dip in the natural hot springs. We were able to swim in the springs both the night we arrived and the morning we headed home.
Accommodations: We stayed at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge which was a great final stop that included access to the natural hot springs and a super delicious hot breakfast.
Restaurant Recommendation: Frida was adorable and served delicious authentic Mexican food (with perfect margaritas for parents and churros for the kids).