Southwest Road Trip Itinerary

A two-week Southwest road trip itinerary for your next trip to Nevada, Utah and Arizona. This road trip is one of the best in the USA. You will visit dazzling Las Vegas, Utah’s big five National Parks, and Arizona’s most beautiful canyons. Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to explore this part of the world for the first time. 

We visited in February, when there was still snow on the mountains and no crowds around. Although it was freezing, it was an incredible time of year for hiking as well as much cheaper accommodation! Whilst, this road trip could be done anytime of year, I recommend avoiding the desert heat of the summer months that makes it hard to hike during the day. 

All of the accommodation mentioned here is also featured in my Favourite Accommodation in the USA blog post. 

Southwest Road Trip Map


Table of Contents

Two Weeks in the Southwest

DAYS 1-2: Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas - Southwest Road Trip START

Getting to Las Vegas

Starting your Southwest road trip in Las Vegas, fly into Harry Read International Airport (LAS). Pick a glamorous hotel along the strip to explore this fun city for the next two days. 

I recommend waiting until you leave Las Vegas to pick up your car from the airport, as it will save you a lot of money on parking at your hotel. There is hotel shuttles, public transport and Uber available in the meantime.

Things to do in Las Vegas

Casino-hop down the strip as you explore the foyers of the most famous hotels in the world. My highlights include Conservatory at the Bellagio, The Forum Shops at Caesar’s, and the Venetian Gondolas

On your first night, head to the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas. This is one of the best experiences to do in the city. You will find the oldest casinos here, as well as live music, bars and dazzling lights overhead. 

Perhaps check out the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets for some epic outlet shopping. 

Ride the High Roller Wheel at sunset for amazing views over the Las Vegas Strip as the lights start coming on over the desert. 

DAYS 3-4: Zion National Park, UT

Zion National Park

Getting to Zion National Park

Cross into Utah to spend the next two days exploring Zion National Park, only 2 hours 45 minutes drive from Las Vegas. Stop for lunch in Saint George along the way. Farmstead Saint George was one of my favourite lunches of the trip, where they serve delicious bakery treats and fresh salads. 

Check into your accommodation on the way in to drop your bags. My top recommendation is Zion Glamping Adventures for some epic stargazing. 

The Visitor Centre at Zion National Park is also the best place to purchase an Annual National Parks Pass for USD$80*. This will save you money on entrance fees to the parks, as opposed to paying up to USD$35* at each National Park. 

Things to do in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is my favourite Utah National Park, and boasts some of the best and most diverse hiking. It was definitely one of the highlights on my Southwest road trip! You could spend weeks hiking through the park, but discover some of my favourite trails for beginner hikers below.

My favourite easy trails for epic views over Zion Canyon include Riverside Walk and Weeping Rock Trail. For a more challenging hike and even better views, check out Middle Emerald Pools Trail

If you are feeling brave, drive through the incredible Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel to the East Rim area of the park. My favourite trail here is the Canyon Overlook Trail. Note that there are steep drop offs, sometimes without fencing, which will absolutely get your adrenaline pumping. 

DAYS 5-6: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bryce Canyon National Park

Getting to Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is about a 1 hour 20 minute drive from Zion National Park. 

I recommend staying in the tiny town of Bryce Canyon for easy access to the park, as well as a few restaurants. Our favourite food in the area was actually in the nearby town Tropic. We devoured two massive pizzas from Pizza Place after our day of hiking. 

Things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park

Due to its high altitude, Bryce Canyon was still covered in snow and ice when we visited in February. It was incredibly beautiful, however meant that our hiking options were limited. 

However, some of my favourite accessible trails here included The Rim Trail, including Sunrise to Sunset Point Trail. Mossy Cave Trail was another great hike on the other side of the park. Sunset Point is well worth the hype. However make sure to wait for ‘blue hour’ when the sun finally dips below the horizon and the whole canyon lights up in shades of pink. Both Natural Bridge and Inspiration Point also provided incredible views of the hoodoos.

If we had visited in a warmer month, I would have loved to also hike the Queen’s Garden Trail and Navajo Loop Trail to explore the hoodoo’s up close. 

DAY 7: Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Capitol Reef National Park

Getting to Capitol Reef National Park

I actually recommend Capitol Reef National Park as a stop along the drive to Moab, Utah. To drive from Bryce Canyon to Moab takes around 4 hours 35 minutes, and Capitol Reef National Park lies about halfway. 

Things to do in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is both underrated and smaller than some of the other parks in Southern Utah. Although hiking is still abundant, I actually found the historical sites to be the highlight of this National Park. 

My favourite easy hikes in the park were Goosenecks and Sunset Point for incredible views over the park. Scenic Drive also provided incredible, sweeping views of the area’s geology. 

To learn about the history of the park, I recommend exploring the Fruita Historic District. Here you will find the Gifford Homestead, including the Pendleton Barn with its horses. Fruita Schoolhouse is a fantastic place to check out, as well as the Petroglyph Panels nearby. If you are visiting in August or September, you will also be able to explore the blossoming Gifford Orchards, home to peach, pear, apple and apricot trees. These were all planted by the early Mormon settlers in Fruita. 

DAYS 8-9: Moab, UT

Moab, Utah

Getting to Moab

You will have already arrived in Moab, Utah last night after travelling via Capitol Reef National Park. Moab is a larger town with lots of options for food and accommodation. It is a hub for adventure travellers, with easy access to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and various State Parks. You cannot skip this place on your Southwest road trip.

We really enjoyed our stay at Radcliffe Moab, a cozy boutique hotel located on the main street. Specifically, we enjoyed the luxury Koala beds, artwork and bathroom amenities in the room. The hotel was also pet friendly.

Things to do in Arches National Park

Spend your first day in Moab exploring Arches National Park. This is such a unique park, with an abundance of natural arches dotted across the landscape. 

Some of my favourite easy hikes in Arches National Park were Landscape Arch and Balanced Rock. We also spent a fair amount of time exploring both Double Arch and The Windows

If we had more time here, I would have loved to hike out to Delicate Arch. However, we were still able to get a sneaky view of the most iconic arch from Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint

On your way back into Moab, it is also worth stopping at Courthouse Wash Panel to spot the rock carvings here. 

Things to do in Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is incredibly underrated, and truly felt like the ‘family tree’ of the Grand Canyon. We didn’t spend a lot of time here, however I wish we had allocated at least one day to exploring this massive park. In fact, Canyonlands National Park is so big that it is divided into three areas. We only spent time exploring the Island in the Sky region. 

My favourite hike in the park was Mesa Arch. Yes, another arch. But this one provided the most incredible views over the canyons, all the way out to the snowy mountains in the background. It truly felt like you could see all the way to Colorado up here!

Grand View Point was another accessible trail in the February weather. I also recommend waiting until the afternoon to explore the White Rim Overlook Trail. You will have the best light at this time of day to gaze down into the snaking canyons carved by the Colorado River. We found this to be the best viewpoint in the park, but we were definitely scared to stand close to the edge as the trail is not fenced. 

For one of the best sunsets in the whole of the USA, head to nearby Dead Horse Point State Park. Park all the way down at Dead Horse Point Overlook, and wait for the sun to dip below the horizon. The whole canyon will turn all shades of pink and purple, as the snowy mountains light up on the horizon.

DAYS 10-11: Page, AZ

Page, Arizona

Getting to Page

Cross the border into Arizona today on your way to Page. The drive takes around 4 hours 22 minutes. A great stop along the way is Monument Valley, made famous by Forrest Gump. Although you can enter the park itself, there are also incredible views along US Highway 163 that passes through the area. There are fast food options in nearby Kayenta for lunch as well.

Things to do in Page

Page is a small town lying on the shores of Lake Powell in Northern Arizona. However, it is perhaps most famous for the magnificent Antelope Canyon. We booked the Upper Antelope Canyon Tour through Roger Ekis’ Antelope Canyon Tours for USD$85*. Our guide was incredible, and we learned so much about both the landscape itself and also photography in the canyon. However, the highlight for me was learning about the Navajo Nation and the rich culture of the Navajo People. This was one of my favourite experiences of the entire Southwest road trip, and is well worth the ticket price.

We also made the short hike out to Horseshoe Bend, one of the most famous sights in the area. The viewpoint here provides incredible views of the Colorado River. 

Although we were not brave enough to face the cold, I would have also loved to get out on Lake Powell while we were here! Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks offers a kayak-only tour of Antelope Canyon for USD$90* per adult. This would be a great way to see the landscape from a different perspective, especially in the warm summer months.

DAYS 12-13: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Grand Canyon National Park

Getting to Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is just a 1 hour 45 minute drive from Page. I recommend heading over in the afternoon just in time for sunset. 

For accommodation near the Grand Canyon, I recommend Under Canvas Grand Canyon. This is an incredible and comfortable glamping experience, with a restaurant onsite. I particularly enjoyed roasting smores around the campfire as we shared our hiking stories from the day. 

Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park

Upon your arrival into Grand Canyon National Park, head straight to Mather Point to watch the incredible sunset. This is absolutely one of the best in the whole USA!

For some great day hikes in the National Park, I have enjoyed the Rim Trail both times I have visited. This trail is easily accessible by the park’s free shuttle bus. So, you can walk as much or as little of the trail as you’d like. Alternatively, the Hermit Trail is a more challenging hike that takes you down into the canyon itself. 

We also really enjoyed some delicious burgers at Arizona Steakhouse after our hiking. 

DAY 14: Las Vegas, NV

Seven Magic Mountains

Getting to Las Vegas

Finally, head back into Las Vegas to end your Southwest road trip. Las Vegas is a 4-hour drive from Grand Canyon National Park. Book a nice hotel for the night to relax after all your hiking before flying out of Harry Read International Airport (LAS) tomorrow. 

Some fun stops along the way back into Las Vegas are Hoover Dam and Seven Magic Mountains

*Please note that all prices are current as of the publication date of this post.

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