National Park Tour Plans Part 1: Colorado & Utah

When the hubs and I learned that he was going to be medically retired we were like well that sucks......but then we were like what an amazing opportunity to bucket list it up while we are still on the younger side. Of course thru-hiking the PCT is the ultimate goal. But in preparation for that and because we have some time to kill until next April when we kick off our little 2k plus mile trek we have decided to tour some of this countries amazing national parks this summer.

The trip serves two purposes: 1) have fun exploring the western part of the USA, 2) try out our backpacking gear and learn some skill (okay, me learn some skill) when it comes to trekking through the wilderness. We will kick off and end in Colorado and visit some of the most beautiful areas in between. The plan is to kick it off on June 1st.

Black Canyon of Gunnison

This will be our first stop for camping and day hiking. You can backpack down the canyon but after reading multiple warnings about abundant poison ivy I was like yeah no thanks. Not really in the mood to kick off this multi-month adventure itchy. So some rim hiking and camping will take place. x


Utah seems to have some of the most amazing scenery. My trip to Zion confirmed this last year. I am excited to see more of what Utah has to offer. Arches is a smaller park with a scenic drive and shorter day hike options that we will be doing.


Basically right next door to Arches, Canyonlands is a huge and fairly remote park that has more trails and possibly navigable dirt roads than anything else. There is Island in the Sky area close to Arches and about two hours away the other area accessible by car is The Needles. We hope to spend a day or so exploring each area. 

Capitol Reef

This park we will view as we drive through on our way to Bryce, stopping at anything interesting. Similar in landscape to Canyonlands except for the fruit orchards which are open to the public when the fruit is ripe for picking. For some reason I think that is very cool, unfortunately we won't be there for fruit picking season.  

Bryce Canyon

I am pretty excited about this park. It looks amazing. Though there are backpacking options I considered at this location, the best views are on some of the longer day hikes so that is what we will probably stick with because I do not want to miss views like the one above.


Here we have a two day backpacking adventure planned that involves seeing an arch and some waterfalls. This will be the true test of how much I paid attention to the instructions on the water filter and if I am a help or a hindrance when it comes to putting up the tent. 

After all this Utah fun we are headed to California for a couple nights stay in a hotel to sleep on a bed and wash clothes and generally be inside for a bit before we embark on leg 2.

If anyone has any tips on backpacking, park visits, whatever please feel free to share! It would be much appreciated!


  1. Hike the narrows at Zion, and hike to delicate arch at Arches.


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