In my humble opinion, this is THE BEST route for planning your intro road-trip from Utah to Colorado or reverse. This itinerary takes you to all the must-see areas. I am so excited that you get to spend time in what I consider to be the most magical part of the country! You are going to LOVE these special places. I can always send more recommendations, but I think this should keep you busy. All the hikes I linked here are easy/moderate.
If you are coming from Los Angeles, I started this itinerary at Bryce, UT. If you are coming from Denver, do it in reverse. The following is in directional order from Bryce / Escalante ➝ Moab.
*Arrive night before to Bryce, UT.
Start the morning at Bryce Canyon National Park (spend 1/2 day here driving / taking pics)
Optional Hike: Navajo Loop & Queens Garden Trail (~2miles) otherwise keep driving.
Drive to Escalante (1.5 hours)
Stay @ La Luz Desert Retreat (this is Dylan’s family’s Airbnb) OR Yonder Escalante (1 night)
*OPTION TO EXTEND ESCALANTE PORTION
Additional / advanced hikes upon request
Pick up a picnic lunch at The Mercantile
Hike: Lower Calf Creek Falls (~6 miles, flat trail, give yourself 4 hours)
Drive to Kiva Kofeehouse (best views!)
Brunch or Dinner @ Hell’s Back Bone Grill
Stay in Boulder, UT @ Boulder Mountain Lodge or Airbnb (1 night)
Drive to Moab (4 hours)
Pit Stop at Capitol Reef Petroglyph Viewpoint (literally a parking lot on the left side of the road, you can’t miss it)
Arrive in Moab
Optional Hike: Fischer Tower Trail (~3 miles) / about 45 min drive outside of town
Stay at Under Canvas Moab or Airbnb (3 nights)
Arches National Park
Delicate Arch Trail (3.5 miles)
Devil’s Gard Trail (~8 miles, but you can turn around at any point, NOT as hard as this link claims)
Canyon Lands National Park
Sunrise at Mesa Arch (.7 miles)
Grand View Point Trail (2 miles)
Sunset at Green River Overlook Trail (.2 miles)
*Drive homeWhen you’re done in Moab, I would recommend driving back to LA via 1-70 to I-15. Do not drive back the same way you came. This will give you the option to see Zion National Park if you want, or continue on to Vegas. Plus, it’s faster.
*Moab and Canyonlands are right next to each other, you do not need to change lodging for the two destinations.
*The traffic to get into Arches National Park is bumper to bumper, so start early in the day.
*It will be HOT. Take more water than you think it necessary.
*If you want more or an adventure, there are excellent guide companies who can take you on excursions.
Have the best time, and please send lots of pics!