Utah’s National Parks get all the attention, but there are some remarkable Utah state parks and national monuments that give the National Parks a run for their money. We have some great southern Utah state parks and protected areas that are breathtaking and totally worth your time on a Utah road trip.
The goal with visiting southern Utah state parks and protected land is to get the same unique experiences as you find in National Parks but with a fraction of the crowds. True, there aren’t as many facilities or park staff to provide information, and chances are you’ll be on dirt roads for at least a part of the drive, but you’ll be wowed by the experience and ready to return on a future trip.
WHEN TO VISIT SOUTHERN UTAH STATE PARKS
Something that’s wonderful about southern Utah state parks and protected lands is that year round, they are less crowded than the National Parks. Consider this our recommendation to plan a summer vacation to Utah. Yes, it’ll be hot and you’ll need to plan appropriately with sun protection and lots of water, but it’ll be awesome.
If you choose to visit in the off season, you’ll find that some southern Utah state parks are actually at pretty high elevations so you may have some snow surprises. You may be pleasantly surprised though. For example, we visited Bryce Canyon National Park in March and while it was covered in several feet of snow still, the towns of Tropic and Escalante we perfectly dry and warm. Having said that, weather at high elevations can change rapidly and you should be prepared.