Utah's Mighty 5 Camper van rental Travel Guide & Itinerary

Complete Guide to Utah's Mighty 5 National Parks for Camper Van Renters

Here’s a 3-day itinerary for your Utah's Mighty 5 camper van rental.

Don't have a van yet? Rent one of ours and take it on this trip!

Overview of Utah's Mighty 5 National Parks

It’s hardly a secret that Southern Utah is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the country, and that means everyone wants to see it. 

For the most part, the big crowds stick to the well-known parks like Zion, Bryce, and Arches. For those first two, we have entirely separate guides. 

With a few more hours of driving, you’ll find the less-visited, but still beautiful, parks and national monuments: Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and the very popular Arches national park. These complete Utah's Mighty 5 National Parks 

In my opinion, Arches and Canyonlands are too far of a drive from Las Vegas unless you have a lot of time and a long camper van rental; you'll spend much of your time in the car instead of truly seeing the land. Plus, Arches now has a timed-entry reservation system. Many of our renters have been turned around when they missed their entry time due to traffic. Therefore, we recommend you replace Arches and Canyonlands with Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Or simply stay close and visit Zion, Bryce, and all the great stuff near Vegas.

But, if you're reading this, I doubt I'll convince you, so know that each of these places could merit its own 3 day itinerary. We're only including the 'best-of-the-best in this guide.'' If any of these parks are calling to you, you'll do well to research a more complete itinerary for that specific park.

Don’t forget to stock up on camping supplies and food before you leave. You may have a hard time finding stores and restaurants in remote areas of Southern Utah.

Finally, don’t expect every road to be paved. Many trailheads in parks and forests are only accessible via dirt roads. Remember that vans rented from Vegas Campers can only be operated on paved roadways. Please plan accordingly. 

Grand Staircase Escalante

Depart from Las Vegas and drive 3.5 hours to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

When you get there, stop in at the nearest Visitor Center to learn about current trail conditions and pick up maps. Utah.com also has a great info.

Be sure to take the 6-mile hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls to take a dip in the swimming hole at the foot of a 126-foot-high waterfall. The trailhead is easy to get to from Calf Creek Campground. 

Also, try to make time for the 3.2-mile Escalante Natural Bridge hike just off of Highway 12. The relatively flat trail makes for a relaxing hike before sunset. 

Capitol Reef National Park

Wake up and make the beautiful 2 hour drive to Capitol Reef National Park.

If you happen to visit the park in the summer or fall, stop by the historic orchards and pick fresh cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, or apples. 

Spend the day enjoying the park’s breathtaking landscape along the 8-mile paved Scenic Drive that winds through the park.

With 15 day hiking trails around the Fruita area, you won’t have a hard time finding something to do for the rest of the day. The hikes offer a good variety of difficulty and duration, so consult the trail guide before heading out.

Canyonlands National Park

Wake up early and head to Canyonlands National Park, about 2.5 hours away from Capitol Reef. 

The Island in the Sky region inside Canyonlands is the easiest area to access and offers stunning views, campsites, scenic drives, and exciting hikes. Try to get to the park early to get a spot at Island in the Sky Campgrounds, especially if you’re traveling during the warmer months. 

Once you’ve found a campsite, hop in the van and take the Island in the Sky scenic drive. Stop at Grand View Point at the southern portion of the drive for sweeping views over the park. 

Extra-early risers can catch the sunrise at Mesa Arch, which is just a short hike from the trailhead. 

Experienced hikers can spend the day tackling the challenging 8.3-mile Syncline Loop or 10.8-mile Murphy Loop.

After a long day of hiking, head back to camp for an evening of unbeatable stargazing beneath Canyonland’s famously dark, starry skies.

Arches National Park

Leave from Canyonlands and travel about an hour to your last stop, Arches National Park! With over 2000 stone arches and incredible balancing rocks, you're finishing your journey with a bang!

If you travel between March and October, however, you'll need to secure a timed entry ticket. Expect crowds. When you get there, stop in at the nearest Visitor Center to learn about current trail conditions and pick up maps. 

You've got to see Delicate Arch while in Zion. You have literally dozens of additional options. Some of the best are listed here.

Devils Garden campground is the only campground in the park. It usually full every single night, so if you want to stay in the park, get your reservations early. Otherwise check Campendium and Hipcamp for nearby alternatives.

Give yourself enough time to make the 6.5 hour drive back to Las Vegas and stop to take in any last views you don’t want to miss!

Where to Next?
(We have travel guides for those places, too!)

Don't have a camper van? No Problem!

VegasCampers has a small fleet of fully stocked camper vans ready for your next adventure to Zion National Park and other popular destinations. Reserve your van today.

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Each is a 4 hour extension, so...

  • Early pickup lets you pick up at 11am or later. 
  • Late drop off lets you drop off at 3pm or earlier.
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