Combining city life with nature this trip started in Las Vegas and ended in Salt Lake City.
Scroll Down for a breakdown of the itinerary
Day 1: After a lovely delay at the airport and an outrageously late arrival in Las Vegas the first day we picked up the car and went out to Fire Valley National Park. Initially we had a few hikes for this park planned however it was crazy hot that day (Don't recommend hiking the desert in July...) We ended up doing a short trail and driving most of the park. We went to go onto the fire wave trail but we were hesitant and when we saw a family come out on the brink of collapse we thought better of it. The colors in the park are unreal and 100% worth the trip out. Upon return and showers we ate at the sugar factory which has amazing drinks and desserts but the food, eh. We went to the puppetry of penises show after dinner which was hilarious. Those of you that think this show is lewd and inappropriate, it is but in the best way possible it's still funny. We walked down the strip and in and out of the casinos before turning in for the night.
Day 2: We started the day with a drag brunch, perfect way to start the day waking up in Vegas, along with a good show and surprisingly good food! The mob museum is interesting and if you have any interest in it I would suggest it, if you have zero interest in the mob you probably won't like it. Skip the neon museum. It's $$$ for a tiny loop around old signs. Dinner was at Dick's last resort at the hotel, good food, fun atmosphere, not for the sensitive they will insult you it's part of it! We saw two shows that night, potted potter, which was alright, a bit childish and Aussie Heat. Great great show for the ladies.
Day 3: Our time in sin city came to a close as we stopped at the famous sign (with crazy long line and all!) before heading to the hoover damn. It is a colossal feat that has some interesting viewpoints without much else. Note! it doesn't let you drive through to Arizona so we had to go all the way back around to get out. It's quite a hike but we made it to the Grand Canyon, the gift shop was closed and it was getting late so we hiked along the rim. Knowing what we do now I would suggest doing an extra day so there's time to actually go down into it. Also the time changes vary by mile as you weave through native territories. We thought the clock in the car was broken, it wasn't.
Day 4: There was a lot of driving in between places which I don't fully recommend but if you want to see a lot it ends up being necessary. We drove to Coral pink national sand dunes which has the option of sledding and boarding down. After we went to Zion national park. It was really busy and getting around the park meant sitting in traffic. We ended up doing a trail off the center of the park to avoid the crowds. Initially we wanted to do the subway trail which you needed a permit for and we didn't have. It didn't seem like they were checking but staying on the safe side we found something else. Cedar city is a town not far from the park that had a good amount of hotel and food options which is where we stayed for the night.
Day 5: Bryce national park was up next and I could not say enough about this park. We did the peek a boo loop trail which was gorgeous and slightly strenuous in the heat but the colors and formations were worth it. Make sure you bring lots of water with you!! We were traveling today so after Bryce we stopped at Grand Staircase Escalante with a shorter trail and some caving paintings after climbing. We ended the day by driving through canyonlands national park to get to Moab to set ourselves up for the following day.
Day 6: Arches National park was first thing today where the driving loop is amazing with a few formations right off the road for anyone not willing to risk their lives hiking in the desert in 100 degree heat. We saw the double arches then took on the delicate arch. This is the arch on the license plates in Utah and pretty much the image for most of Utah. It's a rough hike in that kind of heat you are going uphill on a barefaced rock without a glimpse of shade. Don't worry once you get past that people will assure you that you're almost there. You're not but it's nice to hear. The view is actually incredible once you finally do reach the arch with a long line for a picture underneath it..... After finishing the parks drive we headed north this was the longest drive up the trip as we drove up to Wyoming right under Jackson Hole to conquer the Grand Tetons in the morning.
Day 7: We started this day in the Grand Tetons national park, the green was a nice change from the desert climates we had been in and tackled the hidden falls trail which was a beautiful trail along the lake on the less crowded side. The waterfall at the end eventually became one of my favorite paintings. after returning to the car Yellowstone was really close and we drove up. We drove the park road again and saw the lower falls. The road in Yellowstone is busy, really busy, not only from cars but also from the random buffalo in the road. We just barely made it to west Yellowstone where our hotel was, we had a quick bite before seeing Peter and the starcatcher at the Playmill theater. This theater rotates shows so it's possible to see more then one if you stay for an extended amount of time. It was a cute theater, the actors showed you your seats and brought snacks around. They were very interactive and all around a great show.
Day 8: We went back into the park the next day to see Old Faithful, the paint pots and the mystic falls, fairy creek loop with a trip to fairy falls where there was an overlook to the grand prismatic spring. Yellowstone has some amazing scenery and there's something new to see every turn you make. Hiking on the mountains made a world of difference. we drove to Idaho for the descent back to Salt Lake to come home.
Day 9: After getting into Salt lake we kept it low key, went to the zoo, kind of tiny, skipped hiking and had a lovely dinner. The next day we flew home!
Las Vegas- Fire Valley State Park, Sugar Factory, Puppetry of penises show, the strip, drag brunch, the mob museum, neon museum, potted potter show, Aussie Heat, and the sign
Grand Canyon National Park- Rim Trail
Coral pink national sand dunes
Zion National Park- Lamb's knoll climbing site
Bryce - peek a boo loop, Thor's hammer
Grand escalante- escalante river trailhead
Arches- Double Arch, Delicate Arch
Grand Tetons- Hidden falls trail
Yellowstone- lower falls, paint pots, dragons breath, mystic falls, fairy falls, old faithful
West Yellowstone- Playmill theater!!
Idaho- stop over
Salt Lake city- zoo