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The Best 3 Utah Parks, Explored from 1 Home Base

Utah has so many amazing parks, you just can’t see them all. But, the best 3 Utah parks can all be explored from one home base. That’s what we did when we visited Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, Utah. The best part? We stayed at one RV campground the entire time!

Maximize Fuel and Fun in Moab, Utah

Calling all adventure-lovers and vacation-maximizers! RVing to Moab, Utah should be on your RVing bucket list.

Moab boasts a Mars-like desert landscape, more outdoor adventures than you can imagine, and easy access to three of the most stunning parks in the U.S. This adventure-lovers paradise offers ATVing, rock-climbing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking and more to fuel your adrenaline fix. Moab is a perfect destination for anyone looking for an active vacation away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Arches National Park is one of the best 3 Utah parks
Arches National Park (image: B. Chambliss )

Moab is Base Camp for the Best 3 Utah Parks

Here’s the cherry on top – you can relish the best 3 Utah parks near Moab, from one convenient location (as long as you have access to a car). Plan at least three or four days in this magical dreamland to fully enjoy the beauty and activities awaiting.

Which Moab RV Campground is Most Convenient to the Parks?

We chose to stay at Sun Outdoors Canyonlands Gateway because it’s located within 30 minutes of the 3 national parks close together, and nearly everything Moab has to offer.

Canyonlands Getaway RV campground
Canyonlands Getaway RV Campground (image: Aimlesslady)

Canyonlands Gateway is pretty basic, but honestly, this is not one of those luxury RV resorts in Utah. Moab is about adventure and nature. This is one of those RV campgrounds that offers all the basic necessities and then some. They have nice and level pull-through spaces, a pool, a convenience store and a gas station on site.

Quick note – You won’t find park or city buses around Moab, so plan to drive your car or rent one there.
There are other Moab RV park and lodging options in the city, but Canyonlands Gateway is the most convenient RV campground between the three major parks that make Moab so special:

Convenient Park #1 – Arches National Park

Double Arch Viewpoint (Image: B. Chambliss)

Arches is one of the most amazing national parks in America and one of the best 3 Utah parks. It is so unique, and there are no boring hikes here! Our favorite hikes included:

  • Double Arch Viewpoint and Trail – 0.6 miles roundtrip
  • The Windows viewpoint and Trail – 1 mile roundtrip
  • Landscape Arch Trail – 1.8 miles roundtrip
  • Delicate Arch Viewpoint Trails – two trails less than 0.5 miles roundtrip each

While we did not hike the Delicate Arch Trail (the staple of Arches National Park and a strenuous three-mile hike roundtrip), it constantly receives rave reviews, particularly around sunrise. Just go early because the heat and sun get intense in the afternoon. Be smart, and bring PLENTY of water!

Arches can be explored in one day, but plan to spend two days there if you’re interested in embarking on longer hikes like the Delicate Arch Trail and Devils Garden Trail.

Heads up – Arches has implemented a temporary Timed Entry Reservation System until October 3, 2022 to cut down on busy season traffic. Plan ahead and reserve your spot early.

Convenient Park #2 – Dead Horse Point State Park

Admission is not included in the America the Beautiful pass. But Dead Horse Point State Park is a must-see at sunset, despite the harrowing story behind its name. We visited Dead Horse Point after spending the day exploring the other best 3 Utah parks, so we were only there for a few hours. There are plenty of ways to spend an entire day here though, including flying down their mountain-biking trails.

Pro-tip – The main overlook is quite crowded at sunset. To avoid the crowd, we pulled over at a picnic spot on the side of the main road a bit before the overlook. Our view was just as stunning – and private! We packed some snacks and drinks, set up our camping chairs and enjoyed the most magical sunset of our lives. It was so magical we went back the next day for more! (Your $20 admission fee is good for 24 hours. On day one, we purchased the pass at 6 p.m. The next day we re-entered the park before 6 p.m. so we didn’t have to pay again.)

Convenient Park #3 – Canyonlands National Park

Sunrise in Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park near Moab

Speaking of killer views, Canyonlands National Park was a feast for the eyes. You’ll never feel smaller than when looking out over the vast landscapes in this incredible place.

Another of the best 3 Utah parks, it’s is broken into four main sections, taking hours to travel between them by car. Most people only visit one area of the park during their trip. We chose Island in the Sky due to its proximity to Moab, amazing views and scenic drive.

You can easily see most of Island in the Sky in one day and do the short hikes along the way. Grab a map at the gate and pull over at every stop. Bring your lunch to avoid rushing back to your campsite or into town for a bite.

Like Arches, Canyonlands offers an array of lengthy moderate and strenuous trails, so if you’re up for any of those adventures, plan an extra day or two here.

For an even longer adventure in Canyonlands, the 100-mile White Rim Road allows four-wheel drive vehicles and backcountry camping. Daring drivers can camp along this two-to-three-day drive. Mountain-bikers also love biking and camping on this road for about four days.

How to Explore from Your Moab RV Campground

The main draw of Moab for us was its incredible landscapes, parks, and multiple RV campgrounds. Next time we go, we’ll build in more time for:

  • Longer day-hikes (like Delicate Arch at Arches)
  • Backcountry camping in Canyonlands
  • A night out in Moab town
  • An ATV/Jeep tour of the desert

It’s always incredible when you can knock out a few amazing parks in one RV trip. When you can visit the best 3 Utah parks AND stay in convenient RV campgrounds like Sun Outdoors Canyonlands Getaway, you get to maximize your time sightseeing. And you can avoid the joys of pausing your vacation to move RV campgrounds. No one can complain about that!

About the Author

Brenna Chambliss has been a storyteller since she was an aspiring photojournalist at age sixteen. In her career, she’s been a journalist, corporate communications consultant, employee engagement specialist and life coach. Brenna has been crocheting for over 20 years and is an avid world traveler with a goal of visiting at least one new country every year. So far, she’s seen 32 states and 23 countries. Brenna and her husband Bo have been full-time RVers since 2021 and relish the opportunity to live a nomadic, FULL life of adventure.


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