Welcome to Utah! This year in August (2021), my 2 girl friends and I took a trip to Southeast Utah, covering Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park (we also made a pit-stop at a hidden gem which I reveal later as you read through it). It was my first time getting on a plane for a holiday, since covid hit so naturally I was so excited to see my girlies as well as travel!


Well for starters, Salt Lake City (SLC) was the cheapest to fly in and out of, for all three of us since we live in 3 different cities across the US. Second, Utah is one of the few states that I keep wanting to go back to for my love of National Parks! I’ve been to 15+ parks and my favorites are in Utah.


  • Salt Lake City (SLC) is the main/international airport that has 100s of direct flights within US and a few international as well including London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Utah is also a popular road trip destination if you live in California or Nevada.
  • Utah is HUGE. Not Texas huge, but still huge. If you are planning a weekend getaway, like us, it’s best to pick one side of Utah and explore nearby.
  • If you are flying in, getting a rental car from SLC airport is advisable and it’s pretty cheap. All major and affordable rental car companies operate out of SLC.
  • The closest city to both Arches & Canyonlands is Moab. You will find plenty of budget, as well as 1-2 luxury hotels. We stayed at the Hyatt Place in Moab since it was conveniently located, just 15 min from Arches.


Ok this is a tricky one. Since Utah is pretty much all desert, the best time to visit the national parks is technically only April, May, September and October with weather ranging between 60-80 degrees F. Summer is extremely hot and winters are quite cold, with a lot of snow. Most of the hiking trails are open year round but popular trails get slippery pretty fast. We visited in last week of August so were lucky to catch a mix of pleasant and hot weather.

Day 1: Arriving into SLC and Bonneville Salt Flats

We arrived into SLC around afternoon on a Thursday. We picked up our rental, got a sweet upgrade and drove off to our first destination. Bonneville Salt Flats are 1.5 hour away from SLC and quite popular these days. The area is a remnant of Lake Bonneville and is the largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake. Keep in mind it’s in the opposite direction to Arches National Park (5 hours between salt flats and Moab) so plan accordingly.

💡 Helpful Tip:
Before you go, make sure to look at most recent photos of the salt flats on Google/IG. The last time I went here was in May 2018 and the salt flats were all water. Probably because it was still not hot enough for the water to dry up.

Day 2: Canyonlands National Park & Hidden Gem

Canyonlands consists of five different districts essentially. We started our first full day with a day trip to Island in the Sky, which is a 40 minute drive from Moab. It is the most visited part of the park. Other districts include The Needles, The Rivers, Horseshoe Canyon and The Maze. Maze is quite remote and inaccessible via a regular car. It involves a lot of off-roading so a 4×4 is needed. We had half a day to spend at Canyonlands so we covered the following:

  • A small hike to Mesa Arch
  • Drive to Green River overlook
  • Grand View Point

If you have more time, here are some other things to check out:

  • Upheaval Dome
  • Whale Rock
  • Aztec Butte

In the evening, we head to this hidden gem called Dead Horse Point State Park, which is about 22 miles from Canyonlands National Park. It’s not very popular on social media yet but there were still plenty of people perched on the rocks for sunset. You can see for yourself how beautiful it was.

Day 3: Arches National Park & Glamping

Arches National Park is not as big as some other Utah parks. Drive the 22-mile paved road known as the Arches Scenic Drive and you will hit most of the popular and worth seeing spots. Parking was easy to find pretty much everywhere. Here is our detailed schedule for Day 3:

Early Morning: Delicate Arch Hike

  • Early morning wake up call at 4:45 am
  • Drive to Delicate Arch trailhead. Parking is located on Delicate Arch Road. It’s a 3-mile out and back hike.
  • Best time to hike is in spring and fall when the temperatures are cooler, or during sunrise and before sunset, primarily because it’s a bald hike, there is no shade along this trail. so be sure to bring some water and a hat.


  • Even though we did a sunrise hike, by the time we came back down, the sun was out and it was hot. We head back to grab breakfast/lunch and then back to hotel to shower and change.
  • Next we drove the Arches Scenic Drive and made a pitstop at these stunning arches: Balanced Rock, Devil’s Garden (short hike to Landscape Arch, Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch ), Double Arch and Windows Loop

Evening & Night:

  • This was our last full day in Moab, so we decided to spend our evening and night at a glamping experience with Under Canvas, which was just 7 miles from Moab
  • Under Canvas has multiple locations throughout Utah and it has also been recognized by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top resorts in the US.
  • We paid $484/night incl. taxes for a King Bed tent with a private bathroom. They have cheaper options as well if you are ok with a communal bathroom and smaller bed.
  • The experience was definitely one of a kind. Similar to camping, there were no power outlets in the tent and no wifi either, so you really get a chance to disconnect and relax.
  • They have battery operated fans & lanterns with USB plugs to charge phones. There is no AC so make sure you are up for this, specially in warmer months. For winter, they have a fireplace in the tents so heating is not an issue.
  • The only bad thing was the extreme weather in the middle of night around 3 am. Since it’s a desert, the nights can be extremely windy. This is exactly what happened and our whole tent was shaking for 30 mins lol.
  • If you like adventure, this is the perfect mix. However if you are traveling solo and are worried about getting scared, make sure to check with the locals about the weather conditions before booking.

Glamping at Under Canvas Moab

Top 10 Things to Do & See

To recap, here are my top 10 things to do and see on a trip to South East Utah:

  1. Drive to and spend time at the Bonneville Salt Flats
  2. Drive the 22 mile scenic Arches Highway to see rock formations, towers and arches
  3. Walk in the Devil’s Garden and take short walks to Landscape Arch
  4. Hike the Delicate Arch Trail at sunrise or sunset to view the arch from up close
  5. Take a stroll at Double Arch and witness this really tall arch
  6. Take a sunset stroll in the North and South Windows
  7. Drive to Canyonlands National Park and hike to Mesa Arch
  8. Stop at the Grand View Point and Green Lake Overlook
  9. Watch another sunset at the Dead Horse Point State Park
  10. Disconnect, unwind and relax at Under Canvas, a glamping experience