This Road Trip From Salt Lake City To Las Vegas Is Full Of National Park Views

Some of the most visited national parks in the United States are in the western states. Traversing from one to another takes adventurers through varying terrain, from towering mountain peaks to the depths of the Grand Canyon. And while it may seem that these states involve too much time spent on remote highways, the cities along these highways offer plenty for city slickers and outdoorsy folks alike.

Traveling from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas is a road trip route that combines beautiful natural wonders with iconic American cities. Start the epic journey at Salt Lake City's Great Salt Lake. Antelope Island State Park at the lake is home to bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn (commonly referred to as antelope), and birds. The park has trails for hiking or mountain biking, and campsites are available to book online, from RV slots to primitive locations. Within the city center is the massive Temple Square, exhibiting Utah's extensive religious history. Further east, discover fossils and dinosaur skeletons at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Explore Capitol Reef National Park by car or on foot

Near the center of Utah is Monroe, home of the Red Hill Hot Springs. It may seem remote, but these thermal pools are less than two miles east of town on East 300 North, and the parking area has restrooms. The springs are safe for swimming and are welcoming of all ages. Despite its size, Monroe has places to stay, like Signal Peak Mini Resort and Monroe Canyon RV Park.

As you head south in Utah, you have your choice of iconic national parks. Less than two hours from Monroe is Capitol Reef National Park. A major aspect of this park's geology is the Waterpocket Fold. Movement at a fault line caused shifts in rock formations and formed this fold. All of this activity gives way for brightly colored rock formations, canyons, and arches. Among the drivable paths is the Scenic Drive, which begins at the park's visitor center. Notom-Bullfrog Road is a longer drive, beginning east of the visitor center on State Route 24, and offering views of the Waterpocket Fold. Both routes get close to hiking trails like Grand Wash and Halls Creek Narrows (pictured above), respectively.

Check off two more national parks in southern Utah

Southeast of Capitol Reef National Park is Bryce Canyon National Park. This park's claims to fame are its hoodoos, which are tall columns of rock formed from plate tectonics and erosion over a former floodplain system that featured flat rocks. Get views of these rock spires on the many hiking trails around the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, such as the Queen's Garden Trail. Hikes vary in length, allowing visitors to fit them to their schedule.

If your appetite for Utah's unique national parks is still not satisfied, head to Zion National Park near the Arizona Border. Zion is famous for its massive canyons, towering cliffs, and narrow passageways, such as those found on The Narrows hiking trail. It is possible to drive a car through this park, like on State Route 9's Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, but shuttle services run from the visitor center to multiple destinations on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. In fact, this particular route is closed to private vehicles when shuttles are in operation, which is from March to November and late December.

Combine past and present in Las Vegas

As an entertainment oasis in the deserts of the western United States, Las Vegas is likely one of the most well-known cities in the United States. From countless casinos to regular celebrity performances at every turn, there is always something going on in Vegas. On the Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), take your pick from famous hotels that double as performance venues, like Luxor, Caesars Palace, and Bellagio to name a few. And who could forget the famous welcome sign?

Despite the glitzy hotspots on the Strip, Las Vegas manages to combine modernity with its vintage Americana past. For glimpses into this past, head to Fremont Street. This was the site of the original Las Vegas Strip. Relics of the city's past on Fremont street include the Vegas Vic neon cowboy sign and the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino. See some more vintage Vegas at The Neon Museum. Despite old buildings making way for new ones over the decades, the neon signs of these iconic places are preserved at this museum. Book your spots in advance at this unique and in-demand attraction.