Southern Utah 3 day Travel Guide: Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Southern Utah Travel Guide

This southern Utah adventure was one of our favorite short trips that we’ve ever been on! We talk about our experiences during these short three days often. We even plan to go on another similar trip with my aunt this fall. There is enough jammed in this short 3-day travel guide to keep things exciting, AND we felt that we had plenty of time to experience the beauty of Utah’s nature at each of these spots!

Ryan and I went on this adventure with a dear friend from middle school/high school/college named Josh! We all had a blast, and he’s coming again soon to join us on an adventure to some other national parks we haven’t been to- Yellowstone & Glacier.

Here’s -almost- exactly what our itinerary looked like. We had to leave around noon instead of 8 am because I had a part-day of work. But, I highly recommend getting to Zion as early as possible, to find a campsite as well as to have more time to enjoy the park’s beauty! (Zion is seriously my favorite national park, its beauty is unreal!!)

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Travel & Afternoon in Zion National Park

8:00 am: Leave Salt Lake Area, Heading South Towards Zion National Park!

1:00 pm: Arrive at Zion National Park

1:30 Check into your accommodations/find a campsite

2:30 Enter the park

3 Hike*

*The Emerald Pool Trail & Weeping Rock would be amazing! Or the Narrows! (Below the Itinerary I have a list of the top hikes to check out!)

7 Dinner

830 Head Back To hotel/Campsite

10 Sleep

Day 2: More Time Zion National Park

5 Wake up!

7 Hike Angel’s Landing

1 Lunch Time!

2 Drive & Check Out the West side of Zion OR Hike the Narrows

5 Get Some Delicious Dinner at Whiptail Grill (not sponsored just seriously some delicious food!) Plus, the view isn’t too shabby either! (ignore us looking a lil rough and tired from a long day of hiking!)

7 If you’re up for it, hike Watchman Overlook for sunset

9 Head back to hotel/Campsight

Day 3: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park & Bryce Canyon National Park

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6 Wake up & Pack up

7 Head to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (1/1 and a half hours depending if you can make it through the canyon)

9 Sandboarding & Sandsledding. Exploring the Dunes! (If you are looking for a more detailed guide about Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, check out my post all about it)

11:30 Lunch, shower off

12 Drive to Bryce Canyon

1:30 Arrive- check out the visitors center

2 Load the bus and check out some overlook points

3:30 Queens Garden Trail

6 Go get some dinner

8 Head to Sunset Point for sunset!

The Southern Utah Travel Guide Locations

Zion National Park

Picture was taken on the Watchman overlook trail 🙂

The Best Hikes

  1. Angels Landing

While not for the faint of heart or for those scared of heights, this trail offers breathtaking views & is surely an unforgettable experience!

2. Emerald Pool Trail

Honestly, this might be my favorite hike in Zion! It’s so beautiful to be surrounded by waterfalls in the middle of the desert. It’s also an easy/moderate hike so it’s suitable for when you aren’t up for something too strenuous but don’t want to miss out on the incredible views.

3. The Watchman Trail

For a hike with incredible views of all of Zion without risking your life (aka Angels Landing) this is a wonderful hike!

4. Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock

Short & easy! With incredible views!

The Narrows

5. The Narrows

Well, this is one we’ve never gotten to do!! Because we always seem to visit in the Spring! During Spring, snowmelt often causes the water to flow too quickly. BUT, I hear it’s a beautiful hike! Definitely look into doing it! Angels Landing and The Narrows are the most famous hikes at Zion!

These are our favorite trails, but if you have more time or want something different, this blog post includes more trails to check out!

Where to stay

We were unable to find a campsite, so we ended up camping out at a free campground about 10 miles from the park’s entrance. The campsite ended up being enjoyable, but it was a little bit frightening when everywhere we went was sold out! Just know, there are free campsites about 10 miles from the entrance, and they are nice!

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In the past, we’ve stayed at the Watchman campground, and that was a great experience too. I’d say it was a better experience because of the overall environment and ambiance, but you typically have to book this in advance! (& it costs $30 a night)

Another great option is the Zion Lodge. It’s more pricey than camping, but it seems like it would be a wonderful experience! It’s right in the middle of the park & has a restaurant as well!

Bryce Canyon

While we were only here for a few short hours, we feel like we were able to experience what we wanted to at the park! The only thing I would’ve changed was to be there to see the stars at night. It’s one of the best places in the world to stargaze!

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

For all the details of this state park and our experience of Sandboarding, check out my post here. It’s a blast!!

I hope you love this travel guide & have the best experience exploring southern Utah! We loved our time here & hope to travel back, as I said! If you are looking for other Utah travel guides, click here.




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