With a landscape characterized by mountain peaks and deep canyons, southern Utah is filled with big views. And the state’s trademark delicate-seeming arches and hoodoos are jaw-dropping sights as well.

Canyon Views

With a few exceptions, you won’t need to hike uphill for miles to get a bird’s-eye view—most of the vista points below are easily reached by a short hike or detour by car.

Shadows make a sharp line halfway up the steep peaks of the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park.

Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park. Photo © Robert Crum/123rf.

  • Angels Landing and Court of the Patriarchs: If you really want views, take the steep hike to Angels Landing in Zion National Park. For an eyeful without a hike, jump off the shuttle bus at the Court of the Patriarchs.
  • Hog’s Back: Between Escalante and Boulder, Highway 12 climbs up this steep fin of rock from which the slot canyons of the Escalante River and the cliffs of the Aquarius Plateau form a jaw-dropping 360-degree vista.
  • Navajo Knobs: From this point 1,500 feet above the Fremont River Canyon, reached after a six-mile climb from the Hickman Natural Bridge trailhead, you’ll take in most of southern Utah and the snakelike ridge of the 100-mile-long Waterpocket Fold.
  • Dead Horse Point State Park and Grand View Point: From the main access road into the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands, two road-end vista points provide swallow-your-gum views over the incredible Colorado River Canyon. From Dead Horse Point State Park, a 30-foot-wide neck of land extends into the void over the twisting channels of the river 2,000 feet below. Continue to Grand View Point, above the confluence of the Colorado and the Green Rivers, for vistas of canyons, sheer rock walls, pinnacles, and distant mountains.

Arches and Hoodoos

How do they remain standing? These delicate-seeming stone pinnacles and arches have stood the test of time.

Red rock hoodoos in Bryce Canyon on a sunny day.

Hoodoos near Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo © Gennadiy Serdyuk/123rf.

  • Sunrise and Sunset Points: Though the name is cliché, the angle of the rising sun really does make Sunrise Point in Bryce special. If you can’t quite make it by sunrise, try a sunset view at Sunset Point.
  • Delicate Arch: Looking across the Colorado River Canyon to the distant La Sal Mountains through Delicate Arch is a memory-of-a-lifetime experience.
  • Monument Valley: These towering pinnacles of stone have served as backdrop to innumerable Western movies.
  • Natural Bridges National Monument: Often overlooked, the incredible rock spans here are some of the largest and most dramatic in Utah.

Excerpted from the Sixth Edition of Moon Zion & Bryce.