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How to get there:
When doing a Utah Colorado road trip, people usually fly in from either Salt Lake City or Vegas. We flew in from Vegas since our last stop for the trip was a wedding in Loveland, CO. It really depends on what direction you want to go in and where you live! Flying in from Boston, Vegas is one of the cheaper options. We picked up a rental car in Vegas and drove straight to our first point – the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
Welcome to Utah Sign
I feel like this is a necessity to stop at! Tons of cars were pulled over to get a photo-opt at the Welcome to Utah sign.
Pro tip: Look at your GPS to make sure you don’t miss it, it comes up quick!
Since we were super hungry, we ended up stopping on the way to Kanab at El Pollo, which is a fast food Mexican restaurant in Utah. It was SO GOOD! I got a delicious chicken salad that was amazing and also pretty healthy!
Vegas > Kanab, UT
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes aren’t as well known as many other activities we did but I am so glad I discovered it. We rented sand boards and it was a blast. We went down sand boarding down the hill, slid down and of course, took tons of photos and videos.
Pro tip: If you are sand boarding, they recommend that you take your shoes off and go barefoot or with socks. Make sure to wear thicker socks, the sand gets very, very hot!
Town of Kanab
While the town of Kanab isn’t a “hot spot” for travelers, it was one of my favorite hidden spots that we visited. We stayed at the La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Kanab.
Our first stop was the downtown area of Kanab (which was really cute) to grab food. We ate dinner at Wild Thyme Cafe and it was incredible. Definitely one of the best meals I had on the trip. I got the pistachio chicken and a fun martini drink (also very good!) There are tons of other restaurants, breakfast cafes, and ice cream shops along the downtown area to check out.
Vegas > Kanab, UT> Springdale, UT
Zion National Park : The Narrows
Next on our list was the Narrows at Zion National Park. We rented a private shuttle from Zion Adventure Company so we could get dropped off and picked off easily. It was definitely a cool experience!
Pro tip: By 11am (we also went on a Saturday), the park was so crowded. Since it’s a cool spot that is super well-known, I recommend getting there as early as possible when it’s less crowded.
After we got back from the Narrows, we walked around the downtown Springdale area. There are lots of restaurants and shops lining the street. I grabbed a lavender latte at Deep Creek Coffee Co, which was yummy!
Pro tip: We also hit a crazy amount of traffic when we left Springdale so make sure to factor that into your trip.
Vegas > Kanab, UT> Springdale, UT>Bryce Canyon, UT
Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo
Bryce Canyon was another favorite from our trip. We stayed at Ruby’s Best Western (not a big fan but options were limited here – and the convenience was very nice). If you are looking for a hotel in the area, The Best Western across the street did look a little more promising. After we checked in, we bought tickets to the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo which was fun! There is beer and candy / popcorn you can purchase there as well.
Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset Point
We watched the sunset at Bryce Canyon after the rodeo and the views were absolutely unreal! You can hike there but we parked at Sunset Point and walked a few feet over.
Bryce Canyon National Park- Queens Gambet at Sunrise to Navajo Loop on Sunset
By far my #1 favorite thing to do on this trip was Navajo Loop at Bryce Canyon National Park! The views were gorgeous and the orange rocks were stunning.
On the way to Lower Calf Creek Falls, we stopped by Kiva Koffeehouse and grabbed a bite to eat. I got the house salad and chia tea and enjoyed the amazing views outside.
Lower Calf Creek Falls
This was another trip must-do. It is a 3 mile hike each way (6 miles roundtrip) in 105 degrees. At the end of the hike, there is a gorgeous waterfall, which makes it so worth it!
Vegas > Kanab, UT> Springdale, UT>Bryce Canyon, UT>Capitol Reef, UT
The Rim Rock Restaurant
After we checked into the hotel, we ventured out to the Rim Rock Restaurant and grabbed some drinks. I wish we had gotten a speciality pizza, they looked so good!
Where we stayed: The Broken Spur Inn & Steakhouse (not the worst but not my favorite). If they had availability during our dates, I would have stayed at the Capitol Reef Resort because the views looked out of this world! We grabbed dinner here at the Steakhouse and I got a steak tip appetizer.
Capitol Reef National Park
The next morning we got up super early and headed off to Capitol Reef National Park for a few hours. The hike we did was called Cassidy Arch and in my opinion, it was the most difficult trail we did on the entire trip.
We drove by the Outlaw’s Roost on our way to Moab and the sign outside immediately caught my attention (see below – lol). The food and service did not disappoint! I got a taco bowl and margarita and both were delicious.
Vegas > Kanab, UT> Springdale, UT>Bryce Canyon, UT>Capitol Reef, UT>Moab, UT
Moab is definitely one of the more popular areas in Utah. The downtown is massive! We ended up staying three nights here because there was so much to do. Up until now, we stayed one night in every town in Utah, which was the perfect amount of time for us.
Downtown Moab – Night 1
After we checked into the Hyatt Place Moab (more on the hotel below), we headed to downtown Moab and ate at Zax Restaurant which was highly recommended for it’s pizzas. It was OK – many people seemed to love it!I got a honey chicken pizza and Moscow mule. After, we went to the Moab diner and I grabbed some cookie dough ice cream which was really good!
Moab – Day 1
Hells Revenge UTV Tour
I wasn’t sure what to expect of this UTV tour (with the name Hells Revenge) but it ended up being a blast! We did UTV’s in Aruba before and it was a totally different experience. This was more off-roading and although some parts were definitely sketchy it was a unique once in-a-lifetime experience!
Moab – Day 2
Hyatt Place Moab Hot Tub and Pool
On our second day in Moab we spent a few hours cooling off at the Hyatt Moab’s pool. I mean, look at those views! They also have a hot tub which we relaxed in later that night with a few drinks.
We visited the Mill Creek Waterfall later that day to check out the views. I wish we brought hiking shoes for a hike! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel bar and grabbed a drink before heading off to dinner.
Pro tip: Make sure to bring a suit so you can take a dip in the water.
Desert Bistro was recommended to us by the hotel and the food here was unreal. One of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life! I got the fish meal – I can’t remember what it was called but it was on the speciality menu. I also got a martini that changed colors – very cool!
Pro tip: Make sure to make a reservation.
Moab – Day 3
Delicate Arch at Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a must-see in Utah. The views at the end are very cool! We did think that this hike was one of the easiest we did on the trip.
Pro tip: Make sure to get here SUPER early! We got one of the last parking spots before 7am and by 9am when we were leaving, the gates said to come back in 3-4 hours when there would be space available.
Bitsy’s Brew Coffee and Waffles
Another breakfast spot recommendation from the hotel. My mouth waters just thinking about the waffles and coffee! Breakfast spots in Moab are packed so this was a hidden gem and we didn’t even have to wait in line.
Castle Creek Winery
The views were amazing here. The tasting is inside and costs $1. Afterwards, you can buy a bottle of wine and sit outside to enjoy the amazing scenery.
Pro tip: Go later in the day so you can eat at the restaurant next to the winery and soak up the views.
This is the #3 restaurant on TripAdvisor and I can see why. It’s a little food truck in the food truck park downtown but really, really good! My boyfriend and I got a few different quesadillas and split them.
Moab Jet Tours
The people in our boat loved this excursion but if you get motion sickness and don’t like cold water (like me) then this probably isn’t the excursion for you! I was absolutely TERRIFIED. The boat spins you around very quickly and you have to hold onto the rails to keep from going overboard. If you are an adrenaline junkie, this could be a good one for you!
98 Center Moab
If you love restaurants and fresh unique dishes – 98 Center Moab nails it. To start, I got the vegan bánh mí nachos and a margaritas, both delicious. For my meal, I opted for the chicken pho dish and substituted the miracle noodles for a more carb friendly option.
Where we stayed in Moab: The Hyatt Moab. This was by far my favorite hotel we stayed at! From the food to rooms and location, I couldn’t recommend it enough. First off, the hotel brunch is on point and has tons of options. The french toast is to die for! We couldn’t get enough.
Moab – Day 4
Leaving Moab we stopped in DoughBird where we grabbed some donuts (birthday cake was my fav.) I’m seriously regretting not getting the Reese’s flavor, it looked out-of-this-world.
Vegas > Kanab, UT> Springdale, UT>Bryce Canyon, UT>Capitol Reef, UT>Moab, UT> Colorado
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
Off to Colorado and our first stop was the Iron Mountain Hot Springs! We debeated going here or the Glenwood Hot Springs but after more research it looked like the Glenwood Hot Springs tended to get more crowded, had less pools and was more family oriented while the Iron Mountain Hot Springs were geared towards couples.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs had tons of pools – each were a different temperature and one was even shaped like a heart! Such a great spot to relax – they even have a bar where we grabbed a few cocktails. The scenery also overlooks the Colorado River.
Vail Brewing Company – Took a quick pit stop here to grab some drinks and food. Love that they also had cider and not just beer.
Rocky Mountain Taco Co- The food truck at the Vail Brewing Company. We each had 4 tacos, so fresh and amazing!
Not to be confused with the town of Loveland, Colorado we stopped by Loveland Pass. At 11,990 feet above sea level, the views are absolutely breathtaking.
Pro tip: If you have one chance to see it, go in the winter to see the views combined with the snow.
We had planned our trip around ending in Loveland, Colorado because we had a wedding here. We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Loveland and I was pleasantly surprised it was only a stone’s throw away from the downtown area that had a ton of restaurants, bars and shops.
We were here for 3 days but did many wedding related things. This is where we ate:
Dark Heart Coffee Bar – Very chic coffee spot. The macarons are so delicious (we got both flavors).
Mary’s Mountain Cookies Downtown – I’m not even joking when I say I devoured two giant cookies here. The reeses was my favorite! We also got one of the ice cream sandwiches.
Vatos Tacos – Cheap yummy tacos!
Betta Gumbo – Southern / Cajun food with an outdoor patio.
Most people road tripping to Utah and Colorado include Denver in their from/to route. We were only in Denver for a few hours before we drove back to the airport to head home. We did visit Denver in the winter a few years ago, so here are some of my favorite places:
- Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery – I got one of the salads which was a giant portion and really, really good too!
- Little Man Ice Cream
- Caribou Coffee
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre – A definite must see when visiting Denver.
- Abbey’s Coffee
- Uncle – The most delicious ramen you will ever have! Make sure to get here when they open, it gets very busy.
- Outer Range Brewing Co – Fun brewery with plenty of space.
- Crepes a La Cart (in Breckenridge, Colorado) – Sweet and savory crepes.
There you have it! The Ultimate Utah and Colorado Road Trip.
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