Southwestern National Parks Tour

Colorado River - Sunrise at Drinks Canyon Campground near Moab, Utah

Americans are lucky, or more accurately, fortunate. We are fortunate in the incredible beauty, diversity, wildlife and wilderness that is set aside and preserved by the National Parks Service. My wife and I recently took a week-long tour of National Parks, Monuments and Historic Sites in Colorado, Utah and Arizona. While our trip was short we camped, hiked, explored and absorbed a huge amount of nature, history and culture of the Southwestern US.

With only a week for our trip, we decided to visit some of the less crowded parks in the region. Even still we only scratched the surface of what these parks have to offer. I think we could have spent twice or three times as long in each of the parks and still left much unexplored. Below is a list of the National Parks, Monuments and Sites we visited with a few thoughts about each one and a photo gallery from our tour.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - Gorgeous and uncrowded. I should learn how to fly fish before we return.

Colorado National Monument - The most stunning sunrise of our trip was here with technicolor clouds over the Bookcliffs.

Arches National Park - Pictures don't prepare you for the stunning, almost surreal terrain. The longer hikes are worth it.

Canyonlands National Park - While clouds obscured star gazing at night they gave dramatic, somber views of the White Rim and the Colorado and Green river canyons.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument - We had too little time and must go back with a guide to thoroughly explore the canyon.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site - If we had been a little less tired and knew a little more about rugs we would have bid at the semiannual auction.

Southwestern National Parks Tour Photo Gallery

Thanks also to all of the park rangers we pestered with scores of questions. We really appreciate the patience and helpfulness shown by every ranger we met. I hope you enjoy your jobs as much as you seem to.

More Info:

US National Parks Service

Western National Parks Association

List of National Parks of the United States