Planning a Trip to Visit Utah National Parks in May

There are important things to know as you’re planning a trip to visit Utah National Parks in May. As you add places to visit in Utah to your bucket list, visiting the national parks is a must!

The best thing about a May trip to Utah National Parks is the weather. It’s cool in the morning and evening, and just right during the day when you’re enjoying outdoor activities.

utah national parks in May

Here’s our guide to enjoying Utah National Parks in May: what to pack, weather, things to do and places to stay for all five parks!

We’ve got a helpful Utah National Park road trip itinerary for you to use!

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National Park Packing List

When you are visiting US National Parks it is important to be prepared. This includes wearing the proper clothes and shoes to be comfortable for the climate and the terrain.

→ CHECK OUT: National park packing lists for spring, summer, fall and winter!

Outdoor Gear we recommend! Travel Gear & Hiking Gear

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A Photo Tour of Utah National Parks

Take a visual tour through all five Utah National Parks to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Utah National Parks in May

If you’re planning to visit US National Parks in May, you might have the Utah parks on your list. One thing to note is the Utah National Parks in the spring are very busy so the roads, hiking trails and parking lots typically fill to capacity.

Due to the popularity of this time of year, many parks now have permits to enter or do certain activities. So be sure to check about reservations required in May when determining the best time to visit Utah National Parks.

All of the Utah National Parks are open every single day in May.

Arches in May

Arches National Park in May in one word: fabulous! The average highs are 79 degrees and the lows around 49.

There is not much shade to be found at Arches, so we recommend exploring the Arches National Park hiking trails in the morning or evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Arches National Park sunrise at Turret Arch

PLEASE NOTE: Arches will be doing a TIMED ENTRY pilot program April through October, 2022.

Timed entry tickets will be required to enter the park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will allow visitors to enter the park during a one-hour specified window of availability. After entering, visitors may stay in the park as long as they wish for the remainder of the day. Reservation holders may exit and re-enter the park on the same day with a correctly validated ticket.

Visitors can book reservations first-come, first-served on Recreation.gov. The park will release reservations three months in advance in monthly blocks.

Other things you will want to do while visiting are:

Where to Stay Near Arches:

Arches National Park camping can only be done at the one small campground. There are no hotels in Arches so most people stay in the nearby town of Moab. There are all types of lodging in and near Moab from budget-friendly hotels to higher-prices resorts. You’ll also find vacation rentals, a hostel, campgrounds and RV parks

READ OUR FULL GUIDE: Where to Stay Near Arches National Park

  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Arches.
  • Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel. 
  • Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
  • Vacation Rentals – we really like rentals with a kitchen, washer and dryer and amenities like a swimming pool and hot tub.
  • Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps:

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

Canyonlands in May

Canyonlands National Park in May is spectacular! The temperatures are just right for outdoor fun with highs near 80 and lows around 50 degrees.

There are two popular districts to visit: Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky, 30 miles from Moab, and Needles Canyonlands, 75 miles away.

canyonlands national park

Activities to do while visiting either district of Canyonlands:

Where to Stay Near Canyonlands Island in the Sky

There are no lodging facilities in the park, only camping.

  •  Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Canyonlands.
  •  Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel. 
  •  Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
  • Townhomes south of town – we really like the townhomes in Spanish Valley with kitchen, washer and dryer in the unit and a swimming pool/hot tub (just a 5 minute drive south of Moab).

take jaw-dropping photos at Utah National Parks

Bryce Canyon in May

The weather at Bryce Canyon in May is pretty much perfect with highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s. The mornings and evening will be cool so you’ll want a fleece jacket. Layers are best for all-day activities. 

sunrise at sunset point Bryce Canyon

One must-do activity is the Bryce Canyon scenic drive to see the mesmerizing Bryce Canyon views!

Here’s a list of Bryce Canyon activities to help you plan your vacation itinerary while visiting:

Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon:

Check Amazon for: Bryce Canyon Guides and Maps

Bryce Canyon maps and guides

Capital Reef in May

The weather at Capitol Reef National Park in May is perfect for enjoying the outdoor activities at this park. Highs are around 73 and lows around 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hickman Bridge at Capitol Reef

May is a great time to explore the Capitol Reef hikes like Hickman Bridge and Grand Wash.

We always recommend visitors do the Capitol Reef scenic drive and be sure to stop at the Gifford House to get homemade treats like pie and ice cream!

Here’s a list of fun things to do in Capitol Reef National Park:

Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef

SHOP AMAZON: Capitol Reef Travel Guides and Maps:

capitol reef guides and map

Zion in May

You’ll enjoy the weather at Zion National Park in May with highs near 70s and lows in the 40s. The mornings and evenings will be cool so pack a fleece jacket.

In May the shuttle runs every day and that’s the only way to access Zion Canyon. There are three other Zion National Park scenic drives you can explore without a shuttle!

Three patriarchs waterfall and bridge at Zion NP

The Zion National Park hikes are world famous, but many of them will require using the shuttle. But here’s a handy list of Zion hikes without the shuttle.

On and after April 1, 2022, hikers going to Angels Landing will need a permit. The National Park Service (NPS) will issue permits using online lotteries at Recreation.gov.

Visitors can get a permit by entering seasonal lotteries or a different lottery the day before their planned hikes. It will cost $6 to enter any of the lotteries and successful permit holders will pay a $3 per person fee. These funds will cover costs to manage the lotteries and for additional NPS rangers who will assist visitors and check permits on the trail. Learn when and how to enter the lotteries at go.nps.gov/AngelsLanding.

Check out all these fun things to do at Zion National Park:

Where to Stay Near Zion National Park

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion.

  • Holiday Inn Express – our favorite place to stay with an outdoor pool and amenities you’d find in a high end hotel
  • Zion Lodge – we haven’t had a chance to stay here yet, but you can’t go wrong staying right IN the park!
  • Under Canvas Zion – if you want to experience a less crowded part of Zion, this is the place! It’s in the Kolob section of the park.
  • Vacation Rentals in Springdale – you’ll want to stay in Springdale so you’re close to the park entrance and can walk to shopping and restaurants. 

Resources for camping near Zion:

BUY AT AMAZON: Zion National Park Guides and Maps

Zion national park guides and maps

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