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 to plan a trip visiting all five parks!

Don’t forget to add the list of Utah State Parks to your list of places to visit. There are stunning State Parks near the National Parks that are must-stop locations!

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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.

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

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.

Be sure you know the expected weather and temperatures for the parks you’ll visit in May:

It’s important to stay hydrated, eat salty snacks, and use sun protection! If you’re not used to dry heat, you’ll want lotion and lip balm handy!

Arches National Park sunrise at Turret Arch

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 has a TIMED ENTRY program April through October, 2022: 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!

canyonlands national park

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 Island in the Sky vs Needles:

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).
sunrise at sunset point Bryce Canyon

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. 

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:

Hickman Bridge at Capitol Reef

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.

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

sunrise near Mount Carmel Tunnel at Zion

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!

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.

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:

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

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