Visiting 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.

visiting 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!

Use our Packing list for Utah National Parks to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in May! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Utah National Parks packing lists
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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

All five of the Utah National Parks are open every single day in May. BUT it’s the peak season 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.

It’s also good to 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
Turret Arch

Arches National Park in May

Arches National Park is open 24/7. When visiting Arches in May you’ll need an Arches Timed Entry Ticket to enter the park during the busy daytime hours.

Don’t worry if you didn’t get a timed entry ticket. Just plan to enter the park before 6 a.m. One benefit to getting in the park early is you can see and photograph the sunrise at Arches National Park!

You can also plan to visit the park after 5 p.m. when again, you won’t need a ticket to get into Arches. The late afternoon and evening allows you to see and photograph sunset at Arches National Park, or enjoy stargazing at night!

Arches National Park Activities

Where to Stay Near Arches National Park

canyonlands national park
Green River Overlook

Canyonlands National Park in May

The temperatures are just right for outdoor fun at Canyonlands National Park in May! There is not much shade to be found at the park so we recommend getting into Canyonlands early or later in the day to avoid lines.

There are two popular districts to visit: Canyonlands Island in the Sky vs Needles:

Canyonlands National Park Activities

Where to Stay Near Canyonlands

sunrise at sunset point Bryce Canyon
Sunrise at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park in May

Due to the high elevation, Bryce Canyon in May means the mornings and evenings will be cool. You’ll want a fleece jacket and layers for all-day activities. 

In May the shuttles are running, but you can drive your car to the various Bryce Canyon views and photo spots along the scenic drive.

You can also drive and park at the various amphitheater lots. Parking could be an issue so we recommend exploring the park in the morning or later in the day. You can’t beat the Bryce Canyon sunrise photography and hiking in the morning!

Bryce Canyon National Park Activities

Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon

Hickman Bridge at Capitol Reef
Hickman Bridge

Capital Reef National Park in May

Capitol Reef is the least-visited of the Utah Parks which makes it a great place to visit during the busier times of the year.

When visiting Capitol Reef National Park in May we always recommend stopping at the Gifford House to get homemade treats like pie and ice cream!

There are a variety of passes available to visit Capitol Reef. Check the website for the most current fee prices and information. You won’t need a US National Park pass to drive along Highway 24 or through the Fruita area, but you will need one to access the Scenic Drive just past the Fruita Campground.

Capitol Reef National Park Activities

Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef

sunrise near Mount Carmel Tunnel at Zion
View from Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive

Zion National Park in May

The shuttle runs every day at Zion National Park in May – it’s the only way to access Zion Canyon. **Be sure to check the Zion shuttle schedule for exact dates for the month of May.

There might be limited parking at Zion National Park in the town of Springdale so plan to start your day early to get a parking spot in town and a spot on the shuttle.

Hikers going to Angels Landing will need a permit. The National Park Service (NPS) will issue permits using online lotteries at

Zion National Park Activities

Where to Stay Near Zion

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Plan a Utah National Parks Vacation in May

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