What to Expect at Utah National Parks in the Fall

Visiting Utah National Parks in the fall is one of the best times of the year to go because the weather is “just right” for outdoor activities.

As you’re looking for places to visit in Utah, visiting the national parks is a must, but keep in mind fall is the busy season!

utah national parks in the fall

Keep reading for our list of things to do, what to pack and where to stay when you take a fall vacation to the National Parks in Utah!

Here’s a Utah National Park road trip itinerary to help you plan a trip to visit all five parks!

Remember to add 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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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 the Fall

When looking for US National Park vacation ideas, we suggest visiting Utah National Parks in the fall because the weather is so nice for outdoor fun! 

When you’re trying to decide the best time to visit Utah National Parks, remember that fall is still a busy season for the parks in Utah.

During September and October the roads, hiking trails and parking lots typically fill to capacity. Typically by November, things start to wind down and crowds begin to thin.

Fall weather in Southern Utah is perfect for exploring the National Parks. While visiting you will see days starting to cool down from the intense summer heat. Expect warm days, but nighttime temperatures will start to cool down as the months progress.

You’ll want to have a fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves handy for early mornings and late evenings, especially toward late fall! If you’re not used to dry heat, you’ll also want lotion and lip balm handy!

Turret Arch through North Window at Arches

Arches National Park in the Fall

If you enjoy the outdoors, then you’ll love Arches National Park in the fall! It’s the best time to explore the Arches National Park hiking trails because the temperatures will be “just right”!

We always recommend the Arches National Park scenic drive as a great way to see the park.

Check out the Arches National Park photo spots and download the checklist to take with you!

Other things you will want to do while visiting are:

  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Junior Ranger Program
  • Photography – Arches National Park Photography
  • Ranger-Led programs
  • Stargazing- Don’t miss checking out the amazing night skies! 
  • Visitor Center

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!

Mesa Arch sunrise at Canyonlands

Canyonlands National Park in the Fall

There is a reason that Canyonlands National Park in the fall is one of the most popular times of the year to visit. 

The temperatures are “just right” for enjoying the Canyonlands hikes, biking trails, Island in the Sky scenic drive and 4×4 trails in the park. 

With the park broken up into sections, you will want to plan your trip out accordingly to ensure that you see everything and do everything you would like on your trip.

Here’s a list of things to do at Canyonlands National Park:

  • Auto tour
  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Climbing
  • Hiking 
  • Junior Ranger Program
  • Ranger-led programs
  • Stargazing
  • Visitor Center

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).

Bryce Canyon National Park in the Fall

Take note that when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in the fall you will want to be prepared for colder temperatures due to the high elevation.

Attractions like ATVing, horseback riding, and rock climbing are beginning to wrap up during the fall months.   

We recommend the Bryce Canyon scenic drive to see and photograph some of the most mesmerizing photos of the Bryce Canyon views

Here are other fun things to do at Bryce Canyon National Park:

  • Auto tour
  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Climbing
  • Hiking 
  • Horseback riding
  • Junior Ranger Program
  • Photography – Bryce Canyon Photo Spots
  • Ranger-led programs
  • Stargazing
  • Visitor Center

Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon:

Fruita at Capitol Reef in the fall

Capital Reef National Park in the Fall

Capital Reef is a landscape filled with cliffs, canyons, and domes. There are so many things to do at Capitol Reef National Park in the fall!

The best thing about fall is picking fruit in the orchards!! Check the website for the harvesting times for each type of fruit. Typically you’ll be able to pick peaches and pears from August to September and apples from September to October

And of course don’t forget about the Capitol Reef hikes and exploring the Capitol Reef scenic drive.

  • Auto tours
  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Fruit picking in the orchards (seasonal)
  • Gifford House treats
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Junior Ranger Program
  • Photography → Capitol Reef National Park Photography
  • Ranger Led Programs
  • Rock climbing
  • Stargazing
  • Visitor Center

Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef

sunrise-near-Mount-Carmel-Tunnel-at-Zion-Photo-Jeepers

Zion National Park in the Fall

It will still be crowded at Zion National Park in the fall, but at least the temperatures will be more bearable than summer!

The Zion National Parks hikes are world famous! We even have a list of Zion hikes without the shuttle!

And don’t forget there are FOUR stunning Zion National Park scenic drives you can’t miss!

More things to do at Zion National Park:

  • Auto tours
  • Backpacking
  • Bicycling
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Junior Ranger Program
  • Museum
  • Photography – Zion National Park photography
  • Ranger-led activities
  • Stargazing
  • Visitor Center

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:

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