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!

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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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Fall Weather at Utah National Parks

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.

Temperatures at Utah National Parks in the fall:

Arches: September highs 85, lows 54; October highs 71, lows 41; November highs 55, lows 29 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bryce Canyon: September highs 69, lows 37; October high 57, lows 27 and November highs 44, lows 18 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Canyonlands: September highs 84, lows 51; October highs 70, lows 38; November highs 55, lows 27.

Capitol Reef: September highs 79, lows 52; October highs 65, lows 41; November highs 50, lows 28.

Zion: September highs 78, lows 48; October highs 66, lows 39; November highs 56, lows 31.

You’ll want to have a fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves handy for early mornings and late evenings, especially toward late fall!

take jaw-dropping photos at Utah National Parks

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.

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”!

Turret Arch through North Window at Arches

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 – Check out this Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide with tips and best times to take pictures at each point of interest
  • 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!

Arches National Park photo spots checklist optin

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. 

Mesa Arch sunrise at Canyonlands

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.

Keep in mind Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky is 30 miles from Moab, Utah. And Needles Canyonlands is about 75 miles away and takes 1.5 hours to drive there.

While in the park you will want to take advantage of:

  • 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).

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps:

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

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 – Check out our Bryce Canyon photography guide with tips and best times to take pictures at each viewpoint!
  • Ranger-led programs
  • Stargazing
  • Visitor Center

Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon:

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!

Fruita at Capitol Reef 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 Photography Guide
  • Ranger Led Programs
  • Rock climbing
  • Stargazing
  • Visitor Center

Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef

Places to Stay at Capitol Reef National Park

  • Capitol Reef Resort – this is where we stay! Make it a unique experience and stay in a teepee or covered wagon!
  • Austin’s Chuckwagon Motel – basic rooms and cabins with a deli and store right on the property which is so convenient!
  • VRBO Vacation Rentals – we like finding a place with a kitchen so we can prepare our own food.
  • RV Share Rentals – enjoy the convenience of having an RV delivered to you at Capitol Reef!

SHOP AMAZON: Capitol Reef Travel Guides and Maps:

capitol reef guides and map

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
  • Ranger-led activities
  • Stargazing
  • Visitor Center

Where to Stay Near Zion

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion. Here are a few of our favorite places to stay at to Zion National Park and where to stay near Bryce Canyon and 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

National Parks packing list for spring summer fall and winter

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