Visiting Utah National Parks in the Summer

Visiting Utah National Parks in the Summer is a popular time for most people.

As you’re looking for Utah vacation ideas, definitely add a national park to your summer vacation list. 

We will warn you about the summer heat you’ll experience at all of the Utah national parks. But we’ll give you some tips to help you make the most of visiting the parks despite the high temperatures!

Here’s our guide to enjoying Utah National Parks in the summer:

  • What to Pack for a National Park Trip in the Summer
  • Summer Weather in Utah
  • Things to Do at National Parks in the Summer
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WHAT TO PACK FOR A NATIONAL PARK VACATION IN THE SUMMER

DOWNLOAD our US National Park checklists to make it easy to pack what you need for your next trip!

1. US National Parks Pass

You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas.

BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation.

2.  Hiking Gear

3. Clothing – Layers

4. Daypack

5. Other

Summer Weather at Utah National Parks

We’ll just be blunt here. Summer weather is HOT in Central/Southern Utah where the national parks are located. Bryce Canyon is a bit cooler due to its elevation.

When you’re looking for the best time to visit Utah National Parks, we don’t recommend the summer due to the heat! But if that’s the only time you have available, as long as you’re prepared for the heat and sun, you can have a great time. And read our tips later in the article to enjoy the parks in the summer.

Arches National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: average high 93, average low 60 degrees Fahrenheit
  • July: average high 100, average low 67 degrees Fahrenheit
  • August: average high 97, average low 66 degrees Fahrenheit

Bryce Canyon National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: average high 74.5, average low 44.8 degrees Fahrenheit
  • July: average high 80.2, average low 52.6 degrees Fahrenheit
  • August: average high 77.4, average low 50.3 degrees Fahrenheit

Canyonlands National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: average high 90, average low 56 degrees Fahrenheit
  • July: average high 95, average low 63 degrees Fahrenheit
  • August: average high 92, average low 61 degrees Fahrenheit

Capitol Reef National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: average high 85, average low 56 degrees Fahrenheit
  • July: average high 90, average low 62 degrees Fahrenheit
  • August: average high 87, average low 60 degrees Fahrenheit

Zion National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: average high 95.7, average low 62 degrees Fahrenheit
  • July: average high 101, average low 69 degrees Fahrenheit
  • August: average high 98.3, average low 67.7 degrees Fahrenheit

Tips for Visiting Utah National Parks in the Summer

Visiting Utah National Parks in the Summer is not our favorite time due to the high temperatures.

Outdoor activities like hiking and biking are limited to the cooler morning and evening hours. Yes, you can do those things during the day, but you’ll need to be prepared for the heat and sun!

Here’s our tip for summer: visit any park early for a hike or bike ride, go back to your hotel to enjoy the AC or pool, then head back to the park to enjoy another hike or bike ride in the late afternoon.

And ALWAYS spend one evening to look UP and see the vast sky of stars!!

Arches in the Summer

Arches in the summer is hot! You’ll want to enjoy the hiking trails at Arches in the early morning or late afternoon. There is no shade in the park, and the slickrock reflects the heat which makes the temperatures seem even hotter!

visiting Arches National Park in Arpil, turret arch

During the heat of the day we recommend the Arches scenic drive.

All the fun things to do at Aches:

  • Auto tour
  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Junior Ranger Program
  • Photography – Check out this guide to Photographing Arches
  • Ranger-Led programs
  • Stargazing- Don’t miss checking out the amazing night skies! 
  • Visitor Center

Plan Your Arches Vacation:

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. You’ll find restaurants and places to shop which adds to the appeal to find accommodations in 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: Places to stay near Arches National Park in Moab

  • 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 in the Summer

Canyonlands 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. Due to the distance between both parks, you won’t be able to see them on the same day.

And we’re going to say it again… Canyonlands National Park in the summer is the hottest time of the year. 

Mesa Arch sunrise at Canyonlands

There is no shade along the hiking and biking trails. And the reflected heat from the sandstone makes the temperatures rise even more!

Plan your outdoor activities during the cooler morning and evening hours. Yes, you can do those things during the day, but you’ll need to be prepared for the heat and sun!

Here’s our tip for summer: enjoy the Canyonlands Island in the Sky scenic drive! You can enjoy the AC while you drive from overlook to overlook.

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

Plan Your Canyonlands Vacation

Where to Stay Near Canyonlands Island in the Sky

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

Island in the Sky Campgrounds

Places to stay near Canyonlands National Park in Moab

  •  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 in the Summer

Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in the summer isn’t quite as hot as the other parks in Utah due to its elevation.

BUT don’t be fooled! The temperatures will seem hotter due to the heat reflected off the stone formations in the park.

Bryce Canyon Utah

Plan your outdoor activities of hiking, ATVing and horseback riding during the cooler morning and evening hours.

Then you can do the Bryce Canyon scenic drive during the hotter part of the day! You can enjoy the AC while you drive to all 13 stops. 

Of course, you will want to bring your camera and take some of the most mesmerizing photos of Bryce Canyon as well as hike the beautiful trails while visiting.   

With so many things to do at Bryce Canyon, you are guaranteed to have an incredible experience while visiting. 

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

Plan Your Bryce Canyon Vacation

Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon:

Capital Reef in the Summer

Capital Reef is the summer is hot, and you should do the outdoor activities in the cooler morning and evenings

The park has all kinds of Capitol Reef hikes and activities to explore the cliffs, canyons, and domes in the park.

capitol gorge capitol reef

You can find shade in the Fruita area of the park under the trees. Enjoy a picnic, get a treat at the Gifford House, listen to the nearby river, pick fruit in the orchards and enjoy the local wildlife that frequents the area.

And definitely take a night to step outside, look up, and enjoy the starry night sky!

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

Plan a Capitol Reef Vacation

Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef

  • 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!

Zion in the Summer

Zion National Park in the summer is hot and crowded.

Definitely plan ahead for hiking in Zion so you can be on the trails in the cooler morning and evening hours.

NOTE: You will need to use the shuttle to access the popular Zion Canyon in the summer.

Here’s a list of Zion hikes without the shuttle if you’re looking to escape the crowds a bit.

Here’s a list of activities to do while visiting Zion:

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

Plan Your Zion Vacation

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 close 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. 
  • Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!
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