Outdoor Adventure at 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 places to visit in Utah, 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!

visiting utah national parks in the summer

Keep reading for things to do, what to pack and where to stay for a summer vacation at Utah National Parks!

Check out our handy Utah National Park Road trip itinerary to help you plan your 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!

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.

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

Summer monsoon season means heavy rain and lightning. We recommend you talk to the rangers before hitting any trail to get the most updated conditions so you’re prepared.

Rain storms in the desert can create popup waterfalls that are so fun to see…. safely!

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

Looking for US National Park vacation ideas? We definitely recommend visiting Utah National Parks, but summer is not our favorite time to visit due to the high temperatures.

Outdoor activities like hiking and biking should be limited to the cooler morning and evening hours. Stay hydrated, eat salty snacks, use sun protection, and if you’re not used to dry heat, you’ll want lotion and lip balm handy!

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!!

visiting Arches National Park in Arpil, turret arch

Arches National Park in the Summer

And Arches National Park summer vacation will be hot! You’ll want to enjoy the Arches National Park hiking trails 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!

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

All the fun things to do at Aches:

PLEASE NOTE: Arches will be doing a TIMED ENTRY pilot 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.

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 Summer

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. 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. 

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:

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 Utah

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.

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 the Bryce Canyon views as well as hike the beautiful trails while visiting.   

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

Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon:

capitol gorge capitol reef

Capital Reef in the Summer

Capitol Reef National Park in 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.

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.

Enjoy the AC in your car as you explore the Capitol Reef scenic drive to see and photograph the amazing landscape of this national park.

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

Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef

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

Zion National Park in the Summer

Zion National Park in the summer is hot and crowded. Definitely plan ahead for the Zion National Parks hikes you’ll do so you can be on the trails in the cooler morning and evening hours.

NOTE: You will need to use the Zion National Park 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.

Angels Landing pilot programOn 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.

More 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:

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