Visiting Utah National Parks in the Summer

Utah is known for its beautiful national parks and breathtaking landscapes. 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

Utah is home to five stunning national parks that are perfect for exploring in the summer. From the red rocks of Arches National Park to the deep canyons of Zion National Park, Utah’s national parks have something for everyone.

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

Use our packing list for Utah National Parks to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the summer! 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!

Summer Weather at Utah National Parks

We’ll just be blunt here. Utah National Parks 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: high 93 | low 60 degrees F
  • July: high 100 | low 67 degrees F
  • August: high 97 | low 66 degrees F

Bryce Canyon National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: high 74.5 | low 44.8 degrees F
  • July: high 80.2 | low 52.6 degrees F
  • August: high 77.4 | low 50.3 degrees F

Canyonlands National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: high 90 | low 56 degrees F
  • July: high 95 | low 63 degrees F
  • August: high 92 | low 61 degrees F

Capitol Reef National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: high 85 | low 56 degrees F
  • July: high 90 | low 62 degrees F
  • August: high 87 | low 60 degrees F

Zion National Park summer temperatures:

  • June: high 95.7 | low 62 degrees F
  • July: high 101 | low 69 degrees F
  • August: high 98.3 | low 67.7 degrees F

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.

Have you heard about the Utah National Parks GuideAlong App? It’s a great way to have your own private guide to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.

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

visiting Arches National Park
Turret Arch

Arches National Park in the Summer

An Arches National Park summer vacation will be hot! You’ll want to enjoy the Arches 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.

You will need an Arches Timed Entry Ticket to visit the park in the summer. Timed entry tickets are required in addition to your park pass OR entrance feeYou may enter the park before 7 am or after 4 pm without a timed entry ticket.

Mesa Arch sunrise at Canyonlands
Mesa Arch

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.

Bryce Canyon Utah
Thor’s Hammer

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.   

capitol gorge capitol reef
Capitol Gorge

Capital Reef in the Summer

You’ll also find that Capitol Reef National Park in the summer is hot. Again, 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!

Zion at sunrise

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.

You’ll need an Angel’s Landing permit if you plan to hike beyond Scout Lookout (the chains section).

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

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