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Secret Solace in The Mighty 5®

Clear sunshine, cool evenings, astonishing Dark Skies and wide open national parks. It's time for an escape to the desert. Secret solace means an earlier morning cup from the Jetboil or pushing yourself a little further down the trail than the rest. It means staying up for the sunset and the show that doesn't start until after dark. Savvy travelers can escape crowds and find a little solace in the great outdoors of The Mighty 5®. Hike a little earlier, a little further, visit early in the spring or delay the escape to the latter weeks of autumn. Nowhere else in the world but in Utah does "desert escape" mean five stunning national parks within close proximity to one another.
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National Parks

Top Solace-finding Things to Do

Zion

Stroll to Emerald Pools

Start your tour of The Promised Land with a gentle three-mile stroll to the Emerald Pools. The cool waterfalls thunder following afternoon rainstorms and the cottonwoods, willows and hanging maidenhair ferns cling to the dwindling days of warm sun.

Bryce Canyon

Hike the Rim Trail

Cooler temperatures at Bryce Canyon's higher elevation mean that sunny hikes along the canyon's rim are often comfortable and pleasant. The 5.5-mile Rim Trail hike takes you from the aptly named Fairyland, past hoodoos and redrock fins to majestic Bryce Point. For more solace, gear up, grab a permit and head for the backcountry Under-the-Rim Trail, if conditions permit.

Capitol Reef

Stargaze from Cathedral Valley

In a high-clearance vehicle, follow a 60-mile scenic drive through this remote valley where the desert hillsides are painted a rainbow of colors. Watch the sun sink beneath the towering Temples of the Sun and Moon rock formations, then get ready to see the stars as you've never seen them before. Permit required for overnight.

Canyonlands

Bike the Island in the Sky

The Island in the Sky Mesa rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the river valley below. While many hard-core bikers enjoy the area's multi-day White Rim Trail ride, just as scenic are single day trips bicycling the blacktop, as well as the 4WD dirt roads that wind along the mesa's top, offering staggering views in every direction. If your legs are feeling strong, try the Island in The Sky half-century out-and-back ride from Dead Horse Point State Park through the Island in the Sky.

Arches

Hike to Delicate Arch

The short 1.5-mile hike to this justifiably famous icon can be busy in the summer months. Travel earlier in the spring or make the most of the lingering longer days of summer and fall for an early morning or sunset hike to skip the crowds (bring a headlamp for the hike down!) — you can still find silence and solitude at this impossibly thin standalone arch, and the sandstone bowl that surrounds it.

Stargazing

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:: Start Over

Southwestern Utah is a perfect getaway for deep rest and rejuvenation. Soak up the warming sun, meditate to the dark Milky Way skies, and nourish yourself at wellness stops along the way. It will be a red rocks adventure to soothe the body and soul.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mystic Hot Springs
  • Yoga + Hiking in Zion
  • Red Mountain Resort Spa Day
  • Horseback Riding at Zion Mountain Ranch
Do everything you’d normally do on a National Park road trip, but when the stars come out, so do you. Red rock by day and serene dark skies by night, this stargazing trip includes nighttime splendor at certified International Dark Sky Parks.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Stargazing in International Dark Sky Parks
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • All-American Road: Scenic Byway 12
Searching for solitude? In this two-day itinerary, find unspoiled wilderness, hidden trails, open spaces and perfect peace. It's a great escape from the hustle and bustle.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • Dixie National Forest
  • Dark Skies Bryce Canyon
  • Capitol Reef National Park