5 National Parks in 5 Days (Utah & Colorado)

Spring Break just ended for me so I’m back to spending my days in class and at work. 😭 But I wanted to share the short road trip I took with my parents this past week. We traveled through five states, starting in California and going through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, then looping back to California through New Mexico and Arizona.

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March 10, 2018: On the Road

We were on the road from 6:15am to 6:00pm today. Aside from breakfast,  lunch, and gas, we drove non-stop until we reached Green River, Utah. I was craving pancakes for breakfast, but we didn’t want to stop for too long, so we satisfied my cravings at McDonald’s…LOL. Not my preferred option but good enough.

Perks of driving though rural areas are the lack of traffic and the 75-80 mph speed limits.  It was so nice not to have to step on the brakes every 30 seconds (unlike driving in LA).

March 11, 2018: Canyonlands National Park & Arches National Park

At Canyonlands National Park, our first stop was Mesa Arch. I saw Mesa Arch when we traveled with a tour group years ago, but the tour didn’t take us to other parts of the park.

Mesa Arch 2011
Mesa Arch in Dec. 2011
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Mesa Arch in March 2018

Next stop was Green River Overlook, which looked over the red canyons and the Green River. I couldn’t really see the river though because it was so far away.

Last stop at Canyonlands was Grand View Point. We took a short hike to reach the top of a canyon to look down at the vast and beautiful canyonlands. My dad coerced me into climbing onto a giant rock to take pictures. I do not condone risky actions like standing on the edge of a cliff to take pictures, but the view was great up there.

After leaving Canyonlands National Park, we visited parts of Arches National Park. Nature created some magnificent monuments there, including the Balanced Rock, The Windows, and Landscape Arch. The Balanced Rock and The Windows only took a short walk, but there was a one-mile hike through the Devil’s Garden to the Landscape Arch.

Balanced Rock
The Windows
Landscape Arch
March 12, 2018: Arches National Park & Natural Bridges National Monument

We went back to Arches National Park to see Delicate Arch, a 60-foot-tall freestanding natural arch that has become the symbol of Utah. People are super serious about seeing this arch. There were a ton of families carrying their infants and toddlers on their back. I also encountered an older woman tackling the hike, armed with her walking stick and her adult daughter.

My favorite part of the 1.5 mile hike to the arch was the giant slab of rock that we had to walk up. My parents clearly enjoyed themselves too, as proven by their decision to just chill on the rock we were climbing mid-hike (mostly for pictures). They’re kinda #couplegoals.

Delicate Arch was so gorgeous and worth the hike. Get my exercise in while on vacation. ✅ See one of nature’s coolest masterpieces. ✅


After our hike, we visited Natural Bridges National Monument. We looked at all three bridges (Sipapu, Kachina, and Owachomo) from the overlooks because we didn’t want to hike to the base of the bridges, especially since it was already 4pm by the time we got to the park.

We got a little lost on our way to the place we were staying for the night. There was no service at the park so my dad couldn’t set the GPS, and we had to guess the direction we would go. We guessed wrong…this is one of those rare instances where a paper map would have been helpful. But we figured it out in the end…before we ran out of gas!

March 13, 2018: Mesa Verde National Park

When I first came to the U.S, I was gifted a book that featured gorgeous images of America’s most scenic views and natural wonders, including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and many, many more . I flipped through the book and bookmarked all the places I wanted to visit with post-it notes. Mesa Verde National Park was one of those places. The park has some of the most well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. As a child flipping through that picture book, and even now, I was intrigued by how the Puebloans built permanent homes out of nothing but dirt and clay a thousand years ago.




March 14, 2018: Grand Canyon & Homebound

On our way home, we passed by the Grand Canyon so we took a short visit of the South Rim of the canyon. I saw the Grand Canyon (North Rim) for the first time in the summer of 2009.

Grand Canyon North 2009
Grand Canyon (North Rim) in 2009
Grand Canyon (South Rim) in 2018

This was such a fun trip, and I hope you enjoyed the read. I know this was a long post, so thank you to those who read to the end.

How was your spring break?

❤ Hanyi

One Comment Add yours

  1. I love all these national parks. Mesa Verde’s history is especially interesting both in the civilization’s birth and its collapse. Jared Diamond wrote a good chapter on that topic in one of his books. Thanks for sharing.


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