Find Utah’s ‘Mighty Five’

As the USA’s National Park Service turns 100, explore the stunning rocky wilderness of Utah with Grand American Adventures’ small group tours

Desert expanses. Gaping canyons. Rust-coloured cliffs. The raw splendour of Utah contains some of the jewels of the National Park Service, which proudly celebrates its centenary this year. Join in the festivities with a Grand American Adventures small group tour, taking in the visceral beauty of Utah’s ‘Mighty Five’ national parks and a land that not even the cowboys could tame.

Big country

Utah is a state writ large in American history. Salt Lake City was the home of the Mormon pioneers, while Monument Valley was where John Wayne earned his spurs. Head to the latter for a back-road tour through its parched mesas and buttes in the company of a local Navajo guide.

Alternatively, when in cowboy country, saddle up: a horseback ride through Bryce Canyon National Park can send you up the 2,500m-high Peek-a-Boo Loop to gaze out across the hoodoos, fins and spires that dot the barren russet land.

Zion National Park meanwhile is where the Mojave Desert meets the Colorado Plateau. Hike the Narrows, ducking into sandstone grottos and spotting hanging gardens along the way, or hold your nerve to conquer the final dizzying stretch of Angel’s Landing and haul yourself up to its 1,760m summit.

To the east of Utah lies Arches National Park, a jaw-dropping patch of Moab Desert riddled with eroded sandstone arches that rise out of the land like giant wilting stone flowers. Taking a guided Hummer tour will help you reach parts of the park just too difficult to get to on foot.

Further south lies the lesser-heralded, very hikable Canyonlands National Park, which, as its name suggests, is pocked with plunging canyons. Or there’s the even quieter Capitol Reef National Park, rich in monoliths, canyons and stony amphitheatres. Wander in peace and learn about their history on a unique guided tour.

America in your hand

Pick from over 60 itineraries in North America with Grand American Adventures, from the must see to the off-the-beaten-track. The small group sizes mean that it’s easier to tailor the trip to your own interests, with the option of creating a bespoke itinerary for groups of four or more.

Put yourself in the hands of experienced guides and let someone else take care of the logistics while you soak in some of the wildest, most beautiful scenery that America has to offer. With the National Park Service turning 100 this year, what better time to treat yourself to a timeless journey into America’s past?

Visit or call 0333 999 7968 to start planning your American adventure