WESTERN US NATIONAL PARK ROUTE – COLORADO OVERLANDER EDITION
NATIONAL PARKS BETWEEN LAS VEGAS & COLORADO
Between Las Vegas and the western slope of Colorado, depending on the route you decide on, there are five National Parks to visit, along with hundreds of other unique and exciting overlanding destinations in Nevada and Utah.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
One of the best-known National Parks in our country, Grand Canyon National Park offers some incredible overlanding opportunities. First things first, though, if you plan to camp here, make sure you make reservations well in advance for the campgrounds which take them, or arrive early for any of the first-come, first-serve sites. Colorado Overlander’s rooftop style tent makes it easy to adapt to even the roughest, most primitive sites, as well as opening up the option to stay in sites designated as RV.
Keep in mind that there is also more Grand Canyon than just what falls within the boundaries of the National Park. Sedona National Forest includes miles of rim-line with lots of off-road opportunities and slightly-less competitive camping.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Overlanding in Arches is nothing short of spectacular. There are quite a few amazing Jeep trails to explore within the boundaries of the park, but the camping options are very limited. Devil’s Garden is the only camping option and during the busy season, every site will be booked well in advance. Drive through Arches during the day, and then look for primitive style camping around Moab if you don’t have a reservation.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
At four times the size of Arches, Canyonlands offers even more great off-road gems to explore and a good deal more camping opportunities. Backcountry driving and travel sometimes require permits, but are more likely to escape the crowds than the more popular, smaller acreage Arches. Check out the moderate-skill four-wheel-drive roads in the Needles district, or explore the more technical trails through the Maze (permits required) in your overlanding vehicle.
The other, perhaps most, popular time to overland the Alpine Loop is during the fall. Mid-September to early October offers the best opportunity to view the fall colors. Vibrant gold aspens stand around the road, their leaves and white trunks providing a gorgeous contrast to the dark firs and pines. Up above treeline, the tundra puts on a fall show that few get to see, as the ground is transformed into a crimson carpet.
CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
A little to the West of Moab and North of the Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park offers arches of its own, as well as unique history and extensive hiking and backcountry options. Take advantage of the primitive sites, or book ahead for the one developed campground in the park. Drive through the Cathedral District to Cathedral Valley Campground or out to Cedar Mesa to take advantage of the ground clearance and 4×4 options of Colorado Overlander vehicles to stay at some of the only no-fee camping in a National Park in the West.
ZION NATIONAL PARK
Utah’s first National Park, Zion offers views of towering sandstone walls, and winding, seasonal streams famous for being some of the first trails walked by white men in the west. Due to the high number of visitors, most travel in this National Park is restricted to permitted entrance into backcountry areas, or shuttle systems to take visitors to the most popular hikes and overlooks. While there are world class options for hiking or wilderness backpacking (if you can score a permit), there are less options of off-road and overlanding travel within this National Park.