A lot of folks seem to want to visit Zion, Bryce Canyon and Arches during their first trip to Utah, and for good reason…these places are simply spectacular! I know those parks were my priority during my first trip to the area. It can be done and there are several routes that you can take, depending on the time that you have. For example, you can focus on theses three areas and use the interstate (I-15 and I-70) as your main routes between destinations as illustrated in the map at the link below:
The downside to this plan is that you bypass a lot of great places and miss some beautiful scenery along the back roads. Don’t get me wrong, the views along the interstate, particularly I-70, are great, but it is a shame to miss scenic route 12, Capitol Reef and Goblin Valley. But for a first trip and to get the maximum variety in the minimum time this is a very viable option.
In fact for our first adventure in Utah, MsHick and I used a similar route. We landed in LV, jumped in the car and headed to Zion for 3 nights. We then took the interstate route to Moab for 2 nights (not nearly enough, so we came back a couple of years later) but took the scenic route (24 to 12) back to Bryce Canyon for 3 nights. Note that this trip occurred prior to my finding Trip Advisor, or I may have ended up with a completely different introduction to Utah. But it was a great trip gave us many reasons to keep coming back to the region.