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Memorial Day Weekend 2021

Memorial Day Weekend 2021

Posted in: Outdoor adventures, Travel on May 15, 2021.

Memorial Day is Coming Up Fast!

It’s mid-May, and that means Memorial Day is only a couple of weeks away! The long weekend marks the (unofficial) beginning of summer, and as you probably already know, it is celebrated with a lot of traveling. So it’s time to start finalizing those travel plans, because if you are planning on going to Southern Utah, you should know that things are going to be…. well, a little crazy.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Memorial Day Weekend is always a busy time here in Southern Utah, and this year promises to be exceptionally so. With the pandemic mostly in our rearview mirror here in the United States, businesses fully reopened, and people really, really needing a vacation, the national parks are going to be packed. So to help you have a better experience, we’re suggesting a few lesser-visited places for you to check out in Southern Utah this Memorial Day. Just in case you don’t want to fight the crowds.

Red canyon cliffs

Photo by Andy Wang via unsplash.com.

Zion National Park

Zion Canyon will see the largest crowds this coming Memorial Day Weekend. And while we love Zion Canyon as much as everyone else, maybe this time it’s better to visit some of the other parts of Zion National Park. Start with Kolob Canyon. It’s an annexed section of the park that is located off of Interstate–15, near Cedar City, Utah. And it’s actually pretty cool. There are several good day hikes in the canyons, which you can view here and here.

Mountian amphitheater of hoodoos

Photo by Sharon Adams via unsplash.com.

Bryce Canyon (Almost)

Instead of heading to the very popular Bryce Canyon National Park, we suggest you check out Cedar Breaks National Monument. It’s exactly like a mini-Bryce Canyon! It’s got an amphitheater filled with sandstone hoodoos and everything! There are a number of great hikes in the monument, which you can check out here. It’s located at the top of the scenic Cedar Canyon, near Cedar City, Utah. So it’s a perfect companion location to Kolob Canyon.

Road that winds through desert canyon

Photo by Nate Foong via unsplash.com.

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

If you want to beat the crowds, it’s probably better to skip Arches and go straight to Canyonlands. It’s gonna have fewer people, since it’s a bit less famous. But if you really want to find some alone time, drive the White Rim Road. It’s a primitive road that takes you through some of the best sections of Canyonlands National Park. You will need a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle to complete the route. You will also need a permit for both day-trips and overnight-trips. You can grab those online (more on that in a minute.)

Sandstone monoliths

Photo by Red River Ranch.

Capitol Reef National Park

Just like everywhere else, Capitol Reef will be pretty busy this Memorial Day Weekend. But thankfully, you can avoid the biggest crowds by heading north or south, into Cathedral Valley or the Waterpocket Fold respectively. Cathedral Valley has great, big, open deserts with some impressive sandstone monoliths. Check out our Definitive Guide here on Cathedral Valley. You will also need a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle for this road as well. If you go south, into the Waterpocket Fold, you can check out a bunch of great canyon hikes, like Burro Wash.

Tickets! Get Your Tickets!

If you do end up in the busiest national parks, you’re probably gonna need shuttle reservations, or day permits, or campsite reservations. Go to recreation.gov to get your tickets. And you had better hurry, there are physical limitations to how many people can get tickets! And as we might have mentioned, Memorial Day 2021 is gonna be busy!

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