Zion
Credit: Philip and Karen Smith / Getty Images

Utah’s oldest national park, Zion is known for is one of the most photographed parks in the country, with steep sandstone walls,  canyons, and varied wildlife. Unlike the Grand Canyon, which is usually viewed from the rim down, Zion Canyon is best viewed from the bottom up. There are more than 90 miles of trails and 37 backpacking sites for campers to use as benchmarks on their trip, but be aware that most of which require wilderness permits for overnight stays. 

Don't Miss: East Rim Trail is a spectacular path for runners – especially for those in for the long haul. The 48 miles west to east from the La Verkin Creek trailhead in Lee Pass to Echo Canyon can be completed in a day at a fast, consistent pace. The more sane visitors tend to backpack it in about five days. A less strenuous option is to start at Echo Canyon and hike the 11 miles of slickrock formations to the Grotto Trailhead in Zion Canyon.