In the southern half of Utah, an area easily incorporated in the perfect fly-drive tour of the US south west, are no less than four amazing National Parks. Monument Valley, on the state’s boundary with Arizona, is one of the most recognisable of all American landscapes thanks to its starring role as the backdrop to many westerns, including John Wayne’s Stagecoach. The baked cookie land punctuated by massive, isolated buttes is also the ancestral home of the Navajo.
The weird, almost Tolkien-esque sandstone pillars of Bryce Canyon are best seen on the waymarked 37 mile circular drive. Canyonlands, sculpted and gouged over millions of years by a combination of water and wind and dotted with ancient petroglyphs, is particularly popular with hikers.
Zion is the state’s oldest (designated in 1919), most visited and both easily accessible along well defined paths along canyons bordered by brilliant red, cream, pink and russet canyons, as well as offering challenging trails with ascents supported by anchored chains.