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11 Cool Side Trips Between Zion & Bryce National Parks

Zion & Bryce National Parks have been linked together from the beginning. So many people visit both of these parks on their Utah Road Trip.

Here are some cool things you can do as you drive between the two parks!

  • Zion is crowded! Need a game plan to avoid the crowds? Check out our itinerary

1. Moqui Cave

image of moqui cave
Moqui Cave Museum

Moqui Cave is a museum inside a cave. It costs money, and they provide a very brief interpretive tour of the cave.

The museum houses an eclectic collection of dinosaur tracks, gems, rocks, artwork, fossils, Native American artifacts, and a variety of other things.

The inside also has a drink bar where Hollywood actors used to hang out while shooting Western movies in nearby Kanab.

Outside is a dinosaur play area for the kids.

8 quirky things to do between Zion & Bryce [Belly of the Dragon, Cedar Breaks, and more]
Better to see them than read about them!

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2. Moqui Caverns (also called Moqui Cave)

Within walking distance of Moqui Cave is a place called Moqui Caverns. This is often referred to as Moqui Cave as well. It’s a “natural” feature that is free.

By “natural,” I mean it’s not a museum. It’s red rock you can climb on and around. It wasn’t formed naturally, however.

My understanding is that it was a sand mine that was used for creating glass.

You can park on the highway and walk to the caverns. Just be aware that you need to climb up a red rock hillside. Red rock is often called “slickrock,” but it’s really not slick. Sometimes it can be a little sandy, so I would recommend tennis shoes for scrambling up the rock.

Once in the caverns, it is VERY sandy. Feel free to take off your socks and shoes and let the sand cool off your feet!

Just please DON’T carve into the walls.

image of moqui caverns
Moqui Caverns, Moqui Cave, or Sand Caves
map of locations
Things to do between Zion & Bryce (approximate locations)

3. The Belly of the Dragon

image of family in front of belly of the dragon
Belly of the Dragon

This is also a natural-unnatural roadside stop nearby. It is actually a tunnel underneath the main highway.

It was carved as a waterway. But today, we get to go walk through it and play around.

It literally only takes about 1 minute to walk through the tunnel!

4. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

image of sign "best friends animal sanctuary"

If you LOVE animals, this place is for you. They have a mission to have ZERO homeless pets.

Located just outside Kanab on a HUGE ranch, they rescue cats, dogs, horses, and many other kinds of animals.

There are two ways you can experience this sanctuary: 1) take a free tour, or 2) volunteer to help them! Check out their website for more information.

5. Little Hollywood Museum

image of little hollywood museum

Did you know Kanab, Utah used to be known as Little Hollywood? Why? Because there were over 100 western movies filmed here in the heyday of western movies.

This was practically a second home for some big-time Hollywood stars.

Most of these movie sets were torn down and destroyed, but luckily someone cared enough to try to salvage many of them, including major parts of the set for The Outlaw Josey Wales.

6. Cedar Breaks National Monument

image of cedar breaks national monument
Cedar Breaks is AMAZING!

Cedar Breaks is Bryce Canyon Junior.

It is located near Cedar City. Some people use Cedar City as a home base to visit Zion and Bryce.

If you do this, don’t forget about Cedar Breaks! In the old days, visitors got off the train in Cedar City, and tour buses took them on a Grand Tour of Cedar Breaks, Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.

Cedar Breaks even had a big lodge for tourists to stay on the trip. The lodge no longer exists, and many people forget about this little gem.

It is very similar to Bryce Canyon, with rock formations called hoodoos. It doesn’t have quite as many hoodoos, but they are redder than the formations in Bryce.

It’s at a very high elevation, and the drive to and from Cedar Breaks is really a gorgeous drive (not to mention the drive and scenic viewpoints IN the park).

7. Parowan City

The Old Rock Church in Parowan, Utah

Parowan is a gateway town to Cedar Breaks National Monument. It’s a very cute little town with a Visitor Center and a well-known church called The Old Rock Church.

This was built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the 1860s. Its first meeting was held in 1870 and was attended by the famous prophet Brigham Young.

We happened to visit in October, which was an absolutely gorgeous time to visit. Plus, the entire town was decked out in Halloween decorations (see video for more).

8. Red Canyon

image of people walking in Red canyon

This is located very close to Bryce Canyon. Like Cedar Breaks, it doesn’t have as many formations clustered together as Bryce does, but the rocks are redder.

What’s great about this canyon is you can climb around and play on the rocks.

We rented eBikes from near Bryce Canyon and rode them through Red Canyon. It was awesome!

Once we arrived at Red Canyon, we stopped to climb around with our kids.

  • Visiting Bryce Canyon and need a game plan? Check out our itinerary

9. Mammoth Cave. 10. Duck Creek Ice Cave. 11. Bowers Caves

These three places are clustered together. They are a little farther off the beaten path, and I haven’t personally been here, although it’s on my bucket list.

You can find out more about Mammoth and Duck Creek on the Forest Service website. Bowers isn’t on the website for some reason, but it’s located close to Mammoth. I’ll add more information to this post after I visit these places.

For More Information

Most travelers want to visit the most popular sites and still avoid the crowds. We have a detailed itinerary that gives you a step-by-step game plan so you can get to the best places at the right times.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO
BRYCE CANYON

BRYCE CANYON TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Bryce Canyon National Park, check out our Bryce Canyon Homepage

THINGS TO DO: There is so much to do including, watching a sunrise, horseback riding, biking, and riding trails on ATVs. Don’t miss all the cool side trips on your way to Zion National Park

WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat in and around the area of Bryce Canyon

GREAT CITIES TO STAY OR CHECK OUT:Learn all about the best places to stay at Bryce Canyon and don’t miss other great cities nearby including Cedar City.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out if you need a reservation and how to use the shuttle system

WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Bryce Canyon National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Bryce Canyon YouTube Playlist

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO
ZION

ZION TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Zion National Park, check out our  Zion Homepage

THINGS TO DO: Don’t miss all that Zion has to offer including Emerald Pools, Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, and Kolob Canyons

WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat in and near Zion National Park

GREAT CITIES TO STAY OR CHECK OUT: Learn where to stay or camp when visiting Zion and explore some amazing cities nearby including St. George, Kanab, and Cedar City

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out if you need a reservation and how to use the shuttle system as well as if you can drive in Zion, which entrance to use, and how to avoid crowds

WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Zion National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Zion YouTube Playlist

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