BUY TWO OR MORE GUIDES - UP TO 20% OFF

Be Part of the West!

Receive weekly newsletters updating you on the Best of the West including: essential travel tips, updates, stories, and our favorite things to see and do.

    *By completing this form you are singing up to receive our emails and can unsubscribe at any time.

    11 cool side trips between Zion & Bryce National Parks

    by Matt, September 2021

    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!

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

    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.

    2. Moqui Caverns (also called Moqui Cave)

    image of moqui caverns
    Moqui Caverns, Moqui Cave, or Sand Caves

    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.

    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. It’s 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.

    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 at 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

    These are just some of the places we include in our travel guides. We have travel guides for National Parks, such as Zion & Bryce, as well as things to do nearby. We give detailed instructions for how to get to these places, along with a good game plan for getting the most out of your vacation.

    Check out our guides today!

    ABOUT US

    We’re Matt and Cheryl, and we’re in the Rockies. :) We are both teachers. Cheryl teaches special ed, and Matt teaches American history. We love the American West and the national parks. We want to help you have a great vacation on your next trip to the Rockies.

      LEGAL INFORMATION

      This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site.