A state with five national parks, 44 state parks, and public lands that cover almost half of the state should be on every outdoor enthusiast’s bucket list. Utah fits that description and offers some of the most spectacular hiking, camping, skiing, and paddling opportunities in America. Celebrate 100 years of national parks Yes, slickrock in Moab is amazing. Park City, Ogden, and Salt Lake City, however, have some of the most comprehensive and productive trail networks in the world..
Regardless of your skill level, you’ll find more than enough trails to ride. People only move here because of the trails. This gigantic desert oasis powers much of the West — and much of the state’s adventure. The area of the lake is 161,390 hectares and visitors can go boating, paddling, kayaking, water skiing, wakeboarding, subway and more on the lake.
Probably the longest slot canyon in the world — 15 miles of uninterrupted confinement. The route is 21 miles in total and you won’t forget an inch. Temple Square is a must to discover the gothic architecture, which is perfect for enjoying the city’s nightlife.. At the heart of the square is the Mormon Temple, the largest Latter-day Saint temple in the world.
In the heart of Navajo country, this desert-fringed valley is your go-to place to explore the mesas and stone peaks. You can also travel 17-mile Valley Drive, a one-way street that runs between dramatic scenery. Devil’s Garden is a tourist favorite in another of Utah’s beautiful national parks. Another photo-ready moment is the more than 2,000 natural arches that adorn the park..
Zion National Park, less than a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, offers some of Utah’s most outstanding scenery. Red rock cliffs, waterfalls, and breathtaking views are some of the top attractions. If you’re here to really experience nature, you’ll find quality campgrounds and RV parks in and near Zion National Park. Breathtaking stone arches and rolling petrified dunes surrounded by the often snow-capped peaks of the La Sal Mountains make this one of Utah’s most picturesque parks.
Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches. The most famous and most photographed is Delicate Arch, which stands like a horseshoe that rises from the ground and frames the distant mountains. Arches National Park is just outside Moab, a town known among mountain bikers and outdoor adventurers.. The park is significantly higher than the city and is accessible via a winding road with impressive views..
There are several other picturesque parks nearby and a variety of good campgrounds in the area.. Like a scene from an old western movie, red rock stubs rise from the orange desert ground, and occasionally even a horse and a rider wander by. This is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation on the Utah-Arizona border.. Famous for its spectacular red mesas and stone pinnacles, numerous films and commercials have been filmed in this picturesque area..
Within the park is Valley Drive, a 17-mile self-driving one-way street that runs between the Buttes and through the dramatic landscape. Excerpts along the entire route offer great opportunities to take pictures and enjoy the landscape. If you want to cross this one street to better explore the park, you’ll need to use a guide that can be arranged at the visitor center. If you don’t have time for the trip, which is usually at a snail’s pace due to the curves and sightseeing stops, the views from Monument Valley Visitor Center are spectacular and one of the best viewpoints in Monument Valley.
The other two parts of the park, the Needles District and The Maze, offer a slightly different type of landscape but are also impressive. The Needles area is one of the best places to hike in the park, and The Maze is a popular spot for 4×4 road trips.. The temple from the late 19th century is located in Temple Square. It is the largest church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and one of Salt Lake City’s most important landmarks.. Only church members are allowed to enter the temple, but it’s definitely worth stopping by to take a look.
Another place to visit in the area is the Salt Lake Tabernacle.. Utah Olympic Park, which is also nearby, was used as the venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Today, it offers year-round activities for kids and adults, from ziplining and hiking in summer to bobsledding in winter. For outdoor adventures in the southwest, the city of Moab is hard to beat.
As the closest community to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park, this area offers endless opportunities for hiking, biking, rafting, off-road adventures, and more. The rolling, petrified dunes and the surrounding mountains offer breathtaking scenery and a playground for numerous outdoor activities.. Dirt roads that allow you to travel long distances without ever passing another vehicle are part of the experience. With an area of 1.9 million acres, this is the largest national monument in the United States and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, not the National Park Service.
Dead Horse Point State Park, just outside Moab, offers one of the best viewpoints of any state park in Utah. The main viewpoint looks out over a swan neck in the Colorado River, which meanders through the colorful landscape.. Cliff walls that rise 2,000 feet and plateaus at different levels extend into the distance. The park is full of great activities, such as motorized off-road driving in the 15,000 hectare sand dunes, swimming in warm water, kayaking and pleasure boating.
The same forces of nature that shaped Bryce Canyon were at work in Cedar Breaks and created a smaller but equally dynamic amphitheater.. The amphitheater is dominated by colorful hoodoos and is more than 2,000 feet deep and has a diameter of three miles. If you only visit one, make it to Sipapu, the largest and most impressive of the three. The Walk In is a moderately strenuous 1.2-mile circular hike, which involves navigating steep sections and climbing a few stairs and ladders.
The Kachina Bridge is reached by a 1.5-mile circular hike, but the trail is easier although it still has some steep sections. The Dinosaur National Monument is known not only for the large number of fossils from the Jurassic period that were discovered here, but also for the surrounding terrain.. The highlight is the collection of more than 1,500 dinosaur fossils, which can be seen nestled in the rock face of Carnegie Quarry. Great Salt Lake, a half-hour drive northwest of Salt Lake City, is the largest lake west of the Mississippi and measures 72 miles long, 34 miles wide and up to 50 feet deep.
It is a remnant of a much larger freshwater lake, Lake Bonneville.. After a drop in groundwater levels, this lake had no outlet and shrank as a result of evaporation, leaving behind the Great Salt Lake Desert. The combination of evaporation with the inflow of mineral-rich surface waters led to a steady increase in the salinity of the lake and reached 27 percent at one point in time (eight times as high as the world’s oceans). Most of the time, it is completely empty, and you can try it yourself.
If you venture here when there’s no event taking place, you’ll find little more than a roadside sign and endless miles of salt flats.. Take exit 4 from I-80, turn right and drive past the bus stop. There is nothing else out here. Finally, you’ll come to a sign and an area where you can drive into the apartments at your own risk.
Special needs or children (2-15 years) traveling alone? Get to know Pando. Pando is not only over 80,000 years old, weighs 6,615 tons and covers 106 hectares, it is assumed that it only has a huge underground root system, and scientifically speaking, that makes Ole Pando a single organism. Like many old boys, he is a very loud old beast. His leaves, also known as The Trembling Giant, react theatrically to the slightest gusts and rustle.
Now spread out that kind of shaking across a hundred acres of land and you’ve got quite a bit of acoustics.. Utah has a total of 14 ski resorts (10 of which are less than an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City) and Utah’s location and weather mean you’re guaranteed a decent amount of powder. Starting in the Pacific, storms travel inland and lose moisture density. They then pick up an important speed around the Great Salt Lake, dry out and then scatter – in the form of snowflakes – over the entire wasatch. This results in a dense, snow-covered base topped with fluffy, much lighter powder.
Explain it all to an avid skier — and watch their little face light up. Divers are happy, it’s not just about the powder. In Homestead Crater, you can dive into crystal-clear warm water when it rains, shines, or sub-zero degrees of snow.. This small natural phenomenon is a 17-meter long dome of limestone cliffs and a hot tub donated by Mother Earth.
An opening at the summit allows natural light and the water is so clear that you can dive up to 15 meters deep.. It’s too hot for aquatic life so don’t expect to find Dory, but there are still plenty of surreal visions to look for. Navajo Indians are Indians in New Mexico and Arizona, although the country also merges into Monument Valley. Explore the park’s 92,000 acres (or at least part of it) with a Navajo guide.
You’ll get a fascinating insight into the life of the Indians and the surrounding landscape. Lake Powell may be the only part of the USA that resembles a beautiful Mediterranean island. It mixes golden orange rocks with azure blue water. Water sports activities abound, from swimming to fishing, diving, snorkeling and even water skiing. Or you can stay ashore and enjoy the numerous hiking and sightseeing opportunities..
If you like the allure of water but would rather stay dry, book a boat trip from one of the marinas. Once you’re a few kilometers off the coast, you’ll feel like you’ve completely abandoned civilization.. Alternatively, do as the locals do and go swimming — the 40-degree summer heat, which bakes lively clay-colored rocks, makes a quick dip very attractive.. A visit to northern Utah could include a trip up Logan Canyon — full of high-alpine scenery, campgrounds, and hiking and biking trails — to Bear Lake for boating and summer festivals and to Ogdens Union Station for a visit to the railroad museum..
Look west on your way south through Davis County and you can’t miss Great Salt Lake. Visit nearby Antelope Island State Park to get up close and personal with the lake. Take a look at Utah’s natural history at dinosaur excavation sites near Vernal in the Dinosaur National Monument. Utah is named after the Ute people who, together with the Navajo, occupied the region for thousands of years before white settlers arrived.
Utah is home to some of the most impressive scenery in the United States, and there’s a reason why outdoor enthusiasts invest so much in the otherworldly terrain. Remember that Utah’s altitude varies significantly, and although it is hot and sunny in some areas, it may snow in others.. Within an hour’s drive from the airport, powder dogs can fly down the mountains at 10 of 15 Utah ski resorts, including places like Park City, Solitude, Alta, and other resorts (also check your December 2024 calendar when Utah’s first all-inclusive Club Med ski property is due to open in Snowbasin) Resort, also just 45 drive from the international airport). While other states like Colorado and California tend to steal the limelight, Utah has some fantastic ski resorts..
Whitewater rafting on Utah’s rivers is the most intimate and impressive way to experience the mountains, plateaus, deserts, and plains across the state. The park offers camping, but if you’re looking for a bit more luxury, one of Utah’s best resorts is right next to the Grand Staircase-Escalante. Utah will reward you for stepping out your door and leaving the comfort of home behind you to experience the wonders of the earth and the entire cosmos. And what really sets Utah’s ski resorts apart from ski resorts in other states is their proximity to Salt Lake City Airport..
A road trip through Utah is one of the best ways to see the sights, and scenic drives are everywhere in the state. If you’re thinking about exploring Utah this winter, you can be sure there’s more to do here than skiing or snowboarding. Plan your visit so that the full moon gives a silver glimpse of the deep gorges and towers, or arrive in late autumn and you’ll see the Milky Way, whose stripes are smeared across the sky like alien fireworks.