Far more than just a state, Utah is a state of mind. Sculpted by wind, water and time, Utah’s landscape is the perfect canvas for your next adventure. From The Mighty Five National Parks – Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion – to the Wasatch Mountain’s Greatest Snow on Earth, and all points in-between, Utah is the place where memories are made and experiences forged.
From the eerie, towering hoodoos of Bryce Canyon to the pigments and colouration of Zion, Utah presents infinite examples why this region of America is regarded as head and shoulders above anywhere else on earth.
There are untold reasons why travellers head to the Mid-west state of Utah and if dramatic rock formations (Arches National Park) and stunning sandstone canyons (Zion National Park) are your thing then you might just wish to join them.
Boasting no fewer than five national parks, Utah is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination and promises a whole heap of incredible landscapes. Here. scenic trekking, wildlife watching and stunning sunsets are just part of every day life.
With iconic locations such as Salt Lake City and Bryce Canyon at your disposal, it’s easy to see why Utah is a ‘must visit’ state with bags of potential for adventure.
Must See Places in Utah
Zion National Park
Zion National Park, less than a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, features some of Utah’s most outstanding scenery, with red rock cliffs, waterfalls, and beautiful vistas. Many of the park’s most impressive sites are found in Zion Canyon, along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which follows the valley floor.
Arches National Park
Stunning stone arches and rolling petrified dunes, backed by the often snow-capped peaks of the La Sal Mountains, make this one of the most scenic parks in Utah. Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches. The most famous of these, and the most photographed, is Delicate Arch, standing like a horseshoe jutting out of the ground, framing the distant mountains.
Like a scene from an old western film, red rock buttes rise up from the orange desert floor, and occasionally a horse and rider even wanders by. This is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, located on the Navajo Indian Reservation in southeastern Utah, near the Arizona border.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is Utah’s version of the Grand Canyon, without the crowds. The park has three sections, but the main portion, which attracts the majority of sightseers, is Island in the Sky. This area offers incredible vistas looking out over carved canyons and beyond to the snow-capped mountains. It is arguably as impressive as the Grand Canyon in its own unique way, and far less visited.
Bryce Canyon National Park
The brightly colored and tightly packed hoodoos that dominate the landscape at Bryce Canyon are what set this national park apart from the rest of the spectacular sites in Utah. These stone pillars, glowing in shades of orange, pink, cream, and cinnamon, jut up from the floor of a huge natural amphitheater, creating a magical landscape that almost begs to be explored.
For outdoor adventures in the Southwest, it’s hard to beat the town of Moab. As the closest town 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 surrounding mountains provide breathtaking scenery and offer a playground for all kinds of outdoor pursuits.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a huge area of rugged terrain, with a landscape of canyons, arches, hills, waterfalls, forest, and scrubland. It offers a sense of remoteness that is hard to find in other parks. Dirt roads, where you can drive great distances without ever passing another vehicle, are all part of the experience. Covering 1.9 million acres, this is the largest national monument in the United States.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park, just outside of Moab, delivers one of the best lookouts of any state park in Utah. The main viewpoint looks over a gooseneck in the Colorado River carving through the colorful landscape. Cliff walls rising 2,000 feet and plateaus at various levels stretch out into the distance.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park is another great place to explore Utah’s interesting landscapes. Located directly west of Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef reveals a huge wall of banded sandstone rising above the Fremont River. Canyons, rock spires, cliff walls, arches, and gorges dominate the scenery and are an inspiration for anyone with an interest in photography.
Best Time to Visit Utah
There is no truly bad time of the year in Utah. Even the cold winters are busy in the Wasatch Mountain ski resorts like Part City and Snowbird. Down in the extreme southwest corner of the state the winter months are actually quite mild and sunny, with average highs in the mid-50s (°F) around St George. Summers are rather hot in Utah, except in the mountains where the temperatures are just perfect. Most of the tourists visit Utah during the traditional American summer holidays between late June and mid-August.
The best seasons for a visit to Utah are spring and Autumn, when there are very few tourists in the national parks. As a bonus this is also when the weather is at its most pleasant. Both seasons enjoy daytime highs in the 70s (°F) and loads of sunshine.
Video Credit: Visit Utah