The great state of Utah has a plethora of amazing things to see and do. Whether you like to hike, snowboard, or set land speed records among lots of other things, Utah has something for you. If you are planning a trip to Utah, make sure to add these places to your itinerary.
Located in southwest Utah, Zion National Park contains about 230 square miles of jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape. The park is known for its steep red cliffs cut by the Virgin River and is the most popular nature preserve in Utah.
ZionNational-Park.com says “The crushing violence of Mother Nature has created perfection in the heart of Utah’s Color Country, where years of raging storms have pit water and winter’s ice and snow against rock, producing wondrous creations.”
The unique landscape is also known for its ancient human inhabitants that once called the place home. These people, referred to by archaeologists as the Virgin Anasazi, took advantage of Zion’s fertile soil and ideal elevation. According to the National Park Service, the Anasazi farmed the land here over 2,600 years ago. Zion was also visited during the first scientific exploration of southern Utah in the 1860s.
Today, the area is great for hikers, sightseers, and rock climbers. However, with all of its beauty, Zion attracts a large amount of visitors which makes some trails crowded. Therefore it is best to arrive and hit the trails early to avoid the thousands of other explorers. The National Park Service offers a very informative video for those new to the park.
Hike Arches National Park
This park is second to Zion National Park purely based on attendance. Arches National Park provides another extremely unique landscape that is fittingly named after the more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches stretched across the park.
The park’s natural features are a geological wonder having been carved by erosion and other factors for millions of years. Some of the park’s most famous arches are Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch.
Delicate Arch is the most famous natural stone arch in the world, according to the National Park Service. Landscape Arch (pictured above) has the longest span at 306 feet, and Double Arch has the tallest opening at 112 feet. Check out the National Park Service’s list of the best rock formations in Arches National Park for more information.
Sail in Salt Lake City
Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City, is another great stop on your tour of the state. The city has an abundance of things to do and see making it hard for visitors to get bored.
I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed it, but Salt Lake City is named after the Great Salt Lake that borders it. The Great Salt Lake is aptly named as it is the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere and the eight largest terminal lake in the world. The lake’s primary use is boating and sailing as the water contains too much salt to support life and it can be smelly to swim in.
For those interested in the history of the city, Salt Lake has many museums and historical sites to take in. Temple Square, the most popular attraction in the city, is located downtown and is home to the beautiful Salt Lake Temple. Check out Visit Salt Lake’s attractions page for more things to see during your trip to the states capital.
Ski in Park City
A silver-mining town turned ski mecca, Park City is the place to be in Utah for skiers and snowboarders in the wintertime. The mountains surrounding the city are known for their amazing snow conditions making them a great location for winter sports. The area even hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and Utah Olympic Park (where the Olympics were held) all border the city. Park City Mountain Resort is by far the largest resort offering almost 350 skiable trails as well as fine dining and good drinks. If you don’t like crowds, Deer Valley offers over 100 trails and the same world-class conditions with less people.
In the summertime, Park City offers lots of activities ranging from fly fishing to horseback riding. The surrounding resorts are also open to mountain bikers after the snow melts. Check out this page to see all of the activities Park City has to do in the summertime.
Race in the Bonneville Salt Flats
If you classify yourself as a speed freak or a gear head, you have most likely heard of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Known for being the best place to see how fast a car can go in a straight line, the Salt Flats is a 40 square mile kingdom of speed in a dry prehistoric lake bed.
The reason people travel from all over the world to drive here is simply because it is one of the flattest places on earth. Land Speed Racing (trying to attain the fastest speed for your vehicle type) is a unique sport that requires an extremely large and flat area making the Bonneville Salt Flats the perfect home for it.
Due to the growing popularity of the Salt Flats after 1940, the Utah government designated a 10 mile stretch to motorsports naming it the Bonneville Speedway. Here is a wonderful video explaining why the Salt Flats are so special.
Newcomers are always welcome at the Speedway if you feel like trying your hand at Land Speed Racing. There are many different classes of vehicles and drivers which makes it extremely easy to get started. Learn more about the history behind the Bonneville Salt Flats or sign up to drive on the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association’s website.
As you can see from these examples, Utah has much to offer. Whether you are in to hiking, skiing, sailing, or anything in between, it can be found here. Stopping at these five places will definitely make the most of your next trip to Utah.
TREVOR VENEGAS is a freelance writer and photographer. Check out his photography portfolio.