When researching interesting and beautiful places to visit in Utah, you will find towering mountains, arid red rock canyons, sandstone arches and dead level salt flats.
It’s diverse, eclectic and BEAUTIFUL!
Utah definitely marches to the beat of its own drum. This is evident in its people and the activities that abound in this great state.
What state can you drive a race car on a salt flat and snow ski on a spiring mountain all before lunch?
You could take a year to explore Utah and still need more time to see everything.
I have spent many months in this state hiking, biking, camping and site seeing and I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the surface.
Beauty and adventure are plenty and the hard core traveler will be hard pressed to find a state as exciting and different as Utah. Come with me and let’s see what’s so special about Utah through a tour of some of its most incredible places to visit.
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Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is one of those places that you just have to see to believe.
At any given moment, it can look like a different place than it did the moment before. The light plays on the hoodoos and ignites them in a radiant glow that can only be described as celestial.
Drive through the park and stop at one of the many look out points and hike the rim.
Alternatively, you can hike down into the canyons, spires and hoodoos and get a totally different view of what it is like to be within the canyon.
It’s as if you can hear its heart beat as you walk through the carved arches and through it’s twists and turns. This is one of the mighty five National Parks in Utah and everyone should see it before they die.
Arches National Park
Another of the mighty five, this park is one of the most popular in America, welcoming over 1.5 million visitors a year.
With 2,000 verifiable arches within the park, you could spend years within this park and never see them all.
Climb in Devil’s Garden and see what makes this park so loved by everyone who visits. Hike to Delicate Arch and see it in all its grandeur as the sun sets and lights the world ablaze with color. Visit Landscape Arch, which spans more that a football field across, and pray that today is not the day that it decides to fall.
You can also walk through the cathedral-like arches of Double Arch and feel the magnificence of a natural temple, so quiet you can feel your heartbeat.
Arches is a playground and a place for quiet contemplation. You can see it in a day by driving through quickly, or you can immerse yourself in every nook and cranny it has to offer, in one of the most interesting and beautiful places to visit in Utah.
You can’t mention Arches National Park without introducing Moab, the city that hosts such a unique adventure.
Moab has all the things you are looking for when it comes to exploring the red rocks and canyons of this area.
Do you want to go on a Jeep tour? Moab has you covered.
Do you want to rent a bike and experience the slick rock sandstone that covers the landscape? Moab has those, too.
Let’s say you’re bone tired from a day of hiking. Well, come and eat at one of the many fantastic restaurants on Main Street and refuel your body for another day of touring.
History abounds in the form of petroglyphs and dinosaur fossils. There are geological sites dotting the entire city and most of them are free.
My family and I have spent months here over the past seven years and I feel like I could spend months more and still find new things to do in Moab.
Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square
One of the most interesting and beautiful places I’ve been in Utah is the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square.
Utah was a state founded by people who wanted a new life and new history for their families. This temple embodies that ideal and you can see it in the architecture and art surrounding the temple and the temple itself.
Although you have to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints to enter the temple, one does not have to enter to see how grand and magnificent the grounds are.
Disney himself could not dream up a more perfect scene in landscape and architecture. Come tour the museum and learn more about the Morman faith or have a picnic enjoying your surroundings.
My kids loved it here and the museum was as engaging as it was alluring. Take a few hours when in Salt Lake City and be sure to visit this intriguing temple.
Zion National Park
Another one of the mighty five makes up our next addition to this list of interesting and beautiful places to visit in Utah.
Considered to be one of the top national parks to visit in the world, Zion National Park should be on every adventurer’s list.
Hike the trail to Angel’s Landing and risk life and limb to see one of the most exquisite vistas on the planet, or play it a little safer and wade through the cool, swift waters of the Virgin River in The Narrows.
For the front seat window explorer, just a drive through the park can inspire a love of nature as you take in the red rock, cliffs and mesas formed by lava and uplift over the eons.
Another option is to start at the Visitor’s Center and take the tram that will give you the history of the park as well and interesting facts and finds in the area.
If you want to get your heart pumping, ride your bike through the park and see what you’re made of. This stunning feat of nature should not be missed when visiting Utah.
Kanarra Creek Canyon and Kanarra Falls
While it’s a little known gem to most, Kanarra Creek Canyon is an adventurer and photographer’s dream.
You begin the hike with your boots on, but a little ways in, you have to shed those and douse your feet into the frigid, snowmelt waters of Kanarra Creek for a hike of a lifetime.
Like a cousin to The Narrows in Zion, Kanarra Creek Canyon is a smaller but still stunning slot canyon where you can fulfill your need for exploration.
There are stunning waterfalls, ladders to climb and mysterious slots to hike through all while barefoot. That’s right!
You must be sure footed enough for this hike, because falling face first into the near freezing waters is a real possibility, but totally worth it.
You won’t be able to feel your feet by the end and you’ll think you’re walking on two blocks of ice, but you’ll never regret this great “bang for your buck”, excursion in St. George, Utah.
Bonneville Salt Flats
If you are a race car enthusiast you’ll love the Bonneville Salt Flats. If you aren’t a race car enthusiast, you’ll still love the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Race your car or take pictures. It doesn’t matter, it’s just a wonder to see.
Ancient Bonneville Lake used to span this area until it dried in the last ice age. Shallow ground water wicks salt to the surface of the flat.
Because there is no outlet for the flats, there is nowhere for the salt to go and it just accumulates until it is mined for fertilzer.
During westward expansion, many wagon trains would travel this area. They would get stuck and have to find alternative ways of getting to their destination. This area is so well preserved that you can still see the wagon ruts in the salt.
Come see what “the flattest place on Earth” has to offer and see if you can break the land/speed record of 481 miles per hour!
Park City is a playground for all seasons. I’ve been there in the summer, spring and winter and it never lacks adventure and fun for everyone.
Shoppers can peruse the wares of Historic Main Street and adventure seekers can hike, bike or snow ski in the winter.
This old mining town is now a major destination for all who seek the outdoors. It was also one of the training centers for the 2002 Winter Olympics. We got a thrill of seeing the athletes train at the training center when we were there.
Only 22 miles from Salt Lake City, you could make it a day trip if you are in the area for a short time. But it will be time well spent to get the flavor of what natives of Utah already know. The oudoors rock in Utah!
Fishlake National Forest
Fishlake National Forest is a destination all to its own. Geographically located in the middle of the state of Utah, it is an isolated but beautiful part of the state.
You can boat or fish in the summer or cross country ski in the winter. But the crown jewel of this part of Utah is Pando. Pando should be viewed in the fall or spring but it beautiful anytime of year.
What is Pando do you ask? It’s a living breathing horticultural materpiece 80,000 years in the making.
Pando is the “trembling giant” grove of aspens that is determined to be genetically identical. Therefore, it is the largest living single organism on the planet.
Spreading from a single root system it is essentially one tree that has sprouted 147,000 more trees.
We spent some time here in the spring and it was amazing to be in the presence of something so regal and splendid.
We camped in the grove and hiked among Pando as we contemplated all the history that was made under its branches. It’s not easy to get to, but you should make the effort to see this enigma of life.
Monument Valley is another remote but worthy destination.
Located in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, you can experience not only the monuments themselves, but what the culture and history of the Navajo people.
Enter the park and you are in the Navajo Nation, a land governed by its people and not the federal government. Here you can taste traditional Navajo dishes, traditional Navajo architecture and of course tour the monuments.
The Navajo are a private people and consider their land sacred. But over the years, they have allowed some movies to be made on their land. You may recognize the monuments in old American western movies or more modern movies such as Forrest Gump.
A visit to Monument Valley will be a truly unique experience you can’t get anywhere else.
If Moab, Utah had a cousin, St. George would be it.
Another fabulous playground all year long, you can find anything you desire to do outdoors any time of year. Famous for its biking and dune buggying, you’re sure to find something fun to do in St. George.
Ride the Snow Canyon Bike Trail where half of it goes downhill to reveal some of the most breathtaking scenery in the region. I personally clocked 30 miles per hour on this downhill thriller. It was the most alive I had ever felt.
You could also climb through the canyons and find an inviting swimming hole in Red Cliffs Recreation area. Who needs a water park when you have the natural beauty of St. George.
Utah is full of everything an adventure seeking explorer could ever want. From the alpine forests to the red rock cliffs and everything in between, Utah has it all!
Did we miss anything you would like to see in Utah? We’d love to hear from you!
Leave what you’d like to see in the comments!