Utah is one of the most visually beautiful states in the country. There are so many interesting natural features worth visiting, including mountains, waterfalls, and even salt flats. There's also plenty of city life and cultural experience to enjoy, too, including world-class dining and luxury resorts. When planning your visit, there is no shortage of ways to spend your time exploring the outdoors during the day and returning to an upscale resort for a delicious meal at night.
Arches National Park is located in eastern Utah, not far from the Colorado border, about 4 miles north of Moab. It features more than 2,000 natural formations, the highest density of arches the world. Arches lies above an underground salt bed which contributed to the formation of the breathtaking spies, fins, arches, and balanced rocks. Climbing on arches with openings larger than 3 feet is banned, but it is allowed in some areas with a permit. Anyone can enjoy hiking and bicycling and the beautiful landscape provides plenty of opportunities for photography.
Salt Lake City is located in the northern part of the state right next to the Great Salt Lake. It is a great place to stay as a home base when exploring the nearby parks but has a lot to offer within the city limits, too. Tour the gardens and fountains of Temple Square. Visit the animals at the Hogle Zoo. Check out the Clark Planetarium. Then, enjoy the diverse and delicious food scene. Grab a burger at Crown Burgers, sample upscale modern Italian dining at Valter's Osteria, or try the fresh seasonal meals at HSL.
East of Salt Lake City is Deer Valley Resort. It has been named the number one ski resort in North America and offers a long list of luxury amenities, including ski valets, on-site childcare, gourmet dining, and an award-winning ski school. The best thing about Deer Valley Resort is they limit the number of skiers allowed on the mountain at any one time. This prevents overcrowding for the best possible experience on the slopes. There is a lot to do here in the summer, too, like mountain biking, chairlift rides, hiking, guided tours, and outdoor concerts.
Provo, the third-largest city in Utah, is located just 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. It often ranks as one of the most desirable places to live, work, and play. The great thing about Provo is it offers a buzzing metro area with plenty of access to some of the best outdoor recreation in the state. On the east, it is bordered by mountain peaks. On the west, Lake Utah. Take a hike to the summit of Mount Timpanogos for a view that spans for miles. Go fishing, boating, or camping at the lake. Or, visit the gardens, cafes, museums, and gift shops at Thanksgiving Point
Located in the southern part of Utah, Calf Creek Falls is one of the most beautiful views in the Grand Staircase and Escalante River area. Here you will find a gorgeous waterfall collecting in a large pool deep enough to swim in. It is surrounded on three sides by sheer cliffs dotted with green and blue algae near the water and sparkling like sand the whole way up. A walk around the area takes visitors past beaver ponds and prehistoric rock art. This is a fascinating and fun place to visit and a great spot for selfies.
The Bonneville Salt Flats is one of the most unique natural features to visit in a state that is full of natural beauty. It is located near the Nevada border along I-80 and stretched for over 30,000 acres. This is a great spot to take other-worldly photos. The perfectly flat, thick salty crust at this scale is something you will not find just anywhere. No vegetation grows here and the area resembles a large lake covered in a layer of white fluffy snow, right in the middle of the desert. On really hot days, the salty soil emits hear waves that make it look like its covered its water. This area was formed when Lake Bonneville evaporated and is a must-see.
There are a lot of wonderful scenic drives in Utah and the Big Cottonwood Canyon Byway is a great one to experience. The canyon is about 25 minutes away from the Salt Lake City Airport and there are plenty of great places to stop along the drive. These include two world-class ski resorts, rock climbing routes, backcountry skiing, and amazing picnicking areas. Bring a lunch and your hiking boots to experience all that Big Cottonwood Canyon has to offer.
There is a lot to do at Mount Zion National Park but one of the most popular activities is biking. This park is located in the southwest corner of Utah and is one of the best places for biking in the state. There is even a shuttle system to take cyclists to various places in the park, including the Pa'rus Trail. This is a 3.5-mile long trail that connects to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive route. Try the Gooseberry Trail for a longer, moderate ride and the Bunker Creek Trail for a bigger challenge.
Another great scenic drive is the Potash Scenic Byway. The drive follows the Colorado River and ends at the Moab Salt Plant. Take in the gorgeous sheer cliffs of Dead Horse State Park and make some stops along the way to hike, picnic, or just stop and take amazing photos of the beautiful surroundings. The route takes about two hours from start to finish.
The Great Salt Lake is one of the most unique places to visit in Utah. It is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere and is something to experience. Gorgeous sunsets and white sand beaches await here. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking, swimming, boating, and mountain biking. The Great Salt Lake is located in northern Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City.
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