Utah destinations, parks and attractions
Are you going on a road trip to Utah, looking for tips about the destinations so you and your party can enjoy it, be comfortable and not spend a fortune?
Here are some of the top destinations in Utah and tips about visiting them
National parks and monuments in Utah
- Arches National Park,
Visit Arches to discover a landscape of contrasting colors, land forms, and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches and hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive rock fins, and giant balanced rocks. This red-rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.
- Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon, UT.
Hoodoos (irregular columns of rock) exist on every continent, but here is the largest concentration found anywhere on Earth. Situated along a high plateau at the top of the Grand Staircase, the park's high elevations include numerous life communities, fantastic dark skies, and geological wonders that defy description.
- California National Historic Trail,
Various States CA,CO,ID,KS,MO,NE,NV,OR,UT,WY.
Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons.
- Canyonlands National Park,
Canyonlands invites you to explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.
- Capitol Reef National Park,
Located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles.
- Cedar Breaks National Monument,
Cedar City, UT.
Crowning the grand staircase, Cedar Breaks sits at over 10,000 feet and looks down into a half-mile deep geologic amphitheater. Come wander among timeless bristlecone pines, stand in lush meadows of wildflower, ponder crystal-clear night skies and experience the richness of our subalpine forest.
- Dinosaur National Monument, Vernal, Utah and Dinosaur, Colorado, CO,UT.
Dinosaurs once roamed here. Their fantastic remains are still visible embedded in the rocks. Today, the mountains, desert and untamed rivers flowing in deep canyons, support an array of life. Petroglyphs hint at earlier cultures. Later, homesteaders and outlaws found refuge here. Whether your passion is science, adventure, history or scenery, Dinosaur offers much to explore.
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area,
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ,UT.
Encompassing over 1.25 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based and backcountry recreation. The recreation area stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah, encompassing scenic vistas, geologic wonders, and a vast panorama of human history.
- Golden Spike National Historic Park,
Brigham City, UT.
One of the greatest technological achievements of the 19th century, the completion of the first transcontinental railroad across the United States. Visitors to the park can see the location of the Last Spike Site, 1869 railroad construction features, walk or drive on the original railroad grade, and get an up close view of Victorian era replica locomotives.
- Hovenweep National Monument, Blanding, Utah and Cortez, Colorado, CO,UT.
Once home to over 2,500 people, Hovenweep includes six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. Explore a variety of structures, including multistory towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders. The construction and attention to detail will leave you marveling at the skill and motivation of the builders.
- Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail,
Various States IL,IA,NE,UT,WY.
Explore the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail across five states to see the 1,300-mile route traveled by Mormons who fled Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1846-1847.
- Natural Bridges National Monument,
Three majestic natural bridges invite you to ponder the power of water in a landscape usually defined by its absence. View them from an overlook, or hit the trails and experience their grandeur from below. Declared a National Monument in 1908, the bridges are named "Kachina," "Owachomo" and "Sipapu" in honor of the ancestral Puebloans who once made this place their home.
- Old Spanish National Historic Trail,
Follow the routes of mule pack trains across the Southwest on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California. New Mexican traders moved locally produced merchandise across what are now six states to exchange for mules and horses.
- Pony Express National Historic Trail,
Various States CA,CO,KS,MO,NE,NV,UT,WY.
It is hard to believe that young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph.
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument,
Rainbow Bridge National Monument, UT.
Rainbow Bridge is one of the world's largest known natural bridges. The span has undoubtedly inspired people throughout time--from the neighboring American Indian tribes who consider Rainbow Bridge sacred, to the 85,000 people from around the world who visit it each year. Please visit Rainbow Bridge in a spirit that honors and respects the cultures to whom it is sacred.
- Timpanogos Cave National Monument,
American Fork, UT.
Hike your way past stunning vistas to explore a hidden underground world. Taste the thrill of caving as you twist and bend to enter beautifully decorated rooms. Learn the science behind formations and hear stories of cave exploration and preservation. Experience and discover as you go - geologic mysteries await.
- Zion National Park,
Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures.
Utah State parks and historic sites
- Anasazi - Explore an Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) village that was likely occupied from A.D. 1050 to 1200, and one of the largest communities west of the Colorado River. Outside the museum, tour a life-sized, six-room replica of an ancient dwelling and view a portion of the original site.
- Antelope Island - Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride the park's backcountry trails for spectacular views of lake and island scenery; spend a star-filled night in one of several primitive campsites; stroll along sandy beaches and take a dip in the lake's salty waters or step back in time with a visit to the Historic Fielding Garr Ranch.
- Bear Lake - Minerals suspended in the waters of Bear Lake create its spectacular aqua-blue color. Brilliant waters, combined with sandy beaches, lure visitors to play, fish, boat, and camp. Two concession operations offer a variety of goods and services, including comfortable cabins, to complete a vacation to Bear Lake.
- Camp Floyd - The United States Army, Mormon Pioneers, Stagecoach Travelers, and the Pony Express met at Camp Floyd and the town of Fairfield. The Army arrived in 1858 and constructed Camp Floyd to suppress a supposed Mormon rebellion. The Army remained here for three years before being recalled for the Civil War.
- Coral Pink - Venture onto a shifting sea of red sand. Changed by winds, these mountains and hills of sand can move as much as 50 feet per year. With areas for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts and those with non-motorized pursuits, the dunes offer adventures for all.
- Dead Horse - From the prominence of Dead Horse Point, 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River, an ever changing landscape unfurls. Immense vertical cliffs meet with canyons carved by ice, water and wind creating a visual masterpiece. Plants and animals surviving on the edge of existence face many challenges of extreme conditions within this high desert environment.
- Deer Creek - Windsurf, boat, and fish on the cool waters of Deer Creek Reservoir. After a day on the water, camp under the night sky at one of several campgrounds, all with spectacular views of nearby Mount Timpanogos.
- East Canyon - Tucked away in the mountains of northeastern Utah, East Canyon Reservoir is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and camping, but also holds a bit of history.
- Echo - Echo will be open to vehicles and those wanting to camp or launch boats out of the main marina
- Edge Of The Cedars - View the largest collection of Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) pottery on display in the Four Corners Region and explore an authentic Puebloan village behind the museum. In addition to permanent collections, Edge of the Cedars offers special exhibits, festivals, and events throughout the year.
- Escalante Petrified Forest - Camp along the shores of Wide Hollow Reservoir, or rent a canoe and paddle on its clear waters. Hike along park nature trails through a petrified forest, but remember to take only photographs.
- Flight Park - Utah State Parks and Recreation and the Utah Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (UHGPGA) are partnering to preserve this unique recreation area that is an excellent site for teaching and gathering experience for flyers of all levels. It is known worldwide as one of the best training sites for both paragliding and hang gliding.
- Fred Hayes at Starvation - The sprawling waters of Starvation Reservoir offer great fishing and boating. Find a secluded campsite at one of four primitive and one developed campground. Bring your off-highway vehicle and ride on nearby trails.
- Fremont Indian - Discover artifacts, petroglyphs, and pictographs left behind by the Fremont Indians. During construction of Interstate 70, the largest known Fremont Indian village was uncovered. This museum preserves treasures from the site, including pottery, baskets, and arrowheads.
- Frontier Homestead - Relive the pioneer and early industrial history of Cedar City, Iron County, and southwest Utah through an extensive horse-drawn wagon collection, historic buildings, Paiute native camp, sawmill and replica blast furnace.
- Goblin Valley - Journey to this strange and colorful valley, which is unlike any other in Utah. The landscape, covered with sandstone goblins and formations, is often compared to Mars. Explore the geology, and camp among the nooks and gnomes.
- Goosenecks - Gaze at the results of 300 million years of time, where the San Juan River winds and carves its way through the desert 1,000 feet below. This primitive park offers a spectacular view of this amazing and rare geologic formation, known as an entrenched meander.
- Great Salt Lake - This State Park provides boat slips, public viewpoints of the Great Salt Lake, sail and motorboat access, and a search and rescue operations center. The lake, which is two to seven times saltier than the ocean, is also a popular destination for birdwatching as it is a major stop for millions migratory birds.
- Green River - Rest under a canopy of cottonwood trees or accept the challenge of a nine-hole golf course on the banks of the Green River. The park is a starting point for boaters adventuring through Labyrinth and Stillwater canyons. Annual events include the 184-mile Friendship Cruise and Melon Days.
- Gunlock - Boat, fish, and swim on the tranquil waters at Gunlock Reservoir or enjoy an afternoon picnic on the beach. Warm waters during summer and a mild winter climate make the park a year-round destination.
- Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail - Weaving its way from Park City to Echo Reservoir, this 28-mile, non-motorized trail provides a close up view of area wildlife and wildflowers. Explore the trail on foot, mountain bike, skis, or horseback.
- Huntington - Cinnamon-colored buttes provide a backdrop for this quiet desert oasis. Popular with locals, this warm-water reservoir is ideal for waterskiing, fishing, and crawdad catching. Huntington is a great weekend destination or a perfect picnic spot.
- Hyrum - Willow, box elder and maple trees surround Hyrum Reservoir providing shade as well as habitat for waterfowl and wildlife. During the day, find a spot on the beach to cast a fishing line or relax with a good book. Sit around a cozy campfire with family and friends at night.
- Jordan River - Open from early spring to late fall, this area provides opportunities for riders of all abilities. Facilities include advanced and novice motocross tracks, beginner area, spectator viewing, and three-mile loop trail paralleling the Jordan River.
- Jordanelle - Above the beautiful Heber Valley and along the shores of Jordanelle Reservoir are three distinct recreation areas, Hailstone, Rock Cliff, and Ross Creek, which offer a variety of recreational opportunities. Spend a day or weekend picnicking, camping, boating, or hiking at either or both destinations.
- Kodachrome Basin - 67 monolithic stone spires, called sedimentary pipes, accentuate multihued sandstone layers that reveal 180 million years of geologic time. The color and beauty found here prompted a National Geographic Society expedition to name the area Kodachrome, after the popular color film, in 1948.
- Millsite - Camp in the quiet campground, and boat and fish on the blue waters of Millsite Reservoir. Golf on a nearby golf course or bring off-highway vehicles and mountain bikes to enjoy miles of trails in nearby Ferron Canyon.
- Otter Creek - This quiet getaway is a great destination for ATV riders, boaters, and birders. Access three ATV trails, including Paiute, directly from the park. Lure a record catch from Otter Creek Reservoir, a prime fishery. Go birding during spring and fall as many bird species through the park on their journey along the Pacific Migratory Bird Flyway.
- Palisade - Play 18-holes of golf, paddle or troll on Palisade Reservoir, then set up the perfect campsite. This park offers something for everyone, from its desert canyon golf course, RV and tent camping, to access for off-highway vehicle riding in nearby Six-Mile Canyon.
- Piute - Resting on cliffs of the Sevier Plateau, Piute Reservoir attracts anglers who enjoy trophy fishing for rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout. This primitive park is a quiet getaway and a well-kept secret.
- Quail Creek - Boasting some of the warmest waters in the state and a mild winter climate, Quail Creek Reservoir lures boaters and anglers year-round. Spend a day on the water or visit a nearby state or national park, then retire to a campsite in a spectacular red rock desert setting.
- Red Fleet - Hike to 200-million-year-old dinosaur tracks, boat and fish on Red Fleet Reservoir, and camp or picnic in a campground overlooking a sandstone and desert landscape. In the heart of Dinosaurland, Red Fleet is a destination in itself and great location for discovery of the area.
- Rockport - Find first-rate, year-round recreation at this northern Utah destination. During summer, fish, boat, and waterski on Rockport Reservoir. Tent or RV camp in one of five developed and primitive campgrounds. During winter, ice fish and access nearby snowmobile trails.
- Sand Hollow - With its warm, blue waters and red sandstone landscape, Utah's newest state park is also one of its most popular. Boat and fish on Sand Hollow Reservoir, explore and ride the dunes of Sand Mountain on an off-highway vehicle, then RV or tent camp in the new campground.
- Scofield - Camp, boat, and fish at this summer and winter recreation destination situated high in the Manti-LaSal Mountains. During winter, ice fish, snowmobile, and cross-country ski in a spectacular mountain setting. Three separate areas offer amenities for day and overnight use.
- Snow Canyon - Explore the trails and dunes of beautiful Snow Canyon on foot, bike, and horseback. Camp in the peaceful campground surrounded by ancient lava flows and red Navajo sandstone. Discover the secrets of the desert landscape through seasonal nature programs.
- Steinaker - Fish for rainbow trout and largemouth bass, and enjoy sandy beaches, swim, boat, and waterski at Steinaker Reservoir. Select a secluded campsite overlooking the water and under the skies of Dinosaurland.
- Territorial Statehouse - Explore Utah's early history in its oldest existing governmental building. The Statehouse is actually the south wing of a much larger building that never was completed, and now exhibits revealing the story of Utah's Territorial period.
- Heritage Park - Journey back in time at This Is The Place Heritage Park, a collection of more than 50 historic homes and buildings brought to life by historical interpreters. Visit This Is The Place Monument, which marks the end of the 1,300-mile Mormon trail.
- Utah Field House - Discover the prehistoric world, dig for fossils, and explore the dinosaur garden. Within an 80-mile radius of Vernal, evidence of the entire Earth's history is visible. Utah Field House reveals this geologic story with hands-on exhibits and activities.
- Utah Lake - Utah's largest freshwater lake provides fishing access for channel catfish, walleye, white bass, black bass, and several species of panfish. Spend an evening RV or tent camping, then powerboat, canoe, or sail the day away on Utah Lake.
- Wasatch Mountain - Enjoy Wasatch Mountain State Park year-round. Camp in the Pine Creek Campground, reserve a tee time at one of the four popular 18-hole golf courses or hike, bike, ATV or horseback ride on miles of mountain trails. In winter months, ski, snowshoe or snowmobile through the alpine terrain.
- Willard Bay - Boat, swim, waterski, and fish on the warm waters of Willard Bay. Camp under tall cottonwood trees that frame the night sky. During winter months, Willard Bay is a wildlife watching area for nesting eagles. Two areas, North and South Marinas, offer all the amenities for a weekend at the Bay.
- Yuba - Boat-in camping, sandy beaches, and warm waters lure visitors to Yuba Reservoir. Developed and primitive camping is available at Oasis and Painted Rocks campgrounds and at designated beach areas. Anglers may fish for walleye and yellow perch year-round.
Utah Seasons, bugs, topography and climate
Utah has a lot of deserts and is a dry, semi-arid and desert climate. It is one of the driest states in the United States, with very little rainfall. In December the average highest relative humidity is 74.3% and in July the average lowest humidity is 35.9%.
Utah Camping tips
Utah has campgrounds with full hookup RV and trailer sites all the way to primitive camping. The majority of the parks have Tents, Cabins, Teepees, and even Yurts are available for a variety of camping experience.