If Utah was a kid in your school, it would be the one with a sunburned nose and dirt under its fingernails. It would be the child that’s always out exploring, climbing trees and generally just getting its adventure on.
And yep, Utah has been cut from the geological cloth in such a way that makes it perfect for outdoor adventures, for young and old alike.
A monumental and mountainous state in the Western USA, Utah is a landscape of parks and peaks, of trails and too-many-to-mention recreational areas. It boasts five national parks and 44 state parks, for starters, plus nine national monuments, five national forests, one national historic park, two national heritage areas, four national historic trails, and two national recreation areas.
We’ll list our favourite ones further below, but let it be known that if you’re looking for an active playground amidst iconic and almost otherworldly scenery, then Utah is for you-duh! This is a state ripe for adventure, a place for those that like to get outside and get active. A destination for those amongst us that get all giddy at the prospect of the great outdoors and what Mother Nature, in her beguiling beauty, has to offer – rain, or shine.
Or snow. Yep, besides being known as the home of the MIGHTY 5® National Parks, it also boasts another prized trademark: Agents, I present to you what Utah Office of Tourism claims as the Greatest Snow on Earth®.
And no, this ain’t no hyperbole. In fact, there’s science behind this statement. Just ask University of Utah atmospheric scientist Jim Steenburgh. According to Jimbo, the unique climatic conditions over the Cottonwood Canyons in the Wasatch Range Mountain Range makes the snowfall in Utah very soft and oh-so-powdery. We’re talking deep powder that never ends, snow that’s perfect for carving up on boards or skis.
Something else that (nearly) never ends is the long list of ski resorts in the state. Utah flaunts 15 world-class ski resorts within its borders, and ten of them are within an hour’s drive from the new Salt Lake City International Airport.
But enough with all this yapping. Let’s get out our tourism torch and shine the spotlight on all that’s waiting for you in unique, adventure-filled Utah…
WELCOME TO UTAH
TOP 7 MUST-DOS IN UTAH
- All American Road trip: Scenic Byway 12 – Have the drive of your life on Scenic Byway 12, a windy, scenic and varied section of good-old American road that connects Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon. One of only 31 designated All American Roads in the United States, this is one of the most interesting road trips in the world, passing lots of diverse, rugged and interesting terrains, such as slickrock canyons, pine and aspen forests, red rock cliffs, national and state parks, a national monument and some quaint little rural towns where the folk are just so swell.
- Stargazing at Capitol Reef National Dark Sky – Besides its 50+ recognised parks, Utah just couldn’t help adding another near-dozen to its portfolio. But these ones are in the sky… Home to 14 international dark sky parks across the state, Utah has more of these universal viewing platforms than anywhere else in the world. But you best check out Gold-tier rated Capitol Reef National Dark Sky for an awe-inspiring session of stargazing on a clear night. It is absolutely worth seeing.
- Goblin Valley State Park – Don’t be put off by its scary-sounding name. The only thing you should be concerned about when you enter Goblin Valley State Park is whether you have enough battery in your phone (or camera) to do this other-worldly park photographic justice! Located along the San Rafael Swell and looking decidedly more Martian than terrestrial, it will take you hours to wander through this park amongst the thousands of its strange-looking hoodoos (mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles, or as the locals refer to them, goblins – hence the name). Some of these hoodoos reach over six metres. All are awesome.
- Tour in Monument Valley – Iconic, symbolic of the American West, a tonic to your depleted wanderlust reserves. Monument Valley is all of these things and more. It’s recognised as the beating heart of the Navajo Nation and simply cannot be missed. Join a jeep tour with a local guide to hear the land’s history and culture straight from the horse’s mouth, and gain access to areas not accessible to private cars.
- The Narrows in Zion Hike – Another unmissable. A hike following the Virgin River through a narrow, 600-metre-tall gorge, “The Narrows,” is a multi-terrain hike leading you over trails, road and through water: anywhere from ankle to chest high. Trek past sandstone grottos and hanging gardens casting shade on quiet little oases in which to enjoy your lunch in silent solitude.
- Hit the Slopes at Park City Mountain Resort – Here’s one for the skiers and snowboarders. Four words: Park City Mountain Resort. There’s your next snow holiday sorted. Done! The largest ski resort in the USA (and that’s a pretty big feat in itself), Park City has been dubbed as “one of the perfect mountain towns” in the USA. Although yet to be trademarked, we think it definitely deserves that moniker as the town doesn’t just deliver on the snow. It packs a historic silver mining town with an artistic bent and lots of outdoor activities in its environs into your little goodie bag, too. Seriously, you could probably live here…
- Antelope Island – Last but not least, we gotta mention Antelope Island. Even if you’re not keen on taking to the 58km of hiking and mountain bike trails that skirt the island perched within the Great Salt Lake, just go for wildlife spotting. We’re talking free-roaming bison and antelope herds all-year-round people!
Summer, autumn, winter, spring – Utah inspires all-year-round.
Down in southern Utah, snow-peaked mountains and endless canyons are ripe for exploring. All across the state, iconic national parks flaunt other-worldly geological monuments that are still standing after all these years. And the spectacular Red Canyon, a colourful ensemble of cliff canyons inside the Dixie Forest, is, quite simply, brilliant.
Each season brings its own character and vibe. Each season, wherever you are in Utah, is magical.
SELF-DRIVE INSIDER GUIDES FOR UTAH
A journey through the geological diversity of the United States, the Geological Wonders itinerary features some of the landmark mentions of Utah, such as Wasatch National Forest. Starting in Salt Lake City and passing through the states of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, this fascinating foray into Wild West territory is an education in geology that’s a lot more exciting than anything you could learn in a book.
Equally educational and exciting is the Canyons, Mesas and Hoodoos itinerary, which includes (a little) more of what Utah is famous for. Beginning and ending in Las Vegas, this road trip passes through both Nevada and Arizona in addition to Utah. Highlights include the glitz of Las Vegas and the geological wonders of Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park and Monument Valley in Utah.
TAKE THE TUNES WITH YOU
A sonic homage to the great state of Utah, this playlist features a mix of made-it bands and famous musicians, plus lots of up-and-comers.
We’re talking Utah icons Neon Tress (made it), local muso Andrew Goldring (currently making it) and songs that mention Utah in their lyrics from some pretty famous (non-Utah) musical icons: such as The Beach Boys and Bruce Springsteen. It’s the perfect soundtrack for your Utah road trip!
AGENTS: JOIN THE USA DISCOVERY PROGRAM!
Get inspired by the diverse destinations and experiences available in the USA and get accredited as a USA Specialist. Maximise the unique features of the program, which include the opportunity to register for live events and webinars, and peer to peer learning.
Earn specialist badges such as Utah as well as bespoke partner badges. Currently, the USA Discovery Program has over 50 badges to complete, providing agents a fun and interactive way to learn all about the USA has to offer.
Click here to register and get all the knowledge for the USA.
PLUS! DESIGN YOUR OWN TRIP WITH THE USA TRIP PLANNER
The Visit USA Trip Planner is an amazing (and free!) tool that creates a customisable itinerary to match your personal preferences and style.
With over 230 million data points including the best places & times to visit, reviews and hidden gems, this is one smart piece of travel tech.
This little travel genius optimises your itinerary to minimise travel time, checks when attractions are open and even recommends how much time to spend at each stop off. Brilliant!
Finally, it lets you share & collaborate with your fellow road trippers and is easy to add or revise points of interest as you go.
Find out more: Trip-Planner.VisitTheUSA.com
GET ALL THE TOOLS ON BRAND USA’S TRAVEL TRADE SITE
From the Trip Planner to Insider Guides, and the USA Discovery Program to destination information, Brand USA’s Travel Trade Site for agents has you covered.
WALK YOUR WAY TO UTAH
Between October 15th and December 18th, 2020, walk your way around the state of Utah (virtually, of course!) for your chance to win one of 4 famil prize packages including a minimum 6 nights of accommodation, some meals, activities, attractions and transportation! Delta Air Lines will provide return economy class airfare from Sydney, Australia to Salt Lake City, Utah. To take part in the walk and be in the running to win this awesome prize, sign up here or for more information join the Walker Tracker webinar to be held on October 13th.
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