21 Best Things to Do in Utah: Top-Rated Attractions 2022
Utah is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with an extraordinary number of national parks and monuments scattered throughout the picturesque southwestern state.
Most of its main tourist attractions are related to its wealth of wonderful natural spaces. This includes stunning red rock canyons and mighty plateaus to the dusty desert, roaring rivers, and impressive sandstone sculptures.
Due to the diversity and charm of its landscapes, visitors can do many outdoor activities. While hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing are popular activities in Utah, you can enjoy some great skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.
With much, much more to see and explore than the Mighty Five, Utah is an adventure playground like no other.
1. Zion National Park
Home to everything from towering peaks and steep plateaus to wondrous waterfalls and colossal cliffs and canyons, Zion National Park is a place like no other. Located in the southwest of the state, it has simply amazing landscapes, with incredible nature and views wherever you look.
With all of its natural wonders, like the colorful and cavernous Zion and Kolob canyons, hiking or horseback riding along its magnificent trails is a delight.
It has an almost endless range of diverse and enchanting sights with a desolate desert alongside flower-filled meadows and the wild Virgin River. Zion National Park is, without a doubt, the jewel in the crown of the Mighty Five of Utah, since inside it, you can practice canyoning, camping, and rock climbing.
2. Monument Valley
One of the most famous symbols and landmarks of the United States, the majestic Monument Valley, is known and recognized worldwide. Located on the Navajo Nation Reservation, its massive must-see monoliths are in the state’s southeast, straddling the Arizona border.
Rising dramatically from the dry, dusty desert, its impressive sandstone hills are simply breathtaking, with the highest towering 1,000 feet above the flat Colorado Plateau.
Driving through the “Valley Between the Rocks” is a truly breathtaking experience, as the striking landscape and impressive hills conjure up iconic images of the Old American West.
3. Arches National Park
The fantastic and unforgettable Arches National Park is outside Moab, home to some of the most spectacular scenery in Utah and the United States.
Within its captivating confines are the most natural arches on the planet, with more than 2,000 of these fantastic formations that visitors can traverse on foot, mountain bike, or climb.
Shaped over endless eons by erosion and the elements, its impressive set of arches has been protected and preserved as part of a park since 1929.
Among the most famous are the great Landscape Arch and the charming Double Arch, the delicate Arch the symbol of the state. In addition to all of this, the park also has some slender sandstone canyons and pretty picturesque petrified dunes to explore.
4. Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park is a popular location for its stunning views of Canyonlands National Park. From its steep lookout towering more than 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, visitors can gaze out at countless canyons stretching endlessly on the horizon.
While most people flock to this small state park for its unparalleled scenic views, it also boasts excellent hiking and biking trails, many of which run along its rugged edge. Located about a 45-minute drive from Moab, Dead Horse Point is well worth visiting for all its scenic splendor.
5. Ski in Park City
Park City, America’s biggest and best place to ski and snowboard, boasts not one, not two, but three world-class mountain resorts. Located east of Salt Lake City, it welcomes millions of visitors to its sparkling slopes each year.
Its magnificent mountains have many slopes for visitors to ski or snowboard. Park City Mountain alone boasts more than 330 tempting trails.
The Deer Valley and Canyons resorts also have fantastic facilities and extensive services, as well as a host of other winter sports for visitors to try. Park City, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, is the place to go if you want to enjoy the snow.
6. Duende Valley State Park
Formed over millions of years are the fantastic formations and surreal landscape of Goblin Valley State Park. This park is home to one of the largest concentrations of hoodoos on Earth, and their attractive features make for fabulous photos, as well as epic canyoning and camping within its confines.
Known locally as “goblins,” their massive hoodoos rise to three meters and are surrounded by the sheer, colorful cliffs of the vast valley.
In addition to these spellbinding sandstone structures, there are also many prehistoric pictograph and petroglyph panels to discover, created by various Native American cultures, including the Fremont, Paiute, and Ute.
7. Temple Square
Temple Square, home to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spans much of downtown Salt Lake City. Since its founding in 1853, the massive Mormon church complex has grown to become the most popular tourist destination in all of Utah.
Within its walls, visitors can find a fantastic temple and tabernacle, as well as plenty of beautiful monuments and a museum about the Mormons and their mission.
Also, there are a couple of historic buildings and libraries that you can visit with beautiful architecture. At its two visitor centers, visitors will find interesting and informative exhibits on the Mormon faith and free guided tours of the complex.
8. Sail home on Lake Powell
Straddling Utah and Arizona is Lake Powell, the massive artificial reservoir and premier vacation destination. Its deep blue waters stand out against the radiant red rocks and desolate desert surrounding it, and it is in the heart of the glorious Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Due to its magnificent scenery and more than 3,000 kilometers of serene, sun-kissed coastline, many people tour the great lake by boat to see as much as possible.
In addition to cruising around Powell on comfortable and cozy houseboats, visitors can enjoy a host of water sports, with kayaking, fishing, and water skiing being especially popular.
9. Snowbasin Ski Resort
Northeast of Salt Lake City is the gorgeous snowy slopes of Snowbasin, one of the oldest ski resorts in the entire United States. Since its opening in 1939, it has grown with more than 100 tracks and three land parks.
The resort has a vertical drop of 902 meters for skiers and snowboarders to descend, with its prominent peaks serviced by many chair lifts and gondolas.
Although most people visit during the winter, there are also great hiking and mountain biking trails to enjoy in the summer, with beautiful accommodation and cozy cabins to stay in at any time of year.
10. Antelope Island State Park
Protected and preserved as a state park since 1969, Antelope Island is the largest of the ten islands in the Great Salt Lake. Nestled in the south of its salty waters, it noticeably becomes a peninsula at low tide when its crusty causeway connects with the mainland.
Despite its name, it is best known for its massive herd of American bison that graze its magnificent grasslands. Many brilliant birds and bighorn sheep also reside on the island, and it is a great place to spot wildlife. In addition, visitors can enjoy wonderful white sand beaches overlooking the lake.
11. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is a fantastic place covering a vast area and exploring four significant sections. Shaped over the years by wind and rain, its magnificent plateaus and impressive array of arches are a must-see. The Herradura Canyon is one of its most famous tourist attractions.
While both the spires and mazes portions of the park have plenty of spectacular scenery that you can hike or mountain bike through, Island in the Sky boasts stunning views over the captivating canyons.
With a plethora of phenomenal pictographs and petroglyphs also found here and there, it’s no wonder Canyonlandia’s mesmerizing landscape is listed as one of Utah’s Mighty Five.
12. Capitol Reef National Park
Located in the south-central part of the state, in the colorful and captivating Canyon Country of Utah, are the enchanting landscapes of Capitol Reef National Park.
Home to plenty of beautiful hills and remarkable rock formations, it is a delight to explore with stunning scenery and views wherever you look.
Dominating and defining the park is the rugged ridge of Waterpocket Fold. Many cliffs and canyons flank it with arches, domes, and natural bridges that can also be seen here and there.
While its wild reaches beg to be explored, Capitol Reef features a historic Mormon settlement where you can learn all about how they, and the local Native Americans, managed to survive in the arid zone.
13. Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument is undoubtedly a spectacular sight home to plenty of eerie hoodoos and sandstone spires. It is an incredible natural amphitheater located near the western edge of the crumbling Colorado Plateau, just a 45-minute drive from Cedar City.
Founded in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the park protects a host of absolutely stunning scenery and landscapes. From the top of its craggy red rim, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views with myriad hues and mesmerizing sandstone carvings. As well as hiking its rugged reaches, there are also a couple of cozy campsites where visitors can stay.
14. Bryce Canyon National Park
One of the most popular and picturesque places in Utah, the beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park is tucked away in the state’s southwest.
It’s home to some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable, boasting plenty of epic eroded amphitheaters with countless crumbling canyons and stunning sandstone spires.
Founded in 1928 to protect and preserve the phenomenal peaks and pinnacles that fringe the precipitous Paunsaugunt Plateau, its enchanting landscapes are a delight to explore. Although the shapes and hues of its hoodoos are undoubtedly its main draw, the park is also home to a wealth of wildlife, including moose and black bears.
15. Moab Jeep Safari
Since it was launched in 1967, thousands upon thousands of daredevil drivers have come to Moab each Easter to participate in the Jeep Safari. For nine days, the most intrepid adventurers and adrenaline seekers explore the area through many tempting trails and rugged terrain in jeeps or 4X4.
As the routes often take you along steep ridges, over dizzying drop-offs, and lose debris, they are certainly challenging, with the toughest being Hell’s Revenge and Golden Spike.
With 40 trails to choose from of varying difficulty levels, the Moab Jeep Safari is a beautiful way to enjoy and experience Utah’s diverse, dramatic and enchanting landscapes.
16. Pink Coral Dunes State Park
A phenomenal place to visit, Pink Coral Dunes State Park is tucked away in southwestern Utah and boasts plenty of mesmerizing and magical sandscapes.
Formed over thousands of years from radiant red sandstone cliffs, its expansive sands have a lovely shade of pink, and many fantastic photos can be taken of the astounding sight.
Created in 1963 to protect the spectacular dunes and desert landscape, it offers a host of outdoor activities. In addition to enjoying its beauty and hiking through the quicksand, visitors can enjoy its picturesque quad bike trails.
17. Dinosaur National Monument
Located in a scenic, secluded, sun-kissed location, the enchanting Dinosaur National Monument straddles Utah and Colorado. It was created in 1915 to preserve all of its fascinating fossils, and it has plenty of colorful canyons to explore, with over 800 paleontological sites dotted here and there.
Although visitors can go hiking, camping, and even rafting in its secluded spots, the highlight is undoubtedly its captivating Quarry Hall.
Here, you will find many exciting and informative exhibits about the region’s history, nature, and dinosaurs. The “Wall of Bones” is a must-see for its hundreds and hundreds of fabulous fossils.
18. Hovenweep National Monument
Straddling Utah and Colorado is Hovenweep National Monument, home to the remarkable ruins of six unique ancient peoples. Built-in the 13th century, its beautiful old abandoned buildings make for a simply stunning sight amidst the arid and desolate reaches of the Colorado Plateau.
Although difficult to reach, the prehistoric villages are worth visiting for ruined castles and rickety towers. The landscape itself is just as alluring, as deep canyons run through its rugged and remote reaches with massive plateaus also dotted here and there.
19. Bonneville Salt Flats
The bleak and barren yet beautiful Bonneville Salt Flats stretch out in the distance. Nestled in northwestern Utah, its enchanting desert landscapes make for fabulous photos thanks to the shimmering salt surface of its shallow waters, magically reflecting the brilliant blue sky.
Due to their sheer size, scale and splendor, many movies have been shot on the salt flats, while their endless nothingness makes them perfect for exciting land speed events. Being the most significant landscape of its kind in the state, visiting the remains of what was a prehistoric lake is undoubtedly a unique and unforgettable experience.
20. Snow Canyon State Park
Located in the southwest of the state, in a very picturesque and secluded location, is the spectacular Snow Canyon, State Park. It is sure to delight nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike, with epic hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding to be enjoyed amongst its stunning landscapes.
Home to everything from dunes and slot canyons to cinder cones and lava tubes, its diverse landscapes have been protected as part of a state park since 1958.
Due to its picturesque character, it has been featured in numerous movies throughout the years. Of the years, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Bullet for a Badman.
21. Valley of the Gods
Since the Valley of the Gods is home to numerous rock formations and massive plateaus, it’s no wonder locals often call it “mini Monument Valley.” Its grand and magnificent landscapes are located in the southwest of the state, just outside the community of Mexican Hat.
Traveling the 27 kilometers of this vast dusty road is an impressive experience. Massive towers of sandstone and mighty mushroom-shaped rocks loom over you. An excellent way to enjoy the stunning scenery is to camp overnight and go hiking and mountain biking in its remote wilderness.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Utah
What is Utah best known for?
The state is known for its skiing, with the mountains near Salt Lake City collecting an average of 500 inches of snow per year, as well as for the Sundance Film Festival, one of the world’s premier independent film festivals, staged each January in Park City.
What is the best time to visit Utah?
Moderate crowds and temperatures in April–May and September–October make these months the best time to visit Utah and its national parks. Spring boasts active wildlife and blooming flowers. Pleasant fall wraps Utah in colourful foliage along with scenic drives.
Is Grand Canyon in Utah?
Where is Grand Canyon? Grand Canyon is in the northwest corner of Arizona, close to the borders of Utah and Nevada. The Colorado River, which flows through the canyon, drains water from seven states, but the feature we know as Grand Canyon is entirely in Arizona.
Is Utah near Vegas?
It’s just 123 miles (or 198 kilometres), from Las Vegas to St. George, Utah. It takes just about two hours to get to St. George from the centre of the Las Vegas Strip, assuming normal traffic conditions.
What is Northern Utah known for?
Northern Utah combines mountains, lakes and reservoirs, pioneer and Native American heritage with Utah’s biggest cities. There are mountainous parks and forests where you can ski, snowboard, hike, bike or camp.
Who is a famous person from Utah?
Utah is also the birthplace of NBA stars Tom Chambers (Ogden), alpine ski racer Ted Ligety (Salt Lake City), actors James Wood (Vernal) and Roseanne Barr (Salt Lake City) and singer Jewel (Payson). Business: World-renowned entrepreneur John Willard Marriott was born in 1900 in Marriott Settlement, Utah, near Ogden.
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