1. Henry Mountains
The Henry Mountains are rugged and remote, stretching about 30 miles long. You’ll find plenty of wildlife, including antelope, mule deer and bison. You might even spot a mountain lion here.
2. Dinosaur National Monument
Most Utahns know it as the place to go to see dino bones at the quarry, but adventurers know that it offers much more. Visit that quarry, but then venture farther afield. Raft the whitewater of the Green or Yampa Rivers, or hike into Rainbow Park and and Island Park for some solitude.
3. Nine Mile Canyon
Take a 50-mile drive through Nine Mile Canyon, stopping along the way to explore. It’s full of ancient dwellings, pictographs and ruins.
4. Cedar Mesa
Cedar Mesa is an amazing place to see native dwellings in a fairly remote setting. You’ll need a permit or day pass from the Bureau of Land Management to visit—stop by the Kane Gulch Ranger Station or pay at one of the self-pay fee tubes.
5. Pony Express Trail National Backcountry Byway
The Pony Express Trail National Backcountry Byway starts in Fairfield and ends in Ibapah. Visit the Stagecoach Inn State Park, then drive along the trail for 133 miles, visiting several Pony Express stops along the way.
6. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Many visitors, in a hurry to get to Bryce or Zion, bypass Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, but it’s so large that you could fit the state of Delaware inside it, so there’s plenty to see here. The Kaiparowits Plateau is the most remote part of the area; or visit the canyons, including Coyote Gulch, pictured here.
7. Manti-La Sal National Forest
Whitewater rafting, cliff dwellings, bird watching (tons of hawks and eagles from the Skyline Drive scenic byway). If you want to explore via motorized vehicle, check out the Arapeen OHV Trail System.
8. The Narrows, Zion National Park
Zion is our most visited national park, but not many visit the upper portion of The Narrows, which requires a permit. You’ll start at Chamberlain’s Ranch (outside the park), then hike down for sixteen miles. The entire hike will take you somewhere around twelve hours; this isn’t a beginner’s kind of adventure.
9. The Subway, Zion National Park
The Subway is another Zion adventure that requires a permit. It also requires advanced route finding skills, the ability to scramble over boulders, rappel and swim. If you’re looking for hard-core adventure, The Subway is it.
10. Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area
Full of wildlife and tons of color—both in the rock formations and the flora. Though it’s a slightly more popular spot than some of the others listed here, it covers 112,000 acres, so you should be able to find some solitude if you try. Venture just a few miles into Arizona to visit The Wave.
11. Uinta Mountain Range
Most visitors to the Uintas drive the scenic Mirror Lake Byway, visit a lake or two, then head home. Not you—you’re going backcountry. The Uinta range is the highest in Utah, with a peak elevation (at King’s Peak) of 13,528 feet. You can hike to King’s Peak, or visit one of the more remote basins. There’s over 1,000 lakes in this range of over 460,000 acres. If you want to find yourself truly alone in Utah, this is the place to do it.
12. San Rafael Swell
The San Rafael Swell is an oft-overlooked area of Utah, which means more solitude for you. Several parts of the area are quite remote and require 4-wheel-drive to access, so be prepared. If you’re set to go, expect to see some amazing sights, including slot canyons, rock formations and even wild horses.