1. Buckskin Gulch
Utah has the largest concentration of slot canyons in the world. They’re formed when a crack forms in the rock, and rushing water wears away the sandstone. Buckskin Gulch, at 13 miles long, is the longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwest.
2. Fantasy Canyon
Located about 27 miles south of Vernal, Fantasy Canyon’s formations are unique. The area once sat on the eastern shores of ancient Lake Uinta, which gathered sediment of sandstone and shale along its banks. After the lake evaporated, wind and water eroded the shale, leaving the hardier sandstone. Eventually, erosion will weather away the bizarre and beautiful formations at Fantasy Canyon.
3. Delicate Arch
Natural Arches are formed by wind erosion. Arches National Park has over 2,000 natural arches. Delicate Arch is the most iconic, but they’re all an astonishing testament to the power of wind + time.
4. The Wave
The wave is technically right inside the Arizona border, but you have to reach it from Utah. The (very limited) hiking permits are managed by the Bureau of Land Management office in Kanab, so we claim it as our own. The ribbons of rock were formed by ancient sand dunes blowing across the desert, then hardening. Water played its part, too.
5. Owachomo Bridge
The Natural Arch and Bridge Society notes the main difference between natural arches and natural bridges: water. Natural bridges (which are a type of natural arch), such as Owachomo Bridge in Natural Bridges National Monument were formed by erosion caused by water. Owachomo continues to evolve - in June, 1992, a flash flood caused 4,000 tons to fall off the bridge, changing its appearance.
6. Formations at Timpanogos Cave
The stalactites, stalagmites, helicities and more found inside Timpanogos Cave are formed by water and mineral deposits. Pictured is The Great Heart of Timpanogos.
7. Church Rock
Church Rock stands all alone on the desert landscape along U.S. Route 191. It’s all that’s left of a bedrock that was otherwise completely eroded.
8. The Goblins of Goblin Valley
The squatty little formations at Goblin Valley are made of stronger sandstone that the rest of the rock and sand that eroded away over time from water and wind.
9. Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock was formed by a combination of wind, water and ice wedging. The upper part (the balanced rock), is made of rock that’s more resistant to erosion - the lower portion, is more easily eroded, leaving the larger “rock” at the top.
10. The Great Salt Lake
Our famous, salty lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western hemisphere. Its surface covers 1,700 square miles, but it’s also very shallow and is between 5 and 27 percent salt (for comparison, the oceans average 3 percent).
11. Hoodoos, Bryce Canyon
The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon were created by frost weathering due to the approx. 200 freeze/thaw cycles each year. Water seeps into cracks in the rock, then freezes, expanding as much as 10 percent and widening the crack. Acidic rainfall also contributes to the erosion. Repeat those cycles over 60 million years, and you get hoodoos.
12. Devil’s Slide
It sure looks like a slippery slide for a giant on the side of the mountain, but these 40-foot-tall twin rock formations in Weber Canyon are just that - innocent rock formations. The rock in between the two sides of the slide eroded.
13. Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats are leftovers of the ancient lake Bonneville. The flats consist of densely-packed salt and are now famous for land-racing speed records.