Utah is a wonderful place to live, work and play, and one of its best attributes is its stunning natural scenery. From the grandeur of our majestic mountains to the vast beauty of our soaring red-rock cliffs and arches, the Beehive State offers some of the most compelling outdoor places in the country. Here are 13 of our favorites.
1. Brighton Lakes
High above Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon, four little lake sit like jewels in the Wasatch Mountains. Take the trail right from the bottom of the ski lift, and visit Dog Lake, and Lakes Martha, Mary, and Catherine. These alpine lakes sit at elevations of from 9,375 feet to 9,960 feet.
2. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
The Toadstools are just one feature of many in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This 1,003,863-acre protected area includes the Paria River, Coyote Gulch, and the Canyons of the Escalante.
3. The Alpine Loop
The Alpine Loop is without a doubt one of the most spectacular scenic drives in the state. Winding from American Fork Canyon, up past Timpanogos Cave, Sundance Resort and Vivian Park, this road offers incredible vistas and, in the fall, vibrant autumn leaves.
4. Bryce Canyon National Park
It's almost impossible to comprehend the thousands of years it took for erosion to weather away the magnificent hoodoos at Bryce Canyon. This is one of the best spots in the state to photograph a sunrise or sunset.
5. Ogden Valley
Nestled high above Ogden and Weber Canyons, the Ogden Valley is a gorgeous mix of agricultural simplicity and alpine mountain magic. For a fun summer adventure, head to Snow Basin resort and catch a free weekly concert. You'll also find recreation opportunities at Pineview Reservoir, a favorite of fishermen and boaters.
6. Canyonlands National Park
Here's another contender for "Best Sunrise Photo Spot." Mesa Arch, in Canyonlands National Park, is not only a pretty arch - it's perched high on a cliff, 1,200 feet above the canyon floor below. Photographers wait at the arch for an hour before sunrise just to capture this view.
7. Bear Lake
This stunning lake overlaps the Utah/Idaho border, but we're so thrilled about this place that we're happy to share. Its nickname is "Caribbean of the Rockies," and you'll get it once you see the azure blue waters of this gem.
8. Zion National Park
Zion National Park is Utah's busiest national park, and it's clear to see why. With its soaring cliffs, rugged valleys and nonstop views of it all, Zion will charm and delight you to no end.
9. Lake Powell
Situated on the Utah/Arizona border, Lake Powell is one of the most interesting places to explore in the state. Rent a houseboat and cruise this immense reservoir, which has a huge complex of canyons.
10. Upper Provo Falls
You'll find Upper Provo Falls about 14 miles from Kamas, along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. These gorgeous falls cascade down several tiers, and can be particularly impressive during spring runoff. The falls are right off the highway, and there's a small parking lot so you don't even have to hike to see it.
11. Dead Horse Point
The vista from the Dead Horse Point lookout is just incredible. Dead Horse State Park is located near Moab.
12. Bonneville Salt Flats
The salt flats are best known as a great location for land speed records, but they're also very scenic. Vast and barren, the flats have an other-worldly feel to them, and they're hauntingly beautiful.
13. Goblin Valley
You'll feel as though you're on another planet when you visit Goblin Valley. In fact, the state park has appeared in several sci-fi movies over the years.