Utah is just brimming with remote spots that are both scenic and full of recreation opportunities. In fact, many of our best attractions are far off the beaten path. These 12 spots require some driving, but you’ll be well-rewarded when you get there.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Deseret Peak, Tooele County
Many of Utah's peaks tower right above us. Deseret Peak, in the Stansbury Mountain Range, is an exception. It's located in the West desert area, near Grantsville. Take the 6.7 mile round-trip hike to the peak, which is Utah's fourth highest. The hike is difficult, but is much less crowded than Utah's other popular hiking destinations, and the view is breathtaking.
2. Hardware Ranch, Hyrum
The Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area feeds 500-600 elk every winter. Visit the ranch and take a sleigh ride to see the elk up close! MM 22 SR-101, Blacksmith Fork Canyon in Hyrum.
3. Veyo Pies, Veyo
This little pie shop is located about 20 miles north of St. George in the tiny town of Veyo. People come from all over the state for these pies. If you want one of these beauties on your Thanksgiving Table, you'd better place your order soon. Call (435) 574-2132 to place an order. 24 S. Main Street, Veyo.
4. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Brigham City
If you don't live in the northern part of the state, this refuge is pretty far away, but once you get to Brigham City, it's just 1/4 mile from the freeway. To find it, take exit 363 off I-15. Drive the 12-mile loop to take the auto tour of this gorgeous refuge, which is home to 250 species of birds. 2155 W Forest Street,
5. House on Fire, Four Corners Area
While San Juan County is a remote, lightly-populated area of Utah, it was once home to many ancestral Puebloan people. Cliff dwellings in the area provide clues to how these people lived (between 700 - 1300 CE). You'll find the House On Fire, so named because of it's unique sandstone striations, along SR-95, about 14 miles south of Blanding.
6. Nancy Holt Sun Tunnels
If you're willing to take a long road trip, you'll be rewarded with the Nancy Holt Sun Tunnels - four massive, concrete tunnels on the salt flats. The tunnels each have holes drilled in them and are lined up to interact in interesting ways with the rays of sun from above. Ideally, you'll time your visit to coincide with the winter or summer solstice, when two of the tubes align perfectly with the rising and setting sun. They're located 45 miles from Wendover. From I-80, take Exit 4 (Bonneville Speedway exit), then follow the TL Bar Ranch Road. Make sure you have a full tank of gas - this is remote.
7. Metaphor: The Tree of Utah
On your way to see the Nancy Holt Sun Tunnels, you'll pass by another art installation. Metaphor: The Tree of Utah was built in 1986 by artist Karl Momen. It stands 87 feet tall, in the middle of the flat expanse of the Bonneville Salt Flats, about 25 miles east of Wendover. Stop and take a look at this interesting sculpture!
8. Hell's Backbone Road
This 32-mile long loop takes you from Escalante to Boulder and offers views of some of south-central Utah's most stunning scenery. If you're looking for an interesting scenic drive that takes you off the beaten path, Hell's Backbone is perfect.
9. Hell's Backbone Grill, Boulder
If you're taking Hell's Backbone from Escalante to Boulder, a stop at Hell's Backbone Grill is a must. You might not expect to find a restaurant of this caliber in such a remote spot, but the food is sublime. The restaurant focuses on fresh, local ingredients and careful presentation. 20 N. Highway 12, Boulder.
10. Spiral Jetty
Photos can't do the jetty justice - you have to see this magnificent work of art in person. Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty is very accessible lately because of the low level of the Great Salt Lake, but it is rather remote. You'll travel 45 miles from Brigham City; the last 15 miles, you'll traverse a dirt road. Visit the Spiral Jetty
for driving directions. Bring plenty of water and some snacks, and gas up the car before undertaking this journey.
11. Golden Spike National Historic Site
Every Utah school child knows about the joining of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869. Visit the historic site to see replica steam locomotives and take a hike along the rails. It makes sense to combine this attraction with Spiral Jetty, since both are in the same general area. To get to the Golden Spike National Historic Site, take UT Highway 83 near Brigham City and drive 32 miles.
12. The Subway, Zion National Park
Most people who visit Zion National Park never see The Subway. It's in a remote part of the park, and requires a special permit for day use. Whether you approach from above or below, it's about nine miles of strenuous hiking, navigation and swimming. The Subway is not for everyone, but if you have the skill to traverse it, you'll be surrounded by some of Zion's most incredible natural wonders.