Utah’s diverse beauty never fails to amaze and delight us. From its stunning red rock cliffs in the south, to its alpine forests and lakes in the north, there are plenty of places where we can surround ourselves with nature’s majesty. We can’t visit as often as we’d like, but these 13 staggeringly beautiful places will always be waiting for us.
1. Arches National Park
Arches National Park is home to our iconic Delicate Arch, but it's just one of more than 2,000 arches there. Don't miss massive Landscape Arch, and take a hike to see Corona, Double, and Double O arches. Balanced Rock is a must, too!
2. Bear Lake
The Caribbean of the Rockies gets its gorgeous azure color from limestone deposits in the water, and it's truly a gem. Splash and play in the lake, bask on the beach, or drop a line in to catch a trout, and don't forget to grab a famous raspberry shake before heading home.
3. Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons
Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons provide ready recreation just minutes from Salt Lake City. Hike to Brighton Lakes in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and visit Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood for some excellent mountain biking in the summer.
4. Bonneville Salt Flats
World speed records have been broken at Bonneville Salt Flats, but you don't need a speedster to visit. This salty landscape covers 30,000 acres, and as you stroll across the barren landscape, you'll feel as though you're on another planet.
5. Bryce Canyon National Park
The hoodoos that populate the amphitheater at Bryce Canyon National Park are otherworldly. These magnificent, reddish-orange towers eroded over millions of years, and you won't find a higher concentration of them anywhere else in the world.
6. Buckskin Gulch
Buckskin Gulch is 13 miles long, and is the longest and deepest slot canyon in the country. You'll need a permit to hike it, but with a little patience and luck, you'll soon be navigating this unique wonder. Just make sure to check the weather before heading out - flash floods are deadly here.
7. Canyonlands National Park
Photographers wake up early to capture stunning photos at Mesa Arch, and it's just a small sampling of the natural wonders at Canyonlands National Park. There are four districts to visit - Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and The Rivers.
8. Capitol Reef National Park
Whether you feel like taking a scenic drive, or hiking to one of its many natural wonders, Capitol Reef will give you a taste of Utah's wild beauty, along with a good dose of history. Visit the orchards in the Fruita Historic District, wonder at the Waterpocket Fold, and hike to one of several natural bridges and arches, such as Hickman Bridge, shown here.
9. Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is the largest salt lake in the Western hemisphere. It covers 1,700 square miles, but it's only an average of 16 feet deep. Yes, you'll float easily in it, due to its high salt content, but that's not its only draw. Check out Spiral Jetty, an outdoor work of art created by artist Robert Smithson in 1970. You'll find it on the lake's northern shore.
10. Lake Powell
Around two million people visit Lake Powell every year, and you just might fall in love when you see it for the first time. The lake was created when the Glen Canyon Dam was built in 1963, and it offers 1,900 miles of shoreline with its many coves and side canyons. To get maximum enjoyment of the lake's recreation opportunities, rent a houseboat and explore to your heart's content.
11. Mirror Lake Scenic Byway
The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway starts in Kamas, then winds its way through Utah's High Uinta Wilderness, and up and over Bald Mountain Pass. Make a stop at Provo River Falls, drop a line at Trial Lake to see if you can catch a rainbow trout, and camp overnight at iconic Mirror Lake.
12. Mount Timpanogos
Bring out your inner mountain goat by hiking Mount Timpanogos. It's a grueling hike that takes most adventurers around five hours, but you'll witness wonderful wildflowers, see a real mountain goat or two, and reach the second-highest summit in the Wasatch Mountains at the top - 11,749 feet.
13. Zion National Park
Utah's most popular national park, Zion welcomes around 4.3 million visitors every year. Don't let the crowds chase you away; you'll want to explore this 146,597-acre park by hiking many of its trails. Take the popular River Walk Trail, where you can splash up the Narrows in the Virgin River, or brave the climb to Angel's Landing for an eagle's-eye view of the canyon.
What places are you looking forward to visiting soon? Let us know in the comments!