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Delicate Arch National park in Utah

Things to do in  Utah

Rugged wilderness awaits

Utah is known for its natural beauty and ample opportunities for outdoor adventure. The state is home to some of the most magnificent national parks in the country, and millions of visitors every year descend on the state to hike, climb, and just take in the glorious views. If you’re not outdoorsy, not to worry: There’s still plenty to do in Utah, from listening to the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performances to learning about our planet’s past and present at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Top 15 attractions in Utah

The Narrows

One of Zion National Park’s most famous hikes, The Narrows are the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, with sandstone walls reaching 1,000 feet (305 meters) high and sometimes 20 feet (6 meters) across. The Virgin River flows underfoot for most of this adventurous trek—be prepared to get wet.More

Hell's Revenge Trail

Experience one of nature’s roller coaster rides, Hell’s Revenge Trail. Set in a desert canyon outside of Moab, the off-roading track crawls over slick rocks, along cliff faces, and up and down near-vertical terrain. Between rock-crawling adventures, stop to take in views stretching from Arches National Park to La Sal Mountains.More

Emerald Pools

At the aptly named Emerald Pools, a verdant stream connects a series of three fresh water pools—a picturesque contrast to the earthy red cliffs that dominate Zion National Park. Three hiking trails access the pools, ranging from a short paved route to a more strenuous loop. Flowing waterfalls and crystal-clear pools make this a must-visit spot.More

Arches National Park

The eroded red rock wonderland of Arches National Park houses more than 2,000 natural stone arches, the densest concentration in the world. Geological marvels abound—here you’ll find hundreds of soaring pinnacles, the iconic Delicate Arch, and Landscape Arch, the largest natural arch in the world at 290 feet (88 meters) across.More

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is the main artery through Zion National Park. Winding along the Virgin River, the two-lane road is lined with vista points, river access spots, trailheads, and photo opportunities. The route is so popular that, during the busy season, it is only accessible by a park shuttle.More

Temple Square

When Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Brigham Young, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), proclaimed, “Here we will build a temple to our God.” That place eventually became known as Temple Square, the centerpiece of which is the Salt Lake Temple—the largest Mormon temple in the world.More

Colorado River

The Colorado River is a spectacular sight to see, meandering for 1,447 miles (2,330 kilometers) with red rocks and canyons framing it on both sides, leading up to the Hoover Dam. The Colorado River is one of the major water sources for California and Nevada, and, not surprisingly, it's a major recreational destination—activities on the river include hiking, biking, rafting, and boating.More

Great Salt Lake

Utah’s Great Salt Lake, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and the largest natural lake in North America west of the Mississippi, is the setting for some of the state’s best outdoor recreational opportunities; sailors and kayakers ply the waters, while sunbathers bask on sandy beaches and swimmers float in the high-saline waters.More

Utah State Capitol

The neoclassical Utah State Capitol Building opened in 1916 and is home to the offices and chambers of the state Legislature, governor, and other government officials. The building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and features artwork, historical items, and monuments both inside and around the grounds.More

Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel

Upon completion in 1930, the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel was the longest tunnel in the rural US. The 1.1-mile (1.8-kilometer) tunnel serves as the unofficial entrance to the east side of Zion National Park, allowing easy passage between Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the north rim of the Grand Canyon along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway—a national historic landmark.More

Utah Olympic Park

Built for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Utah Olympic Park was the site of the bobsled, skeleton, luge, ski jumping, and Nordic combined events. The park, located just outside downtown Park City, now serves as a training center for Olympic hopefuls and is a top tourist attraction for visitors and locals interested in Olympic history.More

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is a reservoir—the second-largest man-made reservoir in the United States, actually—in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the border of Arizona and Utah. Known for its many sandy beaches, sparkling blue water, and red-rock landscapes, this fun vacation spot is one of Arizona’s top attractions. Some of the lake’s famous features include the Glen Canyon Dam (located in Arizona) and the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the world’s longest natural bridges (located in Utah).More

Dead Horse Point State Park

The swooping view of the Colorado River from Dead Horse Point is iconic, but there’s much more to this desert park than a single overlook. A network of trails here ranges from intermediate mountain biking to wheelchair-accessible pavement, with scenic overlooks, shade shelters, and interpretive signs throughout.More

Canyonlands National Park

Set in the high desert of the American Southwest, Canyonlands National Park comprises 337,598 acres (136,621 hectares) of rugged landscape divided into four distinct districts by the Green and Colorado rivers. Deep craters, towering rock spires, white cliffs, and majestic buttes dominate the landscape of Utah’s largest national park.More

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail

Walk past the fossilized remains of dinosaurs at this short path west of Arches National Park, where you’ll find evidence of allosaurus, stegosaurus, camarasaurus, and camptosaurus. Trail-side signs here describe the dinosaurs that once roamed this region, and how their bones and footprints came to be frozen into the Utah sandstone.More

Top activities in Utah

Ruby's Horseback Adventures Utah 1.5 Hour Ride
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Hell's Revenge 4x4 Off-Roading Tour from Moab
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Arches National Park 4x4 Adventure from Moab
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Monument Valley Tour
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Monument Valley Tour

Canyonlands National Park Half-Day Tour from Moab
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Award Winning UTV Slot Canyon Tour

Award Winning UTV Slot Canyon Tour

Scenic Tour of Bryce Canyon

Scenic Tour of Bryce Canyon

Monument Valley 4x4 Tour
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Monument Valley 4x4 Tour

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Moab Combo: Colorado River Rafting and Canyonlands 4X4 Tour
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Whitewater Rafting in Moab

Whitewater Rafting in Moab

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All about Utah

When to visit

The best time to visit most of Utah is during the spring or autumn, when temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold and the national parks aren’t crowded with summer vacationers. If you’re coming to skiing hot spots such as Park City, you’ll find the best powder during the winter. Movie fans may want to consider a January visit, when the annual Sundance Film Festival takes place in Salt Lake City, Park City, and at the Sundance Resort near Provo.

Getting around

Like much of the United States, Utah is very much a driving destination. Unless you plan to limit your visit to Salt Lake City, you’ll need a car to get around, especially if you want to visit natural areas and parks. If you aren’t fond of driving but want to see the parks, you can take a multi-day tour of the state or fly into Moab and take taxis to nearby parks.

Traveler tips

Just off Scenic Byway 12, between Capitol Reed and Bryce, Kiva Koffeehouse serves up baked goods and hearty lunchtime treats in a sepia-hued structure that camouflages beautifully with the surrounding rocky landscapes. Fill up on freshly steamed tamales or treat yourself to a delectable eclair filled with rich chocolate ganache. You can even stay the night at the on-site Kiva Kottage, which offers simple but chic rooms with views out over the colorful surrounding landscape.

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People Also Ask

What is the number one attraction in Utah?

Zion National Park is the state’s most-visited national park, though Salt Lake City does get more visitors overall (including business travelers and tourists). Popular attractions within Zion include Angels Landing and the Narrows, while Salt Lake City highlights include Temple Square and the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

How can I have fun in Utah?

A great way to have fun in Utah is by taking advantage of its seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Fun things to do in Utah include hiking, rock climbing, and paddleboarding in state and national parks, photographing rock formations and slot canyons, and hitting the ski slopes in Park City.

What are three cultural attractions in Utah?

Cultural attractions in Utah that you won’t want to miss are the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), which houses over 20,000 works of art; the Latter-day Saints Family History Library (an excellent place for genealogical research), and Temple Square. All three are located in Salt Lake City.

What is Utah popular for?

Utah is popular for its landscapes and outdoor activities. The state’s five national parks are among its biggest draws, and many people come to hike in Zion National Park or check out the rock formations in Bryce Canyon National Park and Arches National Park near Moab.

Is Utah expensive?

Yes, much of Utah is moderately expensive for tourists, especially near the national parks. Gas prices tend to be on the high side, and dining options near national parks aren’t generally cheap. Accommodations near the parks are also expensive, but there are lots of affordable options in Salt Lake City.

What is the prettiest place in Utah?

Determining the prettiest place in Utah is subjective, but many people would argue that Zion National Park offers some of the best scenery. If rock formations are more your thing, you’ll find them in great numbers at Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Goblin Valley State Park.


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