Utah is one of the best states for outdoor activities. It has great ski towns, amazing national and state parks, and natural wonders you won’t find anywhere else in the world. One of the best ways to see the sights in Utah is to take a car trip. There are beautiful drives all over the state.
Go to Salt Lake City if you want to see things of cultural interest or ski close by. Moab and St. George are great places to go for outdoor activities like climbing, mountain biking, camping, riding ATV motorcycles, and other off-road activities. In Utah, there are even lakes where you can relax on a beach or take a boat ride.
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Utah
Keep in mind that Utah’s elevation changes a lot, so it could be hot and sunny in some places and freezing in others. Some parks aren’t as easy to get to in the winter, and some towns almost close down, but most of the best places to go are open all year. See our list of the best places to visit in Utah for more ideas.
1. The Park of Zion
Less than three hours by car from Las Vegas, Zion National Park has some of Utah’s most beautiful views. Some of the best things to see are the red rock walls, waterfalls, and beautiful views.
Along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which goes along the valley floor, you can find many of the park’s most amazing sights in Zion Canyon. From spring to fall, a tourist bus takes people on this path through the park, stopping at all the major sites and trailheads. This makes it easy to get around the park. You can drive your own car on this path in the winter.
The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway goes through the park from east to west and is another must-do drive. This self-driving path takes you high above the valley, and from the lookouts, you can see amazing things.
2. The National Park of Arches
This is one of the most beautiful parks in Utah. It has beautiful stone bridges and rolling petrified dunes. The La Sal Mountains, which are often covered in snow, are in the background. There are more than 2,000 stone arches in Arches National Park. The most photographed and well-known of these is the Delicate Arch, which looks like a horseshoe sticking out of the ground and frames the mountains in the distance.
There are many trails and hikes that lead to the most famous arches and other interesting rock formations. But many of the park’s key attractions can be seen right from the scenic drives and are easy to get to from the parking areas.
3. Memorial Valley
Red rock buttes rise up from the orange desert floor, making it look like a scene from an old Western movie. Every so often, a horse and rider pass by. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is on the Navajo Indian Reservation, which is on the line between Utah and Arizona.
This beautiful area is known for its red mesas and stone pinnacles, which have been used in a lot of movies and ads. Valley Drive is a 17-mile dirt road that runs through the park. It can only be driven in one direction, and it goes between the buttes and through dramatic scenery. There are pullouts all along the road that are great for taking pictures and taking in the scenery.
4. National Park of Canyonlands
Canyonlands National Park in Utah is like the Grand Canyon, but there aren’t as many people there. There are three parts to the park, but Island in the Sky is the most popular and draws the most visitors. This place has some of the most beautiful views of carved canyons and snow-capped mountains. It is impressive in its own way, but not as much as the Grand Canyon. Also, there aren’t as many people there.
Mesa Arch is one of the best things to see in Island in the Sky. This beautiful stone arch is especially beautiful in the early morning or late afternoon when it frames a view of the valleys, buttes, and broken land below. In this area, the White Rim Road is also worth mentioning.
5. The Park of Bryce Canyon
The brightly colored and closely packed hoodoos in Bryce Canyon are what makes this national park stand out from the other beautiful places in Utah. Stone pillars that glow orange, pink, cream, and cinnamon rise up from the floor of a huge natural amphitheater, making a magical landscape that almost begs to be explored.
Bryce Canyon National Park is between 8,000 and over 9,000 feet above sea level, so it gets snow in the winter and early spring. Even in the summer, it can be cool to very cold up here. April to October is the best time to go, especially if you want to stay at one of the camps in the area.
6. Temple in Salt Lake City
People often think of skiing and winter events when they think of Salt Lake City, and many of the best ski resorts in the state are less than an hour’s drive away. But this is a city that is worth going to any time of year because it has so many things to see and do.
The Temple, built in the late 1800s, is the biggest Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building and one of Salt Lake City’s most important landmarks. It stands on Temple Square. Church members are the only ones who can go inside the temple, but it’s worth stopping by to take a look. The Salt Lake Tabernacle is another place worth seeing in the area.
7. Ski Resorts in Utah
If you ski and haven’t been to Utah yet, you should go. Colorado and California usually get all the attention, but Utah has some great ski areas.
Utah gets a lot of snow every year, which is surprising, and the snow that does fall is light and fluffy, which makes powder days even better. Utah is home to the biggest ski area in the United States.
Many of the best resorts are within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake City. Snowbird and Alta are in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude and Brighton are in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and Deer Valley and Park City Resort are up by the town of Park City. Snowbird, Alta, Snowbasin, Sundance, and Powder Mountain are some of Utah’s other popular ski areas.
8. Park City
Park City is a fun mountain town about 45 minutes southeast of Salt Lake City. It’s home to some of Utah’s best ski areas. Park City is a real historical town, not just a place that was made for skiers. So, you’ll find a real main street with buildings from the town’s mine days that are now restaurants and shops.
The Sundance Film Festival, which happens every year in late January, is one of the most well-known events in Park City. At this time, the town is full of creative energy, and it’s not unusual to see famous people around.
The lifts for Park City Mountain Resort start right in town, and Deer Valley Resort, one of Utah’s most expensive ski slopes, is just down the road. Both of these have great terrain for skiers of all types.
Moab is one of the best places in the Southwest to go outside and do things. As the town closest to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park, this area is a great place to hike, bike, raft, go off-roading, and do many other fun things. The rolling petrified dunes and mountains around them make for beautiful views and a lot of fun outdoor activities.
In the spring and fall, there are a lot of mountain bikers here because the ride is so good. Even though the town is known by mountain bikers as the home of the famous and difficult Slickrock Trail, it has tracks for bikers of all skill levels.
When it comes to climbing, the trails in the nearby parks, like Utah’s famous Delicate Arch, offer beautiful views. There are also some great camping spots near Moab.10.
10. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a big, rough place with canyons, arches, hills, waterfalls, forests, and scrubland. It gives you a feeling of being far away, which is hard to find in other places.
Part of the experience is driving on dirt roads where you might not see another car for a long time. This is the biggest national monument in the United States. It is made up of 1.9 million acres and is run by the Bureau of Land Management instead of the National Park Service.
Most of Utah’s best places to visit are more focused on sightseeing and the outdoors than on music or activities in cities. But there are so many unique places in Utah, like cities, small towns, and natural wonders, that you’re sure to find a place for you no matter how you like to travel.