With its range of cultural, natural, and historical sites, Utah has something for everyone. Here are ten famous monuments, events, and breathtaking locations that are too good to miss.
Zion National Park has many scenic hikes for explorers of all skill levels. However, few are as breathtaking as the Narrows. The 16-mile hike was created as the Virgin River cut through rock. Hikers follow the river past natural springs, hanging gardens, and grottos.
The river gorge descends 2,000 feet and at times is only 30 feet wide. Because most of the hike requires wading, or even swimming, the Narrows may be too strenuous for inexperienced hikers. However, hikers have several opportunities to exit the river when the trail levels, allowing you to tailor this gorgeous hike to your abilities.
Temple Square is the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. The area boasts beautiful architecture as well as the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Temple Square incorporates lush gardens and magnificent water features which can be viewed from the spring through the fall.
During the winter, Temple Square is decked out in lights and decorations. Visitors of all faiths are invited to enjoy the elaborate lights, life-size nativity set, and plentiful holiday spirit during November and December.
One Utah’s most iconic destinations, Arches National Park features a host of stunning natural formations. Perhaps the most famous is Double Arch (pictured above). The striking monument can be seen at the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. But you needn’t re-watch the movie to see it. There are no fences around the arches, so visitors can enjoy Double Arch up close.
In 2002, Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympic Games. Now your family can use the beautiful courses, slopes, and rinks created for world-class athletes. The most accessible of these is the Olympic Oval. Public ice skating is allowed at the Oval for most of the year. Don’t have skates? Don’t worry. Skate rentals (and ice skating lessons) are available at the rink.
Park City is a tourist hot spot, with good reason. The city has ski resorts, hosts the Sundance Film Festival, and is the location of the largest group of outlet stores in Northern Utah. The area is generally 20˚ cooler than Salt Lake City, making it a great getaway from the summer heat and a perfect winter vacation spot for winter sport enthusiasts.
Y Mountain is located near Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo. The hillside “Y” is over a hundred years old. At 380 x 130 feet, the letter is even bigger than those in the “Hollywood” sign. Visitors can access the Y via a short trail.
Cedar City hosts numerous cultural events, including the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Though Shakespearean theater is the cornerstone of this event, the Tony-award-winning Company produces a range of plays and interactive events, sure to delight the entire family.
Typically, the summer and fall season includes four Shakespearean plays (two comedies and two tragedies or histories) and four contemporary plays (including a musical production). The Festival also incorporates playwriting and acting workshops, period dress and activities, and educational programs.
Dinosaur National Monument is at the border of Utah and Colorado, on the southeastern flank of the Uinta Mountains. The Monument represents a unique ecological phenomenon created when the nearby rivers deposited a large amount of fossils and other prehistoric artifacts. Visitors can view hundreds of fossils in The Quarry or take to the rivers for thrilling whitewater adventures.
The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is held annually in Orem, Utah. In 2014, the Festival—which is the largest of its kind in the western United States—celebrates its 25th anniversary. The Festival is a two-day experience of fiction, comedy, and art.
The Festival’s noteworthy performers include:
Temple Square and the Olympic Oval aren’t the only irresistible attractions in Salt Lake City. Visitors can also make a trip to the Hogle Zoo. With over 800 animals and 249 species, the Hogle Zoo presents a diverse, exotic experience your whole family will enjoy.
These ten sights are just the tip of the iceberg. Talk to your new neighbors and coworkers about their favorite Utah destinations to begin making the most of your new home in the Beehive State.