Scenic glories and marvelous memories in incredible Utah
There’s little doubt that Utah is one of the most intriguing portions of the USA.
Here is a destination of wide horizons and endless possibilities of adventure – a place that ranks as the 13th largest state in the USA, yet only the 33rd most populated. It is a huge wonderland geared for adventure, full of open spaces and dramatic vistas. It is a playground where you can speed downhill at some of the world's top ski resorts, and explore national parks of incredible wild beauty – a masterpiece that has been sculpted by wind, water and time.
Utah is, perhaps, best known for The Mighty 5® national parks in the cluster of protected areas in the south and southeast of the state.
Here is a banquet of scenery sure to enchant any camera. Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, is a kindred spirit of the Grand Canyon, where the Colorado and Green rivers have worked their magic on an arid landscape, creating gulches, ravines, mesas and buttes. Immediately northeast, Arches National Park is aptly named, home to around 2,000 sandstone arches, including the astonishing Delicate Arch – which looks so fragile that you almost dare not breathe on it. Capitol Reef National Park, a little farther south, continues the trend in the incomparable Waterpocket Fold, an incision in the earth stretching for more than 160 kilometers. Bryce Canyon National Park, meanwhile, is home to natural amphitheaters where thousands of rock spires known as “hoodoos” jab at the air.
Last in The Mighty 5®, but certainly not least, is Zion National Park, which shelters the canyon of the same name – a 24-kilometer chasm where the Virgin River chewed through soft sandstone, its walls bathed orange every time the sun sets. Add in the state’s craggy formations of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the famous monoliths of Monument Valley – the film backdrop of many movies – and the result is numerous reasons for an unforgettable road trip.
All of these locations and Utah’s ski zones are accessible for visitors. There are 15 major resorts within easy reach of the capital Salt Lake City. These are snow-spots laid out on the flanks of the Wasatch Mountains with the Greatest Snow on Earth ® – enclaves such as Park City, Sundance, Powder Mountain, Beaver Mountain and Snowbird. Many of them are within just an hour from the airport, meaning visitors can go straight from the runway and onto the ski run with scarcely a pause.
Of course, there is more to Utah than scenery. Urban life comes to the fore in Salt Lake City with the cultural Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and, for fashionistas, the boutiques of City Creek Center and Trolley Square beckon.
If Utah has an air of mystery on arrival, it is usually a firm friend with many memories enjoyed together on departure.