The natural beauty and dramatic landscapes of Utah have to be seen to be believed. No other state has such a concentration of incredible national parks, wilderness areas and geological wonders. With everything confined to a relatively compact area, Utah is the perfect place for both a truly adventurous holiday as well as a more sedate road trip.
If you thought geology was boring at school a holiday to Utah will soon change your mind. Most of the southern half of the state sits on the Colorado Plateau. Once a huge inland sea, the sediment left behind was shaped into magical sandstone and limestone formations. Then when the earth rose and the plateau was lifted 10,000 feet above sea level, rivers cut mighty canyons through the soft rock. Further north, dramatic shifts in the earth’s crust formed the Wasatch Mountains that rise precipitously behind Salt Lake City and whose powdery snow makes for some of America’s best skiing.
Utah’s five national parks in the south each have something different to offer: Zion with its picture perfect canyon, Bryce’s otherworldly hoodoos and epic views across the plateau, lesser-visited Capitol Reef has dramatic red rock canyons, pretty orchards and early Mormon settlements, while vast Canyonlands offers even the most intrepid adventurer a lifetime of exploration, and nearby Arches boasts a concentration of rock arches like nowhere else in the world.
The ways to enjoy these incredible places are almost endless and Utah has some of the best hiking, mountain biking and rafting in the country. Whether it’s a short stroll to a hidden overlook or a multi-day guided expedition into one of America’s great wilderness areas, a holiday to Utah has something for everyone.
Utah also has an interesting history and it is easy to see why Brigham Young and his Mormon followers settled here in the 1840s on their journey west. As a visitor, idyllic farms and rural villages with tall white church spires are the most visible markers of Utah’s Mormon population. Before white settlers, Utah was home to several ancient peoples with extensive cliff dwellings and rock art providing a tantalizing glimpse of America before Columbus.