“LOL, what’s in Utah?”
That’s the reaction most people will give when you’re in New York. Utah: a bumblef*ck? What’s there? Salt Lake City, right? However, you need to visit Utah.
Over the summer, I did some west coast/western adventures and traveled to CA, NV, AZ, and UT. Since Utah is home to the beautiful Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, plus various hiking spots, I spent a good amount of time in the Beehive State. In fact, Utah’s experiencing quite a tourist bump, and I don’t expect it to slow down.
With wide ranges of deserts, redrocks, and the country’s coolest National Parks, Utah is definitely a place you need to cross off your bucket list. Just 123 miles from Las Vegas, you can find the quaint city of St. George in Southwest UT. A more suburban and quiet vibe than Vegas, you can hike trails, dunes, and red sandstone cliffs just surrounding the area.
Here are the best things to do in Southwest Utah:
- Zion National Park. Drive an hour west from St. George to experience all of the western natural beauties: canyons, waterfalls, redrocks, rivers, and more. If you’re feeling dangerous, hike The Narrows: the narrowest section of Zion. While I didn’t get to do it, I’d love to go back later in life to experience it.
- Bryce Canyon. UGH, my love for Bryce is unreal. I used to think hiking Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles was the best sight you get out west. Bryce is unmatched to anything I’ve ever seen, including the Grand Canyon (plot twist). It really just was a heavenly experience that can’t be explained in words. You can hike all the way up at the top (8,300 feet), feeling like you’re literally in a different universe. Or, you can hike all the way at the bottom, feeling like you’re on Mars surrounded by red caves, groves, and rocks. Also, if you like mules (because who doesn’t), you can ride one up the canyon for 2 hours.
- Arches National Park. While I didn’t get to go myself, you can be immersed in more than 2,000 sandstone-arches. Sounds good to me.
- Stargazing. Being from New York, I admit I’ve never actually seen a fully sky of stars. An easy and free thing to do, stargazing in Utah is something you have to do. See the constellations in full vision and prepare to be awed. Also, Utah is big on hosting “star parties,” where tour guides literally show you outer space’s glory.
- Golf. While I don’t golf myself, Utah apparently has some of the best and more beautiful courses in the country. See more here, because why not?
While the national parks are full of tourists (majority being international…how do they know about Utah and Americans don’t?!), the sights you are able to see are indescribable.
Overall, while I probably wouldn’t choose to reside in UT (because…jobs), the trip was an experience I can cherish for the rest of my life. I’ve been to heaven, I’ve seen actual stars, and I’ve been to Mars, all thanks to Utah.
-mike, the utanian guy