Top 10 Most Famous Utah Landmarks Travelers Talk About
Nature lovers know that few places in the United States compare to Utah. Rich in history, culture and an abundance of unspoiled natural beauty – whether hiking on a trail, horseback riding through a canyon, or ripping down a cool and clean river, there is something for everyone in the Beehive state. Interestingly enough, nearly eighty percent of the nearly three million people who call Utah home live near the capital, leaving a fairly large portion almost virtually without population. The state boasts a great many National Parks as a result of its unique and diverse landscape, and as a result, a majority of the most famous Utah landmarks are parks dedicated to preserving the natural landscapes found here.
1. Salt Lake City: Easily the most identifiable locale in the state of Utah, the capital city is not only home to stunning mountain vistas and rolling wooded areas, it’s also home to many Utah landmarks, some of which are known the world around. For instance, standing atop ten perfectly manicured acres, Temple Square is a multi acre religious complex that draws many visitors each year. Of course, the large body of water that the city is named for, the Great Salt Lake, fails not to disappoint guests visiting to enjoy its colorful displays and white beaches. Visitors often find themselves traveling to Utah’s western reaches from the lake to see the remnants of the massive Bonneville Lake of which Salt Lake is the leftovers from. Here, the Bonneville salt flats, one of the most well known of all Salt Lake City attractions, delights guests time and time again.
2. Antelope Island: The state’s capital named body of water is home to this island, where the perfect combination of natural wilderness and modern convenience meet. Near enough to city amenities to make for a perfect day trip, the island boasts activities like horseback riding, hiking and biking but is also home to some interesting historic Utah landmarks. Exhibits including an old time ranch house await visitors wishing to fully explore the state’s famous lake.
3. Park City: This little city near the big city was once a booming mining town, and it’s in this rich history that guests delight, enjoying the historic remnants of what was once a thriving industry. However, while there are many Utah landmarks found in and around the city, what perhaps draws more than anything is the skiing. Multiple trails that cut through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country are found here, making it a perfect cold weather destination.
4. Dinosaur National Monument: At the convergence of two rivers and caressing the border between Utah and Colorado can be found this National Park that provides some of the best examples of fossilized prehistoric life on the planet. Clearly the oldest of all Utah landmarks, the park visibly showcases the fossil remains of the dinosaurs that once roamed freely in the area, facing visitors from their permanent resting places within the rock formations. More recent history is evident here too, in the form of fascinating petro glyphs and hints of former outlaws that traversed the area long after the dinosaurs departed.
5. Zion National Park: The southwest part of state is where Zion can be found, a National Park that holds the distinction of being Utah’s first. While the red, pink and creamy hues found here in the sky and in the rocks are enough to draw visitors from all around the country, it’s the history of the Native American peoples that once called this area home that makes it one of the most important of all Utah landmarks. Cliffs and rock formations frame valleys that beckon to hikers, enticing them to walk along in the footsteps of those who came before them.
6. Bryce Canyon National Park: Heading east from Zion, yet another National Park can be found that is a tourist favorite. While parks tend to comprise the majority of Utah landmarks, each is different in their own way. Bryce Canyon is particularly unusual, known for its “hoodoos.” These strangely named rock formations look like tall, chunky pencils and seem to reach upwards to the sky. They were formed into their odd shapes by the forces of erosion, a natural phenomenon that gives the park a special something extra. Hikers flock to Bryce for a chance to snap a few pics of the towering hoodoos.
7. Capitol Reef National Park: If the planet had a wrinkle in it, where would it be? Well, it would be found in this National Park in the south central part of the state of Utah, and it would be called a geologic monocline. The hundred mile long wrinkle in the Earth is called the Waterpocket fold, and it’s another natural occurrence that has become one of the most popular Utah landmarks. Aside from the hallmark terrain wrinkle, cliffs, natural bridges, domes and canyons await adventurers hungry for excitement.
8. Goblin Valley: Despite the name, there are no actual goblins found in this National Park, located just north of Capitol Reef’s wrinkle. However, there are yet more oddly shaped rock formations that certainly look like what most would expect a goblin to look like if they came across one. Sandstone formations called “goblins” are found scattered across the park’s landscape, creating a stunning vista that has been compared to Mars. More mushroom shaped than anything, the “goblins” or “gnomes” as they’re referred to, are formed similarly to those found at other Utah landmarks, by the simple process of erosion. The uniqueness, however, of these hoodoos has left past tourists raving about their time in the park.
9. Canyonlands National Park: Divided into four distinct parts known as The Needles, The Sky, The Maze and The Rivers, there is just no way to explore all the Utah landmarks found in Canyonlands in a single day. The southeastern portion of the state is home to this National Park, known for its canyons carved by rivers and stunning buttes. More desert than anything, the landscape here seems barren yet beautiful, and provides yet another shockingly amazing example of the truly exquisite natural wonder of Utah.
10. Arches National Park: A bit to the north of the four part park can be found another of the state’s National Parks that is unsurprisingly named for its fantastic rock formations. Over two thousand arches comprise the protected area, and they’re truly some of the most amazing of all Utah landmarks. Towering high above in formations that seem to defy physics and logic, the naturally occurring aerial bridges boast fins and balancing acts that tourists never tire of. The almost desolate surroundings isolate and focus visitors on the awe inspiring views, however the powerful sunsets that the park is known for do have the ability to draw a gaze or two.