Life Elevated - Discover Utah's History, Adventure & Unmatched Beauty
Published: Jan 1, 2010
Sublime scenery that invites contemplation; vast tracts of wilderness that invite exploration; vibrant cities that invite you to stay and enjoy theatre, nightlife and contemporary cuisine – this is Utah.
The Great Outdoors are truly great here and have a profound influence on all that goes on in the state. There are five, count ‘em five, national parks: Arches National Park; Bryce Canyon National Park; Canyonlands National Park; Capitol Reef National Park; and Zion National Park. From the world’s largest concentration of natural arches, to haunting hoodoos, from extraordinary solitude to soul-satisfying vistas, each has its own unique attractions.
And then there are the National Monuments (seven), National Recreation Areas (two), National Historic Sites (one) and National Forests (six). Oh yeah, there are also 42 State Parks that offer boating, water sports, swimming, fishing, river running, biking, hiking, off-roading and horseback riding in summer and a host of winter sports, too.
Yes, indeed, Utah has a rich cowboy tradition. Law-abiding ranchers and farmers were attracted to the state’s wide open spaces. And so were outlaws, like Butch Cassidy, Billy The Kid and the Rough Riders. For western entertainment, you can head out to Ruby’s Inn, Utah Trails Resort, Bar M Chuckwagon and the Sundown Ranche Chuckwagon Dinner and Wild West Show. Book yourself into a dude or guest ranch to live the cowboy life. Or, head to The American West Heritage Center or Red Rock Ranch and Outfitters to watch someone else live it.
Utah was home to not one, but two ancient Native American cultures – the Anasazi and Fremont, both of which left the area about 700 years ago. Evidence of their lives can be seen at a multitude of rock art sites throughout the state. Petroglyphs, images chipped into the stone, and pictographs, painted on the stones, leave a haunting, and indecipherable, record of their beliefs and everyday lives. You can also visit countless ruins of their communities and learn more at Utah’s numerous museums.
Golfers delight in the wide range of scenery and conditions, ranging from high elevation tracks to challenging desert conditions, presented by Utah golf courses. The Salt Lake Valley alone is home to more than 40 courses, with 30 less than an hour’s drive from downtown. Can’t decide? Follow the Red Rock Golf Trail, a collection of nine courses, all within a 24-kilometre radius in southern Utah that offer redrock desert scenery and world-class amenities. Golf Wasatch offers the state’s only mountain golf destination advance reservation system on five fine Heber Valley courses.
The Greatest Snow On Earth®
It really is. And Utah has 13 world-class ski resorts that offer 10,500 hectares of skiable terrain that boast an average of 1,250 centimetres of light, dry powder every year. Downhill/boarding areas include Beaver Mountain, Powder Mountain, Snow Basin and Wolf Mountain in Logan and Ogden canyons; Park City Mountain resort, The Canyons and Deer Valley Resort in the Park City area; Solitude Mountain Resort, Brighton, Alta and Snowbird in Salt Lake canyons; and Sundance and Brian Head Resort in Provo/Orem.
Cross-country and Nordic skiers head to resorts like Sherwood Hills, White Pine Touring Center, The Viking Yurt, Solitude Nordic Center, Alta Nordi Center, Soldier Hollow, The Homestead Cross-Country Ski Center, Sundance Nordic Center, Best Western Ruby’s Inn, Brian Head Resort and Duck Creek Village, as well as National Forest Ski Areas, La Sal Mountain area and Wasatch Mountain State Park.
Southern Utah is indeed Canyon Country. From leisurely drives among inspiring views of wind-carved sandstone, washed out canyons, and massive sculpted cliffs, to mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing among the same scenery, there is plenty to discover here. There are also entire galleries of petroglyphs, rich pioneer heritage and artists colonies.
St. George/Zion Area
Centrally located in some of nature’s finest scenery, St. George has become a winter resort for snowbirds, as well as a key gateway to the greatest concentration of national parks and natural wonders on earth. Within easy driving distances are Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon national Parks; Cedar Breaks and Pipe Springs National Monuments, Snow Canyon State Park, the Virgin River Gorge, Kolob Canyons, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.
The St. George area is a historical gold mine, full of 19th-century homes, buildings and old dirt roads leading to fascinating ghost towns and prehistoric dinosaur footprints. Interesting Mormon historic sites include the town of Pine Valley, where you can see one of the oldest surviving Mormon chapels. At Jacob Hamblin’s home in Santa Clara, you can experience rustic, pioneer living. Brigham Young's winter home in St. George is also open for tours. Several pioneer-era homes, including some built by prominent citizens, can be seen at Green Gate Village.
The St. George Temple and the St. George Tabernacle are great monuments to the determined efforts of the early pioneers who were sent to settle the area. A walking tour guide is available at the visitor’s centre housed in the old St. George Courthouse. Other historic sites in the area include Grafton, an old ghost town that served as a backdrop for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Another ghost town is Silver Reef, where the Wells Fargo building and the ruins of silver mines tell the story of a boomtown that swelled to 1,500 people between 1878 and 1882.
But more than anything, St. George has become a place to relax and enjoy year-round leisure time. The area boasts 12 golf courses, with others nearby. The tennis college at Green Valley offers everything the tennis enthusiast could ask for.
St. George is the gateway to Zion National Park. Whether you walk under the towering overhangs, hike through the narrow canyons or scale the sandstone cliffs, Zion is an awe-inspiring experience. A variety of trails allow people of all ages and fitness levels to experience the grandeur of Zion Canyon. Stop by the visitor centres, museum and bookstores in the park to learn more about the park’s history and features.
Kane County is known as “Utah’s Little Hollywood” because of all the movies shot in the area. More Westerns were produced here than anywhere outside of California. Every August celebrates its fame with the Western Legends Round-Up and Western Film Festival. There are Western vendors and exhibits entertainment and concerts, cowboy poetry, even autograph sessions. At Moqui Cave, you can see the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in southern Utah, as well as a huge display of Native American artifacts, a large collection of pre-Columbia artifacts from Mexico and ceramics and tools from the early lives of the Anasazi and Navajo peoples.
It is also a gateway to the incredible red rock formations, hoodoos and lush forests of Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon also has some of the darkest, starriest night skies in the U.S. Ranger staff offer several night programs including telescope viewing, constellation tours, full moon hikers and astronomy talks.
To the south, both Grand Canyon North Rim and Lake Powell attract visitors. One of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, Grand Canyon National Park is just south of Kanab, with the North Rim just 90 minutes away. Bright Angel Point, at the end of the main road, is a short, easy walk from the parking area and offers a classic view of the Canyon.
Lake Powell is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Spend a day, or spend a week. In addition to the views and sights, boating, water-skiing, cliff diving, hiking, and other activities will keep you coming back for more. Houseboats and other types of watercraft can be rented at local marinas.
Moab is truly where adventure begins in Utah. The state’s self-styled Adventure Capital, the city boasts access to two national parks, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Manti-La Sal National Forest and Dead Horse Point State Park, as well as all the wild water recreation of the Colorado River and off-roading excitement of the Slickrock Trail.
Art lovers and history buffs can view excellent ancient Native American rock art on numerous rock panels in the Moab area. Many panels are easy to find, like the one in Arches National Park near the Wolfe Ranch Trailhead for the Delicate Arch Hike. Several can be seen from Potash Road. The Moab Visitors Center has a printed guide to area rock art sites.
Speaking of art, Moab may have more artists-per-capita than any other town in Utah. Painters, potters, poets, photographers, and writers, dancers, actors, musicians and mimes, jewelers, sculptors and playwrights have all been drawn to the city’s incredible landscapes and scenic beauty. The monthly MoabArt Walk includes featured artists and receptions. Other art events include the Moab Music Festival, the Moab Folk Festival and the Moab Arts Festival.
Fans of western history can explore Moab’s past at the Dan O’Laurie Museum of Moab. Photos and artifacts chronicle pioneer life that centred around ranching and mining. There are also displays of prehistoric tools, textiles, pottery and jewelry and a hands-on testing area in the Paleontology and Mineralogy.
In the 1940s, John Ford discovered the beauty of Moab’s Canyonlands and filmed many movies here, with some of the biggest stars of the day. The museum houses memorabilia from the early films to recently filmed productions and the Moab Area Travel Council has developed three movie location tours that take you right to the actual film sites.
For more information on travel to Utah, visit www.utah.travel.