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Utah is one of the best destinations to visit in the United States for exceptional landscapes, especially when it comes to desert scenery and alpine goodness.
If you’re currently in the planning stages of your trip to Utah, you’re probably feeling extremely overwhelmed trying to decide what to see and what to do.
For that reason, we decided to put together a list of some of the best places you absolutely can’t miss out on visiting in the Beehive State, especially if it’s your first time visiting.
From walking over Mars-like landscapes to hiking through mesmerizing slot canyons and everything in between, here’s the ultimate list of 7 amazing things to do in Utah.
7 Amazing Things to Do in Utah
When it comes to places that have it all, Monument Valley is king. Here, you’ll find a pretty great mix of the Old West, the desert, and Native American culture like no other.
The entire region in and around Monument Valley is known for its beautiful hiking trails, horseback riding, and glorious landscapes made up of red sandstone buttes and rock formations.
Moreover, being here will make you feel as though you were transported into a cowboy film. In fact, many of the most iconic Western films used Monument Valley as their setting, including Sergio Leone’s 1968 film Once Upon a Time in the West.
Other classics have also been filmed here, including Lone Ranger, 2001: A Space Oddysey, Forrest Gump Mission: Impossible 2, and many more!
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Fall is a humongous 607 feet two-tier waterfall and one of the most visited ones in Utah thanks to its accessibility.
Thanks to the fact that Bridal Veils is located right on the highway from Salt Lake City, the waterfall is easy to see on a quick stop. However, if you want a bit more solitude, you can also hike over a trail to get up to the second base of its drop!
Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park is located right where the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave deserts meet, creating a complex blend of entirely different ecosystems that form an extremely unique landscape.
Here, you’ll find yourself in a world of Navajo sandstone cliffs, petrified sand dunes, and extraordinary lava fields, making it a haven for outdoor adventures amid landscapes that will make you feel as though you’re on an entirely different planet.
A few of the ways to explore Snow Canyon include scenic driving, going in search of desert wildlife, rock climbing, and hiking.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Aside from being the setting of 1991’s Thelma and Louise’s epic final scene, Dead Horse Point is a wonderful place to visit for all things desert goodness, especially if you’re looking for a landscape similar to Canyonlands or Arches minus the crowds.
This beautiful state park is host to extensive canyons, gorgeous overlooks, and sweeping desert vistas. Here, you can spend the day hiking, riding horses, rock climbing, catching striking sunsets, and stargazing.
Moab is a small town in eastern Utah that acts as the perfect gateway to two of the most incredible national parks in the Beehive State.
While the town itself has interesting attractions such as historical museums, the best Moab has to offer is located on its outskirts.
A short drive from downtown will have you reaching places like Canyonlands and Arches national parks as well as various state parks that are also worth taking a look at, all of which provide landscapes made up of sweeping desert scenery, whacky-looking rock formations, and expansive canyons.
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
Red Rock Cliffs Desert Reserve is located right between the Great Basin, the Mojave, and the Colorado Plateau deserts, creating a blend of different desert ecosystems and landscapes.
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve is the ultimate go-to for wildlife spotting in Utah, especially if you’re keen to see animals endemic to the desert.
In fact, Red Cliffs became a reserve in order to give the Mojave desert tortoise, an extremely threatened species, a safe place to live and thrive in. Other species have also found a safe haven at the reserve, including Gila monsters, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions.
During your visit to Red Cliffs, you’ll be able to head out on hikes through the desert, with trails ranging from easy strolls to tough challenges for experts.
Every hike here will give you the chance to spot desert tortoises as well as other species endemic to the reserve, so make sure you keep your eyes open for better chances to see them!
Located inside Zion National Park, The Narrows is the narrowest section of the Zion Canyon and one of the most incredible slot canyon hikes in the entire state.
This hike is an absolute must for any outdoor lover visiting Utah, especially if you don’t mind a bit of a challenge.
As you make your way through the gorge, you’ll get to wiggle amid extremely narrow walls, some of which can reach heights of over a thousand feet.
Get prepared to get wet, as many parts of the trail are set over a river you’ll have to wade through!