Off the Beaten Path | Utah
Many people believe that Utah holds the greatest number of natural wonders of any state in the U.S. It certainly has some incredible national parks, stunning mountain ranges, and breathtaking desert scenery. Here are just a few of Utah's greatest sights.
St. George is a city that is full of culture and history, it is also one of the larger cities in southern Utah. It is also a great gateway to many of southern Utah's treasures. St. George was founded by Brigham Young in 1861. The city is full of historic buildings, one of these is the St. George Temple. The city also has eleven nearby golf courses, great for golf enthusiasts. One the edge of town visitors can even find some dinosaur footprints. Within an easy distance of town visitors can find Snow Canyon State Park with its canyon and volcanic cones, as well as Sand Hollow Stat Park where visitors can dirt bike on the sand dunes. Zion National Park is also nearby, as is Bryce Canyon National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. After visitors have had their fill of the culture and history in the city of St. George there are all sorts of recreational activities including camping, boating, hiking, fishing, golfing and rock climbing.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is one of Utah's most beautiful destinations. The park preserves many sandstone arches, created through millions of years of exposure to the elements. Visitors can explore Arches National Park by car, there are many paved roads and viewpoints. A car tour of Arches National Park is a great way to enjoy many of the parks amazing vistas and arches. The park also offers opportunities to get even closer to the most amazing arches in the park, visitors can even hike out and stand beneath the Delicate Arch. For an even better understanding of the parks features visitors can make reservations for one of the parks Ranger-Led Programs. The Fiery Furnace Tours are especially popular, and the program offers a more difficult hike too.
Heber Valley Historic Railroad
This train, also called the Heber Creeper Train dates all the way back to 1899. It was a train that served the pioneers who first settled in the valley. Today vintage coaches pulled by vintage steam locomotives and vintage diesel electric locomotives, across some of Utah's beautiful scenery. Over 95,00 people ride the 16 miles rail line each year. A round-trip on the train takes about three hours, during these three hours riders can see a variety of wildlife, Mount Timpanogos, the Cascade Mountains, Deer Creek Dam and Reservoir and much more. The railroad also has special trips held during different times during the year, including the Haunted Canyon Train during the month of October and the North Pole Express. From the end of November through December riders of the Heber Valley Historic Railroad can make reservations for the North Pole Express to drink hot chocolate, see elves and santa while enjoy the classic Christmas tale.
Moab is a great destination for recreation enthusiasts. There are plenty of areas to enjoy mountain biking including the Slickrock Trail. Moab is also a great spot to go white-water rafting on the Colorado River. Visitors to Moab will also find plenty of off-roading and rock-climbing. The town has much to offer its visitors as well, from fine dining to enjoying a spa day. The city also has a large number of annual events to delight the residents and visitors.
Antelope Island is the perfect place to view the Great Salt Lake. It is the largest of the Lakes nine islands and it is part of the Utah State Park System. Visitors can reach Antelope Island by boat or by crossing the causeway that extends west from the Layton area. The islands white sand beaches are perfect for sunbathing and plenty of beach recreation. Antelope Island also has plenty of hiking trails and biking options on its 28,000 plus acres. Throughout these many acres visitors can see a wide variety of wildlife while recreating, the island has the antelope which it was named for as well as a magnificent herd of American Bison which is managed by the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation.
Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch
This area is one of the best hiking destinations in Utah. Buckskin Gulch is the longest tributary to Paria Canyon. Paria Canyon is a long and narrow canyon that offers a challenging and interesting hiking experience. There are a number of hiking options in the area. If hikers want to hike in the canyon they should know that there is no trail, they simply have to follow the canyon to its end. The canyon is long with tall sheer walls, and it is very narrow at points a person can stand in the middle and touch both walls. For miles there is no exit from the canyon, hikers simply have to follow the canyon to its end. Hikers should be aware that hiking this canyon presents a danger of flash flooding. However, it is still a great hike, hikers can see a wide variety of birds and wildlife will wading throughout the muddy waters and many river crossings in the canyon.
Utah's Green River is a great place to enjoy white water rafting. The river runs from Flamingo Gorge National Recreation Area near Vernal to Dinosaur National Monument. It passes through some very remote landscapes and it meets with the Colorado River at Canyonlands National Park. There are several sections of the river that have good rapids and excellent options for kayaking and canoeing. The river passes through areas with unique geology, parts of the American Frontier and even Native American ruins. Rafting enthusiasts have a wide variety of options for rafting trips of different skill levels. The Green River Daily is a short trip on the lower part of the Gray Canyon, the nine mile stretch has seven mild rapids. The Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons is a great spot for canoeists, with stunning scenery and calm water. This stretch is 100 miles of peaceful waters, and if the run is timed right visitors can even watch the Crystal Geyser erupt. Desolation Canyon and Lodore Canyon, which is one of the most scenic trips with three of the best rapids on the river, are also great rafting options.