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Learn Interesting Utah History & See Stunning Park and Monument Photos

Utah is a fantastic state filled with natural wonders, including many beautiful state and national parks. We loved vacationing there!

State Flag of Utah

State Flag of Utah

Vacation Planning

If you are searching for a vacation destination that has unimaginable beauty and plenty of open spaces, then you should put the State of Utah on your bucket list.

While Utah is the thirteenth largest of the fifty states in the United States of America, it has the third most national parks following those in Alaska and California.

There are five national parks within the confines of the state with numerous state parks and other attractions which will keep one happily engaged for quite some time.

My mother, niece, and I had two weeks of vacation to see what we could of this western state, and even though we had seen some photos and read about many of the places we would ultimately visit, our senses were at times overwhelmed with wonder at the differing sites.

Location of Utah in the United States

Where To Go In Utah

These would be just some of my suggestions of fantastic places to see while in Utah. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to travel and spend some time in each one of these places. I have written articles about each one of them in other posts.

These are the national parks we have seen: Bryce Canyon,
Canyonlands, Zion, Capitol Reef, and Arches.

We have also spent time in these state parks: Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Goblin Valley, and the Escalante Petrified Forest.

Place of Wonder

Undoubtedly the Native American tribes who lived in these parts long before Europeans settled in these lands were also impressed with the natural wonders.

Tribes included the Anasazi and Freemont. Navajo, Soshute, Paiute, Shoshone, and Ute people had plenty of lands to roam. They secured food by tending crops as well as getting to do fishing and hunting.

While much of the state has a semi-arid to a desert climate, there are also creeks and rivers emerging from the hills and mountainous rocky formations that would have provided moisture and shelter to the native Indians.

Living and taking from the land what they needed for subsistence, the Native Americans could not have helped but notice the wondrous scenery, which varied from area to area and long before Utah became the 45th State of the U.S. in 1896.

“Mother Nature is a master sculptor and in no place is that more evident than at Arches National Park.”

— Stefanie Payne, A Year in the National Parks: The Greatest American Road Trip

Utah Facts

While Utah may have been slow with European settlement, trappers and fur traders lead the charge on discovering the bounty that was there, all of which the native Indians knew.

Mormon settlement of parts of Utah took place, with Brigham Young leading the way back in 1847. A good percentage of people living in Utah still adhere to the Mormon religion.

Early mining done by the Mormons was primarily for stones to build buildings, coal to help heat, and iron to forge tools and other necessary items. As time progressed, mining of gold, silver, copper, and uranium also took place. Copper mining is still done today and is a vital industry in Utah.

Another date of importance was the completion in 1861 of the First Transcontinental Telegraph in the Salt Lake City area. In 1869, just north of Salt Lake at Promontory Point, the First Transcontinental Railroad was finished being built.

Those latter two events truly helped in moving people from eastern parts of the country to the west. Communication and transportation became faster and easier. No longer would settlers have to rely solely upon wagon trains and stagecoaches to move their possessions cross country. Loved ones could transmit information of importance by telegraph instead of waiting for the slowly written forms of communication transported by pony express back in that time.

Extreme hiking in Zion..."perhaps one of the most coveted hikes in the world" and only allowed by permit.

Utah Travel

Obviously, with the Transcontinental Telegraph and the Transcontinental Railroad, more people were discovering Utah. But what opened it up especially concerning tourism was the development of the Interstate Highway System, of which President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a proponent back in the mid-1950s.

Before becoming the 34th President of the U.S.(from 1953 to 1961), Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War 2. He learned the importance of the German Autobahn related to the easy transportation of troops and supplies.

While rarely needed for emergencies in the U.S., occasionally, the Interstate Highways come into use for those reasons. Evacuations from impending hurricanes are one such use.

Primarily the Interstate Highways are utilized by companies transporting goods all across our land plus people driving to places of work or planning visits to friends and families. For those taking vacations, it makes getting from one place to another much easier and faster. Utah tourism became more popular when travel to and from Utah became easier for most Americans who wished to take their automobiles out on the road for vacation purposes.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower Official Portrait

President Dwight D. Eisenhower Official Portrait

Lands and Parks

The things to see in Utah are seemingly endless.

Over 70% of the land is federally owned or managed. These lands include national parks, state parks, and other sites of interest.

About 80% of all the people in this state live near Salt Lake. That leaves many other places in the state sparsely populated.

Utah is a hiker's dream location! Be sure and take comfortable hiking shoes, some sunscreen, plenty of water, and be prepared to enjoy yourself.

While many of the parks feature rocky formations, amazingly, each has a distinctive look and feel to the place. So if planning a vacation trip, be sure to see as many of the different parks as time allows.

We saw petrified dunes, beehives in rocks that smelled of honey, petroglyphs, stone arches that number the greatest worldwide, and so many unusual and beautiful rock formations!

Other Attractions

Are you a snow skier or one who enjoys snowboarding? One of the places in Utah that many people flock to in the winter are the ski areas located in Park City and Alta. They are up in the mountains above Salt Lake City, and they saw much action during the Winter Olympic Games in 2002.

My mother, niece, and I saw those locations during the summer. The cooler mountain breezes can be a nice respite from the heat of summertime temperatures. The scenery is impressive up in the mountains.

I hope you enjoyed this brief introductory look at what the State of Utah has to offer. Look for my other posts on specific areas within Utah to learn more.

“If we allow ourselves contemplative time in nature-whether it's gardening, going for a walk with the dog, or being in the heart of the southern Utah wilderness-then we can hear the voice of our conscience. If we listen to that voice, it asks us to be conscious. And if we become conscious we choose to live lives of consequence.”

— Terry Tempest Williams


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2021:

Hi Amy,

The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City is impressive! The Great Salt Lake, when we were there, is interesting to see. We spent most of our time visiting the mountains and parks outside of Salt Lake City on our trip and were overwhelmed with the beauty of those places. Thanks for your comment.

Amy on April 24, 2021:

Peggy, Your many articles about Utah have been very interesting. You were obviously very impressed. So nice to know there is so much more to the State than the Great Salt Lake and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 23, 2021:

If you are looking for some wide-open spaces and spectacular scenery, put Utah on your list of places to visit. I would happily spend much more time there!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 13, 2020:

Hi C E Clark,

Utah is a beautiful state. Like you, I hope no damage happens to these amazing sites.

As to gaining the most important thing in life, it is not money. I know you wrote that tongue in cheek. We all need some, but not mountains of it. No one can buy their way into heaven. We take nothing with us but our souls and hopefully leave good memories for those still alive behind us.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 13, 2020:

Utah is very scenic and has several parks and monuments all worth visiting. As you probably know, President Trump has recently opened them up for drilling and mining. I hope they will not be damaged or destroyed as a consequence.

An excellent article as always, with your fantastic photos. Posting this on AH & FB.

I do understand Trump's reasoning though. Money is the most important thing one can acquire in this life. What is not revealed in the Bible is that the only people who will ever truly go to Heaven are those with enough money to bribe Jesus, and that is going to require an amount bigger than most of us can wrap our minds around, since Jesus can speak into existence as much of anything as He might desire. Luckily (for Trump, at least) one's words, attitude, or deeds, will not matter at all, only the amount of money one can offer for admittance . . .

Robert Sacchi on August 24, 2018:

Yes, event the short trips and vacation disasters have things we can look back at with fondness.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 23, 2018:

Hi Robert,

I am truly grateful for all of those vacation memories. They are something to cherish.

Robert Sacchi on August 23, 2018:

Yes, it's great that you got around to all these wonderful places.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 23, 2018:

Hi Robert,

For a number of years my mother, niece and I would take a summer vacation (when my niece was out of school) and travel for 10 days to 2 weeks. It was a lot of fun and we got to see some great areas of our country. That does not include other vacations with my husband, etc.

Robert Sacchi on August 22, 2018:

You certainly do get around.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2018:

Hi Robert,

Yes, President Eisenhower is credited with getting our Interstate Highway system installed all across our country. It certainly made travel easier and still does to this day. Glad you got to see a bit of Utah in your travels. We started and ended one vacation in Salt Lake many years ago by flying in and out of there.

Robert Sacchi on August 21, 2018:

I remember driving through Utah. Salt Lake City looked beautiful from a distance. There were the salt flats, amazing. I remember hearing President Eisenhower decided the U.S. needed a better road system before World War II. His unit rode cross country and it took them a long time to complete the journey. Long treks by military units were apparently the in thing at the time.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 07, 2015:

Hi poetryman6969,

Much of the State of Utah is in the wild as is common with national parks and state parks. It is wondrous to be able to explore these places in person. Hope you get to explore it someday.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 07, 2015:

Hi Patricia,

I am sure that you would love visiting Utah just as we did. It is a nature lover's paradise as so much of the state is set aside for parks, etc. Hope you get to see it someday. Thanks for the votes, shares, etc.

poetryman6969 on April 07, 2015:

I see some wild looking territory. I think I would enjoy a close up and personal look at it some day.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 06, 2015:

Truly would love to visit here. Your photos make this seem like a state I would love to visit. It is amazing to me that so much splendor resides within our boundaries.

Angels are on the way to you Peggy.

Voted up+++ and shared and pinned to Awesome HubPages

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2013:

Hi Paul,

That must have been some trip driving from Chicago to San Francisco with college buddies! Nice that you have gotten to spend some time in Utah. It is a fabulous state filled to the brim with natural wonders. :)

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on August 03, 2013:


This is an awesome hub which I really enjoyed reading. It certainly brought back memories of all of the times I was in Utah. The first time I hit Utah was in May of 1973 as I was driving with college buddies from Chicago to San Francisco. I remember spending a little over a day in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah before renting a car and continuing on to S.F. The scenery descending the mountains down into Salt Lake was spectacular. My most recent times in Utah were in the early 2000s when I spent two weeks of two summers in Ogden on business. While there on the weekends, I was able to drive up to Yellowstone National Park, and also down south to the Grand Canyon and then Las Vegas. I remember visiting Bryce Canyon and descending into the canyon. It was very beautiful and spectacular. I also remember visiting Park City. Yes, I would definitely go back to Utah to visit more parks. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 19, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

Living just 15 miles from the Utah border, you must have some wonderful memories of visiting sites in Utah. Did you get to visit all of the national parks there? What were your favorite places? I would actually have a hard time answering that question because I found so much of the state picturesque in different ways. It is a vacation land for certain! Appreciate your votes, the 5 star rating and your share. :)

C E Clark from North Texas on May 18, 2013:

Utah is indeed unique and interesting and beautiful! I think a lot of people don't realize how picturesque and amazing the scenery is there. Your photos are gorgeous as always. I used to live just 15 miles from the Utah border and made many trips over their with sightseeing guests.

Summer is vacation and travel season. Your great hub should inspire lots of people to visit Utah.

Voted up, BAUI, gave you 5 more stars, and will share!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 30, 2013:

Hi Indian Chef,

So nice to know that you liked learning a bit about the State of Utah. That Goblin Valley State Park is amazing. In addition to the most unusual rock formations, it is a fun place to play, climb, etc. So glad that fellow tourists told us about it since it is a bit off the beaten path. Appreciate your comment, vote and the share on Twitter.

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on April 30, 2013:

Peggy this is very interesting hub. Interesting history about the fur trade and beautiful Pictures. I really loved your Goblin valley Picture. Voting up and sharing on Twitter.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 14, 2012:

Hello nanderson500,

We also visited Salt Lake City...in fact started and ended our vacation there. You are correct in that there is SO MUCH MORE to see and do in Utah. Since you live in Seattle, you don't live that far away to be able to see much more of that state. Hope you get to enjoy it someday. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 14, 2012:

Hi Michelle,

Utah is a wonderland of much beauty and so much public land. It truly is a treasure! So glad that you liked this look at what this state has to offer visitors as well as the people who call it home. Thanks for your comment + tweet.

nanderson500 from Seattle, WA on October 13, 2012:

I've been to the Salt Lake City area but haven't explored much of the rest of Utah. I know there is a lot more to see there. Voted up and interesting.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on October 13, 2012:

This is an interesting place to visit, and has a unique culture and history of its own. Would love to come by! Thanks so much for the introduction, and I'll tweet as well!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 11, 2012:

Hi Stacy,

Nice that you took time out for a look at Arches National Park. Every single park in Utah is worth spending time in exploring. Such spectacular beauty is there to be enjoyed. Hope you get back someday and can see more of it. Click on the links to see much more about each place we visited...then plan your next trip! Thanks for your comment and the share.

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on September 11, 2012:

Because of the amount of times we have spent driving from California to either Wisconsin (or Colorado Springs for a short while) we have seen Utah several times. However, it amazed me that we never really "saw" Utah. Because we always drove that portion at night, we never got much of a chance to explore. However, we did visit Zion National Park on one drive back in 2004. Unfortunately, they were in the midst of a really bad storm and we were in the midst of moving and were very unprepared. It dropped down to 32 degrees and we were in shorts and tank tops. Not well prepared at all. Needless to say, I don't remember much. However, we did stop by the Arches last year. Boy was that beautiful. It did add an additional 10 hours to our trip because of the time spent exploring, but it was absolutely beautiful!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 10, 2012:

Hi Billy,

Which of the Utah parks have you visited? We enjoyed each and every one of them. Could spend weeks in each one of them if only one had the time. Thanks for your comment.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 09, 2012:

Great collection of facts Peggy! I have seen a couple of the parks and they are spectacular for sure. Well done!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Hello Au fait,

Utah definitely has spectacular and interesting scenery not typical of too many other places. Nice that you lived so close that you got to see it from where you lived in Colorado...another gorgeous state! Appreciate your comment, votes and the share.

C E Clark from North Texas on August 09, 2012:

Having lived in Grand Junction CO for 2 years, I took the opportunity to explore Utah, our neighbor just over the border (15 miles) to the west. It is indeed full of amazing scenic beauty that is hard to find anywhere else. Every state has it's beauty and Utah is no exception. Your photos are gorgeous.

Voting this hub up, awesome, and sharing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Hi Prasetio,

Zion National Park is a favorite for many people. All of the parks in Utah are amazing in different ways. So glad that you enjoyed this virtual tour. Thanks for your comment and vote.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on August 08, 2012:

Very informative hub, Peggy. I really enjoy the virtual tour in Utah, including the pictures and and the video as well. My favorite is Zion National Park. I'll put "Utah" on my travel list. Good job and voted up!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2012:

Hello tipstoretireearly,

Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument surely show the effects of erosion at its best. As to the colors and hues, all of these parks in Utah are filled with amazing colors. Our Utah vacation is one we won't soon forget! Thanks for your comment.

tipstoretireearly from New York on August 05, 2012:

That was a scenic trip through this beautiful state! Bryce Canyon National Park was my favorite, with so many different hues and shades.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2012:

Hi Alastar,

Thanks for the revisit to this Utah hub and appreciative of the share. You write some of the finest historical hubs out there!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2012:

Hi SarahSanders,

Depending upon where in California you live, you are not that far away from Utah to be able to visit its wonders. If we lived a bit closer, I would love to explore more of its parks in depth and perhaps visit other places we missed seeing. Thanks for your comment.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on August 04, 2012:

A pleasure to share the many wonders of Utah presented by the best writer of the first person article travelogue, PeggyW!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2012:

Hi Alastar,

Yes...after parking at the picnic area above, we climbed down into the Goblin Valley State Park and those piles of rocks appear even larger and more fantasticly shaped. It appears as though some large god child played with silly putty and this is the result. Amazing! All of the parks and places we visited in Utah were interesting and each had its own special type of beauty. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on August 03, 2012:

After reading on the histories and looking at the photos I went back and just stated at the Google map as the thoughts formulated on all the fresh and amazing things. Utah is indeed a wonderland of awesome delights Peggy. Did you get down amongst the Goblins after snapping the cool pic? Up useful and inter my friend!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2012:

Hi Lesley,

So nice that you and your son got to visit Utah as well as Yellowstone together making for great shared memories. Which of the parks in Utah did you get to see? Thanks for your comment and vote.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2012:

Hi again b. Malin,

I guess the main thing is that your granddaughter is enjoying Utah and getting to see some of the parks, whether she is actually working in one of them or somewhere nearby. Such a great spot to have a summer job! I know that quite a few kids get jobs in national parks. It is a great experience for them as well as them being able to make some money.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on August 03, 2012:

Hi Peggy, I visited Utah about 15 years ago with my son, it was a wonderful experience - we included a visit to Yellowstone park.

Your photos and descriptions are wonderful, there is so much to see and explore, it has me longing to return and see more!

Thank you and voted up!

b. Malin on August 03, 2012:

Hi Peggy, I'll have to find out next time I speak to her. I'm so thrilled when she calls, that I forgot to ask...Crazy Grandmother that I am. But as I said, she loves Utah.

I look forward to Following your Hubs.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 02, 2012:

Hi Cheryl,

If you love natural surroundings and great beauty...you would LOVE the State of Utah! There is so much to see and enjoy there. Our two week vacation only hit some highlights. It would take much longer to fully enjoy all that there is to see and do. Appreciate your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 02, 2012:

Hi teaches12345,

What made me wish to visit Utah was knowing that it contained 5 national parks, and I have always been impressed with each and every national park that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Learning about all of the additional state parks and other areas was a pleasant surprise. Yes...Utah is a vacation place of beauty and wonder for so many reasons. Nice to be able to introduce you to it. Thanks for your comment.

Cheryl J. from Houston, TX on August 02, 2012:

Wow. Your photos of the State of Utah are truly beautiful and unique. I am impressed with the geology and the beautiful natural landscape in the different parks. The State and Natural parks are very interesting and spellbinding. Hiking and biking would be very enjoyable. You have given great information and history of the Interstate Highway System that President Eisenhower supported in the 1950's. Another great hub, photos and videos. I will add Utah on my vacation list.

Dianna Mendez on August 02, 2012:

I have to say that I never would have considered the state of Utah such an adventure. I can see form your post and photos that it does have lots of interesting places for any vacation. Thanks for the education.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2012:

Hi b.Malin,

What a lucky granddaughter you have to be able to be teaching at a camp in Utah during the summer. Is this in one of the national parks or nearby one? Which parks has she seen? Appreciate your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2012:

Hello LillyGrillzit,

These photos are just a sampling of what you will see on a Utah vacation trip. Check out more of the hubs on specific places if you are interested, then get busy so you can cross Utah off of your bucket list. You will be thrilled to see these sites in person. Thanks for your comment and vote.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2012:

Hi susiebrown48,

I know what you mean. The Grand Canyon is certainly that, but unless one hikes or takes a horse ride down into it, for the most part one is looking at it from above. One can get closer and right into most of the national parks in Utah. Seeing them up close, the beauty actually surrounds you in all directions. We loved Utah and I can see that you do also. Thanks for your comment.

b. Malin on August 01, 2012:

My Granddaughter is spending this Summer in Utah, teaching at a Camp. She LOVES it and Everything you've hubbed about this lovely state, she mentions when she calls...Especially the Parks! Wonderful Photos, and an Excellent Hub, Peggy.

Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on August 01, 2012:

Your Hub and the beautiful photos have caused me to put Utah on my bucket list of places to see in this lifetime. Good work! Voted up.

susiebrown48 from Clearwater, FL on August 01, 2012:

Loved the hub, brought back fond memories of our Utah trip. I had always thought the Grand Canyon magnificent, until I saw Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. The article was was as beautiful as Utah. Nice job!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2012:

Hi Alicia,

The greatest number of people in Utah live in or nearby the Salt Lake City portion of the state. The majority of the rest of the state is like one giant playground of fantastic scenery set aside for public use with more limited population areas. For those who have time to explore and are in reasonably good shape, there are probably countless canyons and areas of seldom viewed scenery similar to that in the video you mentioned. Appreciate your comment.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 01, 2012:

This is another very interesting and attractive hub, Peggy. The Extreme Hiking video was amazing! The population and land data that you gave was also very interesting - over 70% of the land federally owned and 80% of the population living around Salt Lake City are impressive statistics!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2012:

Hi Mary,

If you like seeing beautiful scenery (and I know you do!) and enjoy getting out amidst nature and doing some hiking, then Utah is the place for you. If one is not into hiking, you can still see quite a bit of these parks from the road...at overview spots, etc., but to see these parks in depth, one has to get out there and do a bit of hiking. We did a smattering of both because we only had 2 weeks of vacation time. Thanks for your visit, votes and the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

Utah has much more to offer than just Bryce Canyon National Park. My advice...check out all of the national parks in the state and if you have time, chip away at some of the state parks as well. Your time will be well served! They are all so different and beautiful. Appreciate your comment and votes.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 01, 2012:

I have never been to Utah, but it looks like the kind of place I would like to visit. I watched the video of the hike. That was more like an endurance hike!

You have some beautiful photos here of this part of the U.S. Interesting fact about the interstates that I never knew, too.

I voted this Hub UP, etc. and shared with others.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on July 31, 2012:

Well, Bryce ranks high on my places that I want to see. Your photo only makes me want to visit even more. Nice to know though that there are other things to see in the state other than that canyon. Voting this Up and Useful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 31, 2012:

Hello Free2writ3,

Hope you get to take a Utah vacation someday. It is so beautiful there and loaded to the brim with attractions. Thanks for your comment.

Free2writ3 from Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2012:

Nice, I've always wanted to visit utah....thanks for sharing.

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