Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah

Things to do in  Utah

Rugged wilderness awaits

Utah is known for its natural beauty and ample opportunities for outdoor adventure. The state is home to some of the most magnificent national parks in the country, and millions of visitors every year descend on the state to hike, climb, and just take in the glorious views. If you’re not outdoorsy, don't worry. There’s still plenty of things to do in Utah, from listening to the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performances to learning about our planet’s past and present at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Top 15 attractions in Utah

The Narrows

One of Zion National Park’s most famous hikes, The Narrows are the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, with sandstone walls reaching 1,000 feet (305 meters) high and sometimes 20 feet (6 meters) across. The Virgin River flows underfoot for most of this adventurous trek—be prepared to get wet.More

Hell's Revenge Trail

Experience one of nature’s roller coaster rides, Hell’s Revenge Trail. Set in a desert canyon outside of Moab, the off-roading track crawls over slick rocks, along cliff faces, and up and down near-vertical terrain. Between rock-crawling adventures, stop to take in views stretching from Arches National Park to La Sal Mountains.More

Colorado River

The Colorado River is a spectacular sight to see, meandering for 1,447 miles (2,330 kilometers) with red rocks and canyons framing it on both sides, leading up to the Hoover Dam. The Colorado River is one of the major water sources for California and Nevada, and, not surprisingly, is a major recreational destination—activities on the river include hiking, biking, rafting, and boating.More

Arches National Park

The eroded red rock wonderland of Arches National Park in southeastern Utah houses more than 2,000 natural stone arches, the densest concentration in the world. Geological marvels abound—here you'll find hundreds of soaring pinnacles, the iconic Delicate Arch, and Landscape Arch, the largest natural arch in the world at 290 feet (88 meters) across.More

Emerald Pools

At the aptly named Emerald Pools, a verdant stream connects a series of three fresh water pools—a picturesque contrast to the earthy red cliffs that dominate Zion National Park. Three hiking trails access the pools, ranging from a short paved route to a more strenuous loop. Flowing waterfalls and crystal-clear pools make this a must-visit spot.More

Zion National Park

Carved over time by the Virgin River, Zion National Park is a remarkable 148,000-acre (59,900-hectare) stretch of white, pink, and red rock formations in southern Utah's canyon country. The state's first national park draws hikers, birders, and nature lovers with its slot canyon walls and its diversity of wildlife.More

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is the main artery through Zion National Park. Winding along the Virgin River, the two-lane road is lined with vista points, river access spots, trailheads, and photo opportunities. The route is so popular that, during the busy season, it is only accessible by a park shuttle.More

Temple Square

When Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Brigham Young, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), proclaimed, “Here we will build a temple to our God.” That place eventually became known as Temple Square, the centerpiece of which is the Salt Lake Temple—the largest Mormon temple in the world.More

Utah State Capitol

The neoclassical Utah State Capitol Building opened in 1916 and is home to the offices and chambers of the state Legislature, governor, and other government officials. The building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and features artwork, historical items, and monuments both inside and around the grounds.More

Salt Lake Tabernacle

Completed in 1867, the Salt Lake Tabernacle is an architectural marvel famous for its remarkable acoustics: A pin dropped at the pulpit can be heard clearly at the back of the hall 170 feet (52 meters) away. Home of the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the church hosts concerts and tours that attract visitors from all over the world.More

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park showcases the red rock canyons and rugged horizon-stretching vistas that make Utah famous. With a variety of otherworldly geological formations, Bryce Canyon is an active traveler's playground, crammed full of pinnacles, steeples, spires, and hoodoos, which are thin eroded rock formations that reveal sedimentary layers of red, orange, and white.More

This is the Place Heritage Park

Utah’s This is the Place Heritage Park commemorates the arrival of Mormon pioneers who settled in the Salt Lake City valley in 1847. Experience activities such as train and pony rides, blacksmithing, and gold panning at the 450-acre (182-hectare) park’s Heritage Village, which also displays restored structures and hosts events.More

Utah Olympic Park

Built for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Utah Olympic Park was the site of the bobsled, skeleton, luge, ski jumping, and Nordic combined events. The park, located just outside downtown Park City, now serves as a training center for Olympic hopefuls and is a top tourist attraction for visitors and locals interested in Olympic history.More

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is a reservoir—the second-largest man-made reservoir in the United States, actually—in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the border of Arizona and Utah. Known for its many sandy beaches, sparkling blue water, and red-rock landscapes, this fun vacation spot is one of Arizona’s top attractions. Some of the lake’s famous features include the Glen Canyon Dam (located in Arizona) and the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the world’s longest natural bridges (located in Utah).More

Dead Horse Point State Park

The swooping view of the Colorado River from Dead Horse Point is iconic, but there’s much more to this desert park than a single overlook. A network of trails here ranges from intermediate mountain biking to wheelchair-accessible pavement, with scenic overlooks, shade shelters, and interpretive signs throughout.More

Trip ideas

Going Beyond Utah’s Mighty Five

Going Beyond Utah’s Mighty Five

Top activities in Utah

Hell's Revenge 4x4 Off-Roading Tour from Moab
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Monument Valley Tour

Monument Valley Tour

Arches National Park 4x4 Adventure from Moab
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Sunset Tour of Monument Valley

Sunset Tour of Monument Valley

Monument Valley Daytime Tour - 3 Hours - Navajo Spirit Tours
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Moab Xtreme 3-Hour Experience
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Moab Xtreme 3-Hour Experience

Scenic Tour of Bryce Canyon

Scenic Tour of Bryce Canyon

Fisher Towers Half-Day Rafting Day Trip from Moab
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All about Utah

When to visit

The best time to visit most of Utah is during the spring or autumn, when temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold and the national parks aren’t crowded with summer vacationers. If you’re coming to skiing hot spots such as Park City, you’ll find the best powder during the winter. Movie fans may want to consider a January visit, when the annual Sundance Film Festival takes place in Salt Lake City, Park City, and at the Sundance Resort near Provo.

Getting around

Like much of the United States, Utah is very much a driving destination. Unless you plan to limit your visit to Salt Lake City, you’ll need a car to get around, especially if you want to visit natural areas and parks. If you aren’t fond of driving but want to see the parks, you can take a multi-day tour of the state or fly into Moab and take taxis to nearby parks.

Traveler tips

Just off Scenic Byway 12, between Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce, Kiva Koffeehouse serves up baked goods and hearty lunchtime treats in a sepia-hued structure that camouflages beautifully with the surrounding rocky landscapes. Fill up on freshly steamed tamales or treat yourself to a delectable eclair filled with rich chocolate ganache. You can even stay the night at the on-site Kiva Kottage, which offers simple but chic rooms with views out over the colorful surrounding landscape.

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People Also Ask

What is the number one attraction in Utah?

Zion National Park is one of the top things to do in Utah and is the state’s most-visited national park, though Salt Lake City does get more visitors overall (including business travelers and tourists). Popular attractions within Zion include Angels Landing and the Narrows, while Salt Lake City highlights include Temple Square and the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

How can I have fun in Utah?

A great way to have fun in Utah is by taking advantage of its seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Fun things to do in Utah include hiking, rock climbing, and paddleboarding in state and national parks, photographing rock formations and slot canyons, and hitting the ski slopes in Park City.

What are three cultural attractions in Utah?

Cultural attractions in Utah that you won’t want to miss are the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), which houses over 20,000 works of art; the Latter-day Saints Family History Library (an excellent place for genealogical research for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); and Temple Square. All three are located in Salt Lake City.

What is Utah popular for?

Utah is popular for its landscapes and outdoor activities. The state’s five national parks are among its biggest draws. Many people come to hike in Zion National Park, check out the rock formations in Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park near Moab, and Canyonlands National Park, and stargaze in Dead Horse Point State Park. The otherworldly Bonneville Salt Flats, located west of the Great Salt Lake, are another popular attraction to see while in Utah.

Is Utah expensive?

Yes, much of Utah is moderately expensive for tourists, especially near the national parks. Gas prices tend to be on the high side, and dining options near national parks aren’t generally cheap. Accommodations near the parks are also expensive, but there are lots of affordable options in Salt Lake City.

What is the prettiest place in Utah?

Determining the prettiest place in Utah is subjective, but many people would argue that Zion National Park offers some of the best scenery. If rock formations are more your thing, you’ll find them in great numbers at Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Goblin Valley State Park.

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