mesa arch best things to do in utah

25 Best Things to Do in Utah + Map

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If you long to explore the American West and its rugged terrain, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Utah. With five national parks and eight national monuments, this state is a wonderland for hiking, skiing, and outdoor recreation.

Besides, it’s a landlocked state bordered by Colorado and Wyoming to the east, Arizona to the south, Idaho to the north, and Nevada to the west, so there is a ton of open space to explore.

In this guide, I’ll share the top attractions in Utah so you can make the most of your trip here. Utah is my favorite place on earth and has given us so many photographic opportunities. The first time we visited was during our 10-day West Coast Road Trip, but we have been coming back since then because there are so many places to explore. If you fly here, hire a car to get around this beautiful state.

You can also rent an RV for an adventure of a lifetime (check our guide with all you need to know before renting an RV in the USA).

Now, let’s dig into the best places to visit in Utah. At the end of this article, you will also find a map with all the important tourist spots in Utah so you can plan your perfect route.

1. Hike in Zion National Park, the best thing to do in Utah

It’s no contest that Zion National Park is one of the best places to visit in Utah. The park is the ultimate playground for hiking enthusiasts, although there are plenty of family-friendly trails, too.

Two of the best trails in Zion National Park are The Narrows and Angels Landing. The former follows the gorge where the North Fork of the Virgin River runs (bring your water shoes!), while the latter include a via ferrata section that takes you to a beautiful lookout with panoramic views (not for those who are afraid of heights).

Some easier trails include the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, which passes by several waterfalls, and the Weeping Rock Trail. The Canyon Overlook Trail is also a popular choice, and you might see wildlife along your route.

Zion National Park, attraction in Utah

1. Hike in Zion National Park, the best thing to do in Utah

must-see in Utah that you might recognize is The Subway, a colorful pipeline carved into the canyon by the Left Fork North Creek. It requires a permit to visit, but it’s one of the most surreal sights in the world.

Even if you can’t see The Subway, you can explore the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive by hopping on the park’s shuttle bus. It makes stops to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Museum, Canyon Junction, Court of the Patriarchs, Zion Lodge, The Grotto, Weeping Rock, Big Bend, and the Temple of Sinawava.

We have a specific guide for those visiting Zion National Park. Besides, if you plan to do an overnight trip, check the best places to stay in Zion.

2. Bryce Canyon, aN STUNNING place to visit in Utah

If you’re not familiar with Bryce Canyon National Park, it will be a pleasant surprise as it’s one of the coolest places to visit in Utah.

Bryce Canyon is famous for the Hoodoos rock formations, which are some of the most peculiar natural structures on earth. Here, you can find Thor’s Hammer, Queen Victoria, and stunning overlooks like Sunrise Point and Sunset Point.

This place is also perfect for outdoor activities in Utah, like camping and hiking. Among the easiest hikes is the Queens Garden Trail, which starts at Sunrise Point and passes by the Queen Victoria rock formation. The Navajo Loop is very popular and does a circuit around Thor’s Hammer and the Two Bridges rock formation. There are also several backcountry trails if you’re going to be in the area for more than a day.

Bryce Canyon National Park, fun thing to do in Utah

2. Bryce Canyon National Park, a breathtaking place to visit in Utah

While you’re in Bryce Canyon, you must check out the best viewpoints, such as Bryce Amphitheater, Fairyland Point, and the Natural Bridge. Inspiration Point is especially beautiful at dawn, and the area around Thor’s Hammer is perfect for Milky Way photography.

We have written a specific guide on visiting Bryce Canyon National Park and another on where to stay in Bryce Canyon.

3. Arches National Park, a spectacular place to see in Utah

Arches National Park is appropriately named for its many natural arch formations, and it’s a beautiful place to visit in Utah.

There are over 2,000 arches in the park, but some of the most popular are the Turret Arch and The Windows. A heavily-trafficked 1.2-mile trail loops around these rock formations and can be a fun thing to do in Utah with kids.

Double Arch is one of the most popular sights in the park and has the tallest opening and second-longest span in Arches. Another cool feature in the park is Balanced Rock, which is visible from the road. The entire structure is nearly 130 feet tall, with the balancing rock rising 55 feet above the base.

Arches National Park, thing to see in Utah

3. Arches National Park, a spectacular place to see in Utah

However, the most popular sight is Delicate Arch (it’s even on Utah license plates). You can see it from afar at the Upper and Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint or you can hike the 3.4-mile trail to the arch, which is especially beautiful at sunset.

My favorite hike in the park is the Devil’s Garden loop which is twice as long but passes through the Landscape Arch, Dark Angel Spire, and several interesting rock fins.

While you’re in Arches, you can check out the town of Moab. Along with the famous Corona Arch, Moab also has places to stay overnight.

4. Canyonlands National Park, another place to visit in Utah

Canyonlands National Park is another area near Moab with a distinct landscape that you must see. The park is divided into four parts: The Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the Green and Colorado Rivers Plateau.

The Island in the Sky region includes the 500-foot-tall Washer Woman and 600-foot-tall Monster Tower. The Mesa Arch is one of the top attractions in Utah and stunning at sunrise. I also recommend walking to the Green River Overlook, which sits 1,000 feet above sea level and boasts impressive views.

Canyonlands, what to do in Utah

4. Canyonlands National Park, another place to visit in Utah

This area also overlooks the White Rim Sandstone level of the park, so it’s a good place to go in Canyonlands. That said, the Needles area south of the Colorado River features the Druid Arch and the Elephant Hill Trailhead. It’s worth checking out, but most visitors choose just one region to visit because they’re spread far apart.

The entire park is gorgeous and full of wildlife, such as cottontail rabbits, mule deer, and pronghorn. There is also ample opportunity for bird-watching, as you’ll find several varieties of hawks and eagles here.

For some outdoor activities to do in Utah, Canyonlands offers hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, rafting, and kayaking.

5. Visit Dead Horse Point State Park, another awesome thing to do in Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park is another place to visit in Utah if you’re looking for a unique experience in nature. This state park covers over 5,300 acres and offers spectacular views of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park.

The name originates from a legend that 19th-century cowboys used the land as a corral, but the horses often died from exposure. Whether or not that’s true, Dead Horse Point remains a beautiful natural area with great viewpoints, especially at sunrise. You might even recognize this high-desert setting from the classic film Thelma & Louise.

Dead Horse Point State Park, what to do in Utah

5. Visit Dead Horse Point State Park, another awesome thing to do in Utah

Dead Horse Point has a few picnic areas and campgrounds, as well as eight miles of hiking trails. The hikes are relatively easy, so it’s a fun thing to do in Utah with family.

The most popular hiking path is Dead Horse Point Overlook Trail, although the Visitor Center Nature Trail is good for all levels and leads to the East Rim Overlook.

The West Rim Trail System is a moderate hike and includes several stunning overlooks and impressive cliffs. The Bighorn Overlook Trail is the longest and most worthwhile, featuring desert potholes and canyon views.

You could also take the mountain bike paths at Dead Horse Point for a pleasant day trip from Moab.

6. Salt Lake City, the best city to visit in Utah

As the state capital, Salt Lake City has plenty of interesting places to visit. The city offers a mix of urban attractions and natural scenery, so it’s one of the best places to visit in Utah.

You might enjoy taking a free tour of the State Capitol building, or maybe Temple Square, one of the main Utah attractions. The Square includes the world’s largest Mormon temple and the Mormon Tabernacle. If you go inside, you’ll see one of the biggest pipe organs ever, with over 11,000 pipes.

Salt Lake City, cool places in Utah

6. Salt Lake City, the best city to visit in Utah

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Utah’s wilderness, check out Antelope Island at the Great Salt Lake, which is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. You can also explore the caves at Timpanogos Cave National Monument and drive the 20-mile Alpine Loop Scenic Byway.

We’ve written more tips about visiting Utah’s capital city in our guide to the best things to do in Salt Lake City.

7. Capitol Reef National Park, an interesting place to visit in Utah

A visit to Capitol Reef National Park is one of the top things to do in southern Utah. The name Capitol Reef comes from the white sandstone domes in the park, as well as the rocky cliffs that resemble reefs.

The park is in the heart of red rock country, so it’s a wonderland of canyons, cliffs, and natural bridges. It’s also the most accessible part of the Waterpocket Fold, a monocline or natural wrinkle in the earth, that extends for 100 miles.

Capitol Reef National Park, fun things to do in Utah

7. Capitol Reef National Park, an interesting place to visit in Utah

If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Utahtake a hike in the national park. The Fruita area has 15 hiking trails, many of which are along the Scenic Drive. Ranging in difficulty, the paths traverse deep canyon gorges, high cliffs, and stone arches.

You can also check out the Waterpocket District for longer hikes, or the Cathedral District for unpaved, backcountry trails. These challenging hikes will lead you through the high desert to volcanic dikes, crags, and monoliths. Keep an eye out for the ancient Mormon petroglyphs along the main highway.

Capitol Reef is also an International Dark Sky Park, so it’s an excellent place for night photography.

8. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is one of the best places to visit in southern Utah. This vast area is one of the most remote in the country. You could spend a week here and still not be able to see everything.

There are three main regions: The Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Canyons of the Escalante. We drove the Hole-in-the-Rock Scenic Byway, which passes by many attractions. I highly recommend renting a 4×4 if you’re going to visit!

For example, a 3-mile trail leads to the 126-foot Lower Calf Creek Falls, and there are several slot canyons along the Byway. A few notable ones include Zebra Canyon, Peek-a-Boo Canyon, Spooky Gulch, and Brimstone Gulch.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, attractions in Utah

8. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, another exciting place in Utah

We did the Coyote Gulch Trail loop through the Crack-in-the-Wall to Jacob Hamblin Arch, and it was the best hike we’ve ever taken. If you do this hike, you’ll need water shoes to cross the river, and a rope to get out of the gulch at the Jacob Hamblin Arch.

A few other attractions in Utah worth visiting are Devil’s Garden and the four hoodoos; the Cosmic Ashtray; and the Golden Cathedral Trail in the lower Neon Canyon. The dramatic lighting makes for an unforgettable experience.

9. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Another top Utah destination is Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This is another large swath of land around Lake Powell and the lower Cataract Canyon in Utah and Arizona. It shares borders with Capitol Reef and GSENM, so if you’re in those areas, be sure to stop by.

Glen Canyon is also a conservation area, and the rugged, high desert terrain can feel otherworldly at times. This is where you can find the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the world’s highest natural bridge and a must-see in Utah.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, best places to visit in Utah

9. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, an extraordinary place to visit in Utah

Another popular spot in this area is Lake Powell, the second-largest manmade reservoir. The lake extends to the Escalante River, and many interesting sights line its shores. For example, Castle Rock, Gunsight Butte, and the Waterpocket Fold can be found along the lake. You can also enjoy a swim or a bit of kayaking on the water.

From Big Water in Escalante, you can hike to Alstrom Point, one of the best overlooks in the area. We opted for the hike to Reflection Canyon, which was a challenging overnight trek of nearly 19 miles. The trailhead is at Hole-in-the-Rock Road and the path takes you to the astonishing canyon that lives up to its name, especially at sunrise.

10. Goblin Valley State Park, a unique place to go in Utah

Located in the San Rafael Desert, the Goblin Valley State Park resembles an alien planet. It features thousands of hoodoos rock formations, some of the largest in the world. They are often referred to as “goblins”, hence the name of the park.

Goblin Valley is a haven for mountain biking and hiking. The Goblin’s Lair is a strenuous hike, but it leads to an awesome cavern hidden within a slot canyon. The Carmel Canyon loop is 1.5 miles and passes by Molly’s Castle butte, another fascinating sight.

The easiest route is the Three Sisters trail, which leads to one of the most famous attractions in Utah, the Three Sisters monument. Or you can follow the Curtis Bench Trail between the rock formations to a lookout over Goblin Valley.

Goblin Valley State Park, fun things to do in Utah

10. Goblin Valley State Park, a unique place to go in Utah

The state park is also an International Dark Sky Park and a good place for wildlife spotting, so keep an eye out for jackrabbits, scorpions, pronghorn, kit foxes, and coyotes. There is an entrance fee, but I think it’s worth it.

Not far from Goblin Valley is Little Wild Horse & Bell Canyon, two other interesting tourist spots in Utah. You can do an 8-mile loop to explore these beautiful slot canyons, but I recommend doing the loop counterclockwise through Little Wild Horse first, as the elevation gain is nice and gradual.

11. Visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

If you’re not sure what to see in southern Utah, then Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is a great option. It’s the only major sand dune field on the Colorado Plateau and is just southeast of Zion National Park, which I mentioned earlier.

The park is instantly recognizable for its exquisite, pink-colored dunes, which look striking next to the red sandstone cliffs and scattered pinyon pines. The dunes, which are believed to be at least 10,000 years old, get their distinct orange color from grains of hematite-covered quartz.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, best things to do in Utah

11. Visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, another thing to experience in Utah

This state park is also a conservation area and a great place for wildlife viewing and photography. It’s also the only place where you can find the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle.

The hiking trails here are quite easy and not very long, but they’re scenic. Interestingly, the dunes can move as much as 50 feet per year, so the park may look different the next time you see it!

There is a small entrance fee, but this is one of the coolest places in Utah, so it’s worth it.

12. Goosenecks State Park, an unusual place to visit in Utah

A visit to Goosenecks State Park is a unique thing to do in Utah that you won’t regret. However, unlike other state parks in Utah, Goosenecks is mostly undeveloped, so come prepared with enough water and gear.

The park has some impressive overlooks that span the San Juan River, and the views extend for miles. There, you can look out at the meanders, also called goosenecks, that resulted from years of flowing water cutting into the rock. The San Juan River flows through and eventually makes its way to Lake Powell.

Goosenecks State Park, what to do in Utah

12. Goosenecks State Park, an unusual place to visit in Utah

Goosenecks is a small park, but its landscape reflects 300 million years of geological activity. It truly is one of the most impressive things to see in Utah. For example, you can see Alhambra Rock, a volcanic formation made of cooled magma, as well as the buttes of Monument Valley.

There aren’t any marked hiking trails in Goosenecks, but the nearby Honaker Trail leads to the park. On your way there you can stop by Fry Canyon, a small ghost town that’s just 8 miles from the Natural Bridges National Monument. The monument was the first International Dark Sky Park, so the stargazing here is divine.

13. Try your luck in Kanab & win The Wave lottery

Kanab is known as Utah’s Little Hollywood due to its appearance in many film westerns. Just north of the Arizona border, Kanab offers convenient access to Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, GSENM, and several other Utah attractions.

Close to Kanab, you’ll find the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, which spans southern Utah and northern Arizona. Coyote Buttes North is just a small part of the 112,500-acre region, but it’s easily accessible from Kanab. It’s most famous for The Wave sandstone rock formation, which you need a permit to visit.

Only 20 people can go through this area each day, so if you want to visit, try your luck with the online lottery or the in-person lottery in Kanab. We tried four times, but no luck.

The Wave, things to do in Utah

13. Try your luck in Kanab & win The Wave lottery, something you must do in Utah

Besides The Wave, Coyote Buttes North includes The Second Wave, The Alcove, Top Rock Arch, Melody Arch and the Grotto, Sand Cove, and Fatali’s Boneyard.

The lottery for Coyote Buttes South is said to be easier, but we didn’t have any luck there either. If you manage to win a permit, you’ll get to see some of the most striking geology in the country. Just opt for a 4×4 or take a tour because the sands are deep.

Both Coyote Buttes North and South are strenuous hikes, so bring plenty of water. And if you’re lucky enough to be able to visit these incredible Utah destinations, be sure to take plenty of photos!

14. Buckskin Gulch, one of the best things to see in Utah

In the same county as Kanab, you can see Buckskin Gulch, the longest and deepest slot canyon in the US, and maybe the world. Together with Paria Canyon and the Wire Pass, it’s one of the best attractions in Utah and a prime hiking spot.

We hiked through the Wire Pass and a portion of the Buckskin Gulch. The Wire Pass Trailhead is right off House Rock Valley and leads to Coyote Buttes North too, where you’ll find The Wave. However, as I mentioned, you can’t hike to The Wave without a permit. The rangers check, and you’ll be slapped with a heavy fine if you’re caught!

Buckskin Gulch, fun stuff to do in Utah

14. Buckskin Gulch, one of the best things to see in Utah

From I-89, you can take the Buckskin Trailhead or the White House Trailhead. If you have more time, get a permit to stay overnight and hike the 31 miles between these two trailheads (you’ll need to book a shuttle back to your car).

With its huge walls and narrow passageways, Buckskin Gulch is one of those must-see places in Utah. In this area, I also recommend visiting the Toadstool Hoodoos (1.8-mile hike) and the Wahweap Hoodoos (a 9-mile hike). If you’re willing to get off the beaten path, check out the White Rocks and Sidestep Canyon, two unique geological structures worth the extra effort!

15. White Pocket, another amazing attraction to visit in Utah

White Pocket is one of the top places to visit in southern Utah, so be sure to add it to your itinerary. It’s close to the Coyote Buttes, and a good alternative if you can’t snag a permit to see The Wave.

Actually, it’s part of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona. However, the area is more accessible from Kanab, Utah, which is where most tours depart from.

White Pocket, top attractions in Utah

15. White Pocket, another amazing attraction to visit in Utah

The sandy roads are hard to navigate, so I don’t recommend driving there. It’s safer to take this tour to see the varied landscape, with layers of white, yellow, and orange mineral deposits that span millions of years.

Not only is this one of the best road trips from Utah, but it’s also a great place for photographers. The cliffs, some of which are as tall as 3,000 feet, consist of layers of sandstone, siltstone, limestone, and shale, and look absolutely incredible against the Western sky.

16. Monument Valley, another place to visit in Southern Utah

Monument Valley is one of the highlights of the American West, so it’s a must-see in Utah. Often referred to as Navajo Nation, Monument Valley is also on the Utah-Arizona border.

Take the Monument Valley Scenic Drive if it’s your first time here, as this will introduce you to some of the most well-known landmarks. Just keep in mind that there is a $20 entrance fee.

It’s a small price to pay to see all the geological wonders that await. The Mittens and Merrick Butte are some of the most famous rock formations in Monument Valley. Rising 6,500 feet above the plains, they are an impressive sight, especially at sunrise.

Monument Valley, activities to do in Utah

16. Monument Valley, another place with more things to do in Utah

Be sure to also check out Elephant Butte, Three Sisters, and Camel Butte, which are all named after their appearance. That said, Camel Butte is best seen facing west, so you might have a hard time spotting it. And if you’re a fan of western films, check out the view from John Ford’s Point.

There is only one hiking route that you can take on your own, and it’s the Wildcat Trail. It takes about 2 hours and leads to the East Mitten Butte. Alternatively, you might enjoy a guided Navajo tour to learn more about Navajo culture, history, and the tribe’s important connection to Monument Valley.

If you want to further explore this area, be sure to read our guide to visiting Monument Valley, and spend a day or two in one of the best places to stay in Monument Valley.

17. Rafting on the Colorado River from Moab

For thrill-seekers, rafting on the Colorado River is one of the most adventurous things to do in Utah. The town of Moab offers incredible rafting tours and opportunities, so if you’re in the region, be sure to check them out.

I recommend this half-day rafting trip, which covers seven miles of Class 1 and 2 rapids. As you travel down the river, you’ll get great views of Fisher Towers and the La Sal Mountains.

Rafting on the Colorado River, things to do in Utah with kids

17. Rafting on the Colorado River from Moab, something to do in Utah with kids

While you’re in town, you should also check out Scenic Byway U-128 which meanders along the Colorado River gorge, the sixth-longest natural rock span in the US. Starting at the city’s northern end, you’ll pass by several beautiful hiking and bouldering spots and picnic areas.

You might want to stop at Lions Park or the Castle Valley Overlook for stunning photos. The Film Heritage Museum is great for movie buffs, while the Castle Creek Winery is a perfect pitstop for couples.

Of course, driving on the Scenic Byway is a fun thing to do in Utah with kids, too. For some outside time, check out the Grandstaff Hiking Trail or Fisher Towers Trail.

18. Kanarra Creek Canyon, another quiet place to go in Utah

Kanarra Creek Canyon is another fun place in Utah. It’s not far from Zion National Park, but you will need to book a spot in advance since there is a daily limit.

If you’re able to take the Kanarra Falls Hike, bring water shoes because you’ll have to tread through the stream. There are two waterfalls along the hike, but you’ll have to work a bit to get there.

About 1.5 miles into the hike, you’ll find the first one, and then you’ll have to climb a narrow log-ladder to the top of a boulder. Then, continue through a narrow slot canyon and tread knee-deep water to get to the second waterfall and a beautiful natural pool.

Kanarra Creek Canyon, best places to visit in Utah

18. Kanarra Creek Canyon, another quiet place to go in Utah

This hike is one of the most adventurous things to do in Utah, and it’s well worth the effort. However, if you can’t get into Kanarra Creek Canyon, you can check out Hidden Haven and Spring Creek Canyon, which are free, or Taylor Creek.

Hidden Haven is about 1.5 miles and is an easy hike that ends at a waterfall. Spring Creek Canyon is perfect for a day hike and passes by lush canyon flora. Taylor Creek is a bit longer and runs through a wooded area with old rancher cabins.

19. Go to the Cedar Breaks National Monument, a stunning thing to see in Utah

Another cool place to visit in Utah is Cedar Breaks National Monument. Located 10,000 feet above sea level, this area overlooks a natural amphitheater and the vast landscape of southwestern Utah.

The rock formations at Cedar Breaks are ancient, but the land is constantly changing. An array of hoodoos, spires, and cliffs make it one of the best attractions in Utah for day hiking.

There are two easy hiking trails near the canyon’s rim. The Sunset Trail runs between the Point Supreme Overlook and Sunset View Overlook, while the Nature Trail connects the Point Supreme Campground to the Sunset Trail. From there, you can see striking views of the badlands’ fins, arches, and caves.

Cedar Breaks National Monument, place to visit in Utah

19. Go to the Cedar Breaks National Monument, a stunning thing to see in Utah

For a more moderate hike, take the Alpine Pond Loop Trail or the South Rim Trail to the Spectra Point Viewpoint. If you’re up for it, continue to Ramparts Viewpoint and Bartzen Viewpoint. Along the way, keep an eye out for mule deer and porcupines, as well as other canyon rodents.

There is a small entrance fee, but the park is open year-round. I suggest going during the warmer months so you can see the eroded canyon layers of iron and manganese. It creates a brilliant display of reds, oranges, yellows, and purples, which is why the canyon is often called the Circle of Painted Cliffs.

20. Explore the Bonneville Salt Flats, something fun to do in Utah

The Bonneville Salt Flats is one of those hidden places in Utah that you might not know about. Located in northwestern Utah near the border with Nevada, the salt flats are what remains of Lake Bonneville from the Pleistocene era. The lake dried up, leaving behind one of the largest salt flats in the state. Covering over 30,000 acres, you can see it as you drive along I-80. Just be sure to stay on the marked roads, as it’s a very fragile environment.

The salt flats are one of the most extraordinary places to go in Utah. This area boasts a unique landscape in that it’s totally flat and seems to extend forever.

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah things to do

20. Explore the Bonneville Salt Flats, something fun to do in Utah

While you’re visiting, you might want to check out the Bonneville Speedway. This area of the salt flats is used exclusively for motorcar racing and has been a tourist attraction since 1914. If you visit in mid-August, you can catch Bonneville Speed Week, one of the major racing events of the year.

21. Red Cliffs National Conservation Area & Snow Canyon State Park

If you’re visiting southern Utah, it’s worth stopping by St. George, a city surrounded by the Mojave Desert, Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin.

Here, you can visit the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. Located on the edge of the Mojave Desert, it’s part of the larger Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, which protects the endangered habitats of native species like the Mojave Desert tortoise.

There are plenty of recreational opportunities, too. I suggest hiking the Silver Reef Trail or the Anasazi Trail. The former leads to dinosaur tracks while the latter goes to ancient Ancestral Puebloan ruins.

Red Cliffs National Conservation Area & Snow Canyon State Park, what to do in Utah

21. Visit Red Cliffs National Conservation Area & Snow Canyon State Park

Or take the Red Reef Trail, an easy route of about 1.5 miles. It starts at the campground and leads to natural pools, passing by a rugged landscape of Navajo sandstone.

In the same Reserve, you can explore Snow Canyon State Park which is known for its red and white canyon. Here, you’ll also find lava tubes and the extinct Santa Clara volcano, two awesome things to see in Utah. The stunning red rock formations provide shelter for creatures like the Gila monster, horned rattlesnake, and giant desert hairy scorpion.

Finally, I highly recommend the Toquerville Falls Trail via LaVerkin Creek. The 12-mile route leads to a beautiful natural pool with a waterfall. It’s one of the top swimming holes and has cliffs you can use to jump into the water.

22. Go to Mystic Hot Springs, the best thing to do in Utah for couples

With its bohemian vibe and rustic setting, Mystic Hot Springs is one of the coolest places in Utah. These natural hot springs have been used by the Ute, Shoshone, or Piute tribes for generations, although it has a more hipster atmosphere these days.

After an artist/filmmaker discovered the area, he purchased the land and made some aesthetic changes to create an immersive experience for visitors. Along with hosting concerts throughout the year, Mystic Hot Springs has several soaking area and offers massages and other therapeutic services.

Mystic Hot Springs, Utah best things to do

22. Go to Mystic Hot Springs, the best thing to do in Utah for couples

The 165° F water flows downhill, and by the time it reaches the pools, it’s between 100°-111° F. There are also nine cooler ponds full of tropical fish, and a few wild animals roam the property. It makes for a relaxing experience that revolves around nature and art, and some people call it a hippie oasis.

Not far is Meadow Hot Springs, which has three private thermal baths. A visit here could be a good thing for couples to do in Utah for some much-needed TLC. Just be aware that it’s about a half-mile hike to get to the springs.

23. See the Dinosaur National Monument, the best thing to do in Utah with family

For something that will appease the whole family, check out Dinosaur National Monument, one of the best-kept hidden places in Utah. This American national monument sits in the Uinta Mountains, on the Utah-Colorado border. Most of the monument is in Colorado, but the Dinosaur Quarry is in Utah, and it’s well worth a visit.

There are over 800 paleontological sites at Dinosaur National Monument spanning millions of years of natural history. These include numerous petroglyphs and dinosaur fossils, and a nearly-complete Abydosaurus skull.

Dinosaur National Monument, cool things in Utah

23. See the Dinosaur National Monument, the best thing to do in Utah with family

The park also includes Mantle’s Cave, a cliff alcove dating to the pre-Columbian Fremont culture, and several rustic buildings, including the Josie Bassett Morris Ranch Complex.

Moreover, the area is a designated International Dark Sky Park and provides stunning panoramic views of the Green River Canyon, so it’s a must-see in Utah for nature lovers.

24. Park City & nearby ski resorts, the top-rated place for winter sports in Utah

Park City Mountain Resort is part of the Wasatch Back region of the Rocky Mountains and is just over 30 miles from the capital, so skiing here is an awesome thing to do near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Park City actually gets less snow than other Utah ski resorts, but it’s more accessible. The resort features 17 slopes, 300 trails, and 22 miles of lifts. Besides, the town of Park City offers tons of shops, clubs, bars, restaurants, hiking and biking trails, and hot springs. It was even named one of the “20 prettiest towns” in the United States.

Park City, best things to do in Utah

24. Park City & nearby ski resorts, the top-rated place for winter sports in Utah

If you’re not near Park City or you want to check out other Utah ski resorts, you have plenty of options.

Alta and Snowbird are close to each other and are great for experienced skiers. Deer Valley is a more upscale ski resort, and Powder Mountain, while being a bit further out, is much less crowded. Finally, Snow Basin and Brighton ski resorts are more affordable and offer more fun things to do in Utah for the family.

25. Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend, two amazing places to visit near Utah

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon on the Navajo land of Page, Arizona. While it’s not in Utah, it’s just 15 minutes from the border, so it makes for an excellent road trip from Utah.

As we wrote in our guide to Antelope Canyon, this region is famous for its curving, red-streaked canyon walls. While it’s a touristy spot, it is worth braving the crowds because of the fascinating geology. Whether you visit Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon, you will need to book a tour with a Navajo guide because the slot canyon is in the Navajo Nation.

Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend, things to do in Utah

25. Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend, two amazing places to visit near Utah

Upper Antelope Canyon is absolutely stunning because during the early afternoon in summer, sunlight filters through the water-carved crevices. If you’re a photographer, this is the section you will want to visit. Lower Antelope Canyon is longer and, while not as popular, is the cheapest and more convenient option for most of visitors.

If you’re going to be in this area, you should also stop by Horseshoe Bend, which we’ve also written about. As the name suggests, this horseshoe-shaped meander is an imposing structure on the banks of the Colorado River. The sinuous form is nearly 1,000 feet tall, so while sitting on the edge is mesmerizing, it’s also dangerous.

You’ll spend less time at Horseshoe Bend than at Antelope Canyon, but if you want to stay overnight, we have a guide to the best Page accommodations.

Now you know the top 25 things to do in Utah, so you can plan the perfect itinerary. To help you figure out your trip, we’re including this map of attractions in Utah.

There is a lot to see in this western state, from natural formations to beautiful recreational areas. Take your time looking through this guide and if you have any other questions, just leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to help. Happy trails!

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COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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