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Utah in United States.svg
Flag of Utah.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Salt Lake City
Government U.S. State
Currency US dollar (USD)
Area 219,887 km2
Population 3.206 million (2019)
Language Official:English
Religion Mormon 58%, Unaffiliated 16%, Catholic 10%, Other 19.3%
Electricity 120V/60Hz (North American plug)
Time Zone UTC -7/-6

Utah, [2] located in the Southwest region of the United States, is well known for its incredible scenic beauty and year round outdoor activities including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, boating, water skiing, horseback riding, camping, and rock climbing. The capital city of Salt Lake City has a number of unique modern and historical sites to visit, including Temple Square, the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons.


Utah regions map.png
Wasatch Front
The most urbanized area of the state - home to Salt Lake City, the majority of Utah's population, a number of LDS temples, and world class skiing and snowboarding
Canyon Country
Mars on earth; few people reside here, but some of the world's most extraordinary desert landscapes and enormous national parks await
Northeastern Utah
High desert landscape, mining settlements, and the Uinta Mountains, home to Utah's highest peaks
Utah's southwest is home to striking desert landscapes, forested mountains, ranchland, and the warmest spot in the state
Central Utah
Rolling hills, agricultural land, and historic Mormon settlements abound in the Central region
Western Utah
Endless desert, some high mountains, rugged terrain, salt flats, and the Great Salt Lake


  • Salt Lake City – located along the Wasatch Front, it is the largest city and capital of the state, the center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church, whose members are known as Mormons), including Temple Square, and the University of Utah; host city of the 2002 Winter Olympics
  • Cedar City – good-sized college town of Southern Utah University in northern Dixie, home to the annual Utah Shakespearean Festival, and located near Cedar Breaks National Monument and the northwestern section of Zion National Park
  • Logan – fast-growing city located in Cache Valley in northern Utah, with plenty of nearby recreational activities, two impressive Mormon religious structures, and Utah State University
  • Moab – tourist town in northeastern Canyon Country, located in the center of a major recreational area that includes Arches, Canyonlands national parks and Dead Horse Point State Park, and offering outdoor outfitters and guides
  • Ogden – traditionally industrial city north of Salt Lake City, which includes George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park and is near many ski resorts and abundant recreational activities
  • Price – small town in eastern Utah with many local dinosaur attractions, ancient Indian petroglpyhs, the College of Eastern Utah, and wide open desert areas
  • Provo – located in Utah Valley south of Salt Lake City on the Wasatch Front, home to Brigham Young University, and surrounded by high mountains, great skiing, canyons, Utah Lake, and numerous other recreational opportunities
  • Park City – mountain resort city at center of large winter sports area with 3 ski resorts; many events for the 2002 Winter Olympics took place near here
  • St. George – fast-growing city in the southwest corner of state in Dixie, near Zion National Park and offering plenty of leisurely recreational activities akin to Mesquite, Nevada and also a hot spot for spring break

Along with Utah's towering rock formations and large bodies of water, another beautiful part of the Beehive State is the environment around them. The most common types of trees in Utah are the White Fir, Rocky Mountain Maple, and the Big Tooth Maple Tree (“Forestry - Utah Native Trees.”). Both the White Fir trees and the Rocky Mountain maples are evergreen trees, meaning that whatever season it is these trees will continuously create new leaves as the old ones fall (IMBID). The big tooth maple,known by its scientific name as Acer grandidentatum, is a deciduous tree meaning that in the fall these trees will typically lose their leaves (IBID).

Other Destinations[edit]

Green River Overlook in Canyonlands National Park

Utah has an extraordinary number of national parks and monuments. The following is subdivided into "National parks and monuments" and "Other" as an aid to the reader:

National parks and monuments[edit]

A "Park Pass" from the United States National Park Service [3] is a particularly good investment if you're visiting Utah and planning to see its national parks and monuments. The $80 fee allows unlimited access to all National Park Service units for a year, and also provides discounts on some of the services within the units. Paying for this pass may save you money in the long run as you move from park to park in Utah. (Note, however, that there are a very few national monuments that are not part of the National Park Service, and are therefore not covered by a Park Pass; Monument Valley is one prominent example in Utah.)


Sailboat Race Day on the Great Salt Lake
  • Bear Lake Utah – popular water sports and summer resort area surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery northeast of Logan
  • Cache Valley – scenic mountain valley in Northern Utah, home to Utah State University and blanketed by irrigation-fed agriculture.
  • Dead Horse Point State Park – spectacular gorge southwest of Moab where the Colorado River winds through a major bedrock of sandstone
  • Flaming Gorge – reservoir north of Vernal, popular for water sports, located in the eastern Uintas
  • Four Corners – only place where four states meet, located at southeast corner with Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico
  • Goblin Valley – desert valley with strange formations of sandstone in south-central portion of state
  • Great Salt Lake – shallow, salty lake in northwestern portion of state northwest of Salt Lake City. The Great Salt Lake Marina, operated as a state park, Great Salt Lake State Park and Marina [4]is located on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, 16 miles west of Salt Lake City along Interstate 80. The Great Salt Lake Marina has 300 slips and is available for year-round boating on the lake that never freezes. Few power boats frequent the lake which makes this large lake with beautiful vistas and expansive night skies an excellent sailing location. The Great Salt Lake Yacht Club [5]organizes sailboat races that occur all summer long on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings.
  • King's Peak – in the Uinta mountain range - the tallest mountain in Utah (13,528 feet)
  • Kodachrome Basin State Park – small, popular (but very quiet) state park, situated about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Bryce Canyon National Park, containing multicoloured rock formations
  • Maple Canyon – Conglomerate rock climbing area with hiking, camping, and OHV.
  • Monument ValleyNavajo Nation Tribal Park boasting the Southwest's most famous desert scenery
  • Palisade State Park – Golf, Fish, Swim, Canoe, Camp.
  • Snowkite Skyline Drive – The newest extreme winter sport.
  • The Arapeen ATV Trail System – 350-mile Off-Highway Vehicle Trail System.
  • Uinta Mountains – large east-west range of the Rocky Mountains through northeast portion of state with spectacular mountain climbing and pristine, serene wilderness
  • Wasatch Mountains – mountain range running through center of state north-south with gorgeous mountain scenery, excellent summer recreational activities, and multiple world-famous ski areas; vibrant fall colors that rival that of New England
  • Yuba Lake State Park – waterski, fish, and camp.


Utah public lands map

Dixie refers to the low-lying area in the southwest corner of the state. It contains the city of St. George, and the climate is more closely-related to the southwestern deserts than it is to the rest of the state, with low annual precipitation, hot, dry summers, and mild winters with infrequent snowfall. Early settlers were able to grow cotton in the area, hence the name Dixie (a name for the cotton belt of the southern U.S.).

The Wasatch Front is the heavily-populated region of basins and valleys located between the Wasatch Mountains on the east and on the west by the Great Salt Lake (to the north) and the Oquirrh Mountains (to the south). 3/4 of Utah's population lies in this portion of the state, which stretches from Brigham City in the north to Santaquin in the south. Ogden, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Orem, and Provo are located on the Wasatch Front.

The benches are the higher slopes along the Wasatch Front. Residential development on the Wasatch Front typically extends high onto the slopes of the Wasatch Mountains in some areas. Homes here are generally more affluent, as they provide spectacular views of the surrounding areas, and the benches receive more precipitation and much more snow than the valley floors.

Mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up most of Utah's population, and their beliefs and practices are one of the strongest influences for public policy in the state, particularly when it comes to being against drinking, smoking, and homosexuality. Mormons are generally tolerant and friendly towards non-Mormons, but may be taken aback by cussing, smoking, or drinking in their presence, particularly in the more rural cities and towns. They might attempt to convert the non-Mormons they meet. Most will continue being friendly after their offer of learning the Book of Mormon is refused. Some will discontinue their friendliness and avoid the non-Mormon in the future. Sunday is considered a day of rest, and so some stores will be closed on Sunday. These stereotypes hold more weight in smaller cities and towns. In some areas (especially Park City and Salt Lake City) the number of non-Mormons outnumber members of the LDS faith.

When to visit[edit]

Utah has four distinct seasons and widely-variable climate zones. Summer is hot in the north (about 80°-100°F), but rarely extreme, and is often unbearable in the far southern valleys and desert terrain (often exceeding 100°F, and even 110°F). However, summers tend to be quite comfortable in the mountains, making summer an ideal time to experience the mountain terrain of Utah. In winter, temperatures from 20° - 40°F are common in the north, with warmer temperatures in the south. Overnight temps can occasionally drop below 0°F. Snow is common statewide, with the exception of the far southern valleys, from November - March, and often occurs even earlier and later than this. Snow is particularly common downwind of the Great Salt Lake. A number of excellent ski resorts operate in the Wasatch Mountains, especially around Salt Lake City, from about late November through mid-April. Snow is common in the mountains from late September - May. Summer and fall are both excellent times to enjoy the mountain scenery, with comfortable temperatures, low chance of snow, and easy access to a number of fantastic trails and hiking paths.

Although snow is common in winter in much of the state, rain is less common - it can be expected in winter and spring in the south and in spring in the north, but it's usually fairly light and short in duration. Fall also sees a short but unpredictable rainy season. Although summer is bone dry statewide, thunderstorms are a daily threat, especially throughout the south and in the northern mountains. Although these t-storms are short and small, they can be very intense. Although summer and fall are great times to enjoy the mountains and the slot canyons and desert terrain of southern Utah, attention must be paid to the skies as the evening approaches if camping in the mountains or enjoying the rugged terrain of southern Utah, especially in August. These storms can bring flash flooding to the narrow slot canyons of southern Utah, so make sure to evacuate the slot canyons as soon as possible if you see thunderstorms nearby - if you have a guide they will usually know when precautions must be taken. Summer and fall also bring a serious threat of wildfires in the backcountry.

September and early October is usually the best time to enjoy Utah, especially the mountains, with milder temperatures than summer, less chance of violent thunderstorms, and little chance of snow in the mountains. In addition, significant snowpack can linger in the mountains through May, while by early Autumn, summer has melted all of the snow, and snowstorms are rare. The national parks of Utah can get very crowded during Summer but predictably become less crowded towards late Summer and into Fall. Finally, Fall colors are spectacular in the mountains of Utah, and reach their peak in September. Colors in the valley peak in mid-October but aren't especially spectacular. The gorgeous Fall colors in the mountains rival the famous colors of New England, and are sometimes accompanied by early snow, creating a unique and beautiful mixture of vibrant colors and soft white.


English is obviously the most commonly spoken language In the state, and considering the large number of Hispanic immigrants and residents, there are a surprising number of native, and non-native Spanish speakers, especially in Salt Lake City and Provo, since LDS missionary efforts are especially strong in Latin America. "No hablo inglés" doesn't work anymore when these guys knock at your door.

However, considering the large number of LDS that serve missions outside of the Untied States, you're likely to encounter Utahans that speak a second language even in the smallest towns. Don't be surprised if the clerk at the gas station just happens to speak perfect Thai!

The universities also have a large number of foreign speakers, particularly Chinese.

Get in[edit]

By road[edit]

Take I-15 from Southern California and Las Vegas. It also enters from Idaho to the north, eventually connecting to Canada. I-80 connects west to Reno and northern California - the route begins in San Francisco. It also connects from Wyoming near Evanston, providing the quickest route from Denver to Salt Lake City. I-70 heads straight west from Denver, entering Utah near Grand Junction and providing quick access to the incredible desert terrain of southern Utah, although not to any of the urban centers.

By train[edit]

Amtrak [6] runs the California Zephyr from Emeryville to Chicago, stopping in Green River, Helper, Provo, and Salt Lake City.

For more information, see Amtrak's website or Wikitravel's article Rail travel in the United States.

By plane[edit]

Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) is the westernmost hub for Delta Air Lines, which offers nonstop service from 109 different destinations, most in the western US, but also from medium-sized cities in the central US and the large cities on the east coast. Nonstop service is also available from Amsterdam and Paris-De Gaulle. In addition Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, KLM, United, and low cost airlines Southwest, Frontier, and JetBlue also serve Salt Lake City.

St. George (SGU) in Southern Utah has commuter flights operated by Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines to their respective hub airports in Salt Lake City, Denver, and Phoenix. This is the most convienient airport to use of you are planning to head over to one of the various National Parks in the area such as Zion and Bryce Canyon however flights tend to be more expensive than either Salt Lake City or Las Vegas due to the lack of competition.

Vernal (VEL) in the Northeastern corner of Utah has service to Salt Lake City and Denver on Boutique Airlines.

Cedar City (CDC) in central Utah is served with prop service to Salt Lake City thru Delta Airlines.

Canyonlands Field (CNY) (serving the Moab area) has service to Salt Lake City and Denver on Boutique Airlines.

Get around[edit]

  • Roads: Nearly every city in Utah is laid out on a grid system, a vision of the original Mormon settlers. They generally feature wide roads, with a numbering system consisting of intervals of 100 originating from a central point (for example, heading north from the center, the first road will be 100 North, then 200 North, and so on). This system can be confusing for first-time visitors, but is easy to pick up and familiarize yourself with. The major exception to this is Ogden, which was settled as a non-Mormon railroad town and therefore possesses a different numbering system.
  • Public Transportation: The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) [7] maintains a bus system with several routes, generally between Ogden and Provo. UTA also is responsible for the TRAX system, which is light rail running from the University of Utah to downtown Salt Lake to Sandy. For both bus and train, one-way fare is $2, and a transfer can be obtained upon request, which will allow you to board another bus or train within two hours. UTA also operates Frontrunner, a commuter train, running between Ogden in the north and thru Salt Lake City and down onwards to Provo in the south. The cost of Frontrunner is $2-$5 one way depending on how far you travel. Fares have change frequently in the past, so check UTA website [] for updates.

See[edit][add listing]


  • Skyline Drive – winds for over 100 miles along the very top of the Wasatch Plateau, providing access to forested mountains, alpine meadows and numerous lakes, streams and camping areas. At elevations ranging from about 9,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest roads in America. Views of the mountain basins and surrounding valleys are marvelous.

Do[edit][add listing]

Utah is also home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. Most of Utah's best ski areas are located in Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon, which are both conveniently located less than an hour's drive away from Salt Lake City.

If you like off-roading, Moab is home to the semi-annual Jeep Safari. The Safari will often times run twice a year, one over Easter Weekend the other over Memorial Day Weekend. The desert terrain combined with it's vast canyons can make for some fun and beautiful scenic drives, or wild rides with some very challenging obstacles. You can also bike and in some cases take an ATV out on the trails. For a less arid ride, try your hand at high mountain OHV riding through aspen and pine forests on the Arapeen ATV Trail System.

There is some mind-blowing rock climbing to be done in Utah, some of the best is located at Maple Canyon and Zion National Park. If this is not enough to satisfy your extreme sports cravings, consider snowkiting at high altitudes on Skyline Drive.

  • Mount Ogden Via Ferrata (, 2900 Buchanan Avenue (Take the 31st street exit off of Interstate 15 in Ogden, proceed to the parking lot at the east end of 29th street), (801) 550-1761, [1]. by reservation. If you can climb a ladder, you can climb the Mount Ogden Via Ferrata! You're always attached to the safety cable. No ropes or knots required. Via Ferrata (Italian for "iron road") is a mountain-climbing method that lets less experienced climbers enjoy views and adrenaline rushes usually reserved for elite climbers. Conceived during World War I, via ferrata allowed Italian soldiers from the flatlands to move quickly through the mountains as they fought the Austrians for higher ground. Today there are over 500 via ferrata climbing routes in Europe, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, ages 8 to 80. The "iron road" is now available in Utah with the Mount Ogden Via Ferrata.  edit

Hunting is also very popular in Utah. Game Species include: Wasatch Front: Rocky Mountain Mule Deer, Rocky Mountain Elk, Pronghorn, Hybrid Bighorn, Mountain Goat, Sage Grouse, Kaibab Cougar, Ducks, Geese, Trumpeter Swan, Beaver, Racoon.

Canyon Country: Desert Bighorn, Elk, Deer, Black Bear, Bison, Bobcat, Turkey.

Northeastern Utah: Shiras Moose, Mule Deer, sandhill crane, upland game.

Central Utah: Small Game

Dixie- Bobcat, wild boar

Western Utah-coyote, Mustang round ups

Eat[edit][add listing]

The most unique dishes in Utah Include:

Funeral Potatoes: A dish of sliced potatoes covered in cheese usually served at family events (funerals, reunions, weddings, etc.)

Jello: a dessert made from gelatin that comes in a variety of colors

Fry Sauce: A sauce made from ketchup and mayonnaise that becomes pink and is served with french fries

Most other food in Utah is your typical American Cuisine.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Heathen hops
Chances are, at some point during a visit to Utah, you will wonder: What the heck is "Polygamy Porter?!" The fact that their motto is "Why have just one" will likely only fuel further questions about why the state seems to be full of local brews insulting the local religion. The explanation is bizarre and not just a little humorous. An entrepreneurial Milwaukeean decided that America's most temperate state could use a brewery, and that the best way to market his brews would be to have as outrageous and controversial an advertising campaign as possible. Stunts like sending two men in stereotypical "Mormon missionary dress" door-to-door trying to convert Mormons to beer, predictably generated the intended controversy, which in turn served as widespread publicity for his business, the Wasatch Brew Pub. In any rate, it can feel a little uncomfortable to ask a local for a "Polygamy Porter," but it is a fine brew.

The legal drinking and purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 21. Underage drinking is allowed for religious purposes, or for medical purposes if the minor is 18 or older. However, Utah is one of the 17 states that doesn't penalize a minor for consuming alcohol if he/she is discovered to have been drinking alcohol through his/her reporting a medical emergency for another under age drinker.[8][9]

Utah's liquor laws are known as one of the more peculiar things about the state. Liquor is sold only in state-owned stores and generally costs more than in other states. Beer contains slightly less alcohol (3.2% alcohol by weight [4% alcohol by volume], as opposed to the standard 5-6% ABV) than the usual brew, which is available in stores and restaurants. "Full strength" beer is available in bars, although not on tap, and liquor stores. Recently, state law changed the previous 1 ounce limit on liquor in mixed drinks to a more standard 1.5 ounces. Secondary alcoholic flavorings may then be added to a mixed drink as the recipe requires. "Happy hours" and other drink specials are not allowed, so prices remain constant regardless of day or time. Keep in mind that driving after drinking is prosecuted aggressively in the state of Utah.

Although liquor laws in Utah are strict, they are not impossible. There are several kinds of establishments to know about:

  • Private club. Memberships are no longer required at Utah's bars as of 2009. Bars can serve until 1 AM (last call usually occurs between 12:15 and 12:45 depending on the number of people in the bar) and close at 2 AM.
  • Taverns. A tavern is a bar that serves only beer and requires no "membership".
  • Restaurants. Many restaurants serve beer as well as hard liquor. No "membership" is required, but you must order food. Mixed drinks and wine can be served with meals from noon until 1AM. Beer may be ordered 10AM-1AM.

Remember, DO NOT under any circumstances bring any alcohol in areas that are under the jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation. Alcohol is prohibited on the Indian reservation and punishments are severe.

Stay safe[edit]

Law Enforcement[edit]

Utah Highway Patrol is the state law enforcement for Utah. Utah also has county sheriffs and local police for cities and towns.

Mine and Quarry Safety[edit]

It is illegal and dangerous to enter mines and quarries. Never explore a Mine or a Quarry either active or abandoned it could lead to injuries or death! Doing so can cause injury or death.

Dangers of exploring mines and quarries

  • unexploded ordnance and blasting caps
  • Dangerous chemicals and toxic gas
  • dangerous animals, wolves, rats and venomous snakes
  • open pits and drop offs
  • no oxygen in mines


While much of Utah is developed, there is a great amount of desert especially to the south and west. If going out to the deserts always take plenty of water (at least one gallon per person, per day) and sunscreen as well as light clothing. Let people know where you are going and when you expect to get back.

Always be careful and watch for lightning while hiking. It's often best to hike in the early morning to avoid the possibility of hitting an afternoon thunderstorm. If caught in a storm while hiking seek shelter as quickly as you can. Also, if you see a thunderstorm nearby while exploring the slot canyons or the rough desert terrain of southern Utah, seek high ground immediately! Flash flooding is common in these areas, even when there is not a thunderstorm overhead.

Mountain lions (Puma Concolor) are present in Utah. The chances of encountering one are remote. If you do however, pick up pets and children, and make yourself look big to scare it off. Running away from a lion will result in a chase and you will be food.


Scam artists target Utahns frequently, and property crime is a considerable risk. Lock up, use common sense, and store valuables and personal information out of sight.


Contrary to the stereotype, only a tiny fraction practice polygamy. It is also strictly illegal under both state and federal law. Although the chances of getting caught or reported are minimum, it is recommended not to get involved in it.


If you wish to gamble, it is recommended to go to one of the surrounding states of Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, or Arizona instead. Utah isn't one of the friendliest U.S. jurisdictions for gambling. The state is one of the few with strict laws against most forms of gambling (no type is allowed in Utah). Fines and imprisonment can be issued to anyone involved in gambling within the state. [10]

Winter Storms[edit]

Winter storms are common in the state of Utah and it can be very cold. You should exercise extreme caution while driving especially if you plan to travel through the mountain passes and roads during winter weather. Some highways and road passes on the mountain side are closed during winter due to extreme conditions and avalanche danger. During winter weather tire chain laws may be in affect and are required while driving through mountain passes.

Stay healthy[edit]

Because of Utah's high elevation those not accustomed can be subject to mild altitude sickness, especially when hiking. Always pace yourself when hiking, and drink plenty of water, especially in summer time.

The high elevation also makes the exposure to UV rays far more intense than other places. Too much exposure can lead to skin conditions down the road, including skin cancer. Always apply sunscreen when you are expecting prolonged time in the sun. It's advised to do this year round.

Certain parts of Utah are valley regions. In the winter time they are subject to days of pollution inversions. Those with respiratory and heart conditions should advise the air quality index to see the primary pollutant. You usually can find the indexes in the daily paper as well as watching local news and The Weather Channel.

Get out[edit]

  • Idaho - Utah's northwestern neighbor is a rugged state, with snow-capped mountains, whitewater rivers, forests, high desert, and plenty of wilderness. As well as known for its world famous potatoes.
  • Wyoming - Located northeast of Utah, Wyoming is home to most of the landmass of Yellowstone National Park and provides an excellent opportunity to experience America's cowboy heritage.
  • Colorado - The Rocky Mountain state borders Utah to the east and offers a mind-boggling array of outdoor activities.
  • New Mexico - Joining Utah only at the Four Corners, this state lies to Utah's southeast and was a Spanish and then Mexican colony until the Mexican War of the 1840s, and retains a culture that is heavily influenced by its native and colonial past.
  • Arizona - Home to the Grand Canyon, Arizona borders Utah to the south.
  • Nevada - The Silver State borders Utah to the west and is home to the adult playground of Las Vegas.

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