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Appeals most to those on venturesome side of scale, less so for those with Authentic leanings

Did You Know…?

  • Seventy percent of Utah’s population is Mormon.
  • Rainbow Bridge is the largest known natural stone bridge in the world.
  • Great Salt Lake is a remnant of a 25,000-year-old freshwater lake.
  • The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is the largest genealogical library in the world.
  • Utahans average more years in school than people in any other state.

From Mormons to Olympians

Utah is not the place for nightlife or theme parks, but a spot that offers beautiful, rugged western scenery for biking, camping, fishing, hiking and skiing in its wide open spaces.

The state also possesses a unique and fascinating history, having been populated by Indians, Mormons, ranchers, miners and railroad builders. Its rugged terrain, so appealing to nature lovers today, provided hideouts for not a few rogues, as well. More recently, it held the world’s attention for the span of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Mormons account for a significant majority of Utah’s population and that heritage translates into a number of fascinating tourist attractions. For one thing, the Mormon interest in identifying their forebears led to creation of the Family History Library on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. It houses the names of more than 2 billion deceased people. Open to the public at no charge, it is a perfect place for those eager to reconstruct their family tree.

For some, the Mormon influence may mean life is a little staid, but many families like that. Parents bring their children for the state’s wondrous attractions as well as the wholesome atmosphere. Travelers also report feeling safe and secure anywhere in the state.  On the other hand, there is nothing staid about Mother Nature here — or about the Outlaw Trail either.

The state, calling itself America’s national parks capital, counts five, including Bryce Canyon and Zion. It also claims the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park because that area is best accessed via Utah, and Mesa Verde is just across the border in Colorado.  In addition, Utah has seven national monuments, two national recreation areas and six national forests. Further, Utah has more than 40 state parks.

As for the Outlaw Trail, it meanders from Mexico to Montana and was loved by outlaws for geographic features that made it easy for them to hide. Utah’s Robbers’ Roost is illustrative: It is a wild region of canyons and hundreds of hiding places.

For visitors, there are attractions and activities for all seasons making Utah a year-round vacation destination.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Go whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon. Camp out under the stars at night.
  • Hike Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands National Park to see surprising ancient rock art.
  • Give all that healthy physical activity a rest, and take in a string of food factory tours — with samples, of course. In Cache Valley, your choices include cheese, chocolates, coffee, cookies, honey and ice cream.
  • Hone your skills as a mountain biker on the Moab Slickrock Bike Trail.
  • Look up your family background at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  • Get on the trail of Butch Cassidy, starting with a visit to his hometown of Circleville, these days noted as a starting point for a serpentine all-terrain vehicle trail. After a little time out for the ATV action, head for Robbers’ Roost on the so-called Outlaw Trail. The easiest access is via the mouth of the Dirty Devil River.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Attend the Utah Shakespearean Festival, June to October, in Cedar City. Also, the Heritage Theater in Cedar City’s historic downtown is the permanent home for the Utah Neil Simon Festival, set for July and August, and a number of other entertainments.
  • Float on the Great Salt Lake. You will be unbelievably buoyant because of the heavy concentration of salt. You also can kayak or sail on the lake.
  • Ski at any of 13 resorts in the state. You have the chance to follow where the world’s top skiers entered competition during the 2002 Olympics.
  • Attend a powwow. These events occur at various times of the year and are widely scattered in the state, but one opportunity is right in Salt Lake City: the Native American Festival at the Park.
  • Visit the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville. It is a living history site highlighting the Old West with hands-on activities in its pioneer site, farm site, mountain man encampment and Native American village.
  • Attend Logan’s Utah Festival Opera in the summertime. Besides grand opera, light operettas and musicals, the season includes orchestral and vocal concerts, seminars and backstage tours.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Vacation on Lake Powell, in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, by renting a houseboat. Spend your days fishing, hiking, kayaking, waterskiing — you name it.
  • Visit the wineries in and near Moab.
  • Look for remarkable Indian ruins in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. If you keep your eyes peeled, you will see small homes, other buildings and rock art left behind by the Anasazi.
  • For your fall foliage fix, take an autumn drive through Wellsville Canyon and Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway.
  • Tour Salt Lake City’s historic Temple Square, Utah’s most popular tourist attraction.
  • See the North American Museum of Ancient Life, described as the world’s largest dinosaur museum, in Thanksgiving Point. Then, make your way to the town’s gardens, or its shops.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Utah Office of Tourism at