Utah is a state of incomparable scenery. It offers majestic mountains, rivers, awe-inspiring canyons, sandstone buttes, and mesas. It’s no wonder tourists flock to Utah.
Travelers could spend months there and never see all facets of its ever-changing landscapes because Utah views are too numerous to count. However, we’d like to suggest a few places to start exploring this majestic state.
What Is Utah Famous for?
Famous for its Mormon settlers, the Great Salt Lake, and its beehive motto, Utah also has five of the country’s most scenic national parks. With Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks all within the state’s boundaries, it sees more than its fair share of tourists.
The state has some of the most stunning geological formations. From the San Rafael Swell to the Bonneville Salt Flats, the red sandstone mesas of Monument Valley, to the massive uplifted rocks of the Waterpocket Fold, Utah is a collection of landscapes that provide excellent views.
What Is the Number One Attraction in Utah?
Rating Number One on the most-visited location in Utah, Zion National Park draws so many visitors that you’ll need reservations to enter. The park is the fourth most popular of all US national parks, bringing in over four million visitors annually!
At Utah’s first national park, Zion’s tourists come for adventures they can’t get anywhere else. Wading through rivers as they explore slot canyons and hiking up steep and narrow trails to get a heavenly view at Angels Landing are just two of the most in-demand draws at this destination.
Then there are the incredible views along Zion Canyon, where the Virgin River cuts through sandstone cliffs and bucolic meadows. You can see why Zion National Park is high on any traveler’s list.
Traveler’s Tip: Utah’s landscape is full of surprises, including these 10 stunning waterfalls you need to see!
What Are the Prettiest Utah Views?
No other state has the same geological, historical, and geographical landscapes as Utah. The topography seems to change every five miles, and when you think you have seen the most astonishing views, the next curve reveals more.
It’s challenging to list the stunning destinations, but we have our favorite top six below. See if you agree!
State Route 12 Between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Park
At Capitol Reef, you’ll venture along one of the most astounding roads toward Bryce Canyon National Park. State Highway 12 leads travelers along the edge of the Waterpocket Fold, where tectonic forces pushed rock layers from a crevice along the earth’s crust. This upshift is so apparent it can be visible by satellite, but on the ground, it looks like a giant wave hovering over the side of the valley.
Highway 12 meanders along a narrow ridge where the desert landscape falls off both sides, giving drivers a sense of vertigo. Eventually, the route leads to the town of Escalante, then runs through pine forests to the north side of Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon is one of our favorite national parks, which tourists know as “a hell of a place to lose a cow!” The sunrises and sunsets in this magical canyon will have you wishing you would never leave.
Bonneville Salt Flats
Lying along the western boundary of Utah, the Bonneville Salt Flats look like another planet. Miles of white salt form the landscape as far as you can see. This barren but beautiful location is where drivers made land speed records for years.
Today, vehicles can explore portions of the salt flats, where you can camp and watch others race for personal records. The 30,000 acres date to when Lake Bonneville evaporated, leaving salt in its wake.
Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
Two very distinct parks, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, will make you realize just how small you are in comparison.
Canyonlands has four districts, starting with Island in the Sky, where ragged canyon edges fall beneath you in a never-ending landscape. The Needles District is a vast region where you can explore sandstone rock formations and under canyon walls.
The Maze is the least-visited district because of its less accessible lands. Interwoven canyons with dead-ends make navigating tricky, as there are no formal trails. The views of backcountry rivers, mesas, and canyons are visible to only a few of the hardiest hikers.
The Rivers District follows the Colorado and Green Rivers through the park, showcasing how water erosion shapes this extraordinary landscape.
Great Salt Lake
There is more than one big lake in Utah, and this one hasn’t evaporated yet. The Great Salt Lake is west of Great Salt Lake City and significantly influences the weather in the capital city.
As enormous as it is, the Great Salt Lake is only about 16 feet deep, frequently changing because of evaporation. There is no outlet for the lake, so the shallow water evaporations in the sun, leaving significant quantities of salt. A drive on I-80 will showcase the Western Hemisphere’s largest saltwater lake from the southern end.
However, travelers don’t want to miss a drive to Antelope Island on the east side, with nesting areas for the American white pelican. You can also find a few species of mammals here. This vast body of water and its surrounding landscape is unlike anything else.
Most travelers are familiar with the “Forrest Gump Viewpoint” image of Monument Valley, highlighting the lonesome sandstone buttes at the end of an empty desert highway. However, the trip into this Navajo Nation park is enticing.
From the southwestern corner of Utah, drivers will start at the cottonwood-lined riverbanks of the San Juan River in Bluff, Utah. They’ll travel through desert landscapes of stone and colorful mesas as they approach Mexican Hat, a ‘Mexican hat’ rock formation.
From there, Native American artisans line the road, selling their creations to tourists headed to these desolate, stunning views of southeastern Utah. John Ford movies once glorified them in the early 19th century.
Zion National Park
At the conjuncture of the Great Basin, Mojave Desert, and the Colorado Plateau, Zion National Park draws visitors worldwide. Tourists can explore its 229 square miles of verdant valleys and jaw-dropping canyons.
However, you can no longer drive to Zion by private car. You will have to enjoy these Utah views from a park bus. Crowds are so prevalent here that you need reservations to enter the park, and drivers must surrender their vehicles.
That’s okay, because you’ll have more time to take in the shady Virgin River or hike the Narrows slot canyon. Even a hike to Angels Landing will be less harrowing if you know a bus is waiting for you!
When Is the Best Time to Visit Utah for the Views?
Utah can be an ideal travel destination year-round, depending on the activities you want to undertake. Winter brings skiing to Park City and Deer Valley, and also provides ice fishing on high mountain lakes.
Summer ushers in heat to most parts of the state for swimming, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and sightseeing. Fall provides the perfect backdrop for mountainous views of Utah because of the various leaf colors on aspen trees.
Plan your visit on your preferred activities, and Utah will not disappoint.
Are Utah Views Worth Finding?
The famous saying, “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder,” is unnecessary for those wishing to travel through Utah, as the state is full of beauty everywhere you look.
From solitary desert landscapes to mountain valleys full of summer wildflowers, everyone can find their version of beauty in Utah. The views in Utah are always unique.
Which location will you visit on your next adventure?