Utah has to be one of the least appreciated states when it comes to natural beauty. We have traveled to or driven through the state numerous times. No matter the season of the year you may be visiting Utah, there is always something to do, and almost invariably this entails being outside.
On our first extensive trip there we visited Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. We were based out of Moab, which is a pleasant small town with a plethora of good eateries. When we were there several years ago the place was full of European motor tourists, mountain bikers and hikers all eager to explore the American West. Sitting in an Italian restaurant in the center of Moab we heard around us Italian, German, Dutch, and native English speakers. The spectacular landscapes of Arches National Park are otherworldly. I rank this national park alongside Grand Canyon and Yosemite as one of the greatest American treasures. Driving around Canyonlands National Park (about an hour southwest of Moab) gives one numerous, awesome vistas of the Colorado River snaking its way southward through tall, wide canyons.
Further south at the Four Corners area you can see the massive stone towers that formed the backdrop for many of John Ford’s Western films of the 1930s and 40s. You can almost hear the soundtrack of Aaron Copland’s bold music.
For fans of winter sports, Park City—with a staggering number of empty runs—is a mere 45-minute drive from the airport at Salt Lake City. The Great Salt Lake is a can’t miss site, sitting astride a tasteful capital city.
As for Park City, after you’ve dealt with the tedious drive from Denver airport to the ski slopes (the best slopes are over a three-hours’ drive from Denver), and the crowds in Aspen and Vail, you won’t want to go back to Colorado if you can ski Utah.