Want to know which are the Top 10 Outstanding Places To Visit in Utah in 2024? Then you are at the right place. From sweeping red rock desert vistas to soaring mountain peaks, and lush forests to unique salt flats, Utah’s incredibly diverse landscapes astound even seasoned travelers with a never-ending feast for the senses to explore. Discover the iconic national parks showcasing stunning geology and ecosystems that continue entrancing first-time visitors and repeat legends alike.
Beyond the natural riveting beauty beckoning adventurers, Utah also imparts hints of pioneer and Native American cultures meeting the wilderness across temple-lined streets, ancient rock art petroglyphs hidden in canyons, and even non-alcoholic bars for genealogy-obsessed visitors to trace their Mormon ancestors who settled the state.
Join in investigations of puzzling crop circles in the salt flats, catch the best powder stashes along the Wasatch slopes, or relax soaking up world-class sunsets that led ancient civilizations to first call the region a desert divinity. From Salt Lake City across five awe-inspiring National Park treasures reaching to the red rock country bordering Arizona, the Beehive State’s richness transcends beyond its sweet nickname flowing with honey rewards hidden in plain sight around every towering canyon bend, mesmerizing hoodoo spire form, and lush aspen-draped peak.
Let’s Take a look at our list of Top 10 Outstanding Places To Visit in Utah 2024
Dominating bucket lists for good reason, Utah’s oldest and most visited National Park Zion completely transports visitors entering the towering sandstone and limestone canyon walls sliced wide exposing nearly 150 million years of invoking geology lessons unfolding up to 3000ft thick into the sky.
From adorably cute but fierce Peregrine Falcons soaring to seasonally flooded Emerald Pools shimmering green, Zion showcases unusual hanging gardens, weeping rocks, neon blooming desert wildflowers against crimson colored cliffs, and the showstopper steep narrow route carved through the Virgin River Narrows where hikers wade waist-deep for over 16 miles when waters subside through the sheer glowing canyon gorge after spring thaws. This place is one of the most popular places in Utah.
Vistas over the Grand Staircase region near Bryce Canyon National Park prove why silence rang louder than even heaven’s trumpets could declare taking in the first overwhelming views over thousands of fiery orange, burnt umber, and golden yellow rock spires rocketing from the abyss below. Described first in pioneer diaries as “hell roaring out of chaos,” the intense geological amphitheater and oddly shaped multicolored limestone and sandstone hoodoo rock towers demand we call this Wonderland not the foreboding name first impression exclamations cried out.
Wander along Sunset Point, Sunrise Point or Inspiration Point lookouts spellbound then descend into the mind-bendingly eroded naturally created rock city discovering micro worlds hidden within the sprawling Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Utah.
The high desert playground town of Moab serves as a home base camp for launching every outdoor enthusiast’s dream adventures across landscapes unique to Utah. Bask in the fiery glows of Arches National Park tending to the world’s largest collection of naturally sculpted sandstone archways in over 2000 documented gorgeous wind and water-carved rock formations.
Next door, iconic epics unfold descending into the breathtaking layers of Canyonlands National Park’s deep maze of towering crimson buttes, sheer cliff walls, and the snaking Colorado and Green Rivers carving their stories told best from white knuckle rafting rides. Finally base jump into the chance for reservations at the ultramodern magical desert escape resort of Amangiri just outside Lake Powell to properly indulge in a bit of relaxation after so much desert immersion.
As Utah’s bustling capital and largest metro area centered in stunning natural surroundings, Salt Lake City surprises with the great outdoors stepping from mountains and foothills right into cosmopolitan city streets filled with craft cocktail bars, vibrant public markets, and green urban parks systems designed to impress residents and visitors alike.
Attend a Utah Jazz game or Pioneer Day summer celebrations to mingle with intriguing locals while exploring Temple Square showcasing ornate early Mormon settlement architectural centerpieces like the Salt Lake Temple and neo-Gothic Assembly Hall contrasting against the sleek modern Salt Lake City Public Library main branch. Grab authentic street tacos in emerging pockets like Central Ninth before capping off days immersed in the energetic Salt Lake City vibe best from rooftop lookouts.
Lesser visited than her geological cousins but critically acclaimed in her own right, Canyonlands National Park unveils itself in alluring layers of endless mesas, dramatically carved buttes plateau, and plunging canyons revealing over 300 million years of deposition on display in warm umber, ochre orange, and golden hour hues. Flowing waters of the Colorado River and its tributaries gnawed tirelessly for eons slicing cracks and crevices into the high desert terrain creating four distinct districts begging visitors to immerse themselves in Canyonlands’ compelling embrace.
Island in the Sky district opens from lofty mesa viewpoints over the canyons and Upheaval Dome, Needles district showcases hiking and backpacking among the park’s namesake red and white banded rock pinnacles, while the Maze district channels adventurers into remote backcountry experiences through extremely rugged unmarked slick rock terrain in this rugged multi-faced paradise. Canyonlands National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Utah.
Deemed the “Land of the Sleeping Rainbow” by Native Americans dazzled by the spectrum of sunset-colored rock layers and narrow stone gorges pierced by towering monoliths, Capitol Reef National Park surely represented sacred ground worth protecting even then with its dramatic folded Waterpocket Fold rock formation centerpiece now registered National Historic Landmark.
As the longest exposed monocline geographic wrinkle on planet Earth according to geologists, over 65 million years of buried geological activity suddenly jut from the dusty desert floor into warped cliffs striped bright crimson, sunburst tangerine, and muted mauve hues that entice hikers to explore further into Capitol Reef’s twisting narrow sandstone slot canyons and shady cottonwood lined oases pocketing life-essential moisture for civilizations past, present and future appreciating this Grand Circle treasure.
Rolling from the slopes of stunning ski runs directly to the famous annual Sundance Film Festival street scene or open-air summer concerts, few mountain towns exude such an intoxicating mix of scenery crowds headed to see or be seen while admiring the stellar surrounding mountainscape as Park City tucked away in rugged Wasatch Mountain high country just 40 minutes from Salt Lake City’s urban attractions.
Join the bustling party apres ski or apres hike crowds at the historic mountain town main street’s High West Distillery crafting small batch rye whiskeys full of regional Utah flavor or the legendary Stein Eriksen Lodge of Deer Valley dispensing winter sport wisdom between gourmet dining and true Rocky Mountain elegance.
Proving natural splendor extends beyond Utah’s mighty five National Parks, the underrated desert escape treasure of Snow Canyon State Park outside Saint George showcases brilliantly hued rock layers, lava ridges, and ancient undulating petrified dunes sculpted and smoothed into swirling brilliant patterns over unimaginable eons of time to admire today.
Cool down rambling around shaded palm tree dotted canyon paths or take the moderate hike up to Pioneer Names trail overlooking the copper and amber-hued rock formations to unearth geologic history lessons exposed before your very eyes. After stretching your legs and exploring, enjoy Snow Canyon’s camping amenities best experienced by waking up to warm pastel sunrise glows cresting up over the mystically folded and twisting substrate stonework.
Adventurers looking for the ultimate perspective-shifting detour off the highway should steer over to the Bonneville Salt Flats outside Salt Lake City near Wendover encapsulating the largest commercially harvested sea salt operation sourcing from prehistoric deposits left when ancient Lake Bonneville’s waters slowly evaporated over the epochs.
Wander the salty playa or speedway landscape that allowed for some of the fastest land speeds recorded as race cars broke the sound barrier soaring over 600 mpg speeds. Bring lots of water and protective coverings to safely explore the surreal 30,000-acre expanse of desert where heat waves blur the horizon’s reality in a dreamscape of salt formations left behind while the lake once covering most of this arid region slowly receded leaving only the unearthly flat and cracked traces for visitors today.
While so much attention spotlights Utah’s winter sports and city scenes, Bear Lake situates itself as the recreational gem of northern Utah’s Cache Valley between Idaho presenting pristine Caribbean blue waters whose summer temperatures lure road trippers with promises of splish-splashing fun and lakeside relaxation 20,000 acres large.
Base camps at Bear Lake State Park or nearby Garden City net ideal spots for launching excursions out on the glass-like waters trying sailing, wakeboarding, or paddle adventures exploring Bear Lake’s dimensions nearly 21 miles long cradled between Utah’s northern mountains dotted with aspen and fir tree forests reflecting lazily across the strikingly turquoise mineral-rich waters importing generations who singularly focus on simply joy of summer by the lake.
|Iconic towering canyon walls, river narrows, desert landscapes
|Bryce Canyon NP
|Amphitheater of unique orange & red rock hoodoo spires
|Arches & Canyonlands NPs, desert adventures, glamping resort
|Salt Lake City
|Urban city with access to mountains & nature preserves
|Epic mesa and canyon vistas, Colorado River views
|Capitol Reef NP
|Warped colorful Waterpocket Fold cliffs and slot canyons
|Park City / Deer Valley
|Ski towns & summer resorts near Sundance festivals
|Snow Canyon SP
|Scenic desert state park with lava flows & petrified dunes
|Bonneville Salt Flats
|Otherworldly salty desert landscape, land speed records
|Caribbean colored lake with forests and mountains, summer culture
Frequently Asked Questions –
How much time do you need to properly see Utah’s highlights?
Most travelers spend 1-2 weeks exploring Utah to immerse in 2-3 parks + Salt Lake City properly without rushing between sights every day. Focus your 7-10 day introductory trip on Salt Lake City and access 1-2 nearby National Parks by scenic drives such as Arches + Canyonlands or Zion + Bryce Canyon combos.
When is the best time to visit Utah?
Utah shines in different seasons but spring and fall shoulder seasons typically offer moderate weather with fewer crowds than summer. Late spring still brings possible snow sports access while fall unfolds lovely foliage against fiery-colored canyons. Summers sizzle hot but parks stay very busy through September. Only die-hards will fully enjoy winter’s cold and snow but ski resorts stay lively.
Is renting a car necessary for getting around Utah?
Having your rental car allows ultimate flexibility in reaching more remote sights across Utah where patchy public transport frustrates travelers without vehicles. Salt Lake City offers solid transport and organized tours but accessing the National and State Parks on your timeline works best by car stopping spontaneously as desired.
Which outdoor activities shine best in Utah beyond sightseeing?
From Thrill seekers to zen relaxers, Utah keeps every outdoor adventurer enthralled with possibilities like slick sand desert ATV rides, towering canyon wall rock climbing, raging white water rapids runs, high alpine hiking trails lined with wildflowers, mountain biking twisting singletracks through red rock desert, and even paddleboarding calm reservoir reflecting yellow and purple streaked blue hour sky shows.
What types of cuisine shine in Utah’s dining scene?
Sample fresh regional specialties like trout, bison, elk, succulent fruit harvests from vibrant valley farms, and Mormon settling heritage sweets and baked goods. For locally sourced sustainable New Utah cuisine, try Salt Lake City’s upstart dining pockets or Park City’s High West Distillery whose craft rye whiskeys creatively enhance cocktails and dishes with true Utah essence. Don’t miss the chance for trailside Dutch oven bread bowls, campfire s’mores, and chuckwagon cowboy fare too while exploring Utah’s great outdoors.