Few destinations embrace active and adventurous travel quite like Utah. Outdoor adventure isn’t just an occasional diversion here, it’s a way of life. And the passion that residents here feel for their breathtaking natural surroundings inspires visitors too.
More than 70% of Utah is public land, and that means plenty of wide open spaces for everything from high-octane mountain biking, rafting and rock climbing excursions, to leisurely hikes, or an awe-inspiring evening of stargazing in Utah’s famous ‘Dark Sky Parks’.
In addition to Utah’s ‘Mighty 5’ National Parks – Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion – the state is also home to nine million acres of forest, plus millions more acres for recreation areas and national monuments. Not surprisingly, Utah has developed a loyal following of travellers who love the outdoors, love Utah and return year after year.
Two top favourite destinations for active getaways are Grand Staircase-Escalante, famous for its network of slot canyons, making it a hiker’s dream, and Flaming Gorge, much-loved by locals and visitors alike as a scenic playground for boating, waterskiing, windsurfing, camping and rafting. Grand Staircase-Escalante is not only a haven for hikers, it offers spectacularly scenic drives. And Flaming Gorge is also a fishing paradise, brimming with trout, kokanee salmon and more.
While many adventurers are happy hiking their way through Utah, others have their heart set on biking. It’s hard to narrow down the state’s best cycling routes, but top picks often include an 87-kilometre stretch of Utah’s famous ‘All-American Road, Scenic Byway 12’ from Escalante to Boulder, the Ogden River Parkway, roadways through the Wasatch mountain range, and in southern Utah, the 70-kilometre Veyo Loop past Snow Canyon. For mountain bikers, it’s hard to beat Moab’s epic trails, from Slickrock to Porcupine Rim to Amasa Back.
Utah’s rafting scene is much sought-after too, with whitewater pros gravitating to Westwater and Cataract Canyons (class IV-V) on the Colorado River, the Gates of Lodore and Desolation Canyon (class III-IV) on the Green River, and the Upper and Lower stretches (class III) of the San Juan River. For novices, there are flat water stretches of these rivers through other-worldly canyons, like Labyrinth Canyon in Canyonlands National Park.
For rock climbers, few destinations delight more than Utah, with top rated ascents across the state. Moab, Ogden, Logan, Salt Lake City and St. George are all well-known with climbers, and the biggest draw of all, Zion National Park, is legendary.
While summer beckons, winter is always just around the corner and winter visitors to Utah are spoiled for choice, with skiing and snowboarding aplenty, and snowshoeing and snowmobiling too.
Active and adventurous clients will find every sport and activity they ever wanted in Utah – and no doubt a few surprises too.
For more information check out VisitUtah.com.
Register Now! Travelweek’s ‘Future of Travel: Sunnier Days Ahead’ will take place Wed. May 19, from 1 – 3 p.m. Click here to register now, travelweekfutureoftravel.com