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Der Arches Nationalpark in Utah, Bild: Josemaria Toscano / shutterstock

Utah – Of mountains, deserts and the famous Red Rocks

The US state of Utah, despite its numerous national parks, its natural beauty and the rather eventful past thanks to the Mormons, is far less known than its neighboring states Nevada or Colorado. Utah is a true paradise for all travelers looking for great hikes, untouched nature and endless expanses.

There are 5 national parks and a total of 45 state parks in this state, with the Delicate Arch stone bridge from Arches National Park even depicted on Utah’s license plate. Utah covers an area that would take up about two-thirds of Germany, but has only a little more than 3 million inhabitants, the majority of whom live in the region of the capital Salt Lake City.

It was founded in the 19th century by Mormon pioneer Brigham Young and is now the seat of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The state is characterized by a varied natural landscape that includes large forest areas in the Rocky Mountains to the north, the desert of the Salt Lake Desert to the west and rugged canyons to the southeast.

The sights in Utah

Salt Lake City – The vibrant metropolis between tradition and modernity

Salt Lake City
The capital Salt Lake City, Image: f11photo / shutterstock

Many of the classic US West Coast trips penetrate to the canyons of southern Utah at most. However, it is more than worthwhile to take the drive and visit the state’s capital.

Salt Lake City is located right on the Wasatch Front, a foothill of the Rocky Mountains, and the dramatic mountain wall is visible from all over the city. Officially, Salt Lake City was founded on July 24, 1847 by pioneers of the Mormon Christian Church, and even today the city is the center of the church. In Temple Square in Downtown, visitors can learn all about the church, marvel at the Salt Lake Temple and visit the Mormon Tabernacle. West of the city is the gigantic Salt Lake, a salt lake that is so salty that only a certain type of crab can live in it. If you come in winter, Salt Lake City can quickly reach the ski resorts of Snowbird, Alta and Park City, which are known worldwide for their fine powder snow.

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Zion National Park – the Valley of Heaven

Zion National Park is located in southern Utah and can only be reached via quite narrow roads. Anyone who has made it this far will be rewarded with breathtaking nature that is unique in the world. The park consists of several valleys, on the flanks of which sandstone cliffs up to 2660 meters high rise into the air, shining in yellow, orange and red tones. A large part of the park can only be reached by free bus shuttle, so that nature can still be enjoyed in this area in peace and without traffic. A highlight of Zion National Park is the “Angels Landing Trail”, a hiking trail that leads over a kilometer along a narrow rock edge after a steep ascent from the valley. Secured only by a steel cable, you hike along the slope here, but the view at the end of the hike is spectacular. The canyon hike “The Narrows” is also unique, but should only be done by experienced hikers.

Arches National Park – the landmark of Utah

Arches National Park is located in the southeast of the state and is so famous that its landmark, the Delicate Arch, is even depicted on the Utah license plate. In Arches National Park there are thousands of such natural stone bridges. The landscape of the park is characterized by sandy desert and rugged rock formations. The park is very well developed for visitors and offers a variety of hikes with different lengths and levels of difficulty. In addition to the Delicate Arch, the long and thin Landscape Arch in the Devils Garden landscape in the north of the park is also a magnet for visitors.

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Monument Valley – you can’t get more wild west than this

Monument Valley, Utah
Monument Valley, Image: corumov / shutterstock

In the far south of Utah, almost on the border with Arizona, lies the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Some of the most famous Western films are set here, which helped the barren area with its soaring mesas to become internationally famous. On the terrace of the visitor center, you can let your gaze wander over the breathtaking landscape from the so-called John Waynes Point, buy original art of the Navajo people in one of the many shops or unwind on a drive through the landscape.

Bryce Canyon National Park – rugged nature and unique vistas

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in the mid-south of Utah and the journey through mountain landscapes, over plateaus and through deep valleys is an experience in itself. Bryce Canyon National Park itself is particularly known for its thousands and thousands of colorfully patterned rock pyramids. These are located in a semicircular valley, which is also called the “Amphitheatre”. From the viewpoints of the park you can overlook it wonderfully and on clear days you can look up to 100 kilometers into the Utah landscape. Numerous hiking trails lead through the national park and if you choose one of the slightly less famous, you have Bryce Canyon National Park all to yourself.