The Best Road Trip Stops In Utah
Utah is very well known for its mountainous landscapes and desert backdrops. Various indigenous groups, such as the ancient Puebloans, have inhabited the area for thousands of years.
But now, it’s become a bit of a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get out and enjoy nature and rugged landscapes. And this means there’s a good amount of road trip stops for you to check out in Utah:
Where To Stop On Your Road Trip To Utah
Utah has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States for you to visit, which makes it the perfect state for road trips.
So, let's take a look at some of them:
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a nature preserve known for Zion Canyon’s red cliffs. Many people find this one of the most incredible places on earth to hike, although the hiking routes are pretty long.
Here’s the thing:
You can appreciate many nature reserves in the US in a car, but the only way to experience Zion National Park is to take a hike.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park lies north of Moab and is bordered by the Colorado River. It’s known as the site of 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the massive Delicate Arch.
And there are many more geological formations like Devils Garden, Balanced Rock, and many more. If you ask people who travel, they’ll tell you there’s nothing quite like this place anywhere else on earth, or at least not this scale.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is a huge reserve in the south of Utah, and it’s very well-known for being filled with hoodoos (tall, spire-like rock formations) formed with a beautiful red stone.
One of the highlights of the mark is waking up early to watch the sunrise over the hoodoos as it strikes off the red rock.
And if waking up early in the morning to watch the sunrise isn’t your thing, then why not stay into the night to stargaze?
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park has some of the most dramatic landscapes in the US. The canyon was carved into the desert landscape by the Colorado River.
You’ll find the park right next to the Arches National Park, but this is arguably the less crowded of the two, which makes it perfect for people who like their space.
One of the most noticeable features is the Island in the Sky, a vast flat-topped mesa with beautiful panoramic views.
Bonneville Salt Flats
In Tooele County, you’ll find the Bonneville Salt Flats, a densely packed salt pan in northwestern Utah. It’s the remnant of the Pleistocene Lake Bonneville and the largest of many salt flats west of the great salt lake.
If you’re into motors, you’ll probably recognize Bonneville Salt Flats for its International Speedway and have seen land speed records set here.
Capitol Reef National Park
You’ll find the Capitol Reef National Park in Utah’s south-central desert. You’ll see a long winkle in the ground known as the Waterpocket Fold.
But, what makes the park really stand out are the Chimney Rock Pillar, Capitol Reef, and the Hickman Bridge Arch.
Temple Square is an enormous marble temple in the middle of Utah’s high desert, and by US standards, it’s pretty old.
You have to marvel at the feat of building such a structure, especially when you consider it was built by pioneers who had to trek through mountains to build it.
While visiting Temple Square, you’ll be able to take a trip through history and culture to understand better the people that populated the state.
Hole ‘N’ The Rock
The Hole ‘N’ The Rock is a roadside attraction in San Juan County. It’s a home carved into a huge sandstone rock and certainly makes an experience.
Albert Christensen began building his home in 1940 and didn’t move his family into the house until 1952. After Albert died in 1957, it was opened for public tours, which still operates today.
Today, you can walk through the 5,000-square-foot home on a guided tour; they even have a zoo with zebras, camels, and much more.
Dead Horse Point State Park
The Dead Horse Point State Park covers over 5,236 acres of high desert with an altitude of around 5,900 feet. It’s known for its dramatic views that overlook the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park.
Ice, water, and wind formed the canyon, leading to the dramatic visual masterpiece we see today.
Today, you hear stories of ancient hunters resting on the hilltops in preparation for their next hunt and cowboys chasing mustangs onto Dead Horse Point.
St George Utah
St George, Utah, is a beautiful southwestern city in Utah. The city lies close to Snow Canyon State Park, which offers stunning hiking trails, dunes, and red sandstone cliffs.
You’ll find stately 19th-century buildings like the Pioneer Courthouse and Brigham Young Winter Home in the city itself.
They also have some fantastic museums to admire, like the St. George Art Museum, which displays beautiful artwork.
Lake Powell is a huge artificial reservoir on the Colorado River, and it has become a trendy vacation destination. It’s estimated that over 2 million people a year come to take a dip in the artificial lake.
It’s actually the second-largest artificial reservoir in the US by maximum capacity, just behind Lake Mead.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes are an ever-changing sea of red sand, which makes for an exhilarating trip. The area is constantly being changed due to high winds and has been known to shift by 50 feet yearly.
What’s more impressive to some is where the sand comes from. The sand is Navajo sandstone from the geologic period called Middle Jurassic.
Valley Of The Gods
Valley of the Gods is one of the most beautiful scenic backcountries in the US, not far away from the Mexican Hat. The Valley provides its visitors with isolated buttes and gigantic pinnacles that tower into the sky.
Mystic Hot Springs
The Mystic Hot Springs was formerly known as the Monroe Hot Springs or Copper Springs, and it’s located in Monroe.
The mineral water emerges from the spring at 168°F, making for a lovely dip in the two smaller pools.
Great Salt Lake State Park
The Great Salt Lake State Park features the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere, making it one of the go-to attractions in Utah.
The state park comprises many islands and, of course, a vast salt lake. And this makes it a lovely day out with the family.
Final Thoughts & Takeaways
Utah is a state full of rugged landscapes and exceptional wildlife for outdoor lovers to explore. There aren’t many places in the hold that compare to the sheer grandeur of the area; it’s something you have to see with your own eyes.
And I hope this article has helped you locate all the fantastic places you can stop on your road trip to Utah.
Road Trips > Cross Country Road Trip > Utah Road Trip Stops
About the Author
Jason Fox: Four years ago, I decided to quit my job as a chef to travel the world and see where life took me. The skills I learned while traveling led me to become a freelance writer so I could share my experiences with the world. Since then, I've been traveling the world working as a digital nomad. Find me on Instagram.