With it’s one of a kind canyons and orange rocky formations of every shape and size, the landscapes in Utah are unique and absolutely beautiful. Home to five national parks, second most of any state next to California, there is no shortage of adventure waiting for you in Utah! From the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, mile upon mile of remote wilderness in Grand Staircase Escalante, the famous canyon views of Angel’s Landing in Zion, hundreds of orange stone arches, and so much more, if you love to hike, explore and spend time outdoors, add Utah to your bucket list.
Top Things to Do in Utah
From the national parks, to off-the-beaten-path spots, we’ve compiled a few of our all-time favorite experiences in Utah below!
- Explore the beautiful, narrow slot canyons of Escalante, including Zebra Slot Canyon, Peek-a-boo & Spooky Slot Canyons, Big Horn Canyon, and Willis Creek Narrows.
- Embark on a Utah National Parks road trip to see the “Mighty 5”: Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion!
- Face your fear of heights at Zion National Park’s famous Angel’s Landing.
- Wander through the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, or explore the mushroom-shaped Toadstool Hoodoos in Grand Staircase.
- Go camping off Hole-in-the-Rock road for a slice of solitude in Grand Staircase Escalante.
- Get off the grid with a hiking or backpacking trip in Coyote’s Gulch and see the incredible Jacob Hamblin Arch.
- Backpack Paria Canyon, a stunning 40-mile long canyon that stretches from southern Utah to northern Arizona.
- Hike Kanarra Falls, a fun slot canyon and waterfall hike that looks like a mini zion!
- Explore the world’s longest slot canyon, Buckskin Gulch, located near Kanab.
- Adventure to the stunning Golden Cathedral in Grand Staircase’s Neon Canyon.
- Stop by the Moqui Caverns to explore an old sand mine near Kanab.
Read more about the best hikes and coolest slot canyons in Southern Utah in these articles:
National Parks in Utah
Known as the “Mighty 5”, Utah’s five national parks are each unique in their own right. All five parks are located within just a few hours of each other. The parks are located within a few hour’s drive of each other, making for the perfect road trip opportunity:
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Zion National Park
Read more about how to plan an epic Utah National Parks road trip here:
Other Must-See Spots in Southern Utah
While Utah’s national parks are incredible, they typically come with heavy crowds. If you are looking for a more off the beaten path adventure in Southern Utah, we highly recommend the following places:
- Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument: Easily our favorite area of Utah, Grand Staircase Escalante is remote, rugged and absolutely beautiful! It’s a great way to leave behind the National Park crowds and explore some of Utah’s most unique landscapes.
- Dixie National Forest: The largest National Forest in Utah, Dixie National Forest spans over 2 million acres including Red Canyon near Bryce and Hell’s Backbone near Escalante.
- Cedars Breaks National Monument: Located just an hour from Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks reminds us of a mini-Bryce and comes without all the crowds!
- Snow Canyon State Park: Located just outside St. George, Snow Canyon State Park features a huge variety of unique geological features, including caves, canyons, petrified dunes and lava tubes.
- Kodachrome Basin State Park: An underrated state park with beautifully colored rock formations, unique monoliths and stunning views of Bryce Canyon in the distance.
- Coral Pink Sands State Park: A massive sandbox of rolling pink dunes located in southern Utah.
- Vermillion Cliffs: Home to the beautiful Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch, the massive red canyons of the Vermillion Cliffs are one of the most beautiful sights in Utah!
- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park: This lesser-visited state park offers the chance to see colorful petrified wood and lovely views over Grand Staircase Escalante.
Read more about Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park
Turrets of orange rock, otherwise known as hoodoos, make this magical place reminiscent of something out of a Dr. Seuss book
Canyonlands National Park
With canyons of every shape and size, this national park surely lives up to it’s namesake
Capitol Reef National Park
Utah’s least visited… and most underrated… national park with orange sandstone arches, colorful layers of the Waterpocket Fold and soaring canyon walls.
Grand Staircase Escalante
Expansive, rugged terrain hides some of Utah’s best kept secrets
Zion National Park
Towering canyon walls and majestic red rock carved by the crisp blue Virgin River