Utah has an abundance of natural beauty. Utah is so beautiful, that on social media there is a popular hashtag reinforcing the point with a slight misspelling but emphasizing how common it is in Utah - #beutahful.
Utah is indeed beautiful and is one of the reasons so many people move to Utah and want to live in Utah. While many people know that Utah has lots of natural beauty, great snow, tall mountains, and incredible red rock and arches in the south of the state, but did you know that Utah has more national parks per square mile than any other state in the country? There are only two states that have more National Parks than Utah. California has the most with 9 national parks, followed by Alaska with 8 national parks. Utah has five national parks – often referred to as The Mighty Five
1. Arches National Park
The Arches have more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. Some of the more popular arches are Delicate Arch, Double Arch, Rainbow Arch, and Landscape Arch. These arches and other geological features such as fins, balancing rocks, and pinnacles were formed over millions of years of erosion and water cycles. The raw beauty, red rock, and unique landscape attract visitors from around the world to hike and take it in.
2. Bryce Canyon National Park
There is no other place on the planet quite like Bryce Canyon with hundreds of tall different sandstone hoodoos which is constantly changing through extreme temperatures. The area was originally settled by Native Americans and then later by Mormon Pioneers. It is also one of the best places on earth for stargazing with almost no light pollution. There are campgrounds, RV parks, hotels, and a lodge where you can stay and enjoy multiple hikes that provide different views of the natural beauty.
3. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands was formed by the efforts of erosion from multiple different rivers including Green River, Colorado River, and many smaller tributaries. It was established as a National Park on September 12, 1964, but it took millions of years for the erosion to take place carving through sandstone and salt deposits creating jagged rock and steep cliffs. There are many hikes and some of the more popular things to see are Island in the Sky and Needles.
4. Capital Reef National Park
Capital Reef National Park in Utah is located in south-central Utah and is not the highest visited park in Utah, but it is stunning and displays, in stunning fashion, the diverse geologic layers in earth’s history in what is called the Weatherpocket Fold. There are cliffs, sandstone dunes, monoliths, and other natural geologic features that showcase geologic history over millions of years.
5. Zion National Park
Located in Southwestern Utah, near the city of Springdale, in Iron, Washington, and Kane counties. It is where the Mohave desert, Colorado Plateau, and Great Basin meet. There are 7 different trails with varying distance that people can choose from based on available time and technical abilities that range from beginner to very advanced. In fact, some areas require a permit. Popular times to visit are the spring and fall when the temperature is typically much cooler. There are campgrounds that are available and a lodge as well. One of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park, is Angel’s Landing. The hike is about 2.4 miles long. There are several steep switchbacks and there is a place to stop at Scout’s lookout before doing the last ½ mile to the summit which is much more technical and while they do have chains to help support people, it is still only for those with considerable physical ability.
Picture of Zion National Park from Angel's Landing Hike (Left) and View of Narrows (Right)