10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah

If you long for beautiful scenery that is distinct from almost any place anywhere in the world, then Utah may indeed be for you. In this journal, we will describe what we did so you will find it very helpful as you plan your trip to see The 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah!

National Geographic Greatest Landscapes: Stunning Photographs That Inspire and Astonish Hardcover
National Geographic Greatest Landscapes: Stunning Photographs That Inspire and Astonish Hardcover

Trip Preparation for the 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah

Rent an RV

We found that it would be most efficient to fly into Las Vegas, Nevada and rent an RV there. Having used an RV before, we were familiar with it and that made us very comfortable with using one for this trip.  If you are not familiar, most rental firms have training that will get you up to speed very quickly, as a result your chances of success go way up. 

We rented our RV from Best Time RV in Las Vegas, Nevada. From the airport it was a 10 to 15 minute Uber ride to their location. It was very close and convenient. They took about an hour to get us through the entire process to make us feel very comfortable with the RV and all of its systems, then we were on our way very quickly.

We selected a 22′ Minnie Winnie which was perfect for the two of us for this adventure. Firstly, it was small and agile enough to get around. Secondly, it was big enough for the space we required. Thirdly, it had all the systems we needed. 

The RV was equipped with a bathroom with a shower, a kitchen for cooking and eating at the table. There were three beds for sleeping but we did not need that many for this trip. Most importantly, the RV was a equipped with an air conditioner and a heater, as the weather conditions can vary greatly from snow in the morning to a 105゚ in the afternoon.

Rent an RV 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Rent an RV

Grocery Preparation

One final stop in Las Vegas was for a grocery run to fully stock our RV for the 1st week. We knew we were going to be hiking extensively, therefore the focus for the food is high protein and energy foods, with a huge assortment of fruits and vegetables. One thing to consider is the huge quantity of water that you would need to hike and explore in this region. We purchased 3, one gallon jugs for the water and to refill and refrigerate them to keep cool or even frozen. This was an added help to keep us well hydrated throughout the trip. Additionally, we bought a case of Gatorade for those days when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t stay hydrated and the Gatorade is used to rehydrate after a long adventure. 

For our hydration on the trails we used the U’Be Hydration Backpack Pack of 2 with 2L Water Bladder – Camelback for Kids Men & Women – Running Hiking Cycling

Trip Itinerary

Here is our planned Utah trip map

Map 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Map 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah

Go here for the map in Google Maps – Map 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah As we were leaving the Las Vegas area, our main goal was to get towards Zion National Park. But to get there, you cross several exceedingly interesting parks that might make sense to squeeze into your trip. Hoover Dam, outside Las Vegas, dams up the Colorado River that created the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. https://www.nps.gov/lake/index.htm It’s a huge beautiful lake was filled with all kinds of opportunities for outdoor water recreation.

1 Valley of Fire State Park – Nevada

As you continue towards Zion National Park, you drive close to Valley of Fire State Park. We knew nothing about it and were tempted to bypass it in an effort to make good time getting towards our next goal. We are glad we decided to go to this park and we highly encourage you to do the same. It’s filled with stunning unique landscapes created over tens of thousands of years of erosion filled with wildlife and beauty we never would have expected. After seeing and experiencing it we need to put it back on our list to actually spend days here exploring this place. It truly is fantastic!

We spent more time than expected at Valley of Fire State Park, therefore we got to our KOA campground near St George Utah later than expected. It was after dark when we arrived, but the camp hosts were exceedingly helpful getting us to our spot and it took just a few moments to get the camp all situated. We had a good dinner and a great night sleep. It was an exceedingly long day.

Valley Of Fire Map 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Valley Of Fire State Park Nevada

2 Zion National Park

Plan as much time as you possibly can. For this trip we decided to stay right outside the park for 3 nights which gave us parts of 4 days to explore different hikes.

Zion National Park 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Zion National Park

Watchman Trail

2 hour moderate trail to a stunning viewpoint of the Towers of the Virgin.

Watchman Trail Zion National Park 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Watchman Trail Zion National Park 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah

Scout Outlook on the West Rim trail to Angel’s Landing

The trail is strenuous but it is certainly worth it. The views are spectacular! This trail leads up to Angel’s Landing chain trail but that trail was closed due to Covid.  Get started on this trail early in the morning to miss the crowds and the heat.

Scout Outlook on the West Rim trail to Angel's Landing 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Scout Outlook on the West Rim trail to Angel’s Landing

Big Bend Virgin River View

The ranger told us this is a unique beautiful view so we decided to stop here. We knew it had great light and the timing was perfect. No one else was there. There is a trail down to the Virgin River. The moment we got down there we knew it was going to be terrific. The river was calm and there was a reflection of the scene in the river!

Big Bend Virgin River View 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Big Bend Virgin River View

The Zion Narrows Hike

This is a must. It is on the top of the list for most guide books. We had seen many pictures of it and we knew it was interesting, unique, and beautiful. However, the park guide said it was closed due to an algae bloom in the river that could be harmful to people. We hiked to the starting point the day before and we saw people were doing the hike. We knew we were going to do it. Turns out the algae can be a problem if you drink the water. Don’t drink the water.

We did a 6 hr variation of this hike. We did rent the special water hiking boots, neoprene sock, hiking stick, and dry bag for the big boy camera. These items are not a scam and they made the trip much easier on the feet and ankles. Rent the equipment! We used Zion Outfitters right outside the park gate.  At the end of the day, we were exhausted and exhilarated by finishing the feat!

Hike the Narrows Zion National Park
Hike the Narrows Zion National Park

3 Highway 12 Utah or Scenic Byway 12

After leaving Zion, we took Highway 12 Utah also known as Scenic Byway 12, over and through the Red Canyon, right by Bryce Canyon National Park, passing through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, inside the Dixie National Forest and finally ending up near the entrance to Capitol Reef National Park. Wow! We definitely should have added extra days to explore this area. 

We passed many different landscapes along the way that we kept commenting we felt we were in different countries as we were driving.  Later in the trip we would return to the Bryce Canyon National Park and were looking forward to focusing additional time exploring that area.

Scenic Highway 12 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Scenic Highway 12

4 Capitol Reef National Park

We pulled into this area late afternoon and decided to visit Gooseneck Point Overlook and Sunset Point hoping for a wonderful sunset.  Although the weather didn’t cooperate with an eye popping sunset, due to a rain storm blowing in, with a short hike were treated to a wonderful view with very few people. 

Capitol Reef National Park 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Evening Light Capitol Reef National Park 

Hickman Natural Bridge

Early the following morning we mapped out a hike to Hickman Natural Bridge. This park and it’s arch or bridge is not well known, but I don’t think that will be the case much longer. This is just such an incredibly interesting beautiful place! 

Hickman Bridge - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Hickman Natural Bridge Moab Utah

5 Moab Utah

Canyonlands National Park

Although this park is divided into 4 districts along the Green and Colorado rivers, we decided to focus our time in Canyonlands in the area in the north section of the park called Island in the Sky.  

Shafer Canyon Overlook

Our first stop was Shafer Canyon Overlook with a fantastic overview.  Canyonlands has many miles of roads in the canyon for people with Jeeps to explore up close and personal.  From this overlook, we watched the Jeeps in the switchbacks below exploring the vast terrain.

Shafer Canyon Overlook 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Shafer Canyon Overlook Canyonlands National Park. 

Mesa Arch

Our next stop was Mesa Arch overlook and with just a short hike we were treated to a great view of an Arch overlooking the Mesa below. 

Mesa Arch 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Mesa Arch Canyonlands National Park 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah

Grand View Trail

The day was early and we were ready for a hike. Having heard the Grand View Trail was the best view, we were up for the adventure.  It was definitely worth the time! We even returned to this area for a sunset picture.

Grand View Trail 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Grand View Trail Canyonlands National Park

Candlestick Tower Overlook

Candlestick Tower Overlook at sunset was a a fantastic view.  We traversed the boulders to get close to the steep canyon drop off and found the perfect isolated spot to enjoy the sunsetting over the valley below.

Sunset Candlestick Tower Overlook Canyonlands National Park - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Sunset Candlestick Tower Overlook Canyonlands National Park

CORONA AND BOWTIE ARCHES

Located just west of Moab, the Corona Arch and Bowtie Arches are spectacular photogenic arches.  Located in the Bureau of Land Management acreage, the  moderate hike of 3 miles round trip was the perfect way to start the day. Again, few people were on the path and we were treated to a wonderfully quiet morning fabulous scenery!

Corona Arch Canyonlands National Park Utah - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Corona Arch Moab Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park

Since we aren’t big into crowds, and we’d heard good things about a local State Park in the area, we decided to check out Dead Horse Point State Park.  Wow! we were not disappointed. Located close to Canyonlands and overlooking the Colorado River, this state park is one of a kind.  Do you have any state parks of this quality and scale in your state?

Dead Horse Point State Park Moab Utah - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Dead Horse Point State Park Moab Utah

Arches National Park

Arches National Park, is a very popular park, located just north Moab on the Colorado River.  An stunningly beautiful park with more than 2000 natural sandstone arches. Delicate Arch is an iconic national treasure.  

Arches National Park Moab - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Arches National Park Moab

So as you can tell the area around Moab is filled with amazing parks with spectacular landscapes!

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Why we love Sun Country Airlines

Why we love Sun Country Airlines
Why we love Sun Country Airlines

Headquartered in Minneapolis Minnesota

Sun Country Airlines being headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota has been our airline of choice and part of our lives for quite a few years.

For years, if you wanted to get out of Minnesota’s long hard winters into a place of sunshine, you could simply jump on Sun Country Airlines chartered services to the sunny destinations of Mexico or the Caribbean islands. We loved getting away so we took advantage of those flights several times in our attempt to survive brutal Minnesota winters.

Many Destinations

Sun Country Airlines became a scheduled carrier on June 1, 1999, offering nonstop flights to and from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Milwaukee, and Detroit to major U.S. cities and international destinations. Everything changed at this point and they became more than just a vacation airline.

Family Special Events

You may recall last autumn our son a got married in Providence Rhode Island. Sun country airlines was our immediate choice as they offered a direct flight to the small, easily accessible T. F. Green Airport In Providence Rhode Island. Most of the guests and wedding party flew Sun Country for this event and had a fabulous experience.

Getting to Utah

For this adventure to Southern Utah, Sun Country Airlines is the perfect option to fly into Las Vegas, giving us easy access to affordable RV rental options and then being within an hour or 2 of some of the best national parks in the country in Nevada and Southern Utah.

Planning Next Trips

This coming winter, we will most likely be using Sun Country again for our scheduled adventure to Mexico to again break free of the prolonged Minnesota winters.

Covid-19 Planning

Sun Country Airlines takes seriously the risks and their responsibilities in this Covid-19 era. You can find all of their information here: https://www.suncountry.com/safety-updates

If you have not used Sun Country Airlines yet, we strongly encourage you to try their great services. You will be glad you did.

Sponsored

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6 Monument Valley Utah

Believe it or not, Monument Valley Utah was the #1 reason for why I (Wayne) wanted to go on this trip. It is iconic! It has been in every cowboy movie since we were kids. If you look at images of the desert southwest on any of the social media platforms like Instagram etc. you see it everywhere. Also, it was in the iconic scene in the movie Forrest Gump when main actor Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) runs back and forth across the country and then he finally stops running at Monument Valley.

Forrest Gump Hill Monument Valley Utah - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Forrest Gump Hill Monument Valley Utah

Well, when we heard that Monument Valley was closed due to Covid-19, we were crushed. You see Monument Valley is on Navajo Nation land and that community was affected seriously due to the pandemic.  We totally understood but we still wanted to go. It turns out that the main highway through this region was still open so were able to experience some of this region. However, I guess we will have to go back again to get the whole tour of this area.  

Monument Valley Utah - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Monument Valley Utah

 

7 Lake Powell Utah

Lake Powell was a wonderful destination for a couple days of just resting and relaxing in the sun.  Our RV reservation was at a campground by the lake and marina, so we had easy access to just hang out at the beach for a day in the glorious sun.  One day we hiked around the Hanging Garden Area in Page by the nearby Glen Canyon Dam to get a better view of the lake at sunset. It is overwhelming to try to understand the size of this lake – lovely!

Lake Powell Utah - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Evening Light Lake Powell Utah

8 Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Area – Marble Canyon

While in Page, we decided a day trip to Vermillion Cliffs National Monument area.  First stop on this adventure was at the Navajo Bridge visitor center along with a the beautiful walking bridge spanning the Colorado river.

Historic Navajo Bridge - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Historic Navajo Bridge

Then on to a challenging hike in the Cathedral Wash slot canyon, which leads you thru some wonderful scenery over ledges, high sheet walls and drop offs down to the Colorado River in Marble Canyon.  This 3 mile round trip hike was a great way to spend the morning, and although you know in a canyon there is only really one way to go (down to the river), it was sometimes a challenge to figure out which ledge or side of the slot canyon you should be traversing. 

Cathedral Wash Slot Canyon - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Cathedral Wash Slot Canyon

After we finished the hike, we drove on to Lees Ferry Landing Historic Post, where guides put in their boats and equipment to lead an adventure running the rapids on the Colorado River.

Lee's Ferry Historic District - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Lee’s Ferry Historic District

9 Kanab

Coyote Buttes North – The Wave

As part of our trip route, we mapped out a stop in Kanab to enter a lottery in an effort to gain a permit to visit The Wave in Coyote Buttes North Park, made famous by Microsoft Windows desktop standard image. To visit to The Wave, you are required to get a permit. Only 20 people in the world are allowed into the park daily, with 10 people selected from those who show up for the in person daily lottery. Our hopes were high, but expectations were low with over 80 people in line. We were not selected, but entered into the second lottery for the Coyote Buttes South park area and won the lottery for a permit for the following day.   

White Pocket

White Pocket Kanab Utah - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
White Pocket Kanab Utah

That meant we had to stay in town and find something to do for that day. Luckily we ran into a couple with a 4 wheel drive vehicle and they asked us if we wanted to go on an adventure.  We were enjoying their company so we decided to adventure to White Pocket for the day.  This is a place that you can only get to to with a high profile 4 wheel drive vehicle. The roads are pretty bad and the sand is very very deep. We ended up getting stuck but eventually maneuvered through. The views are unique, interesting, beautiful and therefore it is certainly worth the trip – and we met new friends! 

White Pocket Kanab Utah - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
White Pocket Kanab Utah

Coyote Buttes South – The Southern Wave

 

South Coyote Buttes The Southern Wave - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
South Coyote Buttes The Southern Wave

Coyote Buttes South area is much less well known than “The Wave” but that means it is unspoiled and easier to get a permit. To get out to this area, a rugged 4WD vehicle is required. We did not have this nor did we have the knowledge of the areas in park for the best photo shots, so we knew a tour guide was in order. We selected Dreamland Safari Tours and connected with Shawn Turner as our guide. He was a knowledgeable, friendly, helpful guide and we would highly recommend these people.  We hiked for 6 hours and found so many wonderful sights. What a great day!

South Coyote Buttes The Southern Wave
South Coyote Buttes The Southern Wave

10 Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park - 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park – 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah

We hadn’t expected to win the lottery spending additional days in Kanab. So our planned time in Bryce Canyon had to be cut short.  When we arrived in Bryce Canyon, we parked the RV and hopped on the shuttle to hit all the highlight overlooks. We wanted to get a feel for for the park.  We had been at Bryce on a family vacation years ago with the kids, but we experienced a different feel on this vacation. Bryce’s crimson-colored hoodoos and spire-shaped rock formations are a sight to behold!  What a great afternoon and evening of just soaking in the beauty. 

The following morning we decided a hike down into the Bryce Canyon valley was in order. We choose the Sunset Point, Navajo Loop, Queens Garden to Sunrise Point trail.  It was a cool 38 degrees Fahrenheit when started that morning, due to the elevation in Bryce, but ended at 80 degrees by the end of the hike.  This 3 mile moderate trail was filled with many marvelous rock formations, again feeling like we were on a different planet.  What a wonderful day to end the vacation.  We only wish we had more time to explore!

Conclusion

We hope this post gives you a good idea of how incredibly remarkable Utah is. It is so incredibly diverse in its landscape and beauty, there is certainly something for everyone.  If you have an questions about this adventure feel free to drop us a note, either in the comments below or you can contact us directly.  If you use our ideas and have a great time, please share your experiences with us, we would love to hear all about it. And until next time, get out and capture the adventure!   

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