United States of America
Take A Hike
As a travel agent I have the unique opportunity of speaking with hundreds of travellers as well as my social media followers, giving me a real sense of public opinion on travelling through the Beehive State. Unsurprisingly Mormons, desert and national parks topped the list of interests.
But while Utah certainly has an abundance of all those things, there is so much more on offer here, making it (in my opinion) one of the most underrated frontier states in all of the U.S.
The most surprising thing about Utah – aside from the fact it has the third largest number of national parks in any U.S. state – is that the is that the sheer number of state parks and national monuments are so impressive they rival any of the Mighty Five® which the state is better known for; these are Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks.
If you’re an adventure lover and a fan of the great outdoors, there really is no other place on the planet quite like Utah. One hour you can be swiftly pedalling down ruby red-coloured slick rock, the next you’re wedged between a towering slot canyon, waist deep in crystal clear water. You could be cruising down world-class ski slopes in the morning, and hiking through a wonderland of hoodoos (columns of weathered rock) and pine trees that same afternoon.
Utah shines in every season, with 238 days of sun a year (well above the national average) so when you visit really depends on what you’re hoping to experience. For snow lovers, mid-November through to April is best, especially in January to March if you’re craving deep pow. For hikers, look at the seasons of Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) for comfortable conditions. The summer months (June to August) are best for alpine hiking and water sports.
We laced up our boots in the capital, Salt Lake City, to kick off a monumental road trip. You can take a hike from day one on your visit by heading out to the Great Salt Lake or acquaint yourself with the state's fascinating Mormon roots by checking out the Temple Square complex. The Utah State Capitol building and the National History Museum are also well worth some time while you’re still in the big smoke, and if you can catch the Utah Jazz basketball team at home, it’s game on!
From Salt Lake City, we ventured through rocky desert landscapes, pristine forests, glistening waterways, and the wild west, all the way down through the deep south of Utah, to Las Vegas, Nevada.
While hiking and landscapes were what we were originally craving on this visit, we found ourselves smiling from ear to ear with charming locals, falling in love with quirky desert towns, and having foodie experiences that still make my taste buds moist at the memories.
If I had to sum up Utah in an elevator pitch, I’d say it's like a game of pass the parcel. When the music stops and you rip off the next layer of wrapping paper, you’ll be squealing with delight and it’s one of those games where Mum and Dad have packed an epic present in each layer.
Camel up, it’s time to live life elevated.
Here’s five epic recommendations, a detailed road trip itinerary from our creator and the best way to discover (and book) the real Utah with get lost:
It’s not a cliche: it should be a God-given right for everyone to have the opportunity to experience the magic and diversity that Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks offer. It still blows my mind how different each of these parks are, yet they’re so easily accessible to navigate within a week.
TAKE A HIKE
The AU$115 America the Beautiful pass, gives you access to all federally managed land units (national parks, national forests, national monuments, etc.) It’s good for a year from the month of purchase. You can pick one up at any national park entrance station.
Part of the ‘Trail of the Ancients’, this national scenic byway is a roadway that drastically switches back and forth on itself at a mind boggling 11 percent grade, carved into a cliff face. You breathe in while you’re driving this stretch of road simply as a natural protection instinct from the sheer drop. Yet, the views over San Juan River Canyon will balance your adrenaline. It is simply stunning at the top. It was a combination of both these elements that made me really feel alive.
TAKE A HIKE
I went all gung-ho to tick off the Mighty Five® national parks. And while they are certainly pretty epic in their own right, I was floored by how insane the lesser known parks were. I was questioning how they could not be honoured with the same national park status? There are 44 state parks, 9 national monuments, and several other areas defined as really cool landmarks. At this point, I decide that I need to move to Utah to visit each and every one.
TAKE A HIKE
AU$108 for an annual State Park Pass which is a no brainer if you’re visiting a few. They can be around AU$15 per park if you pay individually.
If the aqua coloured truck doesn’t stop you in your tracks as you pass by the town of Boulder, the scent of perfectly cooked Mexican wafting through your window will have you parked up in no time. Sit under the cottonwoods to enjoy their fare, and take some extra away with you to fuel you on your next hike.
TAKE A HIKE
Soda AU$4, taco AU$8, burrito AU$20
You’re in the most adventurous state in the U.S, so it’s time to try something new. Challenge yourself on a higher graded hike, mountain bike, canyoning adventure, bouldering ledge, rock climb, fly fishing trip, ATV, jet ski, water ski, snow ski, snowboard or slackline. If you’ve ever wanted to try something new that will really get your heart racing, Utah is calling your name.
TAKE A HIKE
Choosing to get out of your comfort zone = priceless
GET LOST'S NINE-NIGHT UTAH ITINERARY
DAY 1 SALT LAKE CITY
DAY 2 SALT LAKE CITY TO GREEN RIVER
DAY 3 THE FIRST OF THE MIGHTY FIVE
DAY 4 THE WILD WEST
DAY 5 MONUMENT VALLEY TO CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
DAY 6 WORKING ON THAT MIGHTY FIVE
DAY 7 BRYCE CANYON TO KANAB
DAY 8 THE FINAL FIVE
DAY 9 ZION TO CEDAR CITY
DAY 10 CROSSING THE FINISH LINE
get in the know // Utah man Walter Frederick Morrison invented the frisbee in 1948. It was originally called the Pluto Platter.