Utah is a state like none other. It is brimming with beautiful cities and rich history. However, for anyone who has lived in or visited Utah, the breathtaking views are what set this state apart. If you plan to be in Utah, be sure you take in some of these sites. You’ll quickly discover how the word “awesome” should properly be used when you experience these views.
Delicate Arch – Arches National Park
With more than 2,000 natural stone arches, it is no wonder Arches National Park outside of Moab has some of the most stunning views. The red rock park showcases amazing colors and is a perfect visit most anytime of year, but be aware that the summers can be scorching hot and the area does receive snow in the winter.
The best view in the park has to be one of the most popular in the state – it’s even on license plates and the “Welcome to Utah” signs – and one of the most fun to find. It’s Delicate Arch. The arch has the honor of being the largest freestanding arch in the park with the opening measuring 46 feet high and 32 feet wide. With this mighty opening, it serves as the perfect frame for the La Sal Mountains in the distance.
The trail to see Delicate Arch up close is worth every step of the three miles (round trip). The terrain ranges from slick rock to sand and the last stretch is along a wide cliff’s edge, but it is doable, even for those moderately scared of heights.
Bear Lake – Garden City
The Carribean of the Rockies will make you second-guess where you are. Straddling the Utah and Idaho borders, Bear Lake is a natural lake and home to crystal blue freshwater that is created by the reflection of the limestone deposits suspended within the lake.
The drive from Logan to Bear Lake along Highway 89 is one of the prettiest mountain drives and you are greeted by Bear Lake as you top a hill, looking down toward Garden City. It’s a special spot to get a birds-eye view of the turquoise waters. If you visit in the summer, stay to enjoy a hike, fish or take part in a plethora of water sports.
Angels Landing – Zion National Park
Any view at Zion National Park is stunning, no matter if you’re at Zion Lodge or on a canyon floor trail. The narrow canyon that makes up the main section of the park allows you to look up at the breathtaking peaks, including the Court of Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – which were named by Mormon pioneers.
The view that is too stunning for words is that from Angels Landing. A strenuous hike 1,500 feet above the canyon floor rewards you with sweeping views of Zion National Park. More than that, you will carry with you the memories of the hike and feelings of awe that are precious and rare to find.
It is very important to note that this hike is not for young children or anyone fearful of heights. The first 2.2 miles, starting at the West Rim Trail, is paved and you are able to take in spectacular views overlooking the canyon below. The last section to Angels Landing is along a steep, narrow ridge to the summit. Always take into consideration weather conditions.
Mesa View – Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is another Moab-based park that offers spectacular views of Utah’s red rocks and preserves nearly 350,000 acres of land. The Green and Colorado Rivers have worked to naturally divide the park into five distinct districts – Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, Horseshoe Canyon Unit and The Rivers.
Mesa Arch is an outstanding view as the sun rises, so make your way into the park early to grab a spot and don’t forget your camera. The arch is perched on the edge of a cliff and perfectly frames the park and its rock formations, most notably the Washer Woman, whose silhouette is revealed as the sun rises behind her and, moments later, the sun continues to highlight the perfect shades of orange in Mesa Arch.
Note that this is a popular spot for photographers, so it is best to get there while it is still relatively dark. Bring a flashlight, but the trail is short and manageable.
The Wave in Coyote Buttes
A spot so popular, you need to have a permit to get there, but it is worth the effort. The Wave is just like you might imagine. It looks like a stellar ocean wave frozen in the red rocks of southern Utah. The colors in the Navajo Sandstone – reds, pinks, yellows and orange – will blow your mind, as will the swirls in the rock that stroke from side to side.
The Bureau of Land Management has limited visitors to 20 people per day. Half of the permits are part of a lottery system issued four months out. The other 10 permits are given out at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab. Check online for the most up-to-date information.
Five stunning views doesn’t do Utah justice, but it will you started on your next adventure!