The natural beauty and rugged terrain of Utah is a magnet for adventure travelers. Winter skiing, summer camping, year-round hiking, iconic vistas, multiple National Parks – there’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy in the Beehive State.
Adventurers could spend a lifetime exploring this slice of the West, but if you only have a week or two available, consider booking one of these 8 must-do activities for adventure seekers in Utah:
Road Trip Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks
Take the ambitious approach to Utah by planning an epic road trip to all five of the state’s National Parks (only California and Alaska have more). Made slightly easier by the fact that all are located in the southern part of the state, this itinerary still takes some well-thought out planning.
One option is flying into Las Vegas then driving south to north starting at Zion National Park, followed by Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and ending in Canyonland. Another possibility is to start out in Salt Lake City and make your way south to the parks. Whatever your route, a Mighty Five road trip is an unforgettable adventure.
Sail Over Arches in A Hot Air Balloon
Arches National Park is known for its deep red rock and arching formations. Stunning from any angle, getting a bird’s eye view of this iconic landscape ups the adventure quotient. Multiple ballooning companies operate out of nearby Moab, Utah, whose quirky small town vibe makes it a destination in its own right. Book a group tour, or hire a private balloon for a more intimate experience.
Backpack the Three-Day Coyote Gulch Route
For those who enjoy sleeping under the stars, a hike through Coyote Gulch (three days, two nights) is a must. By day, you’ll trek among red rock formations, weave under natural arches, and keep your camera ready for wildlife sightings. By night, set up camp at one of the handful of established sites along the route.
The Coyote Gulch route is considered strenuous, and includes sections where rock scrambling and bushwhacking are needed to keep going. Be sure to read up on trail conditions and carefully prepare your pack before heading out. One useful feature of this hike: plentiful natural springs that provide refreshing drinking water.
Take A Photography Trek in the Bonneville Salt Flats
Amateur and professional photogs alike should seek out the Bonneville Salt Flats. Hollywood sure has – numerous films have used this otherworldly backdrop, including Independence Day and Con Air. A short drive west from Salt Lake City, the flats formed at the end of the last Ice Age, when an ancient lake dried up and left its minerals behind. These dissolved minerals (table salt makes up 90% of them) formed a thick crust that spans 300,000 acres. The area is sparse – no restaurants or restroom facilities – and wayward drivers have been known to get stuck in the surrounding mud, so planning ahead and careful car packing are a necessity.
Soak in Diamond Fork Hot Springs
A straightforward 2.5 mile hike gets you to the crystal blue sulfuric waters of the Diamond Fork Hot Springs. The waters are located just south of Salt Lake City and Provo, and can be enjoyed year-round (perfect for a soothing post-ski dip). Once you reach the springs, you’ll see a variety of different pools that have formed over the years, offering different temperatures, depths, and even colors. Be prepared for fellow bathers who choose to go in the nude. Although technically illegal, some hikers throw caution and their clothes to the wind!
Go “Backcountry” Skiing
“Backcountry” is a term used to describe skiing that takes place away from the groomed trails of a ski resort. Runs range from beginner to advanced, and it’s a good idea to hire a guide who knows the area – and to brush up on your knowledge of avoiding and surviving avalanches. Skiers love going backcountry for the abundance of fresh powder and the freedom and solitude that can be found off the beaten paths.
Hike through Wire Pass Slot Canyon
Not for the claustrophobic, a hike through the Wire Pass Slot Canyon yields Instagram-worthy photos of this canyon’s signature narrow passageways. How narrow? Around 3 feet wide in some spots. There’s also an 7-8 foot drop obstacle along the route that some visitors might find difficult to navigate. Those who make the trek will eventually arrive at Buckskin Gulch and can spot petroglyphs etched into the red sandstone.
Glamp Near Lake Powell
Ok, so this option is a little less “adventure” and a little more comfort. But for those who like their great outdoors with a touch of running water, glamping is the perfect option. Under Canvas offers what they call “safari inspired accommodations” near Big Water, Utah, with close access to a number of top sites including Lake Powell and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Hike by day and enjoy their locally-sourced culinary delights (and campfire s’mores) by night.
Adventure Awaits. Lugos Travel Can Help.
Safe and rewarding adventure travel requires careful planning. Our travel experts can arrange all the details – including luxury touches like concierge service, private tours, and fine dining – while you focus on enjoying the ride. To start booking your Utah adventure, contact us today.