Backyard Explorations: Salt Lake City

In between the trips and daydreams, my current home-base is located in the great–and beautiful— state of Utah, in the bustling, and ever-growing capital known as Salt Lake City. I’ve lived here for close to five years and although the traffic can sometimes be a nightmare, and the liquor laws are slightly more than strict, Salt Lake City has treated me well.

Over the last few years, our vacations always start by hopping on flights that are at least six hours or more as we set out across the world to explore places that we’ve only ever dreamed about. And while I’m always up for world travel, lately we’ve come to realize how little of our own state we have actually explored–don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of exploring Lake Powell during my childhood, and we regularly hang out at local gems like Park City and Bear Lake, yet there is a long list of places that we haven’t had the chance to explore.

Utah has so much to offer: from the dramatic mountainous landscapes in the North, to the wide-barren expanses of red rock in the South, this state is incredibly diverse. There’s something for everyone from hiking, rock climbing, horse-back riding, and camping, to swimming, boating, kayaking, and sailing… and it’s time that we made a point to get out there and explore our own backyard.

And why not begin by checking off the Mighty Five from our list. Utah is “America’s National Park Capital” with FIVE incredible National Parks within the state lines: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zions. Each park offers unique experiences, dramatic landscapes, and the opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime.

We have less than two months until our anniversary trip to Thailand and I was hoping to plan a trip to Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park during that time frame; however, we found out that my poor husband fractured his wrist during his Open Water certification–his injury has less to do with fighting off sharks and more to do with a slippery tricky entry point–but that’s a story for another day… For now, we will have to wait and see how his recovery goes before we lose ourselves in the mesmerizing red rock canyons.

For those that don’t know, the summer months in southern Utah are smothered in extreme (and very dangerous) heat and you won’t find me out hiking in the triple digit weather. So if we don’t make it out this spring, we will have to be patient and wait until the cooler temperatures this fall to explore the Mighty Five. Here’s to 2015 and finally exploring more of our own backyard!

Have you been to any of these National Parks? I’d love to hear your advice on activities that we cannot miss. 

9 Comments

  1. April 2, 2015 / 5:09 PM

    Haven’t visited Utah’s national parks, but I still vividly recall a long ago drive across the Great Salt Desert. Just incredible, IMO. And if you’re looking for a nearby park to visit in July or August, why not try the four hour or so drive up to the Tetons? A lot cooler than Arches or Bryce. 🙂

    • April 3, 2015 / 10:07 AM

      Hi Tom!
      The Great Salt Desert is definitely an experience, it is so vast and unlike anything else. 🙂 I like the suggestion of driving up to the Tetons. We used to live in Idaho and visited the Tetons and Yellowstone quite frequently, but it’s been a number of years since our last visit. I’ll have to see if we can add that to the agenda this summer. Thank you! 🙂

  2. April 2, 2015 / 7:31 PM

    Of those, Bryce Canyon is my favorite. However, the best place in Utah is not a national park. It is Monument Valley, which is in Navajo land.

    • April 3, 2015 / 10:08 AM

      Rick,
      Thank you for the suggestions. I think a Monument Valley/Four Corners trip must be planned soon. Great idea!!

  3. April 3, 2015 / 9:45 AM

    Of the Mighty Five, Canyonlands is the only one I haven’t been to (yet!). They are all worth seeing for sure. If you visit Zion, I wouldn’t miss hiking into the Narrows and Angel’s Landing. The views of Zion Canyon from there are spectacular. If you go to Arches, the hike to Delicate Arch is a must-do. And in Bryce Canyon, the Navajo Loop/Queens Garden Trail is great. I hope you get to visit some of them soon!

    • April 3, 2015 / 11:08 AM

      Brian,

      Thank you for these incredible suggestions! 🙂 I will make sure to include them all when we finally get around to going. Even after our conversation I’m still nervous about Angel’s Landing… Maybe I should pack two parachutes in our bag (just in case) 😉

  4. April 9, 2015 / 7:29 AM

    All 5parks looks amazing, I’d love to explore them all 🙂 It’s always nice to explore our backyard in between all the international destinations 🙂 England always manages to impress me with its landscape and heritage and I’ve seen quite a bit, more than some of the English themselves, I must say 😉

    • April 9, 2015 / 10:40 AM

      Hey Kristina! If you ever come this way let me know and we can go explore them together! 🙂 We always have mini trips planned between our big adventures as well, but we find ourselves going back to the same place again and again. We’re mixing it up this year! 🙂 (hopefully).
      I would love to explore England one day… One of these years…

      • April 12, 2015 / 12:43 AM

        I hope you do, it’s a beautiful country. Lots of people come to London and they think they’ve seen it all, but London is so different from the rest of the country 🙂 there’s so much to explore 🙂

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