The 9 most beautiful places in Utah, UT

  • Post last modified:May 22, 2022
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Utah is often mentioned as one of the prettiest parts of the US. The most beautiful places in Utah include red deserts, green canyons, mysterious rock formations and even interesting history. In the American Southwest the state really offers a jaw-dropping cocktail of must see places to explore.

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1. Utah’s oldest national park Zion

Zion National Park in South Utah was established as early as 1919. That makes it the oldest park among the five national parks in the state of Utah.

In Zion the sandstone cliffs in cream, pink and red beautifully get contrasted by the park’s green canyon floors. The environment is spectacular in Zion. The Utah park also offers some of America’s best and most famous hikes.

To explore Angels Landing, Observation Point and the Narrows in Zion are some of the best things to do in Utah. The awe-inspiring hikes in the state’s first national park is certainly something to include on all Utah bucket lists.

Green canyon and red cliffs during daytime in Zion National Park
Beautiful views in Zion.

2. The surreal Monument Valley

For Monument Valley the state of Utah shares the glory with Arizona. Because the famous red valley among the most scenic places in Utah is located on the border between Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.

But when you visit Monument Valley it’s easy to ask where in the universe you really are. The area encompassing Monument Valley Tribal Park is breathtaking.

The valley with its red valley floor and giant buttes is often referred to as both one of the most beautiful places in Utah and in the United States. Monument Valley is also where Forrest Gump ended his cross country run in the iconic movie.

Where to stay

If you look for something extra, the hotels in Monument Valley with valley view take a stay to the next level. Waking up to the otherworldly Monument Valley surroundings is a true privilege.

Three large rock buttes in Monument Valley
Monument Valley, AZ/UT.

3. Hoodoo rich Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its dense population of rock hoodoos. Even among all the must see places in Utah the hoodoo rich Bryce stands out.

The scenery in Bryce is like nothing else. Bryce’s peculiar red rock hoodoos make Bryce Canyon one of the most unique places to visit in Utah.

Among all the hoodoos in Bryce the most famous one is Thor’s Hammer. It’s the hoodoo in Bryce Canyon and the one you don’t want to miss.

To reach Thor’s Hammer when visiting you just need to take a short hike down from the main road. The easy hike to get to the iconic Utah spot is certainly worth every single step.

Rock hoodoo in Bryce Canyon Utah
Hoodoo in Bryce Canyon National Park.

4. The well-kept secret Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef National Park is another great national park in Utah. As it gets much less attention than some other spots among the most beautiful places in Utah, it’s also known as the state’s best-kept secret. But the park is unique in the way that it offers both diverse nature and interesting history.

Fruita Historic District in the park adds a historic dimension to a Capitol Reef visit. Only few buildings remain in Fruita today but when you visit it’s easy to believe that the settlement used to be one of the prettiest towns in Utah. The setting in Capitol Reef is just stunning.

Lonely barn in Utah national park
Fruita in Capitol Reef.

5. Fossil packed Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument is located on the border between Utah and Colorado. In the area dinosaurs used to roam in a distant time. When you visit Dinosaur National Monument, you get to see their well preserved remains. The monument is one of the most unique places in Utah and even in America.

In the Quarry Exhibit Hall visitors can view more than 1,500 dinosaur fossils. That makes the national monument one of the world’s richest dinosaur deposits. The remains on display in the extensive dinosaur graveyard include the species Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus and Stegosaurus. Visiting Dinosaur National Monument is one of the best educational things to do in Utah.

Where to stay

Vernal offers great options for where to stay near Dinosaur National Monument. From the Utah town it’s only 16 miles (26 km) to Dinosaur National Monument Quarry Visitor Center within the park. 

Red canyon floor, green trees and cliffs in Dinosaur National Monument.
Dinosaur National Monument, UT/CO.

6. The vast and remote Canyonlands

Canyonlands National Park is a grand national park in Utah. The more than 335,000 acres are filled with fun Utah things to explore. But as Canyonlands covers such a vast and remote area, most visitors don’t have time to explore more than just a slice of the park.

By far the most popular district in Canyonlands National Park is Island in the Sky. It’s the easiest area to visit, and its paved drive takes you to some of the most scenic places in Utah.

The vast Canyonlands National Park in Utah during daytime
Canyonlands overlook, Utah.

7. Arches’ timeless landscape

Arches National Park and its timeless red rock landscape is known as one of the most scenic places Utah. The highlight in the park is its more than 2,000 signature arches. And among all the arches in Arches there is in particular one that stands out.

The Delicate Arch is the most famous and photographed arch in the entire park. For a close-up view you need to hike a round trip of 3 miles (4.8 km) from the trailhead. Just be prepared that the trail gets incredibly hot during the warmer months of the year.

Where to stay

Moab is the perfect town to stay in when you explore Arches National Park. The town is home to an impressive range of hotels near Arches National Park.

  • Marriott Moab – Great amenities and mountain view just minutes from the park.
Giant arch in Arches National Park in Utah
Delicate Arch in Arches, UT

8. Lake Powell’s inviting waters

It’s called a lake but in truth it’s a colossal man-made water reservoir. But no matter if you choose to call it a lake or a reservoir, Lake Powell is one of the most beautiful places in Utah. Its inviting waters contrasted by the red cliffs is a stunning sight.

Lake Powell on the border between Utah and Arizona is a desert paradise for water activities. Millions of people travel to the Lake Powell area each year to enjoy water activities in the desert. It might be a fake lake, but the fun is certainly real.

Blue lake among red cliffs at Utah's Lake Powell
Lake Powell in Utah.

9. The pretty mountain town Park City

Park City is constantly mentioned as one of the prettiest towns in Utah. The mountain town is especially a popular winter destination, and in the area you find many world-class ski resorts.

But you don’t have to ski to enjoy Park City in Utah. The historic buildings, charming vibe and incredible mountain backdrop makes Park City one of the most beautiful places in Utah to spend time in.

The colorful Park City in the Mountains in Utah
Park City, UT.

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