Utah Bucket List: 21 Best Things to do in Utah (2023)

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How many Utah bucket list items have you crossed off?

Utah has one of the most diverse landscapes and climates in the United States. And, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful, too. Utah is home to some of the most famous hikes in the entire nation, each with their own stunning landscapes.

But it’s not only for the outdoor lovers. Salt Lake City is a metropolis with all varieties of people and activities. Below we’ve added our Utah bucket list so you can enjoy the best that the state has to offer, both inside and outside.

Hike Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park

View of a canyon surrounded by tall mountains with a river running through it.

Angel’s Landing is one of those infamous hikes. And although the views are breathtaking, the actual hike has nothing in common with the word angelic.

Angel’s Landing is only 5.4 miles round trip, but you’ll gain a stark 1,488 feet in elevation, and fast. It’s a strenuous climb up (not recommended for young kids), but on top, you’ll see the canyons of Zion National Park stretch before you, and that makes the layers of switchbacks you just trekked up worth it.

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    Experience a Utah Slot Canyon, like Buckskin Gulch

    Not only does slipping into a slot canyon make you feel like you’re being transported to another world, it is a great way to escape the dry, summer heat in Utah.

    And Buckskin Gulch is one of the most visited in the state. It is located near the Arizona border and is one of the longest continuous slot canyons in the world, extending for about 16 miles. This is a must do in Utah.

    Drive through Monument Valley

    Sun peaking over tall rock formations.

    Now, Utah may not be a state with a  ton of skyscrapers, but it does house Monument Valley, which are just natural skyscrapers that are much more dramatic.

    On the eastern side of the state, you can drive through these natural wonders and feel incredibly small in the best way. As the sun moves throughout the sky, the scene changes, shadows adding another level to the already majestic view.

    Monument Valley is another incredibly popular site, so if you are visiting in the busy season, there may be some traffic and wait time on the road.

    Explore the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park

    Orange hoodoos stand in the middle of a desert landscape.

    The word hoodoo is connected with witchcraft, and these unique rock pillars certainly are bewitching.

    These curious anomalies are found in other places in the world, but nowhere are they as abundant as in Bryce Canyon. Here they form an absolutely spellbinding landscape of a red and orange city, accented with green from the park’s pines.

    Seeing a Bryce Canyon hoodoo should be a top priority on your Utah bucket list. 

    Spend a day exploring Salt Lake City

    A train drives by a city landscape with mountains in the background.

    Salt Lake City is a city full of art, history, and entertainment. Most places are very kid friendly as well.

    You can explore the history at Temple Square, where the pioneers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints laid their claim in 1847 and built up the city around their temple. Learn at the Natural History Museum, or stand in awe of the beauty of the Great Salt Lake.

    SLC is also a huge foodie town! Finding a new favorite restaurant is a must do in Utah.

    See the bridges at Natural Bridges National Monument

    Tall arch with a blue sky through it.

    The Natural Bridges became Utah’s first national monument in 1908 and has been drawing in those who are drawn to the power of Earth’s natural forces ever since.

    There are three bridges at the site, each forcefully crafted by erosion over thousands of years. The bridges are named “Kachina,” “Owachomo” and “Sipapu” to honor the ancient Puebloeans who used to reside in the area.

    Try dirty soda

    If you’ve ever heard anything about Utah, then you know how they love their soda. There are at least a couple soda shops in each town.

    Swig, FiiZ, and Sodalicious are just a few of these shops where you can get all kinds of mix-ins and combos of your favorite soda.

    If you just want a taste of the culture, head to the nearest Maverik (a favorite gas station in Utah) and pour a little packet of creamer in your Dr. Pepper. This is definitely one of those unique things to do in Utah.

    See the Sunrise from Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

    Arch with the sun peaking over in the distance.

    Arches National Park’s Delicate Arch has become somewhat of a Utah icon. I mean, it is on all the license plates. That solidifies it a spot on our Utah bucket list, especially for sunrise.

    And let me tell you, it is not overrated. The hike to the arch isn’t too strenuous and provides a beautiful view of the scenery with Delicate Arch as the centerpiece. We’d say this is one of the must see sights in Utah.

    Go skiing (or snowboarding) in winter

    A girl skis down a mountain.

    Utah is home to 15 ski resorts, totaling in 31,000 feet of ski/snowboard-able ground. Many of these are world-famous and bring hundreds of thousands of winter athletes to the slopes every winter.

    Some of these resorts are known for other things as well. In the summer, Sundance Ski Resort becomes the home of the Sundance Film Festival.

    Utah mountains are unlike ones you’ve ever seen before, and you won’t regret hitting the slopes here. It is also a great place to learn to ski or snowboard if you’ve tried it before.

    Relax at Mystic Hot Springs

    Three tubs next to orange rocks.

    Mystic Hot Springs was created by Mike Ginsburg after stumbling upon it in his bus in 1995. He brought the place to life adding new accommodations, soaking pools, and bringing a new energy to the natural spa.

    Now Mystic Hot Springs feels like luxury and an outdoor festival all mixed up in one relaxing package. Ginsburg regularly brings artists and bands to perform for the guests, so while you’re de-stressing in a natural hot tub you can enjoy a soundtrack as well.

    Mystic Hot Springs is definitely one of the best things to do in Utah.

    There are also many more hot springs in Utah worth checking out.

    Stand in awe of Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

    Desert landscape with mountains behind it.

    Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is located at the very bottom of the state and is a must do in Utah off-roading fans.

    Pink sandstone eroded away into fine pink sand where you can take your four-wheelers to town. The dunes turn into a playground for the adventurous and it’s the perfect place to spin your wheels a bit.

    Traverse Through Canyonlands National Park

    Sign that says Canyonlands National Park.

    Located near the La Sal Mountains, the rugged landscape of Canyonlands National Park is just waiting to be explored.

    Canyonlands is one of the Mighty Five Utah National Parks and is perfect for those interested in backcountry hiking and camping. There are three different sections of the park divided by the Colorado River and the Green River, each with its unique characteristics. 

    Snap a photo at the Bonneville Salt Flats

    Man walking on salt flats.

    When on the Bonneville Salt Flats, it’s hard to believe you’re on the same planet as Salt Lake City.

    Found on the edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert, the Salt Flats extend for 12 miles where you tread on barren salty ground. Nothing lives, nothing grows, but it makes for some stunning photos.

    The Salt Flats should definitely be on your Utah bucket list.

    Go glamping under the stars

    Glamping tents lit up under a starry sky.

    Utah is known for its mix of luxury and nature. This is the place to experience the beauty of the outdoors in an upscale resort stocked with everything you could ever want. Glamping resorts pepper the state, and you can choose to stay in a tent, a cabin, a teepee, or even a covered wagon.

    Utah is also known for its Dark Sky Parks where there is little to no light pollution. This allows the stars to truly shine. In the summer, even the Milky Way might show up!

    See the view through Mesa Arch in Canyonlands

    View of a rocky landscape through an arch.

    When trekking through Canyonlands, you’ll want to make sure to stop at Mesa Arch. This is a must see in Utah.

    Mesa Arch is 27 feet long and provides a window into the Canyonlands landscape and the La Sal Mountains beyond. Get your camera out because this is a view you’ll want to remember.

    Visit Capitol Reef National Park

    Tall rock formation under a blue sky.

    Capitol Reef National Park is another one of Utah’s Mighty Five national parks. It is one of the lesser visited, but that just means all the same beauty without all the crowds.

    Capitol Reef has some really unique features within its boundaries. Here you can visit the historic Fruita Orchards and schoolhouse, the remains of a once thriving Utah settlement. Check out the Capitol Reef website to see what fruit will be growing at the time of your visit!

    Go on a Moab 4×4 Tour

    Moab is best experienced off-road. And if you’re a little nervous to head into the vast desert wilderness on your own, no worries! You can book a guide to show you the best parts of the country and keep you safe.

    You can book tours just to ride around Moab or there are some that can take you through Moab and Canyonlands as well. Tours can start for as low as $95.

    Experience the beauty of Dead Horse Point State Park

    A river winds throughout a desert landscape.

    Dead Horse Point State Park is an essential add to your Utah Bucket list. Nestled in between Canyonlands and Arches, it’s a great place to make your base camp before heading out and exploring the other two national parks.

    You can camp here amidst the rugged desert beauty without the constant stream of visitors and other campers like in Arches. And if you don’t want to go to the national parks, Dead Horse State park has plenty of trails and sights you can explore.

    Wander through Goblin Valley State Park

    A man in a red hoodie stands in a desert landscape.

    Want to walk through a forest of sandstone rock formations that look like mushrooms? I mean, who wouldn’t? You can find this spectacular landscape that is often compared to Mars near Hanksville, Utah.

    Goblin Valley State Park is one of the best things to do in Utah. The night sky is always alight with constellations and the sun brings great hiking, biking, and even disc golf conditions. I hope you’re learning throughout this article that Utah is much more than Zion National Park.

    Trek through the Narrows in Zion

    People hike through a canyon filled with water.

    But just because there’s more to do in Utah than just visit Zion doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

    Especially because the Narrows is one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on. For most of this hike you will be at least calf deep in water, so remember to bring your best water shoes.

    The water will keep you nice and cool as you trek through the Virgin River in Utah’s summer heat while you enjoy the enchantingly blue water and canyon flora.

    Organize your hiking with our

    Notion Hiking Planner!

    Elevate your hikes with the Notion Hiking Planner; map your routes, track your hiking expenses, and capture your trail experience all in one hub. Plan, collaborate, and relive your adventures effortlessly with this ultimate tool for organized exploration.

    Explore Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

    Landscape that looks like candy waves.

    The Vermillion Cliffs National Monument is a reminder to be in awe of the world we live in. In an unreal array of reds and oranges, the Vermillion Cliffs are cascades of color embedded in sandstone.

    This geologic treasure is certainly to be looked at, but it can also be touched! It is one of the must see sights in Utah, but if you visit, spend some time trekking the trails in the area so you can see the cliffs from all angles.

    This Utah bucket list was created to get visitors to see the state as we see it. Diverse, breathtakingly beautiful, and fun! It might take a couple trips to complete, but we hope someday you get to go skiing in some of the best resorts in the world, and hike the Narrows in its peak season. You won’t regret it!

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