Beyond the Mighty Five
Utah is known for its breathtaking landscape, from the sandstone formations in the desert to the snow capped peaks of the Wasatch. The National Park Service oversees two million acres in the state–which is a substantial area–but it is just a small sample of what our state has to offer in the outdoor department. In addition to the five well-known National Parks, there are 43 State Parks. Each of these is worth exploring and offers something unique. We’ve put together a list of five of our favorites. We hope this inspires you to discover a new campground, try a different trail, and enjoy some time in the great outdoors.
Antelope Island State Park: A trip to Antelope Island is always an adventure. You’ll drive on a seven mile long causeway to access the island and be greeted by free roaming bison. Enjoy strolling through the historic Fielding Garr Ranch, stop at the Buffalo Island Grill for lunch and bring your camera to capture some otherworldly images. This park is perfect for a day trip from the Salt Lake area.
Dead Horse Point: This park is known for its breathtaking views and dark night sky. Its close proximity to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks gives a good indication of the caliber of the landscape. As with most State Parks, the Visitor’s Center offers worthwhile educational programs about the history and ecology of this incredible place.
Niche Homes Studio Principle Designer Kayley Danielson and her family
Kodachrome Basin State Park: Aptly named after the bright color film, this park has an array of fascinating geological formations. It’s located about half an hour away from Bryce Canyon National Park and just a few miles from Grosvenor Arch–one of Utah’s most impressive arches. The campground is well-maintained and there are kid-friendly hiking and biking trails.
Snow Canyon State Park: Located about 15 minutes from Saint George in Southern Utah. This park has some serious vistas, especially at sunrise and sunset. Like most desert destinations, we advise visiting in the cooler months rather than in the summer heat. Snow Canyon is a favorite because of its proximity to Saint George, paved bike trail, and family friendly hikes.
Wasatch Mountain State Park: Wasatch Mountain State Park is less than an hour from Salt Lake City, tucked behind the quaint town of Midway. This park offers opportunities for year-round outdoor fun: golfing, fishing, and mountain biking to name just a few. Apple picking at nearby Huber Grove is a perennial favorite in the fall.
The process for making camping reservations varies by park. Check the Utah State Parks website for details. For more close-to-home travel recommendations read our recommendations for Weekend Getaways and our post about the National Parks in Utah: The Mighty Five.