What is going on, guys? My name is Avnish Singh. I am a photographer, filmmaker, and world traveler. Over the last five or six years, I’ve been doing tons of world travels, tons of road trips across the United States, and I have spent tons and tons of time in Utah.
So today, I want to go over my top 20 places to visit in the state of Utah. I do have a article on the top 10 places that aren’t national parks, but for this video, I want to dive straight in. I want to tell you guys my best places. I want to go into national parks, state parks, hidden gems, and all across the map and just share with you guys the best places in Utah
So, number one is going to be Promontory Point, and this geographically is not that far from Salt Lake City, but it does look like it’s an entire other world. It is on the Great Salt Lake, but it is this little small section of the salt lake where there are pink and red huge salt lakes. It kind of looks fake. It kind of looks photoshopped, but if you have seen this before on Instagram or anything, this is a very real thing. It has to do with the minerals in the water, so there are pink hues, red hues, white hues, and it lines up right next to the blue salt lakes, so it creates for some incredible aerial photography, and it is just a really beautiful place and it feels extremely remote out there.
Cinder Cone Volcano
Number two is going to be Cinder Cone Volcano, and this is just north of Snow Canyon State Park. This hike is going to be 1.7 miles round trip with 449 feet of elevation gain. It is super beautiful because right behind it, it is backdropped by the beautiful white and red rock and lava tubes of Snow Canyon State Park. It’s right off the side of the road, so if you drive past it, you might not even know it’s a volcano, but it is so beautiful, and it’s even cooler that you can climb to the top of it and just enjoy the views in every direction.
Number three is going to be Corona Arch, and this, in my opinion, is going to be one of those places that is a super hidden gem of Moab. It’s not in Arches National Park or Canyonlands National Park or Dead Horse. It’s kind of on its own area. So there’s Corona Arch, and then right next to it is Bow Tie Arch, and this entire trail is going to be 2.4 miles round trip with 480 feet of elevation gain. It’s super beautiful. It is just like Arches National Park. It’s probably bigger than Delicate Arch, and the coolest part is that not nearly as many people know about it, so you’ll likely have the place to yourself.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Number four is going to be Bryce Canyon National Park, and this is in southwest Utah. It is an extremely unique national park, and it’s known for its infamous bright orange hoodoos, and hoodoos are these unique rock-like structures that kind of stand straight out of the ground. It’s extremely unique, and it kind of feels like you’re on another planet. Some of the best spots to go there are Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, Rainbow Point, and Wall Street, and then there’s lots of fun activities to do outside of the park. For example, this is my buddy Hayden skiing. This is about 15 miles northwest of the park near Loa Canyon, and we did some backcountry skiing, and it has hoodoos just like Bryce Canyon. It is just an incredible area to visit.
Number five is going to be Bentonite Hills, and this is a place that I get asked so much about where it is and where exactly geographically this spot is located. What’s interesting about this spot is that there’s not one specific location that is the Bentonite Hills. They are all over the state of Utah, and if I’m being honest, I’ve seen these rock formations in pretty much every state of the Southwest, including Arizona, Wyoming, California, and Utah. There are tons of these clustered around the state of Utah in the southern part and especially near Caneville and Hanksville. It’s a super cool place to visit, and it is awesome for aerial photography.
Number six is going to be Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon, and this is in Capitol Reef National Park. It is definitely probably the least traveled national park in Utah, and this place has these unbelievable fin-like rock structures that stick right out of the ground. It is an all-around amazing spot, and right next to it, just a side note to check out, is a place called Glass Mountain.
Next up is going to be Amethyst Lake, and this is going to be in the High Uintas and Wasatch Wilderness in northern Utah. Now, this hike is no joke. This is going to be 13 miles round trip with 2,300 feet of elevation gain, but when I did it, it was more like 16 miles, and you just have these beautiful, beautiful lakes, and Amethyst Lake is one of my favorites in the Uintas.
Next up, number eight, is Bald Mountain, also in the High Uintas Wilderness, and this is a 2.7-mile round trip hike with almost 1,200 feet of elevation gain, and you’re doing a summit that is almost at 12,000 feet, so it is an incredible vantage point of the surrounding mountains.
Bonneville Salt Flats
Number nine is Bonneville Salt Flats. Apologies ahead of time if I’m pronouncing that wrong. I’m not a local of Utah. However, this place is unbelievable. It’s some of the coolest salt flats I’ve ever been to in my life. You know, depending on the time of year you go, you can either get water on the salt flats, and you just have these beautiful mirror-like reflections, or you could have the salt cracks like hexagon shape, and it is all around just a very cool experience. You can camp there, and it is just an awesome place to kind of hang out. It’s awesome because it’s only about two hours from Salt Lake City, but it feels like you are so much further out there than that.
Next up, number 10, is going to be Druid Arch, and this is a 10.4-mile hike with 1,600 feet of elevation gain. This is in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. In my opinion, it’s probably the most underrated spot in Canyonlands and one of the most unique arches I’ve ever seen. To be honest, it kind of looks like something from Star Wars. I really enjoyed this hike. It’s no joke. You’re kind of scrambling, lots of route-finding, a little bit of rock climbing, all easy stuff you don’t need technical equipment for, but it is no joke of a hike. Highly recommend this one in Canyonlands.
Also Read: 7 Best Beaches of Venice, Florida
Number 11 is Factory Butte, and this is pretty much in the center of Utah in Hanksville. This is probably one of my favorite places in Utah. It absolutely feels like you’re on a different planet, and you have these crazy rock formations where there’s just so much abstract and detailed patterns. It’s amazing for landscape photography, aerial photography. The best part about it is BLM land, so you can go out there, you can camp, you can drink, you can ride your dirt bikes, you can rent ATVs. It is such a fun place.
Number 12 is going to be Mount Olympus, and this is an 8-mile hike with 4,200 feet of elevation gain. This is pretty much the mountains that you can see right from Salt Lake City, so if you’re in Salt Lake City or Provo, it’s probably going to be less than a 10-minute drive to the trailhead, but you definitely have to be ready for this one. It is almost a straight vertical hike with some class 3 scrambling towards the top, so this hike is definitely not for the faint of heart. However, it gives you some unbelievable views of Salt Lake City, Provo, and the surrounding mountains. Now, I did this hike in winter, so I had some crampons, I had an axe, and I had poles. I would not recommend this in winter unless you have some winter climbing experience and some safety equipment.
Number 13 is going to be back in the Uintas, and this is going to be Whiskey Island Lake, which is a 5.4-mile hike with 895 feet of elevation gain. Heads up right off the bat, this is a super gnarly road to get to, so you absolutely need high clearance and four-wheel drive. My van could not make it, so I had to hop in my buddy’s car. Once you actually are able to park, there is no trail, so you are just bushwhacking until you get to the lake, so you also definitely need to download the offline AllTrails map to help you navigate. But it is super worth it. This is a beautiful lake, and we had it all to ourselves.
Number 14 is going to be one of the most classic Utah hikes, and this is going to be Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. It is a 4.4-mile hike with 1,600 feet of elevation gain. This is not for the faint of heart. You’re going to be hiking on extremely slick sandstone rock. There’s going to be chains in place for your hands. It’s very fun. In my opinion, I am a very adventurous spirit, so I do not recommend this unless you are up for a serious adventure. But it does give you some incredible views of the valley below, and here are some photos I took on some of my hikes up to Angel’s Landing.
Number 15 is going to be Navajo Knobs, and this is a beautiful hiking Capitol Reef National Park in the center of the state of Utah. This is a 9.1-mile trail with 2,100 feet of elevation gain, but it is beautiful. You pretty much get above the entire national park, and you have views in every direction. You pass the Hickman Bridge, and it is just kind of incredible views the entire way of the hike, and it’s a great way to see a lot of Capitol Reef National Park because there’s a lot of hikes that I don’t think are that well known about in this park. So this is a great way to see.
Mars Research Station
Number 16 is Mars Research Station, and this is going to be a little bit west of Hanksville, Utah, in the center of the state. This is just super unique because the Mars Research Station is actually there because they are studying the landscape around this area because it is most comparable to the landscapes on actual planet Mars. So the Mars Research Station here is actually researching and studying this rock and landscape and air-dry environments to compare it and conduct scientific research for Mars itself. So this is a really unique place. It’s definitely a place worth checking out if you’re in central Utah.
Cove of Caves
Number 17 is Cove of Caves via Parade of Elephants Hike in Arches National Park. This is a 1.1-mile trail with 270 feet of elevation gain. One of my favorite things about this hike is that nobody knows about it. I’ve done it three times, and I’ve had it to myself every single time. It’s a super unique arch that is actually just behind Double Arch. So when you’re at Double Arch and you’re with a thousand other people trying to take the exact same photo, if you just hike around Double Arch and a little bit back further, you’re going to be taken to this beautiful arch with absolutely nobody there, and you’re also going to get a really cool vantage point of the backside of Double Arch, which is super unique and something you don’t always see photos of.
Number 18 is going to be Mesa Arch, and this is a 0.7-mile hike with 90 feet of elevation gain in Canyonlands National Park. This is in the Island in the Sky District. It’s probably the most popular hike in Canyonlands National Park, and probably for good reason. The sun rises behind the La Sal Mountains, so when it comes up, it just absolutely lights up this arch and the surrounding canyons. However, if you’re going to go, obviously, sunrise is the best time of day, but just know ahead of time, you’re going to be there with probably ten thousand other tripods. Not actually, but just a heads up. It’s a super busy place.
Zion National Park
Number 19 is going to be back in Zion National Park, and it’s the infamous Narrows hike. So if you’re going to do this entire hike top-down, it is 15 and a half miles with a thousand feet of elevation gain. But the way most people do it is you take the shuttle in Zion to the end of the road in the valley, and then you just start hiking, and you pretty much go as far as you want. I think Bree and I did maybe three or four miles, and the entire way that you’re hiking through the water, there are incredible views of Zion and these beautiful slot canyons and the rapids that are going through the canyon. It is amazing for photography. It’s also a great way to beat the summer heat, and it’s just a really fun adventurous hike. So definitely take water shoes and a towel if you have it.
Mystic Hot Springs
And last but not least, number 20 is going to be Mystic Hot Springs, and this is a beautiful hot spring that is a little bit commercial. So to come here, you are going to have to book a reservation. It’s 25 dollars for adults and 12.50 for children 12 and under. But it is a super unique hot spring experience because you have these natural geothermal pools that are built into the rock, and they have built these bathtubs that capture the water. So it’s funny because it looks like you’re taking a bath in the wild, but it’s really just these incredible hot springs. So definitely worth checking out.
But that is going to wrap up this top 20 of Utah, guys. I hope you enjoyed. If you saw my first top 10 places in Utah that aren’t national parks, I hope this gave you some more places to explore and to add to your bucket list. Either way, if you have any questions, let me know in the comments, and if you are not already, please like and subscribe to the channel for
more article like this. And I hope to see you guys in a future article. Thanks so much.