Why are we thankful for the state of Utah? Let us count the ways...
Unwittingly, I began a gratitude jar on January 1, 2020. I couldn’t have imagined how powerful this simple exercise would come to be in the tumultuous times of 2020. Each evening, I carve out a small sliver of time to write down at least one thing I’m thankful for on a small slip of paper before plunking it in my large, glass jar. As ski season terminated early and spring warmed into summer, the growing collection inside my jar has been a powerful reminder of positivity as I meander past it multiple times each day.
One of the things that has struck me most is how lucky we are to enjoy the amazing places, spaces, and community of Utah. As I work on this daily practice, I wanted to share the five things I most appreciate about the Beehive State.
Utah’s Short & Sweet Wildflower Season
The brief profusion of wildflowers in Utah is a seasonal rhythm I always cherish and take time to appreciate. Remember how Utah’s prodigious annual snowfall totals often put other resorts to shame? Well, all that deep powder snow supercharges our wildflower season and a hike in our mountain basins in June – August is always a colorful affair. The window to observe the most brilliant colors can be short, which makes savoring the experience of this annual milestone a worthy effort.
Be it the Bear River Range up north, the centrally-located Wasatch Range, or the Tushars, wildflower season in all our high-elevation zones is breathtaking. If you’re keen to up your wildflower ID skills, check out our guide and some suggestions for hikes. When recreating in one of our many protected watershed areas, don’t forget these important regulations. Utah wildflowers are beautiful, but they are best left to live in their natural habitat — please don't pick the wildflowers!
Utah’s Countless Scenic Drives
Whatever landscape you most fancy, Utah has a dizzying array of scenic wonders (aside from ocean beaches, of course). Though you could pay a visit to the beguiling Antelope Island State Park on the Great Salt Lake or the mind-bending Bonneville Salt Flats to alleviate any cravings for salt.
Utah contains petrified forests, sandstone arches and towers, fossil beds, hoodoos, dinosaur footprints, waterpocket folds, the largest aspen tree colony in the world, petrified sand dunes, and five national parks! Wherever you wander, you’re bound to view something spectacular. Looking for something to do while tying in a scenic drive, how about a stargazing trip, or a sunset hike, or a tranquil paddleboard spot? Bon voyage!
My preferred scenic meander can be found on Scenic Byway 12 which has earned the special distinction as an All-American Road (one of only 31 in the country). Soak up searing red rock formations, forests, mountain ranges, and expansive horizons as you wind through some of Utah’s most impressive landscapes.
Utah’s Mountain Biking Trails
From slickrock sandstone to buff forest paths, to perfectly sculpted tacky, tabletops, the diversity of mountain bike trails and the ease of access are an asset here in Utah. In fact, Park City was the first place to earn the coveted Gold Level Ride Center designation from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) in 2012. Thanks to the trails at Park City Mountain, Deer Valley Resort, Round Valley and more, the town of Park City earned a 96 out of 100 on IMBA’s scorecard. Now you can add the new and high-octane features and flow trails of Woodward Park City to the mix!
A good number of the remaining Ski Utah resorts also build and maintain trails including Snowbasin Resort, Powder Mountain, Solitude Mountain Resort, Snowbird, Sundance Mountain Resort, and Brian Head Ski Resort. However, the network of drool-worthy trail extends far beyond resort boundaries to mini meccas all over the state: Boulder Mountain near Bryce Canyon National Park, the Whole Enchilada near Moab, Gooseberry Mesa by Hurricane, Corner Canyon in Draper...the list goes on!If you’re looking to get out or wanting to find a new trail to try, check out the resources below or visit our Mountain Biking Page.
Utah’s Summer Sunsets
Utah’s broad skies, punctuated by rocky peaks, hoodoos, or river canyons set the stage for memorable sunsets. I know I’m not the only who appreciates the grandeur, because any time a sunset of note blankets the skies, a plethora of identical Instagram photos populate my feed.
For a quick sunset fix, I’ll hit the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. For a more dramatic scene, and if partly cloudy skies are in the forecast, I like to head for the Bonneville Salt Flats or the Great Salt Lake shoreline. Something about the light refracting off the salty landscape is otherworldly. For a list of additionally spectacular sunset sights, check out my sunset hike list.
Visitors to Utah often comment on the friendliness of Utahns. According to a 2014 Gallup Poll, Utah led all U.S. states in charitable giving. Nearly half the residents surveyed reported having donated money and volunteered time to an organization in the previous month. This generosity and spirit of community has been further highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic. We found numerous examples of local companies, businesses and individuals chipping in to help their neighbors, customers, and communities — click here to see the all-star lineup of heroes.
I also work within the ski industry here in Utah in the niche zone of competitive Freeride skiing and snowboarding. I was new to this rapidly exploding sport in 2016 when I landed my job with the International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association (IFSA) and found the community to be so welcoming, inclusive, and fun. To learn more about the up-and-coming generation of skiers and shredders hucking hard and forging lifelong friendships, click here. On the slopes and beyond, Utahns are just a friendly bunch!
Summer Day Trips For Salt Lakers — Click Here
Covid-19 Summer Getaway Ideas — Click Here
5 Fishing Spots — Click Here
Camping At Ski Utah Resorts — Click Here