Interesting Utah History + Stunning Park and Monument Photos
If you are searching for a vacation destination which has unimaginable beauty and plenty of open spaces then perhaps you should put the State of Utah on your bucket list.
While Utah is the thirteenth largest of the fifty states in the United States of America it has the third most national parks following those in Alaska and California.
There are five national parks within the confines of the state with numerous state parks and other attractions which will keep one happily engaged for quite some time.
My mother, niece and I had two weeks of vacation to see what we could of this western state and even though we had seen some photos and read about many of the places we would ultimately visit...our senses were at times overwhelmed with wonder at the differing sites.
Location of Utah in the United States
Where To Go In Utah
These would be just some of my suggestions of fantastic places to see while in Utah. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to travel and spend some time in each one of these places. Articles have been written about each one of them.
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Zion National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Arches National Park
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Goblin Valley State Park
- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Place of Wonder
Undoubtedly the native Indian tribes who lived in these parts long before Europeans came to settle in these lands were also impressed with the natural wonders.
Tribes included the Anasazi and Freemont. The Navajo, Soshute, Paiute, Shoshone and Ute people had plenty of land to roam, secure food by tending crops as well as getting to do fishing and hunting.
While much of the state has a semi arid to desert climate, there are also creeks and rivers that emerge from the hills and mountainous rocky formations that would have provided moisture and shelter to the native Indians.
Living and taking from the land what they needed for subsistence the native Americans could not have helped but notice the wondrous scenery which varied from area to area and long before Utah became the 45th State of the U.S. in 1896.
- While Utah may have been slow with regard to European settlement, trappers and fur traders lead the charge on discovering the bounty that was there all of which the native Indians knew.
- Mormon settlement of parts of Utah took place with Brigham Young leading the way back in 1847. A good percentage of people living in Utah still adhere to the Mormon religion.
- Early mining done by the Mormons was primarily for stones to build buildings, coal to help heat and iron to forge tools and other necessary items. As time progressed mining of gold, silver, copper and uranium also took place. Copper mining is still done today and is an important industry in Utah.
- Other dates of note were when the last link of the First Transcontinental Telegraph was completed in 1861 in the Salt Lake City area.
- In 1869 just north of Salt Lake at Promontory Point the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed.
Those two events truly helped in moving people from eastern parts of the country to the west. Communication and transportation became faster and easier. No longer would settlers have to rely solely upon wagon trains and stage coaches to move their possessions cross country. Loved ones could transmit information of importance by telegraph instead of waiting interminably for the slow written forms of communication transported by pony express back in that time.
Extreme hiking in Zion..."perhaps one of the most coveted hikes in the world" and only allowed by permit.
Obviously with the Transcontinental Telegraph and the Transcontinental Railroad more people were discovering Utah.
But what really opened it up especially with regard to tourism was the development of the Interstate Highway System of which President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a major proponent back in the mid 1950s.
Prior to becoming the 34th President of the U.S.(from 1953 to 1961), Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War 2 and came to know the importance of the German Autobahn as it related to the easier transportation of troops and supplies.
While rarely needed for emergencies in the U.S., occasionally the Interstate Highways come into use for those reasons. Evacuations from impending hurricanes is one such use.
Primarily the Interstate Highways are utilized by companies transporting goods all across our land as well as people driving to places of work or planning visits to friends and families. Naturally for those taking vacations it makes getting from one place to another much easier and faster.
Utah tourism definitely became more popular when travel to and from Utah became easier for most Americans who wished to take their automobiles out on the road for vacation purposes.
The things to see in Utah are seemingly endless.
- Over 70% of the land in Utah is set aside and federally owned or managed. This includes the national parks, state parks and other sites of interest.
Since about 80% of all the people who have settled in Utah live near Salt Lake that leaves many other places in the state that are sparsely populated.
Utah is a hikers dream location! Be sure and take comfortable hiking shoes, some sunscreen, plenty of water and be prepared to enjoy yourself.
While many of the parks feature rocky formations...amazingly each has a distinctive look and feel to the place. So if planning a vacation trip to Utah be sure to see as many of the different parks as time allows.
We saw petrified sand dunes, bee hives in rocks which smelled of honey, petroglyphs, stone arches that number the greatest in the world and unusual rock formations that must be seen to be believed!
Are you a snow skier or one who enjoys snowboarding? One of the places in Utah that many people flock to in the winter are the ski areas located in Park City and Alta. They are up in the mountains above Salt Lake City and would definitely have been put to good use during the Winter Olympic Games in 2002.
My mother, niece and I saw those locations during the summer. The cooler mountain breezes can be a nice respite from the heat of summertime temperatures. The scenery is impressive up in the mountains.
Hope you enjoyed this brief introductory look at what the State of Utah has to offer. Look for my other posts on specific areas within Utah to learn more.
Have you been to Utah or would you consider taking a vacation there?
We visited all of Utah's national parks and were able to do a bit of hiking. Would love to go back and do even more. A book like this showcases the different hikes in the various areas so that you can plan your trip more efficiently and allow the time necessary for what you wish to see and do while there.
© 2012 Peggy Woods