Utah State Parks Outdoor Activities
Camping in Utah State Parks
Situated in Moab, Dead Horse Point State Park is perhaps one of the most beautiful destinations in Utah, featuring a mesa that features a stunning view of the carved-out canyons and rivers. For those of you looking to wake up to breathtaking scenery like these, then camping at this park is your best bet.
An awe-inspiring park known for its 67 monolithic spires, Kodachrome Basin State Park is the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to camp underneath towering rock formations. This is also a criminally underrated camping spot, making it perfect for those unable to deal with crowds.
Another favorite camping spot in Utah is Snow Canyon State Park, renowned across the country for its red sandstone cliffs, providing an incredible backdrop to your camping experience.
On the other hand, those who prefer lakeside camping should head to Antelope Island State Park, which offers beautiful and shady spots beside the huge lake found within it. Additionally, the park is famous for its herds of antelope and bison, as well as for their fields of amazing wildflowers.
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Hiking in Utah State Parks
Visitors love taking on the five-mile beginner-friendly Dead Horse Rim Loop Trail at Dead Horse Point State Park, due to the incredible views that they get treated to along the way. The trail is relatively easy and straightforward, making it perfect for those wanting a laid-back and relaxing day hike.
The 2.4-mile Goblin’s Lair Hike at Goblin Valley State Park is another popular hiking trail in Utah, taking hikers through a cavernous area referred to as “The Goblin’s Lair.” Be prepared to encounter a few natural challenges, though, especially in the rainy season and during the wintertime. However, the one-of-a-kind geological formations and stunning views are well worth it.
Ideal for intermediate and experienced hikers, the 5.6-mile Panorama Trail Long Loop at Kodachrome State Park features panoramic views of the park, as well as a short stint through a cave. But if you aren’t interested in doing the entire loop, then a one-mile section of the route can be taken instead.
At Snow Canyon State Park, the 1.2-mile Petrified Dunes Trail will allow you to see its incredible sandstone formations up close. Additionally, this route is beginner-friendly, which means that the entire family can enjoy this relaxing and scenic stroll.
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Backpacking in Utah State Parks
A 9.4-mile backpacking journey, The Narrows at Zion National Park is considered to be the premium destination for adventures visiting Utah. Those who take it will have to literally walk along the river, up the twisting and curving canyon. The experience of backpacking through this natural wonder definitely can’t be found anywhere else.
Backpackers also flock to Canyonlands National Park where they take on the Chesler Park Loop and Joint Trail, an 11-mile route that offers a diverse mix of natural landscapes and geological formations, including fire-red stone spires, slickrock, and red-stone pedestals. This is an incredible backpacking adventure that you won’t forget anytime soon.
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Fishing in Utah State Parks
Naturally, the best fishing opportunity in the Beehive State is Utah Lake, situated within Utah Lake State Park. Its waters teem with huge populations of catfish, bass, and all sorts of fish varieties, making it the perfect spot for avid anglers coming in from all over the United States.
Geocaching in Utah State Parks
There are a ton of spots in Utah where geocaches may be hunted and concealed although the best places to do so are at Antelope Island State Park, Deer Creek State Park, Jordanelle State Park, and Piute State Park. Caches here are hidden along towering rock formations and dense forests so participants should undoubtedly prepare to be challenged.
Hunting in Utah State Parks
Those looking to pursue big game, as well as waterfowl, should head over to Deer Creek State Park, East Canyon State Park, or Echo State Park. These destinations feature well-maintained hunting areas and large populations of game, drawing in hordes of hunters during open season. Be advised, though, that each park has their own set of rules, regulations, and requirements so make sure to check them out beforehand.
Day Use Areas in Utah State Parks
Surrounded by the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island State Park is a picnicgoer’s dream, featuring free-range wildlife, breathtaking views, and a ton of backcountry trails. After finishing your meal, take a dip in the lake or go for an incredible nature walk – there’s no shortage of things to do at this park! Residents from all over Utah agree that this is the best spot to have a picnic in.
Biking in Utah State Parks
Cyclists looking for a family-friendly trail for everyone to enjoy should opt for the Intrepid Trail System at Dead Horse Point State Park, which offers a ton of beautiful overlooks and practically no natural challenges. This route is definitely ideal for those who want a relaxing yet picturesque ride.
Goblin Valley State Park is home to the seven-mile Wild Horse Mountain Biking Trail System, composed of five loops that will take riders through to the underrated parts of the park. An intermediate trail that features a whole host of challenges, this is the ideal ride for those looking to take their skills to the next level.
Boating in Utah State Parks
A popular boating destination, Jordanelle Reservoir at Jordanelle State Park is known for its well-maintained amenities, including a full-service marina that includes repairs, docks, and boat storage. Those who prefer boating on kayaks and canoes may also do so here.
Located a few miles away from Nephi, Yuba Lake State Park is another beloved boating destination in Utah, featuring a boat launch and other amenities, as well as watercraft vehicles that may be rented by guests. A favorite spot among families, this park will undoubtedly satisfy both your boating and outdoor cravings.
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Bird watching in Utah State Parks
Thousands of incredible bird varieties – including a ton of rarities – have made their homes within Antelope State Park. Here, bird-watchers can catch glimpses of the Northern Harrier, the White-faced Ibis, and a great many Bald Eagles. The park is known for its diverse habitats, as well as for being a migration stop in the spring, making it the premium Birding destination in Utah.
Beaches in Utah State Parks
Cool off from the scorching summer heat at Utah Lake, situated within Utah Lake State Park. Known as the largest freshwater lake in the state, this is considered to be the most popular swimming hole here, beloved by residents and tourists alike. Keep in mind, though, that this spot tends to get crowded, especially during the summertime.
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Rock Climbing and Mountaineering in Utah State Parks
Unforgettable multi-pitch adventures await avid climbers at Snow Canyon State Park. Featuring towering limestone cliffs with plenty of climbing routes with various difficulty levels, this park is definitely one of the best spots in Utah for courageous outdoor enthusiasts with a thirst for adventure.
Golf Courses in Utah State Parks
The well-known Wasatch Mountain Golf Course, located within Wasatch Mountain State Park, draws in hundreds of golfers nearly every week, a favorite among Utahn’s and visitors alike. It features two different courses, the Lake Course, which opened in 1967, and the Mountain Course, which was finished in 1998. While each has their own set of challenges, both offer cool temperatures and some of the most picturesque views of Utah.
Horseback Riding in Utah State Parks
The most unique spot for horseback riding, Antelope Island State Park features trails that will take equestrians through its stunning natural landscapes. Many claim that riding here has a “Wild West” vibe, due its many sandy trails and abundance of roaming wildlife. If you want to see another side to Utah, then this park is undoubtedly a must-visit.
Recreational Equipment Rentals in Utah State Parks
Those looking to enjoy a day out on the water would be pleased to know that Jordanelle State Park allows watercraft vehicles, like canoes and kayaks, to be rented by guests. Additionally, they also offer a wide range of equipment so there’s definitely something here to suit everyone’s tastes.
Caving in Utah State Parks
The Snow Canyon Lava Tubes – short passages created from old volcano lava flows that run underneath the ground – are unique to Utah and can be explored at Snow Canyon State Park. These routes are extremely easy to take, which means that they can be hiked by anyone, no matter the experience level.
Winter Sports in Utah State Parks
For a more laid-back and relaxing winter experience, rent a yurt at Goblin Valley State Park and fall asleep underneath constellations and the Milky Way expanse. In the morning, explore snow-capped visits and take in incredible views of the surrounding natural landscape.
Ice fishing is a popular activity at Bear Lake State Park in Garden City, due to the scenic views that anglers are treated to as they wait for the fish to bite. The blue iced-over water lined with snowy white shores make for an incredible experience.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Utah State Parks
Located in Midway, just over the mountains on the back side of Salt Lake, the crater at Homestead State Park is a great diving experience. The water temperatures here are so incredible that divers don’t even need a wetsuit – even during the wintertime!