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Utah State Parks System Full Of Untamed Natural Treasures

Few states in the Union can match Utah for bragging rights regarding National Parks — Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. Indeed, the home state of the “Mighty Five” could be likened to the 1927 New York Yankees regarding which state can offer the most to the outdoor lover.

Utah can simply point at the scoreboard, a la Babe Ruth, in reference to its incredibly diverse collection of topographical wonders and end the conversation. But there is even more to the Beehive State than its calling card National Parks. 

The story of Utah is one of ecological oddities and wild, still untamed majesty.

From the Rocky Mountains to the Colorado Plateau to the Great Basin to the mighty Salt Lake, it stands alone in the U.S. in the breathtaking wonder of its natural treasures. 

Some of these gems are in the in-between places, not in the bold print at the top of the tourism board advertisement. Thankfully, many of them are preserved within Utah’s vast State Park system.

Below are some can’t-miss spots when visiting the 45th state in the Union:

Dead Horse Point State Park: Don’t be fooled by the gloomy name! This location should rank right at the top of the list for adventure seekers looking for their next pilgrimage into the stunning western U.S. backcountry. Sprawling desert landscapes with canyon upon canyon echoing into the distance invite travelers to experience all it has to offer. In addition to the miles of hiking trails, visitors frequently camp under the giant bowl of stars and enjoy the epic sunrises and sunsets that bathe the valley in a golden glow unmatched anywhere else in the region. This site is one destination that can’t be passed by!

Photo Courtesy Dead Horse Point State Park

Flight Park State Recreation Area: Here is an opportunity one doesn’t come by every day. Owing to its vast acreage in the 13th largest state, this spot is a home for aviation enthusiasts from miles around. But these flight lovers aren’t taking a Cessna into the skies. Instead, they glide through the clouds high above the desert floor. The Utah Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association have partnered with the Utah State Parks and Recreation to preserve this area for teaching and flight for hang gliders and paragliders. If soaring with the eagles feels a little too big of a challenge, visitors can simply sit back and watch flight in action at this one-of-a-kind site.

Photo Courtesy

Quail Creek State Park: Not all Utah State Parks are devoted to desert and canyon land. This popular hotspot is a water lover’s paradise. With its mild winter climate and warm surface water temperatures, Quail Creek, located on the shores of the Quail Creek Reservoir, is the perfect place for fun in the sun on those sweltering Utah days. Visitors can hike the nearby trails, swim, or boat, but fishing is the big draw. At more than 100 feet deep in its deepest point, Quail Creek Reservoir is home to largemouth bass, rainbow trout, bluegill, bullhead catfish, and crappie. This destination is a must-visit for amateur and professional anglers alike. 

Photo Courtesy Quail Creek State Park

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