Canyons, rivers, lakes, and dunes are the things that you will find in the state parks of Utah. It is the best place for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The state parks are excellent for hikers, campers, road trippers, and sightseers. Many national and state parks offer a variety of activities to choose from and mesmerizing sceneries.
The Utah state parks have unique traits and highlights that’ll attract you according to your preferences and choices. Travelers who love scenic drives and sightseeing can opt for specific activities such as boating, wildlife watching, rock climbing, and horseback riding. If you are planning to visit state parks in Utah, here is a list of the best state parks in Utah.
1. Kodachrome Basin State Park
First on the list of best state parks in Utah is Kodachrome Basin state park. The state park is 5,800 feet high. Being one of North America’s darkest sky regions, this state park is best for stargazing.
The park features 67 unique sandstone spires, which attract nature lovers and photographers, making it a popular state park to visit among them. Angel’s park is filled with hiking opportunities and has one of the best golf courses. Panorama Trail and Angel’s Palace Trail are popular trails for hiking.
Three scenic campgrounds and two bunkhouses can be availed. To enjoy the park, A guided horseback ride through the beautiful rock formation and colored sandstone and visiting the Grosvenor Arch should also be on the list when visiting this park.
2. Antelope Island State Park
Next on the list of the best state parks in Utah is Antelope Island state park. Placed on the edge of the Great Salt Lake, the state park is just 60 miles northwest of Salt Lake City. It is a 42-square-mile island featuring famous 550-700 wild bison, bighorn sheep, and fast deer-like pronghorn antelope. When here, sunset can be enjoyed at Ladyfinger Point.
Hike the tallest mountain on the island with stunning views along the way 6,600-foot Frary Peak. One can also opt for Buffalo Point Trail. Enjoy the top of a hill with beautiful views to witness.
There are many activities to explore in Antelope island state park. Opt for enjoying the backcountry trails on horseback, which is one of the popular activities here. Stargaze at a primitive campsite, and stroll along a sandy beach when here. Spot various animals such as bison, bighorn sheep, and many birds.
Go boating or fishing with friends. Mountain biking, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding are different activities here.
3. Goblin Valley State Park
Among the state parks in Utah, Goblin Valley state park is one of the best, featuring the highest concentration of phallic rock pinnacles. These pinnacles are known as goblins or hoodoos. Over thousands of years, the wind and water wore down the sandstone and created these amazing rock formations.
Golf lovers can enjoy golfing at the nine-hole disc golf course that’s free to play at the Goblin Valley Campground. One can enjoy Goblin’s Lair and see the wonders of geology and go canyoneering down into the 70-foot sandstone cave of Goblin’s Lair.
4. Snow Canyon State Park
Next is the Snow Canyon state park, which also falls among the best state parks in Utah. Located in southwestern Utah, the park offers you magnificent scenery. One can do various activities. One can enjoy biking the paved 6-miJenny’stail Trail. Camping and hiking can be enjoyed as the state park offers 18 hiking trails and 30 campsites.
Other activities to enjoy are rock climbing and horseback riding. Butterfly TraJenny’s Canyon is two beautiful trails that must be explored. One can try Jenny’s Canyon, which also features a small slot canyon for a good short hike. The Petrified Dunes trail is also a beautiful area to explore and take amazing photos.
5. Wasatch Mountain State Park
Next on the list of best state parks in Utah is Wasatch Mountain state park. Located at around 45-minute drive southeast of Salt Lake City, the park is 6,000 feet in elevation. The place offers activities for summers as well as winters.
The 18-hole golf courses are a treat for golf lovers. Soldier Hollow Nordic Center is best for skiing. Snowmobiling can be enjoyed here too. One can enjoy activities such as cross-country skiing, tubing, summer, and winter biathlon, and inline skating but make sure the availability of sports form before.
Other popular activities are camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, golf, off-highway vehicle recreation, and horseback riding. Camping can be enjoyed with stunning mountain views at 139 state park campsites. Planning to visit Utah? Check out 16 Most Beautiful Things To See In Utah: Must-Visit Places
6. Sand Hollow State Park
The Sand Hollow state park is a beautiful coral-colored soft-sand beach with a reservoir surrounded by gorgeous folded red rock and beautiful red sand. The dunes also create a beautiful backdrop for the Sand Hollow Reservoir. It is a 20,000-acre park in southwestern Utah where one can enjoy various outdoor activities.
Activities include enjoying the day at the beach, boating, fishing, kayaking, riding ATVs/Upark’siking trails, and even going horse riding. Another activity is camping which can be enjoyed on the park’s two campgrounds and primitive campsites along the geoparks can also enjoy by taking your OHVs (off-highway vehicles) amidst wild red sandstone dunes in the park’s Sand Mountain area. Overall, one can say that Sand hollow state park also falls on the list of best state parks in Utah.
7. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Next on the list of best state parks in Utah is Pink dunes state park. These pink coral dunes are located near the town of Kanab in southwest Utah.
The pink coral dunes state park is popular among photographers and snowboarders. The highlight is that 90 percent of the park is open for ATV riding. One can opt for sandboarding down the dunes as an enjoyable activity. People with ATVs also enjoy nature trails.
Other activities are hiking trails in the area to enjoy different views of the park and camping at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes Campground. One can also find some of the best slot canyons here.
8. Goosenecks State Park
In the far southeastern corner of Utah, Goosenecks state park is next on the list of best state parks in Utah.
Activities to do here include enjoying the spectacular views, camping, stargazing, and photography. Monsoon is the best season to explore the place.
9. Dead Horse Point State Park
The Dead Horse point state park is 2,000 feet above the valley floor, where the Colorado River area is through the landscape, giving beautiful views of the area’s rock spires and buttes. Hiking opportunities include a 1-mile roundtrip Colorado Overlook Trail, an easy 2-mile East Rim Trail, and a moderate 2.5-to-3.5-mile West Rim Trail.
Enjoy mountain biking on expert single-track along the Intrepid Trail and even go on hiking the East Rim and West Rim trails when in this state park. Rent bikes and use a map to explore the Intrepid biking trail system. If not, opt for a guided bike tour. It is a family-friendly trail system featuring beginner and intermediate trail options.
There are many camping opportunities, such as Dead Horse Point which is known for stargazing. Are you visiting the National Parks in Utah? Check out The Best Utah National Parks: 5 Incredible National Parks
10. Bear Lake State Parks
Located on the Utah/Idaho border, the beautiful lake shares land in both states and is famous for its turquoise-blue waters. It is also sometimes called the Caribbean of the Rockies and has a circumference of 109 miles. Bear lake state park also falls on the list of best state parks in Utah.
One can have fun at Bear lake by renting Sea-Doos, boats, kayaks, or SUPs. Be sure to take a short and easy hike to Bloomidon’t Lake and take a tour of Minnetonka Cave. And don’t forget to try the Bear Lake Raspberry Shakes at any burger joint in Garden City along Bear Lake Blvd. Gunlock state park and Green river state park are Utah’s best must-visit state parks.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Are the Top State Parks in Utah?
Some of the best state parks in Utah include Kodachrome Basin state park, Goblin Valley state park, Coral Pink Dunes state park, Dead Horse Point state park, and many more that are included in the blog above.
2. Can You Bring a Pet to Utah State Parks?
The majority of Utah’s state parks accept pets, but they must always be leashed and under control. There may be designated pet-free zones in some parks.
3. Are There Camping Options at Utah State Parks?
Absolutely, a lot of Utah’s state parks allow camping. While some parks offer more basic camping alternatives, others have constructed campgrounds featuring amenities like RV hookups and showers.
In conclusion, Utah is a fantastic vacation spot for anyone who loves the outdoors and longs for adventure. One can engage in a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, boating, and rock climbing, in its beautiful national and state parks.
An unforgettable experience can be had in the state’s amazing rock formations, vast canyons, and majestic mountain ranges. So, Utah ought to be at the top of your list if you’re considering where to go on your next holiday with your family or friends. Pack your luggage, travel to Utah, and get ready to create lifelong memories.
Suggested reading: Closest National Park to Salt Lake City.