Utah Travel Guide! - Utah Travel and Tourism Guide.

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Utah Travel Guide

With the biggest, most beautiful and most pristine landscapes in North America, UTAH has something for everyone: from brilliantly colored canyons, across endless desert plains, to thickly wooded and snow-covered mountains. This unmatched range of terrain, almost all of which is public land, makes Utah the place to come for outdoor pursuits , whether your tastes run to hiking, off-track mountain biking, whitewater rafting or skiing.

Southern Utah has more national parks than anywhere else in the US; in fact it has often been suggested that the entire area should become one vast national park. The most accessible parts - such as Zion and Bryce Canyon - are by far the most visited, but lesser-known parks like Arches and Canyonlands are every bit as dramatic. Huge tracts of this empty desert, in which beautiful pre-Columbian pictographs and Ancestral Puebloan ruins lie hidden, are all but unexplored; seeing them in safety requires a good degree of advance planning and self-sufficiency.

In the northeast of the state, the Uinta Mountains remain uncrossed by road and form one of the most extensive wilderness areas in the US outside Alaska, while Flaming Gorge and Dinosaur preserve more desert splendor. Though the northwest is predominantly flat and dry, the granite mountains of the Wasatch Front tower over state capital Salt Lake City - a surprisingly attractive and enjoyable stopover - while Alta, Snowbird and the resorts around Park City offer some of the best skiing in North America.

Led by Brigham Young, Utah's earliest Anglo settlers - the Mormons - arrived in the Salt Lake area in 1847, and set about the massive irrigation projects that made their agrarian way of life possible. At first they provoked great suspicion and hostility back east; Congress turned down their first petition for statehood in 1850, in part because of the religious significance of the proposed name, Deseret , a Mormon word meaning "honeybee" (the state symbol is still a beehive, to denote industry). The Republican convention of 1856 railed against slavery and polygamy in equal measure - had the South not intervened, civil war with the Mormons was a real possibility. Relations eased when the Mormon church realized in 1890 that it had better drop polygamy on its own terms before being forced to do so. Statehood followed in 1896, and a century on, seventy percent of Utah's two-million-strong population are Mormons. The Mormon influence is responsible for the layout of Utah's towns, where residential streets are as wide as interstates, and all are numbered block-by-block according to the same logical if ponderous system.

Despite Brigham Young's early opposition to the search for mineral wealth, Mormon businessmen became renowned as fiercely pro-mining and anti-conservation. Only since the early 1980s - once the uranium bonanza was definitely over - has tourism been appreciated as a major industry, and former mining towns such as Moab developed facilities for wide-eyed travelers smitten by the lure of the desert. Increased tourism has also led to a relaxation of Utah's notoriously arcane drinking laws ; In most towns, at least one restaurant will be licensed to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks to diners, and it may also be licensed to sell beer in its bar or lounge. Beer is also sold in a few other locations, but to drink stronger liquor you'll have to become a member of a " private club "; most sell temporary membership for a token fee. Take-out bottled drinks, including beer, can only be purchased in State Liquor Stores.


 




 

         

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