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HIKE

Utah is not just home to the Mighty Five® national parks. You’ll be blown away by the hidden gems that rival them.

Words and Photos Dana Brown

—— TAKE A ——

HIKE

Utah is not just home to the Mighty Five® national parks. You’ll be blown away by the hidden gems that rival them.

Words and Photos Dana Brown

What are the top three things that pop into your mind when thinking of Utah?

As a travel agent I have the unique opportunity of speaking with hundreds of travellers as well as my social media followers, giving me a real sense of public opinion on travelling through the Beehive State. Unsurprisingly Mormons, desert and national parks topped the list of interests.

But while Utah certainly has an abundance of all those things, there is so much more on offer here, making it (in my opinion) one of the most underrated frontier states in all of the U.S.

The most surprising thing about Utah – aside from the fact it has the third largest number of national parks in any U.S. state – is that the is that the sheer number of state parks and national monuments are so impressive they rival any of the Mighty Five® which the state is better known for; these are Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks.

Utah's landscapes have an otherworldly feel to them, and are completely Gram-worthy.

If you’re an adventure lover and a fan of the great outdoors, there really is no other place on the planet quite like Utah. One hour you can be swiftly pedalling down ruby red-coloured slick rock, the next you’re wedged between a towering slot canyon, waist deep in crystal clear water. You could be cruising down world-class ski slopes in the morning, and hiking through a wonderland of hoodoos (columns of weathered rock) and pine trees that same afternoon.

Utah shines in every season, with 238 days of sun a year (well above the national average) so when you visit really depends on what you’re hoping to experience. For snow lovers, mid-November through to April is best, especially in January to March if you’re craving deep pow. For hikers, look at the seasons of Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) for comfortable conditions. The summer months (June to August) are best for alpine hiking and water sports.

There are, on average, 238 sunny days a year in Utah.

Utah's landscape is a variety of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.

In the same state as killer ski slopes are dunes like the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, and other deserts – both hot and cold.

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The Wasatch Range looms majestically over Salt Lake City, where hiking, biking, skiing and other snow sports await.

We laced up our boots in the capital, Salt Lake City, to kick off a monumental road trip. You can take a hike from day one on your visit by heading out to the Great Salt Lake or acquaint yourself with the state's fascinating Mormon roots by checking out the Temple Square complex. The Utah State Capitol building and the National History Museum are also well worth some time while you’re still in the big smoke, and if you can catch the Utah Jazz basketball team at home, it’s game on!

We ventured through rocky desert landscapes, pristine forests, glistening waterways, and the wild west ...

From Salt Lake City, we ventured through rocky desert landscapes, pristine forests, glistening waterways, and the wild west, all the way down through the deep south of Utah, to Las Vegas, Nevada.

While hiking and landscapes were what we were originally craving on this visit, we found ourselves smiling from ear to ear with charming locals, falling in love with quirky desert towns, and having foodie experiences that still make my taste buds moist at the memories.

Utah's unique topography can sometimes combine to create a weird mix of red rock, white snow and greenery.

If I had to sum up Utah in an elevator pitch, I’d say it's like a game of pass the parcel. When the music stops and you rip off the next layer of wrapping paper, you’ll be squealing with delight and it’s one of those games where Mum and Dad have packed an epic present in each layer.

Camel up, it’s time to live life elevated.

BOOK YOUR OWN

EPIC UTAH ROAD TRIP

WITH GET LOST & DANA FROM

AU$3957

PER PERSON inc FLIGHTS WITH UNITED AIRLINES

DANA’S

TOP FIVE EXPERIENCES

Here’s five epic recommendations, a detailed road trip itinerary from our creator and the best way to discover (and book) the real Utah with get lost:

A tree growing sideways in Monument Valley, a sacred territory of the Navajo Nation.

1.

HIKING THE MIGHTY FIVE®

It’s not a cliche: it should be a God-given right for everyone to have the opportunity to experience the magic and diversity that Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks offer. It still blows my mind how different each of these parks are, yet they’re so easily accessible to navigate within a week.

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AU$115 America the Beautiful National Park Pass gives you access to all federally managed land units (national parks, national forests, national monuments, etc.) It’s good for a year from the month of purchase. You can pick one up at any national park entrance station.

The Mighty Five®pictured below: Zion, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef.

2.

NAVIGATING MOKI DUGWAY

Part of the ‘Trail of the Ancients’, this national scenic byway is a roadway that drastically switches back and forth on itself at a mind boggling 11 percent grade, carved into a cliff face. You breathe in while you’re driving this stretch of road simply as a natural protection instinct from the sheer drop. Yet, the views over San Juan River Canyon will balance your adrenaline. It is simply stunning at the top. It was a combination of both these elements that made me really feel alive.

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3.

LEARNING THAT A STATE PARK IS NOT SUB PAR

I went all gung-ho to tick off the Mighty Five® national parks. And while they are certainly pretty epic in their own right, I was floored by how insane the lesser known parks were. I was questioning how they could not be honoured with the same national park status? There are 44 state parks, 9 national monuments, and several other areas defined as really cool landmarks. At this point, I decide that I need to move to Utah to visit each and every one.

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AU$108 for an annual State Park Pass which is a no brainer if you’re visiting a few. They can be around AU$15 per park if you pay individually.

4.

MAGNOLIAS STREET FOOD TRUCK

If the aqua coloured truck doesn’t stop you in your tracks as you pass by the town of Boulder, the scent of perfectly cooked Mexican wafting through your window will have you parked up in no time. Sit under the cottonwoods to enjoy their fare, and take some extra away with you to fuel you on your next hike.

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Soda AU$4, taco AU$8, burrito AU$20

5.

THRILL SEEKERS REJOICE

You’re in the most adventurous state in the U.S, so it’s time to try something new. Challenge yourself on a higher graded hike, mountain bike, canyoning adventure, bouldering ledge, rock climb, fly fishing trip, ATV, jet ski, water ski, snow ski, snowboard or slackline. If you’ve ever wanted to try something new that will really get your heart racing, Utah is calling your name.

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Choosing to get out of your comfort zone = priceless

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GET LOST'S NINE-NIGHT UTAH ITINERARY

DAY 1 SALT LAKE CITY

DAY 2 SALT LAKE CITY TO GREEN RIVER

DAY 3 THE FIRST OF THE MIGHTY FIVE

DAY 4 THE WILD WEST

DAY 5 MONUMENT VALLEY TO CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK

DAY 6 WORKING ON THAT MIGHTY FIVE

DAY 7 BRYCE CANYON TO KANAB

DAY 8 THE FINAL FIVE

DAY 9 ZION TO CEDAR CITY

DAY 10 CROSSING THE FINISH LINE

From left to right: Some of the best and most unique hiking spots exist in Utah; The state's Mormon history means some people are still under the impression you can't get excellent beers, like Moab Brewery's Golden Wheat Ale; a typically Utahn mesh of geography.

get in the know Utah man Walter Frederick Morrison invented the frisbee in 1948. It was originally called the Pluto Platter.

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