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Mossy Cave Trail, Utah ©Don Graham

A land of extremes, Utah holds a special appeal for outdoor enthusiasts, encompassing a wide variety of landscapes and fascinating geological formations that offer unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. Most of the state is situated on a plateau above 4,000ft (1,219m), but the elevations rise and fall spectacularly across snow-covered mountains and deep river canyons. The most significant sights and attractions have been formed by the dramatic forces of nature, creating ruggedly beautiful, multi-coloured canyons, eroded rock sculptures, red desert plains, forested mountains and snow-capped peaks. Southern Utah has five breath-taking national parks, including Zion and Bryce Canyon, which draw the most visitors, but the lesser-known parks are just as spectacular.

The Anglo settlement of Utah began with the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake area in 1847, led by Brigham Young. Today, about 70 percent of the population belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, congregants of which are known as the Mormons. The Mormon heritage defines the state's modern culture and many perceive Utah as a region stuck in a time warp due to the strong church influence, emphasis on family values, and a notoriously strict attitude regarding the drinking of alcohol. But the people are friendly and unpretentious, the crime rate is low and there are many beautiful places of interest to visit.

Salt Lake City is a modern metropolis regarded as one of the top business environments in the country, as well as being the spiritual hub of the Mormon religion, home to the sacred Temple and the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Its proximity to the Wasatch Mountains makes it a popular base for winter and summer outdoor recreation, and nearby resorts like Park City, Sundance and Snowbird offer superb powder snow and Olympic-class skiing.

Climate Info

Utah has plenty of sunshine and low humidity. The Utah climate is semiarid to arid, depending on the region, and most of the state is at a high elevation. Snowfall is common state-wide, except in the Great Salt Lake Desert and at the southern border. The lower altitudes usually experience snow from November to March, while the higher altitudes experience snow from October to May, with snow cover on the mountains sometimes continuing until July. The Wasatch Mountains usually experience good snow, making the area's ski resorts popular with winter outdoor sport enthusiasts. Summer temperatures in Utah average around 79°F (26°C), with winter temperatures around 30°F (-1°C). In the north, spring is usually the wettest season, while summer and autumn are the wettest further south. Most of the mountainous areas experience more rain in winter. Sporadic thunderstorms, caused by monsoons, can occur during summer and autumn, creating flash floods and wildfires.

Getting Around

The Utah Transit Authority provides extensive public transport coverage in Salt Lake City by means of a light rail system called TRAX, and an excellent bus service. One-day passes are available for use on both TRAX and the city buses, and there is an extensive Free Fare Zone for both forms of transport downtown around Temple Square. A one-way fare is $2.50, and a day pass costs $6.25. During the winter a ski bus connects the city to nearby ski resorts. Metered taxis are freely available throughout the city and can be hailed on the street or ordered by telephone. Self-driving in Salt Lake City is fairly straightforward as the city is designed on a grid system with wide streets and a freeway system connecting the suburbs and surrounding areas.

Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)

LocationThe airport is situated five miles (8km) northwest of Salt Lake City.
Time DifferenceGMT -7 (GMT -6 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).

Tel: +1 801 575 2400.

Transfer terminals

The terminals and concourses are connected by moving walkways.

Getting to city

The TRAX Light Rail train stop is located at the south end of Terminal One, and bus stops are located on the curb outside the Welcome Center in the same area, as well as outside Terminal Two. A train departs for the city every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends. Buses operate every day with a more limited weekend service. A one-way fare for the bus or train costs $2.50. There are also taxis, hotel shuttles, rental cars and limousines available.

Car Rental

Car hire companies at the airport include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty, with some companies off-site connected via shuttle.

Airpor Taxis

Taxi booths are located outside of Door 7 in Terminal One, and Door 11 in Terminal Two.

Airport Facilities

There are currency exchange facilities and ATMs. Facilities for the disabled are excellent. Other facilities include restaurants and bars, shops (including duty-free), shoe shiners, courtesy hotel reservation telephones, and a tourist information desk.

Car Parking

Hourly and Daily Parking is provided in a lot within walking distance of the terminals, costing $2 for the first 30 minutes and $1 for each additional 20 minutes, up to a daily maximum of $32. Economy Parking is serviced by a free shuttle and costs $9 per day.


Temple Square

The four-hectare (10-acre) Temple Square complex includes the Mormon Temple, the Tabernacle and the Assembly Hall. It is at the heart of Salt Lake City, in location and spiritual importance, and the symbolic epicentre of the Mormon religion or Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Sai
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Tabernacle on Temple Square ©Leon7

Utah State Capitol

Modelled after the national Capitol building in Washington DC and opened officially in 1916, the Utah State Capitol sits on a hill above the city, a prominent sight surrounded by acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. The building was designed by Richard K.A. Kletting, and was ahead of
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Utah State Capitol ©Andrew Smith

Pioneer Memorial Museum

Devoted to objects connected with historical events, the Pioneer Memorial Museum is crammed with photographs, furniture, textiles, toys and a doll collection from the daily lives of the pioneers that have been painstakingly collected by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. All four storey
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Pioneer Memorial Museum ©Tracie Hall

Great Salt Lake

This huge, shallow lake is thought to be the second saltiest body of water in the world, after the Dead Sea, and is several times saltier than the ocean as well as rich in minerals. Floating weightlessly in the water of the Salt Lake is one of the main attractions of the region; however,
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Great Salt Lake ©DR04

Dinosaur National Monument

The Dinosaur National Monument straddles the border between Utah and Colorado. The reserve was created to preserve the layers of rock in which Jurassic Era dinosaur skeletons and bones were found embedded at a site in the Utah section of the Monument area. In 1909 an exposed sediment riv
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Green River, Dinosaur National Monument ©Michael Overton

Tracy Aviary

Situated on eight acres of land in Liberty Park, the Tracy Aviary is the oldest bird sanctuary in the United States, founded in 1938. The space is a wonderful 'urban oasis' among the hustle and bustle of downtown Salt Lake City. Home to more than 400 well cared-for birds, from 135 specie
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Peacock at Tracy Aviary ©Emily Allen

Park City

The holiday destination of Park City is famous for its three world-class ski resorts: Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley and The Canyons. Together they form one of the USA's largest ski areas. The outstanding facilities for winter sports offered at Park City earned the resort town se
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Park City, Utah ©Brad.K


Solitude Mountain Resort, located 30 miles (about 50km) southeast of Salt Lake City, is one of the smaller, quieter ski resorts in Utah, and is chiefly popular with families on weekend getaways. Situated in Big Cottonwood Canyon, in the Wasatch Mountains, the resort's slogan - 'Refined b
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Solitude Mountain Resort ©Baileypalblue

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