Nature in All Its Glory

The Path to Utah Is Dirt

by Rob Corso

A concentration of "hoodoo rocks" or "goblins" at Goblin State National Park. All photos by Rob Corso.

Considering a visit to Utah? The great outdoors loves you back in the Beehive State. Make the most of being in nature.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

UTAH – By now, the secret is out on Utah. That place has some special dirt. It was one of the few states I hadn't visited, but I went, and I'm different because of it.

If you love the outdoors, this is your state: Canyoneering. ATVing. Hiking. Repelling. Rock climbing. Mountain biking. Kayaking. Fishing. Camping. The Greatest snow on Earth. Utah is home to five national parks (nicknamed the Mighty 5), five national forests, and 43 state parks. That's over 22 million acres of public lands ready to be explored.

Here's the trick to seeing Utah: Go during the low times of year — October, November, February, March — when throngs of tourists aren't clogging things up. And go during the low times of day, like sunrise and sunset, when the parks are pure majesty. I took a moonlight walk through Bryce Canyon National Park, and it felt like walking on the moon. We didn't see another person on our three-hour trek. But it did feel as though some animals were keeping an eye on us.

Utah may have the best state parks in the country. They're amazing and little-traveled. You can camp inside them and bring your dogs (a bonus for many of my fellow roadtrippers). Millions of years of geologic artistry make the southern part of the state truly something to behold. Photos cannot it justice. Words cannot do it justice. You have to get out there yourself to understand.


The spire-shaped, crimson-colored rock formations of Bryce Canyon.

Goblin Valley at a distance.

The arch of Hickman Bridge.

Scene from a canyoneering excursion.


For Utah's incredible treasure chest of sites — Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Moab, Arches, — fly into McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas or Salt Lake City International Airport. You'll need and want a car. The drives are awesome.

Get in the Wild leads canyoneering trips in Goblin Valley. Request Christopher Hagedorn.

John Holland of Bryce Valley Tours leads excellent moonlight hikes through Bryce Canyon.


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