The Getaway
Untapped Charms: Exploring Utah's Small Towns

There are many wonders to behold in Utah's scenic landscape. From rolling hills to sand dunes and magical forests, Utah is truly one of America's most beautiful states and has one of the most geographically diverse landscapes. Nestled within this geographically diverse state, Utah's small towns await with a rich tapestry of culture, entertainment, and awe-inspiring beauty. Whether you want to visit Utah's famous Rainbow Bridge or peer into Bingham Canyon, the world's deepest pit, the state has something for every type of outdoor adventurer.


01 Enjoy local folk culture at Panguitch

Utah is known worldwide for its spectacular parks, such as Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. If you happen to be headed to either of these destinations, consider making a stop in the quaint town of Panguitch. Panguitch offers an array of charming antique shops, art galleries, classic Western architecture, and craft fairs. The town's spirit really comes to life during the summer at events such as the Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally or the Annual Quilt Walk Festival.

02 Climb the red rocks in Moab

Not one, but two beautiful national parks are located near the city of Moab. Arches National Park is just a ten-minute drive from Moab, while Canyonlands National Park is just over thirty minutes. Moab is home to a variety of hiking and climbing trails for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. In addition, you cannot visit the area without visiting the scenic, bright red rocks that have made the city so famous.

03 Relax in the mineral springs near Midway

Located on the Wasatch Range, Midway is a quaint town that is ideal for those who enjoy the water. The 96-degree water temperature in the Homestead Crater is the big draw here. This geothermal spring is hidden inside a 55-foot-tall limestone rock and is an ideal place to snorkel or scuba dive. If hiking is more your thing, consider a trek in Wasatch Mountain State Park.

Historic Tate Barn in the fall with Mount Timpanogas in the background, Midway, Utah KMac28 / Getty Images

04 Explore the trails in Eden

You'll instantly realize why it's called Eden as soon as you arrive. Located in the spectacular Ogden Valley, Eden is a small town with fewer than 1,000 residents. With a treasure trove of natural landmarks like Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Wolf Mountain, Ogden River, and Pineview Reservoir, Eden offers world-class skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in the winter. In the summer, visitors can find a yoga class or go hiking and biking as well.

05 Walk around Bear Lake in Garden City

Garden City is often called the "Caribbean of the Rockies" because the turquoise-colored water of Bear Lake draws a large crowd during the summer. Bear Lake is the perfect setting for renting a boat or trying out a jet ski. If you prefer to stay out of the water, there are several hiking and ATV trails that surround the lake and the neighboring area.

06 Enjoy amazing hiking in Kanab

Kanab is a small town located in the southernmost part of the state, and it's surrounded by some of the most incredible scenery in the world. Kanab is located close to several state parks, Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon. There are many things to do in the area, including hiking Buckskin Gulch, the planet's longest and deepest slot canyon, or taking a look at the colossal vistas in the area.

07 Stay in Springdale and explore Zion National Park

Springdale is the gateway to Zion National Park, giving visitors an excellent opportunity to explore one of the most spectacular national parks in the country. You can rock climb, hike, camp, and escape to a natural wonderland in the beautiful Zion Canyon. Cyclists are in luck when visiting Springdale. Just half an hour from the town's center lies Gooseberry Mesa, which has over 124 miles of trails.

08 Enjoy first-class skiing in Park City

For the skiing vacation of your dreams, plan a trip to Park City. Originally a silver mining town, Park City now boasts two state-of-the-art ski resorts. The city is also home to the world-famous Sundance Film Festival, which attracts celebrities and the media alike. In addition to its bars, restaurants, and luxury shopping, Park City has many other attractions, such as the Park City Museum and Deer Valley Resort.

09 Visit Brigham City and the Great Salt Lake

Brigham City, nestled among the Wellsville Mountains, is a great place to spend a few days enjoying the Brigham City Museum of Art and History before heading out into the natural landscape around you. Visitors to Brigham City will have easy access to the marshlands of the edge of the Great Salt Lake as well as the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, both of which are located nearby.

10 Fish near Huntsville

For anglers, the Pineview Reservoir borders the town of Huntsville, a beautiful place with rolling green valleys that turn red and gold in the fall. You can also take to the slopes at Snowbasin Resort, one of the oldest ski resorts in the country and the host of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Finally, a visit to Huntsville isn't complete without a stop at the Huntsville Astronomic and Lunar Observatory, which has a 16-inch aperture telescope that allows you to view the stars like never before.

11 Hike in the mountains near Torrey

Torrey is a great place to visit during the summer because it is located 6,800 feet above sea level. That makes it a cool retreat — literally! — for those who enjoy the scenery and mountain air. Thousand Lake Mountain is a great place to enjoy the outdoors not far from town, as it offers hikes, kayaking, and fishing.

12 Step back in time to Spring City

Founded in the mid-1800s, Spring City offers excellent examples of Mormon pioneer architecture, such as the Spring City Chapel and the Spring City School. Later migrations of immigrants from Scandinavia earned the town the nickname "Little Denmark." Stroll through Spring City's streets and admire the pretty houses and buildings for a look at what the Danish newcomers brought. The 1876 Justesen-Olsen House and Rasmus Jensen House should not be missed.

13 Explore history at Mount Pleasant

Thanks to the development of a railway in 1890, the town of Mount Pleasant changed dramatically during the early twentieth century, and much of the town's architecture attests to this time. There's something nostalgic about walking around Mount Pleasant. Many of the houses around the town were built during the turn of the century. In 1875, Mount Pleasant established the Wasatch Academy, a private school that now houses a museum celebrating its Mormon pioneer heritage.

14 Explore the trails near Bryce Canyon City

This area is an excellent place to explore the rocky, red-hued terrain surrounding Bryce Canyon City, as there are several trails extending out of the town and into Bryce Canyon National Park. If you'd prefer to explore these trails on horseback, consider calling up Ruby's Horseback Adventures, which offers half-day and all-day excursions. For those who like hunting for souvenirs, Old Bryce Town offers shops selling indigenous jewelry, baked goods, and precious stones.

15 Discover pre-historic beauty in Escalante

Escalante has a unique landscape that was created by water and wind and carved down through millennia. This natural phenomenon resulted in the Grand Staircase, an impressive series of plateaus that paint the area's horizon with a stunning range of colors. Venture over to Dance Hall Rock to explore the spectacular natural stone amphitheater. During the late nineteenth century, Mormon pioneers spent two months here waiting for a road to be built to the Colorado River.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.