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Encompassing nearly 85,000 miles, Utah is the 13th
Encompassing nearly 85,000 miles, Utah is the 13th largest state in America, but the 35th largest in population, which means there are plenty of open spaces to explore, including five national parks (dubbed The Mighty 5), an All-American Road, ski resort towns that provide year-round fun and so much more.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenChocolate tasting is a must at Caputo's in downtown
Chocolate tasting is a must at Caputo's in downtown Salt Lake City.  Caputo's Market>FullscreenIn nearby Park City, more than 150 restaurants and
In nearby Park City, more than 150 restaurants and bars are ripe for the picking. And there's even a Banksy.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenIf you’re staying at Washington School House, don’t
If you’re staying at Washington School House, don’t miss out on their scrumptious breakfast.  Washington School House>FullscreenOverlooking Robbers Roost in Southwest Utah, an area
Now that you’ve fueled up, it’s time for some Utah adventuring, and one of the best places to do just that is at Robbers Roost, where outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch would often hide out between their escapades.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenGet in the Wild Adventures leads canyoneering expeditions
Get in the Wild Adventures leads canyoneering expeditions – hiking, rappelling, climbing and scrambling rolled into one. One canyoneering adventure included four rappels, the first of which was 90 feet.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenThe one-mile loop Petrified Forest Trail at Escalante
The one-mile loop Petrified Forest Trail at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park winds through lava flows and innumerable pieces of petrified wood. The park’s showstopper, however, is the 50-foot petrified tree, of which visitors can see from its roots to the top. The pieces of petrified wood found within the park date back 135 to 150 million years.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenWith dry and barren lands as far as the eye can see
With dry and barren lands as far as the eye can see on the road, it was surprising to find stand up paddling (SUP), but that’s just what's available at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenSure, there’s likely a quicker way to get from Point
Sure, there’s likely a quicker way to get from Point A to Point B than traveling along Scenic Byway 12, but there’s not one more beautiful.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenThe sun sets over Scenic Byway 12, an All-American
A designated National Scenic Byway and one of just 31 All-American Roads in the entire USA, the 124-mile-long Scenic Byway 12 will lead you through red rocks, soaring forests, two national parks, a national monument and seven small towns.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenAt Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder, artifacts
At Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder, artifacts from an Ancestral Puebloan Anasazi village, likely inhabited from 1050 to 1200 A.D., are on display. Outside, a life-sized replica of an ancient dwelling is on view, and you can see into a bit of the original site.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenAll five national parks in Southern Utah each have
Each national park in Southern Utah has its own distinct characteristics: the delicate rock formations in Arches ...  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenThe hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park_credit Susan
The sandcastle-like hoodoos of Bryce Canyon...  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenNature's beauty found in Capitol Reef National Park_credit
And the stunning natural beauty found in Capitol Reef.  Susan B. Barnes>FullscreenThe road winds through Capitol Reef National Park_credit
See one or see them all, depending on how much time you have.  Susan B. Barnes>Fullscreen

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    And the stunning natural beauty found in Capitol Reef.(Photo: Susan B. Barnes)

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    When it comes to road trips in the USA, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason to skip Utah. Encompassing nearly 85,000 miles, Utah is the 13th largest state in America, but the 35th largest in population, which means there are plenty of open spaces to explore, including five national parks (dubbed The Mighty 5), an All-American Road, ski resort towns that provide year-round fun and so much more. In fact, road trips are so popular in Utah, the team at VisitUtah.com has developed a few itineraries to make the most of your time in the Beehive State. After a trip to Utah, we developed our own Mighty 5 (in no particular order) to spark the imagination.

    1. Mighty Eats: Upon arriving in Salt Lake City, we made a beeline for Caputo’s and a chocolate tasting session with Matt Caputo. At the time of our visit, Matt had curated a stellar selection of more than 460 different chocolate bars, and said, “We’re freakin’ excited about this stuff, and you should be excited, too.” As a chocolate lover, I was indeed excited about the tasting, and even more so when we moved to the cheese counter for more tastings.

    In nearby Park City, more than 150 restaurants and bars are ripe for the picking, and during our visit we opted for High West Saloon, where the menu is complimented by the distillery’s whiskeys and vodka, and the cocktails made with them. Two other restaurants we checked out were Firewood on Main Street, and Edge Steakhouse at Westgate Park City Resort & Spa, which won Best Steakhouse in the 2016 Best of State Awards (Utah). If you’re staying at Washington School House, don’t miss out on their scrumptious breakfast.

    Those who are in the know plan their Utah road trip around their reservations at Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah, with a population of under 200. The restaurant’s no-harm organic farm, along with its hoophouse and straw-bale greenhouse, grows more than 22,000 pounds of produce a year, which is reflected in the menu.

    2. Mighty Adventures: Now that you’ve fueled up, it’s time for some Utah adventuring, and one of the best places to do just that is at Robbers Roost, where outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch would often hide out between their escapades. “Every corner of Southern Utah is spectacular,” said Christopher Hagedorn with Get in the Wild Adventures, describing the Wild West protected lands in which he leads his canyoneering expeditions – hiking, rappelling, climbing and scrambling rolled into one. Our canyoneering adventure included four rappels, the first of which was 90 feet. From there, down deep in the slot canyon, it was hours of canyoneering fun.

    With dry and barren lands as far as the eye can see on the road, it was surprising to find stand up paddling (SUP), but that’s just what we did at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. The crystal-clear waters of the Wide Hollow Reservoir made for fantastic SUP on a nice, hot, sunny day – a terrific way to cool off.

    Back in Park City, adventures of Olympic proportions can be had at Utah Olympic Park. Here, train like winter Olympians on the Olympic Bobsled course, or have fun on the alpine slide, extreme tubing, or, for serious rock climbers, psicobloc – solo rock climbing over a deep body of water. The park is open year-round and offers loads more fun adventures, too.

    3. Mighty All-American Road: Sure, there’s likely a quicker way to get from Point A to Point B than traveling along Scenic Byway 12, but there’s not one more beautiful. A designated National Scenic Byway and one of just 31 All-American Roads in the entire USA, the 124-mile-long Scenic Byway 12 will lead you through red rocks, soaring forests, two national parks, a national monument and seven small towns.

    4. Mighty State Parks: In a state as large as Utah, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of state parks to enjoy in addition to its national parks. Before our stand up paddling excursion, we checked out the one-mile loop Petrified Forest Trail at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, which winds through lava flows and innumerable pieces of petrified wood. The park’s showstopper, however, is the 50-foot petrified tree, of which visitors can see from its roots to the top. The pieces of petrified wood found within the park date back 135 to 150 million years.

    Another state park we stopped by was the Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder. Here, artifacts from an Ancestral Puebloan Anasazi village, likely inhabited from 1050 to 1200 A.D., are on display. Outside, a life-sized replica of an ancient dwelling is on view, and you can see into a bit of the original site, a terrific peek into long-ago residents of Southwest Utah.

    To see which state parks are on your road trip route, check out the Utah State Parks website for a map and complete list of parks.

    5. The Mighty 5: With all that Utah has to offer, its crowning jewels are the five national parks that call the state home, The Mighty 5: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion. Though all five parks are in Southern Utah, each has its own distinct characteristics: the delicate rock formations in Arches; the sandcastle-like hoodoos of Bryce Canyon; the undulating landscapes in Canyonlands; the ancient petroglyphs in Capitol Reef; and the slot canyons of Zion. See one or see them all, depending on how much time you have, with one of the three- to 10-day road trip itineraries created by VisitUtah.com.

     

    Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/america/2017/04/24/utah-roadtrip-mighty-5/100757216/

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