The Hitchhikers Guide to Utah
There are very few states in the US that elicit the amount of blank stares you get when you tell people you're going to Utah. If you're African-American you'll undoubtedly catch a bit of side eye as well since Utah is scarcely populated with people of color. Well I decided to venture to Salt Lake City to see exactly why Utah registers so low on most people's radar.
Utah doesn't have the gambling draw of neighboring Nevada, the high spirited energy of Colorado or the cowboy aesthetic of Arizona or Wyoming, so it rarely comes up on anyone's radar. Unless they're talking about Sister Wives, then it gets the spotlight. In spite of this Utah has loads of natural beauty and is very affordable for travelers on a budget. If hiking, photography, camping and skiing is your thing then Utah is a great alternative.
My trip started in Salt Lake City where everyday feels like Tuesday due to the cities unusual alcohol laws. The Salt Lake itself, where the city gets is name, is about 35 minutes away from the city center. I was excited to see this natural wonder. If you have the opportunity to go make sure you take a swimsuit to so you can float in the lake. It's pretty cool to float in a saltwater lake. The landscape surrounding the lake is serene as well.
If you're up for a journey then I suggest going to the Bonneville Salt Flats about two hours away from Salt Lake City. It's quite a trek at first but the landscape quickly changes to something vivid as you approach your destination. Like most of Utah it's vast and empty, but there's an untapped appeal to this destination that will allow even the most cavalier city slicker to tap into their inner pioneer.
Towards the middle of my stay in Utah my friend and I decided to go hiking at Zion National Park. The park is located in southern Utah near Las Vegas and northern AZ. It has a more arid climate than the northern regions complete with red dirt and the occasional palm tree.
We ended our journey in Las Vegas, the complete opposite of roughing it in southern Utah, but hey at least we earned this lavish reward. Utah is a robust and reasonably priced destination for the outdoorsy traveler who doesn't care about alcohol restrictions. I plan on visiting there again to explore the other national parks, especially Arches and Natural Bridges parks.