Other-worldly Utah was made for outdoor adventures. To the north are the vast briny expanses of the Great Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats, while central Utah is dominated by the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Mountain Range. However, it’s southern Utah that packs the biggest punch – a land of deep canyons, sandstone arches and towering hoodoos that may lead you to believe you’ve landed on Mars. Charter a private jet to Utah.
Salt Lake City is the state’s cultural and economic heart, a thriving metropolis nestled between the shores of the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains. In just one day you can go from wandering around Temple Square – home to the global headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – to hiking in foothills, playing in snowy mountain resorts or sailing on the lake. Even in the city, natural wonders are never too far away. Travel north towards Wyoming and you’ll reach historic towns like Ogden; or head west to discover vast desert lands, rugged landscapes and the Bonneville Salt Flats, a perspective-altering expanse of sodium chloride. The state’s north-eastern corner is a largely empty land, intersected by the Green River and scattered with historic mining towns, state parks and fossil-filled quarries.
The south of Utah is a road-tripper’s dream, with five national parks and an array of national monuments and state parks lining a fantastic loop drive that begins and ends in Las Vegas. The nearest national park to Vegas is Zion, centred on the dramatic Zion Canyon that was carved by the Virgin River. Hikers are spoilt for choice here – the precipitous Angels Landing trail leads up a series of switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles before narrowing dramatically to just five feet wide. With drop-offs of over 300m on each side, this is not a trek for those with vertigo, but the views at the end are worth it if you’re up for the challenge! For something a little different, The Narrows follows the Riverside Walk to its end before continuing into the river itself, where hikers can wade through the water as the canyon walls close in.
To the west of Zion is the alien-esque landscape of Bryce Canyon, Utah’s smallest national park. Here towering sandstone spires, or hoodoos, rise out of the canyon interspersed with evergreen pine forests. Most visitors follow the scenic Rim Road and stop at numerous viewpoints, but to experience the hoodoos’ scale and beauty away from the crowds, follow one of the steep paths that wind down from the rim to the canyon floor. These include the short-but-sweet Navajo Loop through Wall Street Canyon and the eight-mile Fairyland Loop, which meanders through the hoodoos and passes along ridges of Bryce backcountry. Budding astronomers should spend a clear, moonless night in this park – its dark sky preserve is one of the country’s best stargazing spots.
Continue northeast to the vast Capitol Reef National Park, a jumble of rock formations including rainbow-coloured cliffs, canyons, domes and arches. This park’s highlight is the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile-long buckle in the earth’s crust. Due to Capitol Reef’s size, it’s worth spending a little more time here to experience quieter hiking trails and a more laid-back ambience than in the other parks.
The tranquil Canyonlands National Park sits to the west of adventure capital Moab. Divided into three sections by the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, much of its backcountry is only accessible to experienced off-road drivers. The most popular area is the Island in the Sky, which sits atop a mesa 1,800m above sea level offering panoramic views of the park’s other two sections, the Needles and the Maze. The Needles can be reached in about 90 minutes from Moab and gets its name from the sandstone spires scattered across the canyon floor, which are best seen along the many hiking trails. To explore the Maze’s wild, remote landscapes, you’ll either need to hire a high-clearance 4×4 or hike and camp in the wild – perfect for those seeking a real wilderness adventure.
Five miles north of Moab is Arches National Park, a true state icon which is home to the world’s largest collection of natural sandstone arches. Up to 2,000 arches can found alongside other rock formations such as pillars, plateaus, balanced rocks, fins and towers, all being continuously eroded by the elements. Just when you thought the park couldn’t get more spectacular, there’s the impossibly beautiful backdrop of the snow-capped La Sal Mountains. If you’re only here for a day, take in the most famous attraction, Delicate Arch; the impossibly-thin Landscape Arch; and Window Arch, which beautifully frames the scenery beyond.
It’s not just national parks that draw people to Utah – other include the towering canyons of Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, the ruins of an Ancient Puebloan settlement at Hovenweep National Monument and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which spans the Utah-Arizona state line and is a popular spot for watersports enthusiasts.
Alongside the international airport in Salt Lake City, Utah is home to a host of municipal, regional and local airports, some of which are within easy reach of the state’s national parks. Simply speak to one of our team and we’ll arrange everything you need to charter a private jet to Utah.