Utah State Parks

Utah's State Parks: Uncovering Natural Treasures


7/22/20237 min read

Utah State Parks
Utah State Parks

Top Utah State Parks: Uncovering Natural Treasures

As a U.S. state, Utah stands out for its vast and diverse landscapes that range from arid deserts with sand dunes to thriving pine forests in mountain valleys. Among its many natural treasures are the Utah State Parks. These parks provide a variety of recreational opportunities for both residents and visitors alike.

A Look at Utah's State Parks

Utah's state park system comprises 44 state parks scattered throughout the state. Each park has unique features and recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and more. Some parks focus on preserving historical or cultural sites, while others showcase the state's natural beauty and geological wonders.

1. Anasazi State Park Museum

Situated in Boulder, Utah, the Anasazi State Park Museum is a heritage site where you can learn about the Ancestral Puebloans, or Anasazi, who inhabited the area nearly 1,000 years ago. Explore the six-room replica of an ancient dwelling, hike the short interpretive trail, and view the museum's artifacts and exhibits.

2. Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island, in the middle of the Great Salt Lake, hosts a variety of wildlife, including bison, antelope, and a diverse range of bird species. The island also provides some of the most beautiful sunsets in Utah, with the vast lake and mountainous backdrop providing a unique viewing experience.

3. Bear Lake State Park

Nicknamed the 'Caribbean of the Rockies,' Bear Lake's turquoise waters attract visitors year-round. It's ideal for sailing, boating, fishing, and swimming in summer, and ice fishing in winter. The park also hosts events such as the Bear Lake Raspberry Days festival.

4. Camp Floyd State Park Museum

This park offers a glimpse into the life of a Civil War soldier stationed in Utah. Explore the museum, stagecoach inn, and cemetery, and participate in activities like candle making and adobe brick making.

5. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Venture into a landscape of shifting red sand, an ever-changing playground for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, hikers, and photographers. The park is also home to the Coral Pink tiger beetle, found nowhere else in the world.

6. Dead Horse Point State Park

One of the most photographed vistas in the world, Dead Horse Point provides breathtaking views of the Colorado River and the Canyonlands National Park. Hike along the rim, bike the Intrepid Trail System, or stargaze under its Dark Sky Park designation.

7. Deer Creek State Park

Nestled in Heber Valley, this park is known for Deer Creek Reservoir, where visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, windsurfing, and camping. The surrounding trails offer opportunities for hiking and mountain biking.

8. East Canyon State Park

Rich in pioneer history, East Canyon is a gathering place for outdoor enthusiasts. Swim, fish, or boat in the reservoir, hike or bike the trails, or camp under the starry sky.

9. Echo State Park

Located in Summit County, Echo State Park offers year-round opportunities for water sports, camping, and fishing. The park is also a great spot for picnicking and hiking.

10. Edge Of The Cedars State Park Museum

Located in Blanding, this park is home to a museum that houses the largest collection of Ancestral Puebloan pottery in the Southeast Utah region. The site is also an ancestral Puebloan archaeological site, a reminder of the area's rich history.

11. Flight Park State Recreation Area

A haven for hang gliding and paragliding, this park offers opportunities for beginner to advanced pilots to fly against the backdrop of the picturesque Salt Lake Valley.

12. Fremont Indian State Park Museum

Discover artifacts, petroglyphs, and pictographs left behind by the Fremont Indians. Over 700 years old, these treasures tell the tale of the life and culture of this ancient tribe.

13. Goblin Valley State Park

Renowned for its sandstone goblins and formations, Goblin Valley is like no other place in the world. Hike among these bizarre-shaped hoodoos, camp under the stars, and enjoy its status as an International Dark Sky Park.

14. Goosenecks State Park

Stand on the edge of a deep canyon and marvel at the San Juan River as it carves its way through the desert 1,000 feet below. Named for its 'gooseneck' or entrenched meanders, this park offers some of the most striking views in Utah.

15. Great Salt Lake State Park

Enjoy a sail on the Great Salt Lake, explore the marina, or watch a spectacular sunset at this state park. The rich mineral content in the lake creates the perfect conditions for brine shrimp, attracting numerous bird species.

16. Green River State Park

This park is a starting point for boaters adventuring through Labyrinth and Stillwater canyons. The park offers a golf course, campground, and boat ramp.

17. Gunlock State Park

Located in southwestern Utah, Gunlock State Park is perfect for camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, and fishing. Its warm blue waters and red sandstone landscape offer a unique experience to visitors.

18. Huntington State Park

This warm-water reservoir hosts waterskiers, fishermen, and its warm waters lure swimmers and sun tanners throughout the year. The park is also a popular spot for ice fishing in the winter months.

19. Hyrum State Park

Located in Cache Valley, this park is a popular recreational area all year round. With a beautiful reservoir, visitors come for fishing, boating, and swimming in the summer, and ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter.

20. Jordanelle State Park

Located above the beautiful Heber Valley, Jordanelle features an array of recreation opportunities such as fishing, boating, and camping. The park is split into three areas: Hailstone, Rock Cliff, and Ross Creek, each with its own unique offerings.

21. Kodachrome Basin State Park

Home to 67 monolithic stone spires, known as sedimentary pipes, this park offers a truly unique desert experience. Visitors can enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and stargazing within this beautiful park.

22. Millsite State Park

Located in Ferron Canyon near the San Rafael Swell, Millsite State Park offers a refreshing retreat from the desert heat. The park offers boating, fishing, camping, and trails for off-highway vehicle riding.

23. Otter Creek State Park

This quiet getaway is a great destination for ATV riders, boaters, and birders. The park offers some of the best trout fishing in the state during the cooler months.

24. Palisade State Park

Play 18-holes of golf, paddle or troll on Palisade Reservoir, then set up the perfect campsite. This park offers something for everyone, from its desert canyons to its pine forests.

25. Piute State Park

Known for its trophy-sized fish, Piute Reservoir attracts a number of year-round fishing enthusiasts. In addition to fishing, visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, and camping.

26. Quail Creek State Park

Boasting some of the warmest waters in the state and a mild winter climate, Quail Creek State Park is a popular boating and year-round fishing haven. Camp, picnic, swim, fish, and enjoy the mild climate of Quail Creek.

27. Red Fleet State Park

This is a destination for hiking, camping, picnicking, swimming, and fishing. Its main attraction is the Red Fleet Reservoir, where you can rent paddleboards, canoes, and pedal boats.

28. Rockport State Park

With a wide variety of activities, Rockport State Park has something for everyone. Fishing, boating, and waterskiing are popular activities in the summer, while ice fishing is popular during the winter months.

29. Sand Hollow State Park

Sand Hollow is one of the most popular state parks, drawing visitors with its warm, blue waters and red sandstone landscape. The park is a popular destination for ATV riders due to its extensive dune field.

30. Scofield State Park

Resting at an elevation of 7,600 feet, Scofield State Park offers excellent boating, fishing, and camping opportunities. It's a great getaway destination in both summer and winter.

31. Starvation State Park

Named for the difficulty early settlers had in farming the rocky terrain, this park now provides a quality watersports experience. Starvation Reservoir offers 3,500 acres of year-round fishing opportunity and is a popular site for boating and ice fishing.

32. Steinaker State Park

Just north of Vernal, Steinaker State Park is a popular destination for rainbow trout fishing. Visitors also enjoy camping, hiking, swimming, and boating.

33. Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum

The Territorial Statehouse in Fillmore was once the state capitol of Utah. Today, it operates as a museum where visitors can explore exhibits displaying Utah's rich history.

34. Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum

Located in Vernal, the Field House contains a variety of exhibits showcasing prehistoric geological, anthropological, and natural history objects, including a large collection of dinosaur fossils.

35. Utah Lake State Park

Utah's largest freshwater lake provides fishing access for channel catfish, walleye, white bass, black bass, and several species of panfish. Visitors also enjoy boating, watersports, camping, and picnicking.

36. Wasatch Mountain State Park

Located in Heber Valley, this park is home to wide-open vistas, miles of mountain trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. In winter, the park offers skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

37. Willard Bay State Park

Boat, swim, water-ski, and fish on the warm waters of Willard Bay. Camp under tall cottonwood trees that frame the night sky. During winter months, Willard Bay is a wildlife watching area for nesting eagles.

38. Yuba State Park

Yuba State Park got its start when the Civilian Conservation Corps built a dam on the Sevier River here in the 1930s. Today, it’s a desert oasis of sorts, with boating, fishing, and camping among the most popular activities.

39. Zion National Park

Although technically a National Park, Zion is one of Utah's most famous and popular natural areas. Known for its sandstone cliffs, clear streams, and diverse wildlife, Zion offers activities such as hiking, camping, birdwatching, and horseback riding.

40. Thousand Lakes RV Park

Located near Capitol Reef National Park, Thousand Lakes RV Park offers a great base for exploring the rugged Utah wilderness, with amenities for tent and RV camping, and even comfortable cabins.

41. East Canyon State Park

East Canyon State Park is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and camping. Surrounded by mountains, it's also a great place for hiking and wildlife viewing.

42. Fremont Indian State Park

Discover the secrets of the ancient Fremont people at this park, where you can explore a large collection of petroglyphs and pictographs left behind by these early Utah residents.

43. Gunlock State Park

Located near St. George, Gunlock State Park offers a warm-water reservoir for boating and fishing. The surrounding area is perfect for hiking and horseback riding.

In addition to these State Parks, Utah is also home to several National Parks, including Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Zion, as well as a multitude of other public lands. Together, these natural spaces showcase the diverse landscapes and ecosystems of Utah, from its arid deserts to its high alpine forests. Whether you're looking for outdoor recreation or simply a peaceful place to appreciate nature, you're sure to find it in one of Utah's state or national parks.