Apr 18, 2023 - News

Utah's underrated parks: Readers' choice

Waterfalls over red rock

Waterfalls froth and foam at Gunlock State Park. Photo: Via Utah State Parks.

A few weeks ago we asked you to tell us the most "underrated" parks in Utah.

  • Dear readers, you gave us an ambitious travel itinerary! As Judith R. told us, "All I know is that the few state parks we have been to in Utah could be national parks in many other states."

Here are some of your picks:

Bear Lake State Park: Reader Zach A. provided our only northern Utah recommendation, which is becoming more popular as summers get hotter.

  • But there is a lot to visit away from the busy beaches — especially by boat on the deep turquoise water.

Cedar Breaks National Monument: We agree with Chris M. and other readers who pointed to the whole area near S.R. 14 southeast of Cedar City, where the green forests meet red rock on the Markagunt Plateau.

Casto Canyon: About an hour from Cedar Breaks, this pick from reader Colt S. is "a miniature Bryce Canyon that you spend infinite time in and never see another person."

Dinosaur National Monument: Dig up your childhood dinosaur obsession and set it free. If you go in early summer, the wildflowers should be great this year.

  • Box Canyon feels like a trip to the Deep South, with boggy meadows and cottonwood trees to laze under — especially with a cold can of She's a Peach from the Vernal Brewing Company.

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park: A hidden gem that reader Mike R. suggested in Garfield County — which also puts you near some of the state's best slot canyons.

Fremont Indian State Park: It's a great place to view ancient rock art and ruins.

  • "I think there would be plenty of room for more visitors," said a reader on Facebook.

Goblin Valley: The San Rafael Swell's answer to Bryce Canyon has fantastic mushroom-like formations — and yurts for glamping.

  • "A lot of Utahns don't even know about it," wrote Tifanie F.

Gunlock State Park: This is the spring to go, reader Shelbi P. recommended, with the record snow providing a rare chance to see waterfalls flowing.

  • Check the park website for alerts of debris and flooding risks.

White Wash Sand Dunes: While best known as Green River's OHV playground, there are lots of trails and roads through red rock, cottonwood forests and even bighorn sheep.


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