“Wherever my travels may lead, paradise is where I am.

Utah, located in the southwest region of the United States, is well known for its mesmerizing scenic beauty and year round activities. Whether is skiing perfect powder, mountain biking the dessert, challenging some of the best whitewater in the United States, riding a horse through remote canyons, driving remote dirt tracks, hiking in spectacular national parks, or just seeing amazing scenery from the windows of your car, Utah has it on unbelievable scales. Here, the earth has been crumpled into high mountains, carved into deep canyons, and eroded into every formation possible; spectacular arches, natural bridges, and hoodoos included.

Utah represents a unique episode in the settlement of the United States, a story of a religious group that trekked across three-fourths of the continent in search of a ‘promised land’ where they could be free from persecution. Salt Lake City is the world headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church, and the spiritual home of adherents throughout the world. Before the arrival of Mormon pioneers, Utah was inhabited by several Native-American tribes, including the Ute, for whom the state is named.

Snowboarders and skiers head for miles of spectacular slopes with deep fluffy powder and breathtaking mountain views. The Olympic Park provides family-friendly ski programs, rides and shows. Alta, Sundance, Snowbird and Brighton are other popular destinations for cross country and Alpine skiers. Those alluring snowy slopes turn to rolling wildflower fields in the summer.

Golfing, fishing, horseback riding and water sports replace chilly outdoor sports adventures. Corral the family, pack a picnic and catch one of the ski lifts for an afternoon of hiking or mountain biking along scenic trails. Head to Salt Lake City, where Temple Square hosts millions of visitors a year. Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park are famous for surreal landscapes from horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters to unusual rock formations and hundreds of natural sandstone arches.

Closer to home, wander along the quaint main streets of mountain villages to browse, shop and enjoy lunch at an outdoor café. At the end of the day, head home for an outdoor barbecue and an evening of games. Home rentals blend privacy, space and comfort with the cost-saving advantage of eating some meals at home.

Mormon-influenced rural towns can be quiet and conservative, but the rugged beauty has attracted outdoorsy progressives as well. Salt Lake City (SLC) and Park City, especially, have vibrant nightlife and progressive dining scenes. So pull on your boots and stock up on water: Utah’s wild and scenic hinterlands await.

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