Welcome to Utah
Utah means so many things to different people. To avid skiers, it means the deep powder and steep slopes of the Wasatch Range. Mountain bikers conjure up expanses of southern Utah slickrock, river runners recall whitewater and lazy flatwater through the vivid canyons on the Green, the San Juan, and the Colorado. For birdwatchers, the great flocks of waterfowl and shorebirds on the edge of the Great Salt Lake are the first image which comes to mind. Anglers and flyfisherman enthuse about the blue ribbon fishery in Flaming Gorge.
How does one state contain such diversity? The lands in Utah rise from the Colorado Plateau, 4,000 feet above sea level, to 13,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains to the north, and drops down to nearly 2,000 feet in the Great Basin desert. These variations in terrain have created a wide range of biomes, which in turn support diverse populations of wildlife and plants, from desert-dwelling lizards and Joshua trees to deep pine forests inhabited by elk, moose, and bears.
For such a dry, difficult land, Utah has a a rich past, reaching into the dawn of history. The first major populations were dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. They lived and died by the thousands in Utah, and dinosaur aficionados are drawn to the Cleveland Lloyd dinosaur quarry, Dinosaur National Monument, and the Utah Field House of Natural History, among the dozens of paleontological sites. Much later came the Fremont and Anasazi, whose public heritage is hundreds of ruins, petroglyph sites, and mysteries. The Mormons famously settled in Utah to escape persecution, and on public lands today, you can hike parts of the long trail they traveled, and stand where Brigham Young announced, "This is the place."
Many of Utah's public lands can be enjoyed at any time, by anyone. But if you head off the beaten path, remember that extremes in terrain make for extremes in climate; you can bask in the hot sun of the canyon country in the morning, and pull on your woolly sweater in the mountains that evening. Weather can affect your route, too, as many of the roads into the backcountry are clay, which gets very slippery in rain. Flash floods surprise unwary canyon explorers, and avalanches are possible in the mountainous backcountry. To ensure your safety, always check conditions before you leave for your adventure, and make sure you are provisioned with at least one gallon of water per person, per day.
Take some time to explore the wonders of Utah here at the Utah Public Lands Information Center. You will discover a wealth of detailed information about where to go and what to do while touring the public lands of this state.
In our Maps & Books section, you can purchase books, maps, and other educational items to make your virtual or real visit truly rewarding.
To begin your journey, click on Recreation Search.
If you have any questions please email the Utah PLIC staff. For information on lodging, museums, tribal lands, and commercial attractions or services, contact the UtahTravel Council. For information about hunting and fishing regulations and licensing information for Utah, please contact the Utah Department of Natural Resources.