What NOT To Do In Utah [Tips From A Local]

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Travel Tips and Rookie Mistakes To Avoid

1. Don’t spend all your time in just one part of the state

Utah is incredibly diverse (just look at the four pictures below) with its’ forested mountains to the North and the beautiful, red rock desert in the south. In a matter of two hours you can feel like you’ve jumped on a plane and went to a foreign land. If you’ve seen just one city in Utah, you’ve just barely begun to scratch the surface.

In the north, make sure to visit Bear Lake, Utah. If you want to head east from Salt Lake City, this mountain city is the perfect small town getaway. And of course, you can’t miss out on visiting The Mighty Five, which is the nickname for the five national parks in Utah. Here’s a complete road trip guide so you can visit all five (and catch some hidden gems along the way).

2. Don’t be tempted to float in the Great Salt Lake

Ever wonder where Salt Lake City got its name from? If you guessed that its named after the Great Salt Lake, you’d be correct! In fact, Salt Lake City was actually originally called Great Salt Lake City but in 1868, they dropped the “Great”.

Personally, I would not recommend to try and swim in the Great Salt Lake. First, the lake is extremely smelly (first impressions are everything). Additionally, the lake is filled with brine shrimp and flies. Most tourists want to come here to attempt to float because the salinity of the lake is much higher than that of the ocean. Thus, making it easy to do so.

Don’t get me wrong, you totally can float here and if it’s on your bucket list, then by all means try to attempt it. But you’ll want to prepare for the smell, bugs, and the dried out skin. If those three things don’t bother you, then I say go for it!

3. Don’t go hiking without telling someone

Utah hiking trails are known throughout the world, with most of the famous ones being found within the National Parks. However, you don’t need to go far to find a local trail. With that said, because of the popularity and proximity to town, visitors get lulled into thinking that they are all safe.

Don’t attempt hiking without at least telling someone where you are going. Of course, it’s best to hike with a buddy. When that’s not possible, just reach out to your parents, friends, ex-girlfriend (maybe not) and let them know where you’ll be exploring.

4. Don’t be satisfied with just your hotel hot tub

Another rookie mistake is only using the hotel hot tub instead of discovering Utah’s natural hot springs! Most people are surprised to learn that there are actually places within Utah that offer natural, free, and sometimes clothing optional hot springs!

Here are the Top 7 Hot Springs in Utah that you need to include on your next trip.

5. Don’t think you’re the only one on the trails

Did you know that there is actually wildlife in Utah? Shocking, right? 😉 And the most likely time that you’ll run into animals is while you are hiking. I always recommend researching the trails and that particular area before arriving. There are very few accidents or attacks that occur, but its better to be safe than sorry.

Additional Reading: Love hiking and photography? Check out this guide to what you should pack to get those epic photos!

6. Don’t forget to buy a map

This point is pretty self-explanatory. Whether that be a trail map or the state map, they are pretty important to carry around. There are several parts in the state of Utah that just don’t have service (I’m looking at you, Southern Utah). You’ll also be without it when you get deep within the mountain trails. So buy a cheap map from the gas station or download an all trails map directly to your phone.

7. Don’t Avoid Temple Square

Temple Square is found in Salt Lake City and is home to several different buildings, churches, and a temple owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Visitors may think that if they are not a member of this religion, they are not allowed to visit.

However, everyone is invited to explore Temple Square and admire the architecture, the landscape work, and the millions of lights during Christmas Time. There is also a great family history center where you can learn about your ancestors and an outdoor mall located nearby.

8. Don’t underestimate Utah winters

Winter time can be brutal in Utah which makes driving, hiking, and just traveling all together a little more difficult. Some trails may be closed, flights get cancelled regularly and sometimes road conditions are bad enough that the whole road gets shut down. Plan accordingly.

9. Don’t Travel on I15 During Rush Hour Along The Wasatch Front

If you ask any Utahan about drivers in their state, they are sure to complain (but I’m sure most states claim to have bad drivers, too). The absolute worst time to travel is during rush hour on I15 along the Wasatch front. Do everything to avoid it so it doesn’t alter your travel plans in anyway.

Utah is an incredible, diverse place full of exciting cities and incredible national parks. Avoid these 9 rookie mistakes when visiting Utah and you’ll have an incredible trip!

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