Travel back to the wild west at John Jarvie Historic Ranch in Utah. In 1880, John Jarvie built a ranch along the Green River to offer store goods to those that lived or traveled in this wild territory. Jarvie chose this location due to a naturally occurring river crossing which was used by Native Americans, fur trappers, travelers and local residents. Today, you can camp, fish, float and enjoy educational demonstrations at this fascinating site. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Happy birthday, Zion National Park! Utah’s first national park, Zion protects some of the most scenic canyon country in the United States. It includes 229 square miles of high plateaus, a maze of sandstone canyons and amazing waterfalls with colorful hanging gardens. Check out more fun facts about Zion: http://on.doi.gov/1X0Ju2P Photo of the Watchman by Nina Mayer Ritchie (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Heading south from Hanksville, Utah, towards Lake Powell, highway travelers bisect the remote Henry Mountains – the last area mapped in the lower 48. The 11,000-foot forested peaks of the main mountain range rise to the west, while two distinctive summits, Mount’s Ellsworth and Holmes, jut skyward from the rolling red sandstone mesas to the east. Known as the “Little Rockies,” these peaks are studied by geologists around the world as a classic example of igneous rocks, formed deep within the earth’s mantle, thrusting through the overlying sandstone layers. The Little Rockies have been designated as a National Natural Landmark for their geological significance. The peaks also provide habitat for desert bighorn sheep and numerous birds of prey. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Take a look at Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah. The monument is best known for its geologic amphitheater – a brilliantly colored limestone coliseum that plunges a half-mile deep. In addition to enjoying incredible views, visitors can wander among timeless bristlecone pines, stand in lush meadows of wildflower, ponder crystal-clear night skies and experience the gorgeous fall colors of the park’s subalpine forest. Photo courtesy of Gary Fua.
While not as famous as its fellow Utah parks, Capitol Reef National Park delivers the dramatic cliffs, canyons, domes and natural bridges you’ve come to expect from the heart of red rock country. Perfect for day hikes or week-long backcountry adventures, visitors can discover 200 million years of geologic history and pick fresh fruit and nuts from the 3,000-tree historic orchard. It’s a really sweet experience, but please remember to follow the posted rules and drop your money in the self-pay station. Photo by Douglas Croft (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Dinosaur National Monument offers a lifetime of places to explore. Depending on your interest and time, you can discover dinosaur fossils, Native American rock art, homesteader cabins, early 20th century ranches, remote canyons, dramatic vistas, peaceful rivers or windswept peaks. Some places are easily accessible from the monument’s roads, while others may require extended hikes or river trips. Looking down hundreds of feet to the Green River as it curls past narrow canyon walls, you’ll know it was worth the exercise. Photo by National Park Service.
Shifting light and dramatic skies make every view at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah unique. Along the rim of this natural amphitheater, visitors can look out over the forest of hoodoos from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point. Inspiration Point – seen here – offers an incredible panorama of this incredible landscape. Put it on your bucket list! Photo by Michael Barbuti (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Located between Monticello and Moab, Utah, is Canyon Rims Recreation Area. The exposed rock layers of the buttes, canyons and spires are 150-300 million years old and have been formed by erosion and weathering. It’s the perfect place for hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping and wildlife watching. While visiting, keep an eye out for mule deer and pronghorn antelope that live in the area. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Little Sahara Recreation Area in Utah includes a vast area of open sand dunes located less than two hours from Salt Lake City. Small rolling dunes offer fun for the family, while climbing the 700-foot tall Sand Mountain is not for the faint of heart. Nearby is perfect of fat-tire biking on the dunes, sandboarding or skiing down Sand Mountain, and viewing wildlife in their natural habitat. The area is most popular during the spring and fall, but if you go in the summer, be sure to bring plenty of water! Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Hoodoos are weathered rock formations carved by the forces of nature into fascinating shapes. Bryce Canyon National Park preserves the world’s largest display of hoodoos in a remarkable natural amphitheater. As sunlight and shadows move across the stunning landscape, the park takes on different moods, offering photographers chances for spectacular shots. This towering hoodoo is called Thor’s Hammer. Photo by James Fishman (www.sharetheexperience.org).