What Is Utah Known For?

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

Forming part of the four corners states, Utah is known for its incredible skiing and snowboarding slopes, national parks and salt flats. The state is home to the headquarters of the LDS Church founded by Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young. Utah is nicknamed the Beehive State and is named after the state’s native Ute Tribe, who have called modern-day Utah home for thousands of years before the arrival of Young and his followers.

Sandwiched between Colorado to the east and Nevada to the west, Utah has easy access to Denver and Las Vegas, and is a treasure trove of outdoor fun thanks to the state’s world-class ski resorts, five national parks, a massive terminal lake and stunning rock formations. Culturally and economically dominated by Salt Lake City, Utah hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and serves as a refuge for a large chunk of the nation’s Mormons, which gives the Beehive State a unique flavour.

What Is Utah Known For?

1- Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is what Utah is best known for.

The largest city in the Beehive State and Utah’s unrivalled economic, cultural, political and entertainment hub, Salt Lake City is renowned for its dramatic backdrops, world-class outdoor attractions and thriving arts scene.

Salt Lake City, or SLC as it’s known, was founded by a group of Brigham Young-led Mormon pioneers in 1847 and remains the headquarters of the LDS Church today.

Named after the Great Salt Lake, which sits just 18 miles (29 km) outside downtown SLC, the city has developed into a flourishing Intermountain West city and was crowned as a world-class destination when it got to host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Salt Lake City is one of the premier skiing destinations in the United States and has popular attractions such as Temple Square, the Red Butte Garden, the Utah State Capitol and the Natural History Museum of Utah.


Recommended tours:

2- Mormons

Logan Utah Temple Of The Mormon Church
Mormons are what Ogden, Utah is known for.

Initially settled by Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young, Utah is the official hub of the Mormon faith and is home to about 1/3 of the entire United States’ Mormon followers.

Roughly two million Utahns call themselves Mormons, meaning that more than 60% of the state’s population belong to the LDS Church, which makes Utah the only state in the nation where the majority of its residents belong to a single church.

The driving force of Utah’s culture, traditions and politics, the story of modern-day Utah simply cannot be retold without mentioning Brigham Young and the Mormon faith, who directly founded the state after escaping religious persecution in Illinois.

3- Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA
The Great Salt Lake is what Utah is also known for.

Recognised as the largest saltwater lake in the entire Western Hemisphere, the Great Salt Lake more than lives up to its larger-than-life name, with Great Salt Lake covering an area of more than 1 million acres (440,000 ha).

Great Salt Lake is all that remains of a once sprawling freshwater lake which once covered most of modern-day Utah, with the lake a popular spot for swimming in select parts where water levels are high enough.

One of the largest terminal lakes in the world, the Great Salt Lake sits right on the proverbial doorstep of downtown Salt Lake City and is among the most-visited outdoor landmarks in Utah.

4- Beehives

West Temple Altar Of Sacrifice And Beehive Rock
Beehives are what Utah is known for.

Utah shares a special bond with bees and beehives, with the humble beehive chosen as the official emblem of Utah way back during the 1800s due to it representing hard work and perseverance.

Nicknamed the Beehive State, Utah’s public buildings and monuments are adorned with beehive symbols, with the productive honeybee associated with Utah since 1848.

While many assume that Utah’s nickname stems from the state’s large assortment of beehives, it shares little more than symbolic meaning to Utahns and has been the state’s official moniker since 1959.

5- Sundance Film Festival

One of the world’s premier annual film festivals, the Sundance Film Festival has been hosted in Utah, since its first instalment in 1978.

The festival was hosted in Salt Lake City for the first 3 years of the festival’s existence before being moved to Park City, where it has been organised by the Sundance Institute ever since.

The Sundance Film Festival has developed into the biggest indie film festival in the United States and has premiered numerous future Academy Award-winning films, including “Coda”, “Minari” and “Manchester by the Sea”.

Regularly drawing crowds of more than 50,000 visitors and film buffs every year, the festival is among Utah’s top cultural attractions and is a great place to celebrate talented indie storytellers.

You may also be interested in:

6- Bonneville Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats, Wendover, Utah
The Bonneville Salt Flats is what Utah is most known for in the natural area.

The Bonneville Salt Flats are a unique Utah natural landmark which has been the unofficial home of speed in the United States since the early 20th century.

Named after former Intermountain West explorer Benjamin Bonneville by geologist Grove Karl Gilbert, the salt flats were first used to set a land speed record in 1914, when Teddy Tetzlaff achieved a speed of 142.8 mph (229.8 km/h) with his 300 horsepower “Blitzen Benz”.

The Bonneville Salt Flats have served as the setting for countless record attempts and pioneering feats since Tetzlaff’s feat, including American Mickey Thompson eclipsing the 400 mph (640 km/h) barrier.

One of the most iconic landscapes of Utah, the Bonneville Salt Flats are among the most photographed spots in the Beehive State and is always a great attraction to check out when travelling through Utah.

7- Ski Slopes

Snowy Ridges Behind Kings Peak
Skiing is what Utah is famous for.

Nestled along the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, Utah is an epic skiing and snowboarding hub on par with popular skiing states such as Colorado, Vermont and Wyoming.

Utah and Salt Lake City were placed on the international winter sports radar following the city’s hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, with some of the highest quality ski slopes in North America less than an hour’s drive from downtown SLC.

Wintertime thrillseekers are spoilt for choice when travelling to the Beehive State, with Utah’s deep-powder ski slopes regarded as some of the finest in the world thanks to the more than 500 inches (12.7 m) of snowfall they receive annually.

8- Zion National Park

Zion National Park Landscape
Zion National Park is a natural attraction Utah is famous for.

One of the five national parks within the state of Utah and arguably the state’s most popular, the 148,480-acre (60,088 ha) Zion National Park is an outdoor attraction that’s renowned for its dramatic sandstone cliffs, deep chasms and hanging gardens.

Zion National Park attracts nearly five million visitors annually and opens up to tourists with stunning nature trails, epic vistas, upscale glamping spots and rock-climbing zones in Utah’s southwestern corner.

The park remains among the most impressive natural features of the Intermountain West region and is situated just 152 miles (244 km) from Las Vegas and the Vegas Strip.

Recommended tour: East Zion: Crimson Slot Canyon Exploration and UTV Tour

9- Utah Jazz

One of only two professional sports franchises in the Beehive State, the Utah Jazz is Salt Lake City’s beloved pro basketball team that has been plying its trade in the NBA’s Western Conference since the Jazz re to SLC in 1979.

The Utah Jazz has twice been crowned conference champions, most recently in 1998, and is yet to clinch their first NBA championship since the team was founded as an expansion franchise in New Orleans in 1974.

Downtown Salt Lake City’s Delta Center has been the official home of the Utah Jazz since the start of the 1991 season and remains one of the hottest spots in town for enjoying live sports and entertainment whenever the Jazz are at home and on a winning streak.

10- Arches National Park

Delicate Arch At Arches National Park In Utah USA
Arches National Park is what Utah is known for.

Boasting some of the most iconic natural landmarks in all of Utah, Arches National Park is among the premier outdoor attractions in the Beehive State, drawing crowds of more than 1.4 million visitors on average every year.

Arches National Park spans an area of roughly 76,000 acres (31,000 ha) and was introduced as a national park in 1929 by President Herbert Hoover shortly after his inauguration.

Expanded several times throughout the national park’s existence, Arches National Park boasts more than 2,000 individual sandstone formations, including dramatic red stone arches, large balancing boulders and rock fins, making the park home to the densest concentration of natural sandstone rock formations in the world.

Recommended tour: From Moab: Half-Day Arches National Park 4×4 Driving Tour

11- The Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven Cooking On A Campfire
The Dutch oven is what Utah is known for.

Once a symbol of pioneers arriving in Utah’s early settlements, the Dutch oven is a simple cast-iron cooking pot which was a staple in covered wagons and handcarts arriving in modern-day Utah during the 19th century.

The Dutch oven was declared the official state pot of Utah in 1997 by the Utah State Legislature, which finally honoured the humble cooking utensil’s major impact and long-lasting legacy in Utah and the greater American West.

Coming in all shapes and sizes, the Dutch oven remains a popular utensil around campfires and is used to slow-cook food either on top of coals or by placing coals on top of the Dutch oven’s specially designed lid.

12- Utah’s Strict Alcohol Regulations

One of Utah’s lesser-known features, at least among outsiders, is the strict laws regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Touted as some of the strictest and toughest in the United States, Utah’s alcohol laws include several bizarre and wacky bylaws which travellers need to be mindful of, such as the state-wide banning of beer kegs and how it’s illegal to order alcohol in Utah establishments before 11.30 am.

Other state alcohol laws and stipulations include prohibiting the shipping of alcohol to your Utah home and barring vehicles carrying alcohol from entering Utah altogether, so be sure to plan ahead and educate yourself if you plan on enjoying alcoholic beverages there.

13- Four Corners Monument

Metal Plate Of Four Corners In USA
The Four Corners is another place Utah is known for.

Nestled at the convergence of the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, the Four Corners Monument is the only spot in the United States where four states meet.

The Four Corners Monument is a special landmark shared by all Four Corners states and is regularly among the most-visited attractions in the region known commonly as “Canyon Country”.

Serving as the geographical border of the Four Corners states, the Four Corners Monument is also used as a boundary between the semi-autonomous Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Navajo Nation.

Allowing visitors the unique ability to stand in four states at once, the monument has starred in several TV series and popular films, including a 2011 “Breaking Bad” episode and the 2015 film “Vacation”.

Recommended tour: Oljato-Monument Valley: 3-Hour Sunset Tour with Navajo Guide

14- Bryce Canyon National Park

Covering an area of more than 35,000 acres (14,164 ha) and officially introduced as a national park in 1928, Bryce Canyon National Park is an outdoor destination renowned for its impressive collection of red-rock hoodoos.

Bryce Canyon National Park is among the most-visited parks in Utah and attracts well over two million visitors annually, with the park’s proximity to Zion National Park making it possible to visit both legendary Utah spots in one day.

Accessible for hiking, camping, rock climbing and horseback riding, the national park is one of five in the Beehive State and is a great spot to enjoy stargazing and snapping photos of the park’s striking rock formations.

Recommended tour: Bryce Canyon National Park: Guided ATV/RZR Tour

15- Dinosaur Fossils

Dinosaur NM
Dinosaur National Monument what is St George, Utah known for.

Boasting one of the world’s most complete fossil records, Utah is a prime destination for uncovering new dinosaur species, with Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus and Allosaurus fossils just a few of the dinosaur species discovered throughout modern-day Utah.

Dubbed “Dinosaurland” due to the state’s large fossil beds, Utah boasts a large collection of dinosaur fossils from the Jurassic Period and is home to the Dinosaur National Monument, which straddles the Utah-Colorado state border.

One of the best spots in the Beehive State to take in Utah’s long history of unearthing fossilised dinosaur remains is the Natural History Museum of Utah in downtown Salt Lake City, which houses a collection of thousands of fossilised remains sourced from across the Beehive State.

Map Of United States With Utah Highlight

Plan Your Trip

best car rental

Rent A Car – Find the best car rental rates at Discover Cars. They compare car hire companies to provide you with the best deal right now.

Find A Hotel – If you’re curious about this article and are looking for somewhere to stay, take a look at these amazing hotels.

Previous articleWhat Is Alaska Known For?
Next articleWhat Is Spain Known For?
Mark Westwood
Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.