“There are many state parks along the national park corridor, from Coral Pink Sand Dunes, outside of Kanab, to Kodachrome Basin and Dead Horse Point,” says Eugene Swalberg, public affairs coordinator for Utah State Parks. “Our state parks are year-round destinations and are open for business. Utah's state parks offer ample opportunities for hiking, biking and camping.”
To assist visitors, the Utah Office of Tourism has developed a list of “50 Awesome Alternatives to Utah's National Parks.” The list highlights state parks, national forests and recreation areas unaffected by the closures, and includes suggestions for scenic drives, fall foliage destinations, as well as hiking and mountain biking, certain to get visitors’ adrenaline pumping.
The state office is working in partnership with local tourism offices around the state to spread the word with tourists at park entrances, online and in hotels, motels and restaurants.
“Utah travelers will find rich experiences in every corner of the state,” says Vicki Varela, managing director of Tourism, Film and Global Branding for the State of Utah. “From quiet, hidden gems like Snow Canyon State Park to the canyons, culture, restaurants and nightlife in Salt Lake City, visitors will continue to enjoy unmatched beauty, a friendly local welcome and some of the most scenic drives in the United States — all open and ready for visitors.”
October is a great time to travel to Utah. The temperatures are perfect for getting out and enjoying the remarkable red rock terrain of southern Utah.
Other great destinations around the state include:
Snow Canyon State Park, 1 hour from Zion National Park Explore the trails and dunes of beautiful Snow Canyon on foot, bike, and horseback. Camp in the peaceful campground surrounded by ancient lava flows and red Navajo sandstone. Discover the secrets of the desert landscape through seasonal nature programs.
Kodachrome Basin State Park, 45 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park In 1949, members of a National Geographic expedition named Kodachrome Basin for its spectacular colors. Geologists believe the landscape was once similar to Yellowstone National Park with hot springs and geysers that eventually filled with sediment and solidified. Over time, sandstone surrounding the solidified geysers eroded, leaving 67 large sand pipes.
Goblin Valley State Park, 1.5 hours from Capitol Reef National Park Journey to this strange and colorful valley, unlike any other in Utah for camping, hiking and exploring hoodoo formations. The landscape, covered with sandstone goblins and formations, is often compared to Mars.
Dead Horse Point State Park, 30 minutes from Arches National Park From the prominence of Dead Horse Point, 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River, an ever-changing landscape unfurls. Immense vertical cliffs meet with canyons carved by ice, water and wind, creating a visual masterpiece.
Goosenecks State Park, 2 hours from Canyonlands National Park Gaze at the results of 300 million years of time, where the San Juan River winds and carves its way through the desert 1,000 feet below. This primitive park offers a spectacular view of this amazing and rare geologic formation, known as an entrenched meander.
An updated traveler advisory page and links to all 50 Awesome Alternatives to Utah's National Parks are available at www.visitutah.com/national-park-travel-advisory/. For additional information on Utah’s State Parks visit: www.stateparks.utah.gov.