Destination Utah

State has plenty of ideas, activities for those who wish to vacation close to home

Published: Thursday, May 12 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

In the midst of trying to plan summer activities, be it for a day or a week?

Indications are that more Utahns, with the high price of gasoline and continually shrinking time schedules, are planning to stay within their own borders this summer.

Certainly, there are lots of things to do and places to see within the state. So many, in fact, it's impossible to know or even remember all the opportunities.

"With what the partners in tourism have produced, along with what the state has produced, there's not an experience within Utah that people can't learn about and benefit from in their travel planning," said Leigh von der Esch, deputy director for the Division of Travel Development.

"Not only those who are moving into the state, but also those who have lived in Utah all of their lives. Towns, destinations, hotels and local groups are also posting information on their Web sites. There's just so much you can do spontaneously here in Utah. People can leave on a Friday afternoon, for example, and create a vacation to find the rest and rejuvenation they are looking for in this busy world."

Under these conditions it helps to know, or at least have a little insight into, the happenings before you go traveling about the state this summer.

Whether those plans are for a day or a week or any time frame in between, there are a number of publications that can offer ideas, information, suggestions and tips on where to go, where to stay and things to do. And, best of all, most of the publications are free.

Among them:

Scenic Byways and Backways — free

This is a must for anyone's library. The 90-page book highlights the most scenic, the most historical, the most interesting driving routes in the state.

There are 26 scenic byways charted within the book, starting with Logan Canyon and finishing up with Dead Horse Point Mesa.

The book also plots 58 scenic backways or roads less traveled, starting with the Central Pacific Railroad Trail and finishing with the Mojave Desert/Joshua Tree Road.

Included in each byway drive are directions, what to see and do, the time it will take to drive, a small map, a couple of pictures taken along the route and information numbers.

Along with a map and picture of each backway, there is also travel information, report on road conditions and notes on scenery and attractions.

The book is available at the Travel Council bookstore across from the Capitol and at visitor's centers at state parks.

Utah Wildlife Viewing Guide — $5.95

The book pinpoints 92 of the best and most accessible viewing areas for wildlife within the state.

It identifies sites according to travel region. For example, the first area is Bridgerland and the first stop is the Woodruff Cooperative Wildlife Management Area near the Utah/Wyoming border.

Information includes a description of the area, viewing information, land ownership and the name of the closest town. It also identifies the animals visitors are likely to see.

Which, of course, makes it nice for the individuals who are more interested in birds than big-game animals and vice-versa.

The last viewing area, No. 92, is the Cisco to Moab Drive, which follows the riparian corridor along the Colorado River.

The book is available at the Travel Council bookstore and at the Natural Resources bookstore on the main floor of the Natural Resources building at 1594 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City.