Beyond the US you already know, the striking US western state of Utah has many treasures to discover. From the Rocky Mountains in the north to the breathtaking red spires and cliffs of its southern wilds, Utah harbours some of the most extraordinary landforms on the planet. Even better, it's surprisingly easy to get there from Dublin.
Among the wide open spaces of the US west, with the splendour of the Rockies rising above lakes, grasslands and deserts, Utah is everything we imagine when we think of the Wild West.
It is a state that is jam-packed with adventure. Outdoorsy types and nature lovers alike will fall in love with Utah's stunning landscapes from the 'Mighty 5®' national parks, ideal for hiking and biking, to the 15 ski resorts boasting 'The Greatest Snow on Earth®'.
The state capital, Salt Lake City, is a vibrant cultural centre with historic attractions such as Temple Square, the famed 10 acre site that is home to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
East of the capital lies Park City, now America’s largest ski and snowboard resort. Utah Olympic Park, which hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, sits just outside downtown Park City and is brimming with activities. Get the full Olympic experience by hurtling down a bobsled track at 70mph (on an improvised sled with wheels) or zip line down the side of a mountain to take in the same view as a world-class Nordic Jumper.
Whether you are looking for a wild west adventure or a peaceful escape away from it all, Utah has something for you.
Salt Lake City – often described as ‘the best US state capital you’ve never visited’. Salt Lake City is a cosmopolitan place surrounded by breathtaking mountain vistas. It is at the heart of Utah’s Wasatch Front region, where 80% of Utah’s people live.
The foodie scene here is diverse and daring with a big emphasis on locally sourced, wholesome fare and lots of farm-to-fork eateries.
Culturally speaking, the city's most famed landmark is Temple Square, home to the church of the Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints which offers a glimpse at the area's fascinating history.
The Mighty 5® – this group of national parks in the south of the state contains stunning natural scenery – the landscapes in Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion are guaranteed to take your breath away.
Outdoor adventure – get outside and experience life in the west. In addition to the five national parks, there are 44 state parks, seven national monuments, two national recreation areas and the winter slopes of the mountains, which Utah claims have ‘The Greatest Snow on Earth®.’ Utah is a big playground for travellers seeking year-round outdoor adventure.
Film heritage – Utah provided the fantastic landscapes for the classic John Ford westerns of the 1940s and 1950s, so a visit here is a chance to immerse yourself in the natural setting of films such as The Searchers. Utah is truly the "iconic Wild West" and its striking scenery has appeared in everything from Thelma and Louise to Westworld.
Utah's scenic highways are the route to fabulous places to visit, from ghost towns to dinosaur footprints and red rock towers and pristine lakes. Utah’s state and national scenic byways are in effect destinations in themselves.
Utah is incredible for stargazing with the highest concentration of International Dark Sky Parks anywhere in the world. You can view the expanse of the Milky Way at its most defined, in minimal to zero light pollution.
The way out west
There are many flight options from Ireland into Salt Lake City International Airport. Southern Utah is also easily accessed via McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Passengers flying from Dublin or Shannon will also benefit from US immigration preclearance before departure.