Located six miles (ten kilometers) northwest of downtown Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) is the main gateway to the State of Utah. There are direct international flights to Japan, France, and Mexico, and there are numerous connections to most American cities, since Delta Air Lines has one of its hubs here.
Airlines serving Salt Lake City International Airport: American Airlines, Comair, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, jetBlue Airways, SkyWest, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, United Express, and US Airways.
Utah is one of the most beautiful states in all of American. Even when driving around the amazing west of this great country, Utah sticks out as one of the most spectacular. Lacking great mass transit as is typical in the US, it's an area best experienced with a car. Not only getting from park to park but getting around while there can be a problem otherwise though thankfully parks like Zion are instituting a shuttle bus system. It would be nice one day if you could visit the parks without a car, it would certainly be better for their longevity but in America, car is king for now.
While the state is big, with so many sights, distances between them is not so great. Zion National Park to Coral Pink Sand Dunes is only 40 miles and a little over an hour. From there to Staircase-Escalante National Monument it's another 65 miles and 90 minutes. Up to Kodachrome State Park is 90 miles and 3 hours. From there to Bryce it's 25 miles and an hour. The trek over to Capitol Reef is only 60 miles and 3 hours. Another 70 miles and two hours brings you to Goblin State Park. You wind up at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in another 60 miles and two miles of beautiful scenic driving. If you take your time and try and see everything out there, you could spend years. I can't think of many better ways to spend time.
The Parks vary in price but if visiting them all, it's best to purchase the America The Beautiful Pass. For a mere $80, a whole car load of people can visit every National Park and Federally Administered Land for a period of one year. If that's not the best deal in travel, I don't know what is. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Highway 12 passes through and adjacent to some of Utah's greatest natural wonders. The west to east version of this route begins at Red Canyon before it heads past the turnoff from Bryce Canyon National Park. A few miles later, the road dips into a wide open valley before climbing back up for a view of a canyon. Winding and twisting its way past scenic vistas and small towns, highway 12 ascends Boulder Mountain first via a very narrow passage which allows for incredible views but little room for error, then cruising along the crest of the mountain for a sweeping view and, finally, descending sharply into the small town of Torrey where you can stop and look at the mountain your vehicle just climbed.
This scenic byway has a National Park on either end and passes by the entrance to 3 very scenic state parks in addition to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Its scenery galore from end to end of this 120 mile journey. Just make sure to stop and use the pullouts when you want to admire the view. This is especialy important if you are the driver of the vehicle.
Heading east out of Zion National Park towards Bryce Canyon National Park is the Zion Mount Carmel Highway. The highway is steep at some points and passes through a mile long dark tunnel, but is a pretty drive. There are several pullouts and trails that offer views of Zion Canyon and Checkerboard Mesa, shown in the photo.
Whether you opt to fly or drive to Utah, the best way to get around the red rock country is by car. There is so much to see and so many places to stop along the way. The roads are good and it is easy to get around. There are some areas only accessible with 4-wheel, high clearance vehicles, but most areas are fine for the family sedan.
Utah can be reached by airplane at it's capitol Salt Lake City. We however started our drive along the National Parks (mainly in the Southern half of the state) from Phoenix-Scottsdale Arizona.
By car we followed the green line on the map that I enclose for every future visitor.
Fly into Salt Lake City for almost everything in Utah. Everyplace else is just too far away... (like Las Vegas, Denver, Albuquerque, or Phoenix). Anyway, it's your best bet. You could also drive. I know I-70 ends/begins in Utah.
Car is the best way to get around the state.
It's best to fly into Salt Lake City, I think. Driving through the mountains was awful last time we did it--roads are narrow and it's SLOW! You might try Delta Airlines, their hub is in Salt Lake and they often have cheap fares!
Rent a car if you didn't drive! You really need a car to get around, unless you're going to stay right downtown and not really leave the city.
We drove down from Calgary - the only way to go, really, given that we had bicycles & camping gear. Even so, it took about 18 hours, driving through the night. Rather magical as the dawn started to break to look out at the changed scenery - it was dusk in Idaho with the mountains around us, now there were clear signs that we were in a desert region.
Once you are in Moab, the die-hard mountain biker will bike out from the town to the start of the trails. We took the easy option and drove to the trail heads and biked from there. This had the benefit at the end of the day, when there were cool drinks in the car waiting for you!
Best to fly to Salt Lake City to start from the north and work your way down to Arches and Monument Valley. Alternatively fly to Las Vegas and drive north for Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.
Hire a car and drive south from SLC. Arches takes about 3 - 4 hours. Monument Valley 7 - 8. Whatever you do, to appreciate this state you will need a car.
Getting around in the mountains can be difficult especially if the roads are bad. A 4WD vehicle is ideal, but if you can't get your hands on one, then make sure your car is at least front wheel drive. For extremely bad roads you will need chains for your tires.
Many major airlines provide daily air service to Salt Lake City. As Delta uses Salt Lake City as a hub, you'll likely find it has the most options.
Well you can always fly into Salt Lake City, I think it is well served by both International and Domestic flights. The road network into and around Utah is also pretty well established.
We travelled around in a small maxi van. It allowed us to go wherever we pleased. In the national parks themselves, the best way to get around, is to get out there and hike.
My family used to drive here from Florida. While that drive is scenic and interesting, I am extremely partial to the airline route as an adult. Still, driving into Utah from the south is a beautiful drive. Just be sure that you take state highways to break the monotony of driving through the desert.
You NEED a car if you want to go to the neatest places in the state. However, if you are strictly interested in downtown Salt Lake, the new light rail system provides a convenient way to get around. Just stay clear of I-15.
Air travel to Utah is convient from the Salt Lake City Airport. The southern area of the State is also accessible from the Las Vegas Nevada Internation Airport, but it involves driving about 100 miles into Utah.
Interstate highways cross the state from North to South and East to West
It's best if you can drive yourself. You'll want to stop often to view the scenery and distances to destinations can be long.
Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden have a decent public transportation system, but having been to Europe, don't expect that kind of convience here. Again, it's best if you can drive yourself
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