utah has the big 5 national parks, and is super famous. But where’s the best spots that most people don’t know about? I promise I’ll keep it to myself
Pioneer Park in St George - amazing sunset views and lots of places to walk, hike, roam.
Cottonwood Cove Park in St George - this is a large (7 acres) park that has plenty of trails, photographic opportunities, and though it’s not Zion NP, it is darn scenic. Just remember, if it’s the summer months, best to do this park in the morning hours.
Kolob Canyon - technically, Kolob Canyon is part of Zion NP in the northwest corner, but it is not overrun with tourists. Most of the folks who visit here do it for the trails, but there are some amazing scenic views.
Cedar Breaks National Monument - this national monument is only open from about May to early October. It is on the way to Bryce Canyon NP, and well worth the stop. If you get there before about 11 on most days, you’ll find parking, except for weekend days. It’s also about 10,000 foot elevation, so much cooler, even in the summer months.
We spent a month in this area of Utah, and enjoyed traveling to the “lesser known” spots. (Don’t get me wrong, we went to Zion and Bryce multiple times, but timed our visits to off-times.)
Fishlake National forest, home of the Pando Aspen Clone. We had almost an entire campground to ourselves and hiked multiple trails where we never saw anyone else. It was too windy to fish, but the lake is spectacular and we will go back.
I will second Kolob! It was reccomended to me as a way to see Zion without the crowds and it was exactly that. Beautiful location and way less people with great hiking.
Little Wild Horse Canyon close to Goblin state park. amazing slot canyon in the San Rafael Swell.
Escalante/Hole in the Rock Road contains so many incredible places. Devil’s Garden, Peekaboo and Spooky Gulch slot canyons, and stunning hiking and scrambling opportunities. Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument is one of my favorite drives I’ve ever experienced.
Grand Staircase Escalante, hwy 12, Capitol Reef, and Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Kent’s Lake Campground outside Beaver, Utah, has cool summer days and high altitude pine forest. This NFS camp has reservable sites and some FF are on the lake.