When we visited southern Utah this past April for a couple of weeks, we made time in our travel schedule to include five of the scenic parks run by the state. We were glad that we did! Travelers and residents alike frequently overlook this type of resource, but a state that prides itself in tourism, like Utah, can be counted on to have great facilities.
Kodachrome Basin is probably the most well known of the state parks we toured. It is a favorite of photographers, hikers, and campers. We had a long photo shoot as we walked through some of the various trails, and we marveled at the incredible landscape. I plan to feature more photos of this location later.
We made a brief stop at Coral Pink Sand Dunes. The giant sand dunes were created from wind erosion of Navajo sandstone in a notch between two mountain ranges. This park is a popular destination for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts and campers. We thought that there might be some hiking trails for us to do some photography, but we couldn’t find any that didn’t require walking on a lot of loose sand. So our photo opportunities were rather limited at this park.
We thorough enjoyed our visit at the Anasazi State Park Museum. Not only were there very informative exhibits, but there are ongoing excavations of an Anasazi village that was located in back of the museum building, along with a couple of recreated dwellings.
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is located at the Wide Hollow Reservoir, and it has a very popular campground. We found the remnants of an old petrified forest to be quite interesting. The rocks in the foreground of this photo are actually pieces of petrified wood.
It took a long and tiring drive to get there, but Goblin State Park was worth it. With a stark landscape of sandstone “goblin” formations, it looks more like it should be on the planet Mars rather than Earth! Since you can walk among the “goblins,” it is a delightful place to explore by young and old alike. Of course, photographers love it too. Since this area is rather remote, we were glad that we packed a picnic lunch. You can look forward to a later post and more photos from this park.
We did not find any of these state parks to be crowded (a big plus for us). The fees were reasonable and the staffs were friendly. The restrooms were clean too! Our primary destinations were Zion and Capitol Reef National Parks on this trip, but Utah state parks were worthwhile additions to our adventure itinerary.