Utah is a pretty cool state. I’ve lived here my whole life, so I can’t totally relate to out-of-state students, but I’m not from anywhere near Salt Lake City. People from the valley often ask, “but aren’t you from Utah?” when I say I’m going to visit my parents for the weekend as if it’s impossible that they live a several hour drive away. Yes, I am from Utah, but like many out-of-state students from Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, and Arizona, Salt Lake City is a five-hour drive away from my family. It’s easy to get homesick, and one way I’ve found to keep the homesickness at bay is to explore new places on the weekends.
Little Grand Canyon
The Little Grand Canyon hike is about a three-hour drive from campus. The canyon is a beautiful place to explore, and there are even petroglyphs (ancient drawings) on the rocks at Buckhorn Wash! You can go camping for pretty cheap, hike the trails, and tube down the San Rafael River. The overlooks at the rim of the canyon offer stunning views of the swells.
Ghost Town Beehive Kilns
The ghost town of Frisco, Utah, is about three and a half hours from campus. Outside of Frisco, there are these beehive-shaped kilns that miners used to smelt the silver from the mines. The silver mines collapsed in the later 1800s, so Frisco is no longer inhabited. The beehive kilns are unique structures that have survived longer than both the mines and the town. You can drive pretty close to them (find directions on Google) and take a short hike up to the kilns. You can go inside them and everything! Plus, there are no costs to enter the area.
Bonneville Seabase in Grantsville
There’s this weird inland sea in Grantsville about an hour's drive from campus. Water flowing through the lakebed of Lake Bonneville reaches the same salinity level as the ocean, and there are several spots for snorkeling and scuba diving in the lake. It does cost money to visit, and it’s an additional cost to rent scuba and snorkel gear, but it’s a fun day trip for sure.
Valley of the Gods, Mexican Hat
If you’re looking for a longer road trip, Valley of the Gods is about six hours from Salt Lake City. It’s in the southeastern corner of Utah and has very similar sights to Monument Valley. You’re welcome to hike, backpack, and camp in the area, and it’s usually deserted so it’s perfect if you need to get away from the city for a while.
We want to remind you to be safe while exploring. Please practice social distancing and do what you can to stay safe and healthy. Happy travels!