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SALT LAKE CITY — Summer has come to an end, which means goodbye long vacations and hello, daytrips. Whether you're more into taking in the sights or learning something new, there's something in Utah for everyone.
Here are seven options to consider the next time you decide you just have to get out of town for a few hours.
Robert Smithson created his 1970 earthwork Spiral Jetty using more than 6,000 tons of black basalt rock and earth from the site of the work. Spiral Jetty, a 1,500-foot coil that winds off the shore of the Great Salt Lake, is widely considered to be the artist's most important work.
The work is a little over 100 miles northwest of Salt Lake City and directions can be found here. As always, remember to leave no trace of your visit and leave all rocks and other natural material at the site.
Dinosaur National Monument, on the Utah-Colorado border, is home to the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall, which houses 1,500 dinosaur bones. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try whitewater rafting or exploring the nearby canyons and mountains. Make sure to check out some Fremont rock art while you're there.
Dinosaur fossils are only visible on the Utah side of the monument, near Jensen, Uintah County, about three hours east of both Salt Lake City and Provo. The monument is open every day of the year, but if you're going in September, you should call ahead to see if they're operating under their summer or winter hours. Admission is $25 per vehicle.
Fish Lake, after which the forest is named, is the largest natural mountain lake in Utah, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Take the Canyon of Gold Auto Tour through Bullion Canyon if you’re interested in seeing buildings, mines and cultural historical artifacts from the days of the Gold Rush. You can also visit the massive 75-foot Bullion Waterfalls by foot about a mile from the Pine Creek Bridge.
Depending on what you plan to do, there may be a permit required (potentially including activities like picking mushrooms or cutting a Christmas tree). Call ahead to check. The forest is about two hours south of Provo, near Richfield.
Mormon pioneers used Cove Fort starting in 1867 as a safe place for shelter, to feed their livestock and to access fresh water. The fort was used to support settlements in the southern Utah Territory for 15 years. It’s made of lava rock and features a reconstructed barn, corral, ice house, blacksmith shop and bunkhouse.
The fort is open year-round from 9 a.m. to dusk. It’s located outside of Beaver, about an hour north of Cedar City off I-15 and I-70.
The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge protects the marshes at the mouth of the Bear River, the largest freshwater source for the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. Stop into the education center to learn about the birds at the refuge, then drive the 12-mile loop through its heart and observe the diversity of the local ecosystem.
The tour is open every day from sunrise to sunset, although you should call before visiting after heavy rain or snow to make sure it hasn't been temporarily closed. The education center is open Tuesday to Friday, 8 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturdays of every month from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The refuge is located in Brigham City, about 20 minutes north of Ogden. Find information about passes and permits here.
Crystal Hot Springs’ natural hot spring ranges in temperature from 120-134°F and has the highest mineral content (46,000 mg/L) of any hot spring in the world, according to its website. The source spring is believed to be around 22,000 years old. The springs as a business were established in 1901 and were originally indoors before two separate fires burned down the buildings that housed them.
Admission costs between $7-$25 for single or family passes. Hours vary and can be found here. The springs are located in Honeyville, about a half hour southwest of Logan.
If you’re a history lover, you’ll love a visit to Eureka, which was a bustling mining town in the late 19th century. The entire town has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, thanks to its importance as the financial center of the Tintic Mining District at the time. Wander the town’s streets and explore the carefully preserved historic buildings and landmarks or take a museum tour.
Museum hours vary based on the time of year, so call before you visit if you’re not sure it will be open. Eureka is about 45 minutes southwest of Provo.
Steph Grimes is a writer and editor based in New York, although she spends most of her time traveling. Follow her on Instagram: @passportsandparchment