SALT LAKE CITY — Road trips became more popular last year as Utahns wanted to travel more safely during a pandemic.
Between Memorial Day weekend and the final stages of a pandemic, many Utahns are likely taking to the road this weekend for fun and adventure.
Here are three excellent road trip destinations within a 4-hour drive from Salt Lake City.
Utahns may be familiar with Afton and Jackson, but halfway between the two famous towns sits Alpine, Wyoming. Nestled at the junction of the Snake River and Palisades Reservoir, this beautiful destination offers a wide range of camping destinations: ample hiking, white water rafting, paddleboarding and fishing.
Alpine offers numerous white water rafting opportunities based on the Snake River, with outfitters available through websites like Tripadvisor. Visitors can also rent ATVs or experience guided fishing expeditions.
Alpine also has a network of trails for hiking since it is located in Star Valley right next to Bridger-Teton National Forest, Travel Wyoming points out. Some of its highlights include Little Greys River Trail and Strawberry Creek Trail, and, a mere 40 miles North, hikers can find more hiking opportunities in Grand Teton National Park.
To learn more about camping and things to do in Alpine, click here.
The future Utahraptor State Park
Utahraptor State Park was created by the Utah Legislature in March. The new state park will include 150 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and ATV trails and will span 6,500 acres of land near Moab, Utah and adjacent to Arches National Park.
Though the state park will take some time to develop and won't officially open until next year, the land where the state park will be is currently open to the public, according to Condé Nast Traveler. Visitors can still visit and camp in areas that will soon have improved utilities such as restrooms.
The area surrounding Utahraptor State Park is rich in potential outdoor adventures, from river rafting to mountain biking and rock climbing. For budding paleontologists and history aficionados, visitors can cruise along the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway and see dinosaur bones, footprints, and paleontologists at work in uncovering new fossils or visit a former isolation center from World War II.
Learn more about the future Utahraptor State Park here.
Little Sahara Recreation Area, Utah
Discover 60,000 acres of sand dunes and sagebrush just two hours south of Salt Lake City at the Little Sahara Recreation Area, according to the Bureau of Land Management. This unique camping destination is a hot spot for OHV activities, sandboarding, fat tire biking and wildlife watching.
The Little Sahara sand dunes resulted primarily from the Sevier River, which once flowed into the ancient Lake Bonneville, according to Utah.com. After the lake began to dry up, winds came gusting across the Sevier Desert to create massive sand deposits that will make visitors feel as though they have stepped onto another planet despite being only a short drive from central Utah's mountainous terrain.
There are several great campsites with restrooms in Little Sahara Recreation Area. Enjoy spectacular sunsets and a unique destination for some of your favorite activities.
Learn more about Little Sahara Recreation Area here.