In 1896, Utah entered the Union as its 45th state. Prior to statehood, the territory had a long history of settlement by tribes of Paiute, Shoshone, Navajo and Ute Indians, from which the state takes its name. Spanish explorers led by Coronado first entered the region in 1540 and a mass emigration by Mormon pioneers began in 1847. Today it is a vibrant and growing state with more national parks in its borders than any other state in the country.
The majority of Utah’s population lives along the Wasatch Mountain range, where visitors can enjoy touring remnants of the state’s pioneer past, such as the impressive Brigham Young Beehive House in Salt Lake City, where Utah’s first governor lived with dozens of his wives. Salt Lake City, as the state’s capital, also boasts a fine international airport, a wide range of restaurants, shopping, entertainment venues and cultural attractions. This mountainous northern region also boasts some of the finest skiing conditions in the world and was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The mountain town of Park City is known both for its prime skiing as well as for its annual international film festival. The Sundance Film Festival draws some of the biggest names in the film industry every January for its weeklong exhibit of new talent.
While the northern half of the state boasts the densest population and mountainous beauty, the southern half provides spectacular regions of geological wonder, such as Arches National Park, located just outside of the city of Moab. This breathtaking array of sandstone formations is accessible to cars as well as hiking and mountain biking. Other places of particular note are Zion, Canyon lands, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks, where visitors are treated to a dazzling array of wind-hewn sandstone landscapes. There truly is a little something for everyone in this vastly diverse state, from snowboarding to shopping to white-water rafting to camping, fine dining and horseback riding.