Top Day Trips from Salt Lake City, Utah

Paige Mesicek

The state of Utah certainly has no shortage of scenic views, charming mountain towns, and epic must-do's. Luckily, most of the dreamy destinations of Utah are only a day's trip away from Salt Lake City! While travelling, I made a point to search for all of the hidden gems, historical wonders, and backcountry secrets while staying true to the nature of the state. As I share these must-see locations, it is important to be mindful of nature – practice safe driving, leave no trace, and plan ahead of time! Even though these destinations require some drive time, it's important to remember that the adventure is in the journey and not just the destination! Turn up the radio, roll down the windows, and enjoy your travels to and from Salt Lake City!

Tags: Off the beaten path, Day Trip

  • Garden City, United States

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    • paige

      Garden City is a must visit town near Salt Lake City! Home of Bear Lake, and often called the Caribbean of the Rockies, Garden City is home to some of the most beautiful waters in the state. Garden City is nearly two hours away near the state line of Idaho. Escape into the carribean-like waters of Bear Lake by stopping by Bear Lake Rentals, renting a paddleboard, kayak, or your water equipment of choice and crossing state lines in the lake! ✈ Garden City even features some beautiful lake beaches to get the warm, Florida feeling in the middle of mountainous Utah!

  • Solitude Mountain Resort, United States

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    • paige

      Statistically speaking, Utah is known to have the greatest snow on Earth and that's not an exaggeration! The climate calls for the perfect powder, so during your trip to Salt Lake City, don't forget to hit the slopes! Solitude Mountain Resort is only 30 minutes from the city, but holds more than a days worth of activities to enjoy. ✈ For a novice skier like me, I found that Solitude Mountain Resort is the perfect place to learn how to ski with perfect powder, smaller crowds, and beginner slopes.

  • Antelope Island, United States

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    • paige

      We know Salt Lake City has mountains, forests, deserts, and salt flats, but did you know Salt Lake City has an island you can visit?! From Salt Lake City to Antelope Island, you're looking at an hour and a half drive there, some of which you're driving across the Great Salt Lake! At Antelope Island, you'll encounter acre upon acre of open land filled with free-roaming wildlife. ✈ My pups and I personally enjoy the dog-friendly trails around the island, so don't forget to bring your furry friends and their leashes!

  • Mirror Lake, United States

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    • paige

      While we're talking scenic byways, Mirror Lake is a stunning drive that I have to share! From Salt Lake City to Kamas (where this beautiful byway begins) is only 45 minutes! From there, this 42 mile stretch of mountain passes, forest trails, alpine lakes, and waterfall wonders is a traveller's dream. Along this route, at mile marker 31, is Mirror Lake. This picture-perfect lake reflects the beauty of the mountains that words simply cannot recreate. ✈ There are many more stops along this mountain highway to stretch your legs and soak in the beauty!

  • Fishlake National Forest, United States

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    • paige

      If you're like me, the forest feels like home. Fishlake National Forest is home to some of the most beautiful aspen groves and mountain meadows in the state. It's known as the family friendly forest of Utah! This destination is two hours away from Salt Lake City and it's the perfect escape into the trees. Fall is the best time to explore this National Forest. ✈ Follow highway 24 south of Sigurd for the most scenic leaf peeping adventure – the roads will be lined with gold leaves and stunning mountaintops!

  • Midway, United States

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    • paige

      Midway, Utah is a charming town tucked in the valley of the mountains that you have to visit during your stay in Salt Lake City. Less than an hour away from Salt Lake City, this cute, cozy town has an abundance of hidden gems and must-sees! During the winter months, I certainly recommend planning a trip to the Ice Castles in Midway! During the summer months, a quick hike to Cascade Springs or Homestead Crater is an adventure you won't forget! ✈ Midway, Utah is often referred to as Utah's Swiss Alps because of the snow capped peaks and lush valleys – a mountain lover's dream!

  • Capitol Reef National Park, United States

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    • paige

      If you're feeling extra adventurous, I certainly recommend a day trip to Capitol Reef National Park! This is the closest National Park to Salt Lake City, but the drive is still three hours each way. The entry fee is $20, but honestly, the number of scenic highways and overlooks you'll encounter along the way, makes it worth every penny. Plus, crossing another National Park off the bucket list? Yes, please! ✈ To stretch your legs from the long drive, I recommend the Hickman Bridge Trail. In under two miles, you'll feel as if you were transported to another planet!

  • Bonneville Salt Flats, United States

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    • paige

      Perhaps the best day trip from Salt Lake City is a quick road trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats! This natural wonder is one you won't encounter anywhere else, so it's a must see! The Bonneville Salt Flats are an hour and half away from Salt Lake City, but the drive is worth every minute! The best part? No entry fee! If you choose to plan your trip around these flats, be sure to choose a day during the summer where you can drive across the salt flats! It's a truly spectacular experience to drive through. ✈ Be sure to grab some sunglasses before you head out! The sun reflects off of the salty surface and although it is stunning, without sunglasses, it's almost too bright to enjoy for very long!

  • Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail Start, United States

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    • paige

      Did you know that the state of Utah is home to over 100 natural hot springs?! Salt Lake City is a winter wonderland during the winter months, and the natural antidote to the snowy weather is a toasty dip in a natural hot spring! So why choose this one? Just over an hour away from Salt Lake City is Fifth Water Hot Springs – a true hidden gem. To reach this location, you'll have to trek just over 2.5 miles, but the crystal blue waters make it so worth it! ✈ Be mindful of nature's secrets and practice caution when hiking to this location – the trail can get rather slippery during the wet and snowy months.