Are Utah Road Trips in your future? Do you like the American West? Well, Utah is thoroughly 'West'. There are a few states that fit that description, well, at least my idea of 'West' that's directly attributable to years of exposure to Hollywood movies. Utah fits right into that description with vigor.

Utah Flag and the Official State Seal of the State of Utah

Utah State Flag

Utah State Seal

Map of Utah

The territory became part of the United States and was created on March 11, 1848 after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, marking the end of the Mexican-American war. Officially, the "Utah Territory" was created under the Compromise of 1850. Utah derives it's name from the Native Americans known as the Ute tribe. Statehood was achieved 46 years later on January 4, 1896 making Utah the 45th state.

Leading up to 1857, the US Government had serious issues and suspicions with Mormonism and the practices of polygamy that were being carried out by members of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the new territory. The LDS

Map of Proposed State of Deseret

Church members made up the majority of the settlers of Utah since the early days and their practices were viewed as radical and un-American.

Also, they were angling to create their own state known as Deseret.

The administration at the time, under president James Buchanan, decided to put a stop to the perceived rebellion by sending a covert military expedition to Utah, wherein church President Brigham Young would be replaced with Alfred Cumming as the governor of the territory.

The Utah War, an armed resistance, was the result of this action and lasted eighteen months. Armed LDS militia, some known as the Nauvoo Legion, carried on guerrilla type warfare with federal troops but no real battles took place - only small skirmishes.

Finally, peace was negotiated where the Mormons were granted a full pardon and an orderly transfer of power was initiated.

With rich history and topography, Utah road trips have it all. Travel destinations include Rocky mountains, forests with mountain lakes, deserts and everything in between. It can be divided up into three regions. Northern, Central and Southern.

To start off on Utah Road Trips, Northern Utah is home to the Great Salt Lake and the capitol, Salt Lake City. The original capitol was Fillmore and was moved to Salt Lake City in 1856.

Just off the northeast side of the Great Salt Lake is Promontory, Utah, where the transcontinental railroad was completed joining the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroads. The last spike was driven in May 1869 with great fanfare.

To the east is Dinosaur National Monument. North of Vernal in the Uinta

Allosaurus Jimmadseni

Mountains, on US-191, it is a pre-historic looking place where fossilized dinosaurs were discovered in the early 20th century.

Thousands of fossils, including Allosaurus, Abydosaurus, and long-neck/long-tail sauropods were recovered and shipped east to a museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where they were studied and put on display.

US-191 is a mountainous and sometimes forested road with many switchbacks and curves which is a great for Utah road trips. The road also takes you over the Flaming Gorge Dam in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.

US-191 between Helper and Duchesne follows Willow Creek up the mountain and is another great ride that takes you over 9000 feet in elevation on another curvy, winding mountain road.

I made this trip in the month of August and it got really cold crossing the pass. This was one of my earlier Utah Road Trips.

The central part of Utah is transitional in nature. What I mean by this is the difference between the forested north and red rocked canyons in the south. With high desert, mountains and plateaus, it is rugged and lightly populated.

Entering Monument Valley

Several things come to mind when I think of the Southern region. Brice Canyon and Zion National Parks, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area with Lake Powell, Monument Valley, and the color red.

This region is absolutely gorgeous and bright Red! It seems like everything is tinted red with iron and the old roadrunner and coyote cartoons come to mind.

Vast expanses, towering rock formations, surreal landscapes, high desert, and forests await exploration on Utah road trips.

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Mexican Hat Ride

Monument Valley Ride

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