Parks and recreation: discovering Utah’s lesser-known wildernesses


Laura Chubb

As debate about the future of public land in the US intensifies, an alternative road trip around five of Utah’s state parks – beyond its famous ‘mighty five’ national parks – highlights the majesty of nature and why it needs protecting

My dad is a Yorkshireman, born in the 1950s, so not one to overstate things. He spent the first two days of our US road trip preoccupied more with the lack of baked beans than the views. I knew Utah had impressed, then, when he uttered one of the most flowery declarations I’d ever heard from him about a place: “This is quite good, isn’t it?” Not even a Yorkshireman, it seemed, could fail to be moved by Utah’s Highway 12.

In a bid to achieve the impossible – namely, tell my dad something he didn’t know – I had plotted a nine-day, 1,120-mile circular route around Utah’s lesser-known state parks system, which celebrate their 60th anniversary this year. (My parents and I live in different countries these days, so we added a dash of nostalgia to to this reunion holiday by renting an RV, recalling our tradition of family camping trips.)

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