The contrast between Nevada where (almost) anything goes and Utah could not be greater. We remember during our first visit to Utah making the mistake of asking for wine in a restaurant to be told that we could have beer or spritzers otherwise go to the State Liquor Store 5 blocks away. The liquor laws have been relaxed a little since then. Utah frowns on what is freely available in Nevada courtesy of its Mormon history. In 1847 the Mormons led by Brigham Young settled the Salt Lake Valley. When Utah became a US territory in 1848 Mormons set up the local government and even now the Mormon influence remains strong. Utah is a State with fabulous scenery spread across several National and State Parks.
Rock pinnacle, Kodachrome Basin State Park
East of Bryce Canyon is a small basin with red rock pinnacles and an odd name. The vivid colours in the basin led the National Geographical Society to choose this name, with the consent of Kodak. Quite how the name will be perceived in 50 years time when film cameras may be a distant memory remains to be seen. Although it can never hope to compete with Bryce Canyon, Kodachrome Basin does provide a compact introduction to the scenery of southern Utah. Our visit was short as we wanted to make sure that we were at Bryce Canyon for sunset and the basin was rather crowded as a result of a local school run in the park. On a less crowded day and with more time it would merit further investigation.
Golden Spike National Historic Monument
On May 10, 1869 the East and West of America were for the first time connected by railroad when the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met literally in the middle of nowhere in Utah. The Golden Spike ceremony was held here to celebrate this major event. The railroad no longer longer runs this way and the locomotives were scrapped long ago, but a section of track has been restored and replicas of the original locomotives are used to re-enactment the ceremony.
Mormon Temple, Logan
Standing proudly on a hill in the centre of town, this temple in Logan northern Utah proclaims the influence of the Mormons on the area. Officially the Mormon religion is known the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS Church). The location of this church was selected by Brigham Young in 1877 and when its was completed in 1884 the Logan temple was the third LDS Church in Utah. The temple is not open to visitors.
Yes, Utah has ghost towns, but we have not yet been to enough of them to justify a separate page on them. Grafton was established in 1859 to grow cotton on the fertile plains beside the Virgin River. The river proved to be the downfall of the first settlement as it was washed away in 1862. It was rebuilt on higher ground. Several buildings remain plus the cemetery which was in use from 1860 to 1910. Among the graves are those of the three Berry brothers who were killed in an Indian raid in 1866.
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Johnson Canyon Movie Set
In a canyon near Kanab in southern Utah you come across what appears to be a Ghost Town. But nobody lived here, these buildings were constructed as a movie set. Utah’s scenery has made it a natural choice for movie locations and the area around Kanab was first used in 1922. This set was first used for the 1951 film ‘Westward the Women’ but is best known from the TV series ‘Gunsmoke’. The set was used up to the 1970s but is now abandoned. It is on private land, but has at times been opened to the public. There was no sign of public access when we visited in 2005.
Great Salt Lake & Stansbury Island from Saltair Resort
The Great Salt lake is a remnant of Lake Bonneville, a huge freshwater lake that once occupied a large part of the Great Basin a 520000 square kilometre (200000 square mile) hollow in the earth’s surface that covers much of Nevada, half of Utah and parts of some adjoining states. Fed by streams from the nearby mountains, the Great Salt Lake has no outlet and hence has very high salinity. Saltair was built in 1893 as a resort on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Over the years Saltair has suffered from fire and the varying level of the lake, but it continues to operate as a resort now with emphasis now on skiing in the nearby mountains.