Wonder at the deep-crimson canyons of Zion National Park; hike among the delicate pink-and-orange minarets at Bryce Canyon; drive past the swirling gray-white-and-purple mounds of Capitol Reef. Southwestern Utah is so spectacular that the vast majority of the territory has been preserved as national park or forest, state park or BLM wilderness. Rugged and remote Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware put together. The whole area is ripe for outdoor exploration, with narrow slot canyons to shoulder through, pink sand dunes to scale and wavelike sandstone formations to seek out.
Note that getting to some of the most noteworthy sites can be quite an uphill hike, and elevation changes in the region – mountainous highs to desert lows – pose a weather challenge. But any effort you make usually more than pays off with a stunning view of our eroding and ever-changing earth.