If 2020 taught us anything, its how vital it is for the body and soul to be outdoors. Millions of people spent the last year rekindling their love for the outdoor and exploring Utah's most coveted scenic locations. A lot of travelers were able to check off major sites, and parks. This year its time to ditch the paved trails and crowds and explore the backroads and hidden gems rural Utah has to offer.
Here are 12 day trips from Blanding that will inspire you to ditch the city and wake up in the backcountry.
Utah's first National Monument, Throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall guest can hike to all three bridges individually, or visit all three bridges on the loop trail that winds through the canyon floor and mesa tops.
Natural Bridges is one of Americas most pristine Dark Sky Parks. Stargazers can view the Milky Way with the massive bridges in the foreground, making it ideal for nightscape photography.
VALLEY OF THE GODS
Just around the corner from Moki Dugway, Muley Point Overlook and Goosenecks State Park, is one of southeast Utah's best hidden gems. Valley of the Gods is a 17 mile gravel road that leads you through Monument Valley-esque structures surrounded by towering mesa walls and, red cliffs and sandstone structures that other-worldly. Its a must-see location that sits on protect BLM land and free to access. Ideal for camping and easy bikepacking through the valley.
HOUSE ON FIRE RUINS
Bears Ears National Monument is home to thousands of Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) sites that are well over 700 hundred years old, the most prominent being House on Fire. The name comes from the intense patterns on the rock/roof above the structures that turns a brilliant red in late morning light, making it look like a raging fire is engulfing the set of rooms. Close by, is another cluster of sites called Cave Tower Ruins.
HOVENWEEP & 4 CORNERS
One of the best kept secrets of the Southwest is Hovenweep National Monument. Hovenweep is made up of six villages that date back to 1300 A.D. and is easily the best preserved site in Utah. This site was once home to 2,500 people, that build the towers, granaries and dwellings. If you're looking for a complete day you can also make a trip down to the Four Corners Tribal Monument, the only unique landmark in the United States where four states intersect at one point.
RIVER HOUSE RUINS
For the traveler looking for the OHV/Side-by-Side/Jeeping experience, this is the day trip for you. River House Ruins are a set of structures tucked in an alcove about 25 feet above the San Juan River. Along the trail and in vicinity of the ruins travelers will experience ancient Pueblo ruins, pioneer history and stunningly preserved petroglyphs and rock art. Along there trail, there are also a few places to access the nearby river.
Can you think of any monument or landscape that is more ‘Americana’ than the world famous Monument Valley? I doubt it. Monument Valley is a sacred and stunning monument that has to make your bucket list! From the guided tours from local Native Americans, to surrounding scenery of the Navajo Nation, this is one day trip that's a must for travelers headed to Arizona from Blanding