Encircle Utah: When entering northern Utah from either Idaho or Wyoming, there are two great towns to stretch your legs before arriving in the state’s capital, Salt Lake City. Then there are three must see national parks in the south: Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion.

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1 Old Train Depot in Brigham City, Utah

In 1869, the driving of the “Golden Spike” celebrated the completion of the Transcontinental Railway at Promontory Summit. The closest town to this historic site is Brigham City, Utah. When the Union Pacific train depot was built in 1906, women passengers were segregated on the north side of the ticket office. Ladies were expected to be refined and were not allowed to spit, swear or smoke. On the south side, men were allowed to engage in this socially unacceptable behavior. The Golden Spike Association is currently renovating this historic station.

833 W Forest St, Brigham City, UT 84302
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2 Old Couple Sitting on Bench in Union Station in Ogden, Utah

If you are self-employed and live west of the Mississippi River, chances are you have mailed or electronically sent your tax return and money to the Internal Revenue Service center in Ogden, Utah. The IRS is the town’s largest employer. If you are in the neighborhood, feel free to hand deliver your check. Afterwards, stop by the Union Station. Outside the building are classic locomotives dating back to 1881. Inside are three museums dedicated to trains, classic cars and Browning Firearms. Or just sit for a moment while you ponder how the government will spend your taxes.

2501 Wall Ave, Ogden, UT 84401
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3 Utah State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City, Utah

There are 52 columns surrounding three sides of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. The structure’s Corinthian style has been compared to the Parthenon in Athens and the Forum in Jerash, Jordan. Finished in 1916, the capitol was built with Utah granite. The copper dome extends 250 feet. Utah became the 45th state on January 4, 1896.

320 E Capitol St, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
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4 Utah State Capitol East Atrium in Salt Lake City, Utah

This view of the atrium in the Utah State Capitol is from the Supreme Court steps. The photo shows the skylight and columns supporting the east atrium’s mezzanines. You also get a peek at the painted rotunda with its 6,000 pound chandelier. Your view ends at the grand marble staircase in the west atrium. Above the House Chamber entrance is a mural called, “Passing of the Wagons.”

320 E Capitol St, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
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5 Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints Temple and Reflection Pool in Salt Lake City, Utah

In 1847, Brigham Young led almost 70,000 Mormons on an exodus from Illinois to the Great Basin. When he arrived at present-day Salt Lake City, he declared, “Here we will build a temple to our God.” That proclamation grew into Temple Square. The three most impressive buildings dedicated to The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints are the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall and the Salt Lake Temple seen here in a reflection pool. This architectural gem opened in 1893 after forty years of construction.

50 N West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150
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6 Christus Statue and Earth at Temple Square North Visitors’ Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

When visiting Salt Lake City, it is worthwhile walking around the 10-acre campus of Temple Square regardless of your religious affiliation. This U. S. National Historic Landmark District has been the home to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints since it was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young. Some of the LDS Church buildings have limited or no access. However, they are impressive to admire and The Gardens are lovely. The North Visitors’ Center welcomes more than three million people annually. In the rotunda is this 11 foot Christus with outstretched arms. The religious figure is a replica of an 1821 marble statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen in Denmark.

104 W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150
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7 Park Avenue Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Near Moab, Utah, erosion has been busy for millions of years, resulting in Arches National Park. The elements have carved 2,000 arches into red sandstone along with rock towers and balancing boulders. An early example during your drive is the Park Avenue Viewpoint. These monoliths have names such as the Three Gossips, the Tower of Babel, Queen Nefertiti and Queen Victoria Rock. This is a courthouse fit for royalty.

Park Avenue Trailhead, Arches Scenic Dr, Moab, UT 84532
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8 Inspirational Point View at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

The vistas at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, take your breath away because the air is thin at elevations averaging 8,000 to 9,000 feet. They are also visually breathtaking. You will marvel at the grand, deep amphitheaters with colorful spires called hoodoos. There are 13 viewpoints along a 38 mile drive. Each lookout provides a unique perspective of grandeur. This stunning view is Inspirational Point. Bryce Canyon can be exceptionally busy in the afternoon during peak summer months. Crowds also assemble for sunrises, sunsets and to count the stars filling the night sky.

Inspiration Point, Bryce Point Rd, Bryce, UT 84764
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9 Erosion Lines in Cliff at Zion National Park, Utah

In the center of the Grand Staircase between the Grand Canyon’s north rim and Bryce National Park is the 230 square miles of Zion National Park. Numerous hiking paths, a few scenic drives or a shuttle bus tour all provide inspiring views. You will enjoy seeing painted cliffs, canyons, rivers, arches, deserts, gorges, narrows and monoliths rising over 5,000 feet. Many rocks display these deep scars. The groves were created by erosion during the 100 million years it took to create this masterpiece of nature.

Zion National park, 1101 Zion – Mount Carmel Hwy, Springdale, UT 84737
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