11 Best Hidden Gems In Utah You Have To See In 2024

Utah is a treasure trove of natural beauty, renowned for its iconic national parks and majestic landscapes. 

But there are some less traveled spots in the state that offer the same beauty as some of the more popular ones, usually without the crowds.

If that sounds good to you, we’ve got you covered in this guide to Utah’s 11 best kept secrets.

So whether you’re a hiker, photographer or just a lover of the great outdoors, these hidden gems give you the opportunity to explore the quieter, more secluded corners of this remarkable state.

Dead Horse Point State Park

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Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah is a breathtaking overlook perched 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, offering one of the most iconic views of the American West. 

This hidden gem, often overshadowed by nearby national parks, provides a panoramic vista that encapsulates the rugged beauty of the Utah landscape. 

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The point presents a dramatic overlook of the river winding through the ancient canyons, framed by the striking red rock formations that are characteristic of the region. 

Visitors can expect to find a serene atmosphere, ideal for photography, hiking along the rim, and simply soaking in the awe-inspiring scenery. 

Meadow Hot Springs

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Meadow Hot Springs in Utah is a serene oasis hidden in the vast farmlands of the central part of the state, offering a tranquil escape into nature. 

These geothermally heated pools are a marvel, with crystal-clear waters that maintain a warm temperature year-round, making them perfect for soaking regardless of the season. 

The springs are set against a backdrop of the picturesque Meadow Valley, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape. 

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Access is through private land, with the owner generously allowing public access, emphasizing the importance of respecting the area. 

You’ll rarely see other people here during the week and can expect a peaceful, relaxing experience with plenty of opportunities to take memorable pictures.

Reflection Canyon

Reflection Canyon, nestled within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah, is an awe-inspiring hidden gem that captivates visitors with its striking beauty. 

This secluded spot is renowned for its surreal vistas, where the curves of the canyon walls meet the glassy waters of Lake Powell, creating awesome reflections that blur the line between reality and mirage. 

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Reaching this remote canyon requires a challenging backcountry hike, which deters large crowds and preserves its serene atmosphere. 

Adventurers willing to undertake the journey are rewarded with unparalleled photographic opportunities, tranquil solitude, and the chance to witness one of nature’s most exquisite displays of water and stone harmony, especially at dawn or dusk when the light is most magical.

There are so many reasons to visit Reflection Canyon in Utah.

Potash Ponds

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The Potash Ponds near Moab, Utah, are a striking hidden gem, known for their vibrant turquoise waters that starkly contrast against the red desert landscape. 

These evaporation ponds are part of a potash (potassium chloride) mining operation, where the intense blue color comes from the water’s reflection of the sky, enhanced by the minerals dissolved in it. 

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Visitors can best view this surreal scene from the scenic Potash Road (U-279), offering a unique photographic opportunity that captures the juxtaposition of industrial activity with natural beauty. 

While swimming is not permitted, the sight alone is mesmerizing. Expect to see an unforgettable panorama of color and texture, with towering red cliffs as a backdrop.

Raplee Ridge

Raplee Ridge, situated in the heart of Utah’s dramatic desert landscape near Bluff, is an awe-inspiring geological formation that remains relatively undiscovered by the masses.

Raplee Ridge is located along Highway 163, about halfway between Bluff and Mexican Hat, with the most striking views of the ridge able to be seen from the highway itself.

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This ancient sea bed, uplifted and eroded over millions of years, presents a striking array of vertical striations and layered rock formations that tell a story of Earth’s dynamic history. 

Visitors to Raplee Ridge can expect to explore a surreal landscape that feels like stepping onto another planet. 

The ridge offers unparalleled opportunities for photography, especially during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset when the rock faces glow with warm hues. 

Corona Arch

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Corona Arch, located near Moab in Utah, is a magnificent natural sandstone arch that offers a breathtaking spectacle away from the more crowded national parks. 

This hidden gem is accessible via a moderate, family-friendly hike that winds through stunning desert landscapes, showcasing the rugged beauty of the American Southwest. 

The arch itself, with its massive span and distinctive shape, creates a picturesque frame against the blue sky, especially striking at sunset. 

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Visitors can expect a peaceful, awe-inspiring experience, surrounded by the sounds of nature and panoramic views of the surrounding red rock canyons. 

It’s an ideal spot for photography, picnicking, and simply soaking in the tranquility of an unspoiled natural wonder.

Cathedral Valley

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Cathedral Valley, in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, stands as a testament to nature’s artistry, offering a landscape so dramatic and serene that it feels almost untouched by time. 

This remote area is celebrated for its towering monoliths, which resemble cathedrals, rising majestically against the stark, vast desert background. 

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Accessible via a rugged backcountry road, its secluded nature ensures a peaceful visit, away from the park’s more frequented spots. 

Visitors are treated to a spectacular display of geological formations, including the Temple of the Sun and Moon, and can explore the Bentonite hills, whose varied hues paint a vivid picture of the Earth’s ancient past. 

The valley’s panoramic views, especially at sunrise and sunset, are a photographer’s dream, offering a serene and profoundly moving experience.

Monument Valley

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Monument Valley, straddling the Utah-Arizona border, is not just a hidden gem but a quintessential symbol of the American West. 

Known for its towering sandstone buttes, some reaching 1,000 feet above the valley floor, this majestic landscape offers breathtaking panoramas that embody the raw, untamed beauty of the desert. 

Monument Valley’s unique geological features have been sculpted over time by wind and water, creating a dramatic backdrop that has starred in numerous films and inspired artists and photographers from around the world. 

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Visitors can expect to see vast, open landscapes, iconic rock formations like the Mittens and John Ford’s Point, and have the opportunity to learn about the rich history and culture of the Navajo Nation, which oversees the park. 

The experience of watching the sunrise or sunset paint the red sandstone with vibrant hues is truly unforgettable, making Monument Valley a must-visit destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in the spirit of the Southwest.

Bonneville Salt Flats

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The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah is an otherworldly landscape that stretches over 30,000 acres. 

This vast, flat expanse, covered with a thick crust of salty soil, is all that remains of an ancient lake that once covered much of the area. 

What makes it such a unique hidden gem is its surreal, moon-like surface that offers an unparalleled setting for photography, especially during sunrise and sunset when the sky’s colors reflect off the salt crust, creating a mirror-like effect. 

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Visitors can expect to see a horizon that seems endless, providing a sense of vastness and tranquility rarely found elsewhere. 

The salt flats are also famous for land speed racing events, where vehicles speed across the flats, adding a touch of adrenaline to the serene landscape.

Goblin Valley

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Goblin Valley State Park, nestled in the heart of Utah’s desert, is a stunning display of geological formations. 

The park’s main attractions are its hoodoos, referred to as “goblins,” which populate the valley in dense clusters. 

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These peculiar, mushroom-shaped rock formations, carved by wind and water over millions of years, create a playground that feels like stepping onto another planet. 

Visitors to this hidden gem can roam freely among the goblins, offering an unparalleled opportunity for exploration, photography, and imaginative interpretation of the landscape. 

The valley’s remote location contributes to its serene atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for stargazing after a day of adventure.

Homestead Crater

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Homestead Crater in Utah is a remarkable geological wonder, tucked away in the scenic Heber Valley. 

This hidden gem is a geothermal spring, housed within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock. 

The crater’s unique feature is its crystal-clear, mineral-rich waters, heated naturally to a constant 90-96 degrees Fahrenheit, offering a perfect setting for swimming, a relaxing soak or snorkeling.

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Visitors can also enjoy scuba diving in this rare, warm-water diving destination. 

Inside, the crater presents a surreal, almost otherworldly atmosphere with its steaming waters and natural skylight. 

Final Word

For more hidden gems in the state of Utah, check out this guide to Utah’s 11 Best Hidden Caves.