12 Best Road Trips From Salt Lake City, Utah

road trips from salt lake city

Utah is a favorite destination for lovers of outdoor adventures with its myriads of magnificent landscapes, upscale ski resorts, state, and national parks. And if you want to experience the cultural highlight of the municipality, then you should include the capital city, Salt Lake City, to your bucket list. From its vibrant food and shopping scene, skiing adventures, recreational parks, exploring the Great Salt Lake, and more, there is no dull moment for the avid vacationer. For accommodation options in the city, you can choose among the best Vrbo and Airbnb vacation rentals. The best way to make your trip more exciting is to explore other beautiful places that are a day’s drive away from this city. With this state’s ideal location, it is surrounded by lots of must-visit destinations. We have carefully handpicked the best road trips from Salt Lake City, Utah; check them out below!

1. Chicago, IL

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user quinntheislander used under CC0

If you’re a fan of long road trips, consider making Chicago your next destination from Salt Lake City. The drive takes about 21 hours with 1,400 miles (2,253 km) in between. You can stretch your trip longer by making overnight stops in either Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa. Some of the best things about Chicago include deep-dish pizza, the Navy Pier Centennial Wheel, and the upscale Magnificent Mile. Located on Lake Michigan, the city provides one of the best skylines you’ll ever lay your eyes on.

2. Wyoming

Dubois, Wyoming
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Micha de Vries used under CC BY 2.0

Wyoming may be Utah’s neighboring state, but a road trip here can be as short as 1.5 hours or as long as 9 hours depending on your destination. Whichever area you decide on, there’s plenty to see in Wyoming, especially if you’re a fan of the great outdoors. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are two of the best places to visit in the state. Another thing that Wyoming is famous for is the Wild West history. The state is one of the least populated in the country, and if you wish to disconnect from the world for a moment, it is a great place to be.

3. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Source: Photo by Flickr user Domenico Convertini used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Popularly known as Sin City, this cosmopolitan town is a massive playground offering a plethora of opportunities for visitors. The strip, offering myriads of casinos, shops, restaurants, replicas of famous sites from around the globe, and more are just a part of this city’s splendor. You will find hotels that are attractions in themselves, featuring erupting volcanoes, dancing fountains, free streetside shows, and much more. The Grand Canyon, which is a helicopter ride away, offers some incredible sights to explore, and the numerous museums around are also worth your time. It’s approximately six-hours drive away from Salt Lake City.

4. Buffalo, WY

Buffalo (Wyoming) - Occidental Hotel 13-9-2014 11-14-03
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Paul Hermans used under CC BY-SA 3.0

All year round, Buffalo and its surrounding communities offer something fun to do for you and your family. It’s a beautiful region located between the Bighorn Mountains and the rolling plains of the Old West, and features two museums, outdoor recreation, beautiful scenery, and restaurants, offering Western hospitality. If you love outdoor adventure, this location has many mountain lodges, guest ranches, and campgrounds for your recreation. If you are traveling in the winter season, you can engage in snowmobiling, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing in the Bighorn Mountains. The town is approximately eight hours’ drive away from Salt Lake City.

5. Cody, WY

Climbing out of Cody, WY
Source: Photo by Flickr user sf-dvs used under CC BY 2.0

If you are a history buff or looking for some outdoor recreation, Cody offers you many opportunities to fill your stay with fun and excitement. The location is home to historic frontier buildings, world-famous museums, and lots of outdoor recreation. For a lot of tourists, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a museum complex, is the main draw. However, you can also raft the Shoshone River, explore wild mustangs and also have a feel of the wild west by visiting the Yellowstone National Park, which is an hour’s drive away from this beautiful place. Cody is approximately seven hours’ drive away from Salt Lake City.

6. Flagstaff, AZ

Source: Photo by Flickr user Dave Pape used under CC BY 2.0

Flagstaff is a lovely mountain town perched on an elevation of 6561.68 feet (2000 meters), and it is the largest in northern Arizona. The beautiful location is a getaway for locals who want to escape the heat, with its ponderosa pine forest, the largest in the world, and natural monuments. Being home to Northern Arizona University, it’s practically a student town, and it offers outdoor sports, skiing, camping, and hiking opportunities to enjoy. See beautiful monuments, and if you love tasting beers, you can find lots of varieties at the microbreweries around this town. Flagstaff is approximately nine hours away from Salt Lake City.

7. Crestone, CO

Early Morning on way to Crestone Colorado
Source: Photo by user RodneyLeeV used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This beautiful mountain region was initially a mining town, which was given as a gift in the 1600s from the then King of Spain. Presently, this location is recognized as a holy place by lots of religions, and it features many Tibetan centers, a co-ed Carmelite monastery, a Zen center, and a Hindu temple. This place is inhabited by outdoor enthusiasts, New-agers, and artists. Tour the fantastic downtown, which is lined by alternative architecture, beautified by Tibetan arts and wood creations by local artists. The place is approximately nine hours’ drive from Salt Lake City.

8. Creede, CO

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Creede America</div>
Source: Photo by user Michael Harbour used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This magnificent town, located in Southwest Colorado, is a haven for everyone looking for outdoor recreation. Start by exploring the town’s old mining camps through the 17-mile (27.36 kilometers) Bachelor Historic loop. This location is more visited during the summer due to its landscapes that are ideal for camping and recreation, and during the winter, snowmobiling is a favorite activity. Explore the many hiking spots, rivers, and lakes nearby, or travel down to Silver Thread Scenic Byway, which is 75 miles (120.7 kilometers) from Creede, and see natural landmarks, mines, and waterfalls. Creede is nine hours’ drive away from Salt Lake City.

9. Pagosa Springs, CO

Mt. Cimarrona on the Left
Source: Photo by Flickr user Scrubhiker (USCdyer) used under CC BY 2.0

Pagosa Springs is a hot spring town that offers fun festivals, natural attractions, magnificent landscapes, and lots of activities to keep you engaged throughout your stay. Explore the myriads of restaurants and shops that line the downtown region or the ancient Ancestral Puebloan dwellings in the Chimney Rock National Monument. If you are visiting in the winter, you can indulge in snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling in the close-by Wolf Creek Ski Area. To complement the experience, you should soak your weariness away in the deepest geothermal hot springs in the globe while taking in picturesque views of the downtown area. This region is a stunning eight hours’ drive from Salt Lake City.

10. Salida, CO

Salida Downtown Historic District
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeffrey Beall used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Salida is famous for its outdoor adventure opportunities, beautiful arts, and an ever-evolving culinary scene. The serene mountain town is blessed with lots of activities – including biking or hiking the myriads of nature trails, relaxing in the hot springs, and golfing in the stunning golf courses around. Enjoy whitewater rafting or fishing in the Arkansas River or soak in the myriads of indoor hot springs – including Valley View hot springs in the south and Mount Princeton hot springs in the north. Endless recreational activities await you in this lovely location. It is approximately eight hours’ drive from Salt Lake City.

11. Coconino National Forest

Palatki Heritage Site
Source: Photo by Flickr user Coconino National... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If you love extreme adventures in the wild, the Coconino National Forest offers you lots of opportunities – including wading in lazy streams, fishing in small lakes and exploring lots of canyons and mountains. It is the country’s most diverse national forest, covering alpine tundra, the southwestern desert, and the red rocks of Ponderosa and Sedona pine forests. The area is a purely natural paradise with deserts sweeping through the mountain to form forests, and featuring numerous greens, cultural and natural history. It’s nine hours’ drive away from Salt Lake City.

12. Denver, CO

Denver, CO
Source: Photo by Flickr user Pedro Lozano used under CC BY 2.0

When you’re done with your Salt Lake City vacation, consider driving to Denver. It is the fastest-growing city in the country and the largest in Colorado. It is perched 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) above the sea level, and it’s hence nicknamed “Mile High City.” To the east of this city is the High Plain, and it’s bound to the west by the Rocky Mountains. These attributes make it possible for you to mount-climb, ski, and enjoy other outdoor recreations. Explore the 19th-century Larimer Square or learn about the history of the city in the many museums that line its streets. You will never run out of things to do in this lovely region and it’s approximately eight hours’ drive from Salt Lake City.

Add spice to your vacation

Salt Lake City has a lot of exciting activities to fill your itinerary, including the best things to do and festivals to attend. A day trip from this town, however, takes you into a whole new world of adventure, culture, and beauty. All these cities have something unique to offer to discerning travelers, why only stop in Utah’s capital? Add spice to your vacation with these destinations. Whether you prefer a long or short road trip from Salt Lake City, the drive is guaranteed to be scenic!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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James Kure is an ardent writer from a very humble background. He loves writing about the world’s top travel destinations, especially the Scandinavian and Japanese regions. When not writing, James...Read more

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