50 Facts About Utah State That Will Fascinate You

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An area with sand next to red sandstone rock formations under a blue sky
Utah has many landmarks, including natural attractions like Monument Valley

If I asked you to list facts about Utah state, how many do you think you'd be able to name? Many people know that this state was largely settled by followers of the Mormon Church. However, the state has so many more interesting facts.

Did you know this state has some of the best snow in the country when it comes to winter sports? Or that it was one of the last states to enter the Union?

Whether you're a history buff, a sports lover, or just preparing for an upcoming trip, you'll learn something new from this list. Here are 50 facts about Utah state that will interest you.

  • 50 Utah facts

50 Utah State Facts

  1. Fun Facts About Utah
    1. It was the 45th state
    2. Ancient people lived in Zion National Park
    3. Utah has several natural arches at Arches National Park
    4. Salt Lake City hosts the Sundance Film Festival
    5. It's the hub of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
    6. People call it the "Beehive State"
    7. The elk is the Utah state animal
    8. Mormon settlers arrived in 1847
    9. Golden Spike National Historical Park preserves history
    10. It has the desert bighorn sheep
    11. The Bonneville Salt Flats are huge
    12. The California gull is a symbol
    13. It was part of a landmass called Laramidia
    14. The highest point is Kings Peak
    15. People love the sego lily
  2. Funny Facts About Utah
    1. The Dutch Oven is a symbol
    2. The state is home to a natural stone "rainbow bridge"
    3. It claims to have the greatest snow
    4. It's the home of the Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchise
    5. You can ski in the Rocky Mountains
    6. Fishlake National Forest is ancient
    7. It was a shopping haven
    8. It's the 13th largest state
  3. Interesting Facts About Utah
    1. Utahns love to read
    2. There are eight Native American tribes
    3. The state has a lot of national parks
    4. The 2002 Olympics are commemorated here
    5. More people visit Temple Square than anywhere else
    6. You've probably heard of the capital
    7. The Capitol is over 100 years old
    8. The Colorado Plateau spreads out
    9. It has strict alcohol laws
    10. It's part of the four corners states
    11. The Salt Lake's salinity changes
    12. The name means "people of the mountains"
  4. Weird Facts About Utah
    1. There are a lot of plastic surgeons
    2. It's not densely populated
    3. Hill Air Force Base employs many Utahns
    4. A lot of famous people came from Utah
  5. Random Facts About Utah
    1. It has the highest married population
    2. The population is young
    3. Thank Utah for the Frisbee
    4. Salt Lake City produces rubber chickens
    5. Most of the land is federally owned
  6. Cool facts about Utah
    1. Bingham Canyon is the deepest pit in the world
    2. Jello-O is popular
    3. The state rock is coal
    4. Many Utahns are volunteers
    5. Cottonwood Canyon gets 550 inches of snow
    6. No presidents have been from Utah

Show all

Fun Facts About Utah

A red sandstone arch with mountains behind it under a blue sky
There are around 2,000 sandstone arches in Arches National Park

It was the 45th state

The first of many fun facts on this list about Utah is that it was the 45th state. Though it had been a US territory since 1850, it didn't become an official part of the Union until 1896.

The delay in its statehood was due to disputes between the Mormon Church that was headquartered in the area and the government. Statehood was only allowed when the state outlawed polygamy.

Red rock mountains with some greenery in front of them on a clear day
Zion National Park was an ancestral home of the Anasazi

Ancient people lived in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is one of the most historically significant places in the country. It was the ancestral home of the Anasazi, an ancient population.

The park is also important because it shows how the country's geography has changed. It's home to ancient riverbeds that have long dried up. You can even find remnants of the ocean that once covered the territory.

Facts about Utah state -
red sandstone arch next to landscape of red rock mountains
Delicate Arch is the most famous of the thousands of arches in Arches National Park

Utah has several natural arches at Arches National Park

Arches National Park gets its name from the 2000 natural sandstone arches spread around the park. The most famous is affectionately called "Delicate Arch".

Millions of people visit the park every year to admire and hike around these natural landmarks.

PureRadiancePhoto/Shutterstock.com
The exterior of a vintage theater with an illuminated "Sundance Film Festival" sign
The Sundance Film Festival has been hosted in Salt Lake City since 1978

Salt Lake City hosts the Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is one of the most important independent film festivals in the world. From comedies to horror films, modern classics from every genre have premiered at Sundance.

The first festival was held in 1978, and it's been a staple in the film-making world ever since. The film festival is held in Salt Lake City, Park City, and Sundance Resort.

Leonid_Andronov/Depositphotos.com
A Gothic temple with three towers next to grass and bare winter trees
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has temples in SLC and across Utah

It's the hub of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

In the 1800s, those who practiced the Mormon religion were largely persecuted. Since they weren't welcome in most states, they settled outside of the official Union.

At the time, Utah wasn't a state, which made it a perfect place to live. Over time, the Mormon church and the government agreed that Utah should become a state.

To separate themselves from the older traditions that were no longer approved by the church, the religion changed its name. It's now The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

People call it the "Beehive State"

Every state has a nickname. While some are fairly obvious, like Florida being called the "Sunshine State", others are a little more symbolic.

Utah is known as the "Beehive State," however, that's not because there are a lot of beekeepers or honey there. Working together to build a community, much like bees in a beehive, is one of the state's values.

A bull elk standing in grassland with alpine trees behind him
The Rocky Mountain Elk has been Utah's state animal since 1971

The elk is the Utah state animal

Knowing the official Utah state animal could be an interesting addition to your trivia knowledge. The Rocky Mountain Elk has been a Utah symbol since 1971.

It was chosen due to the abundance of elk found in the region. Utah is the only place in the United States to have the elk as a symbol.

Mormon settlers arrived in 1847

As you've already seen, Mormon settlers first came to the Utah area in the 1800s. One of the interesting Utah history facts is that 1847 saw the largest number of new Utah residents come to the state.

So many Mormons moved to the Salt Lake City area at that time that it has since been called the "Mormon Migration". However, many Mormons also traveled further west to today's Pacific Northwest and Mexico.

A sign with a train symbol that says "Golden Spike National Historical Park"
Golden Spike National Historical Park commemorates the first US railroad

Golden Spike National Historical Park preserves history

Between 1863 and 1869, the first transcontinental railroad in the US was constructed. This railroad forever changed the way people traveled around the country.

Getting from the east to the west coast became much faster and safer since stagecoaches could be replaced by trains. You can visit the commemorative landmark of this achievement in Utah.

A dark gray ram with large, curved horns standing on a fallen tree trunk
One of many fun facts about Utah state is that it's home to the bighorn sheep

It has the desert bighorn sheep

The desert bighorn sheep is one of the many unique land mammals in the American west. These animals are pros at scaling steep mountains that would leave other animals stuck on the ground.

The population of this type of sheep has dipped over the years, but conservation efforts have shown promising results.

Vast salt flats with a person standing on them in the distance next to mountains
The Bonneville Salt Flats were created when a lake evaporated thousands of years ago

The Bonneville Salt Flats are huge

The Bonneville Salt Flats is a field, also called a pan, of densely packed salt. The flats were formed when Lake Bonneville evaporated thousands of years ago, leaving behind its salt.

The salt flats span over 46 square miles, making them the largest salt flats in the country. Not only do the flats cover a large area, but they're also deep, reaching five feet below surface level in some places.

A bird with white head and chest and dark gray wings sitting on a wooden post
The California gull is historically significant to Utah and is the state bird

The California gull is a symbol

Though California might be in this bird's common name, the California gull is one of Utah's state symbols. The gull was voted the Utah state bird in 1955.

In 1848, the settlers' decimated crops and continued existence in Utah were saved by this bird. That's because it ate the crickets that threatened their livelihood. Thanks to its historic significance, it was an easy choice for a state bird.

It was part of a landmass called Laramidia

There wouldn't be a list of Utah facts and history if it weren't for Laramidia. That was the name given to the island landmass that was once part of the territory when dinosaurs roamed the territory.

Laramidia was made up of modern-day New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, West Texas, and Utah in the United States. Parts of Mexico as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada were also part of this mass.

The highest point is Kings Peak

Utah may have many flat areas. However, the elevation level of the entire state is still well above sea level. Its lowest point is still over 2,000 feet at the Beaver Dam Wash.

The state's highest elevation point is Kings Peak, which summits 13,528 feet. The mountain is a popular destination for hikers since the easiest route is just 29 miles.

People love the sego lily

The sego lily is the state flower of Utah. Before settlers arrived in the state, it was a plant sacred to the Native Americans who lived in the area.

Utah has seven strains of this flower. However, the white variety is the most common. It's so beloved, it's even featured on the state's flag.

Funny Facts About Utah

A view over a ski resort with snowy mountains, alpine trees, and lodges
Utah claims to have the "greatest snow on earth!"

The Dutch Oven is a symbol

The Dutch Oven was invented in 1891 as a cheaper and lighter alternative to cast-iron cookware. Though it was invented in the Netherlands, it's become a symbol in Utah.

In 1997, the state's government designated the Dutch Oven the state's official cooking pot. This is because the early settlers relied on this sort of pot to prepare food.

A red sandstone arch surrounded by red rock mountains framed by a blue sky
Rainbow Bridge is the world's largest natural bridge

The state is home to a natural stone "rainbow bridge"

Rainbow Bridge National Monument has been a national landmark since 1910. Standing 290 feet tall and stretching 275 feet across, it's the largest natural bridge in the world.

Until the 1950s, visitors regularly climbed to the top of the bridge. However, to help preserve its structural integrity, visitors are now only permitted to admire it from the ground.

Two people on a ski lift with snowy mountains around them
Utah has many winter sports destinations, like Park City

It claims to have the greatest snow

Since 1960, Utah has claimed it has the "greatest snow on earth." With 10 premier ski resorts and multiple other areas for winter sports, it's a claim the state has definitely backed up.

The XIX Winter Olympics were even held in Salt Lake City in 2002. For a while, the phrase was even printed on the state's license places.

It's the home of the Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchise

The very first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was opened by Harland Sanders in North Corbin, Kentucky. However, you can thank Utah for helping to spread the franchise.

When a Utah restaurant owner tried Sanders' now-famous fried chicken recipe, he wanted to sell it in his restaurant. The year was 1952 and the first franchise location opened in Salt Lake City.

You can ski in the Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains formed over 280 million years ago. They span over 3000 miles and are features of several other states as well as Utah.

You can visit the mountains all year if you like hiking and nature. However, visiting in the winter gives you the chance to ski on these historic slopes.

Serj Malomuzh/Depositphotos.com
A sandy path with greenery surrounding it next to a hill with trees on it
Fishlake National Forest has scenic trails and rocks that are 250 million years old

Fishlake National Forest is ancient

Fishlake National Forest has rocks that can be traced back nearly 250 million years. The presence of humans around the lake's shores has also been determined to go back 12 000 years.

Today the forest is considered one of the most family-friendly in the country. It has hundreds of trails for visitors to explore and it offers activities all year.

It was a shopping haven

Built in Utah during the 1880s, Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution changed history by being the first department store in the country. The store itself began in 1868 but on a much smaller scale.

Similar shops were opened in Paris and New York, but the city landscapes limited their sizes. This shop changed the way people did their shopping by offering people outside of fashion capitals the ability to browse conveniently.

It's the 13th largest state

One of the most important facts about the state of Utah is that it's the 13th largest US state by size. It covers almost 84,900 square miles.

Since it's a large state, Utah has a varied landscape. There are mountains, lakes, forests, and deserts that all have unique climates and characteristics.

Interesting Facts About Utah

A state capitol building with a domed roof next to grass and trees
The Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City is more than 100 years old
A modern structure with glass windows next to trees and a road
Utah has a very high literacy rate and is home to the vast Salt Lake City Library

Utahns love to read

According to a study conducted by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, Utah has the highest literacy rate in the country. Self-reports show that 91% of the state's adults know how to read above a 4th-grade level.

The national average for adult literacy is just over 85%. Utah's residents love to read and their Salt Lake City library is one of the largest in the world.

There are eight Native American tribes

Utah has been home to indigenous populations for thousands of years. Many of these tribes are descendants of the very first people to cross the Bering Strait.

Due to conflicts, relocation, and tribal alliances, the number of tribes has decreased over the years. Currently, the state has eight distinct Native American populations residing within its territory.

A view over a red rock canyon with red rock structures to the left under a blue sky
Bryce Canyon National Park is one of five National Parks in Utah

The state has a lot of national parks

If you're a nature lover, you should plan a trip to Utah. The state has five national parks that have been collectively called the "Mighty Five."

Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion are all main attractions that draw millions of tourists to the state every year. There are also over 40 Utah state parks.

Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock.com
A sign that says "Utah Olympic Park" next to a hill under a blue sky
The 2002 Olympics are commemorated at the Utah Olympic Park museum

The 2002 Olympics are commemorated here

The Utah Olympic Park was the "village" constructed to host the games and athletes of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Today, it's been converted into a museum in Park City.

The park has over 400 acres of land that were set aside for the games. The museum aims to promote healthy and active lifestyles through its exhibits.

A view over a square with temple buildings on one side and skyscrapers on the other
Temple Square is Utah's most visited attraction

More people visit Temple Square than anywhere else

The famous Temple Square gets up to five million visitors every year.

Temple Square is the headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Many people of other religions visit the square as well. It gets more visitors than the state's national parks!

A view over Salt Lake City, with the State Capitol, other buildings, and trees
Salt Lake City is the Utah capital and is home to the State Capitol Building

You've probably heard of the capital

Often, a state's capital isn't its most well-known city. For example, Chicago isn't the Illinois capital and New York City isn't the capital of New York.

That's not the case in Utah. Salt Lake City is both the state's most populous city and seat of its state government. It's been the capital since Utah became a state in 1896.

A white state capitol building with a domed roof in the middle and grass in front
The Utah State Capitol was constructed between 1912 and 1916

The Capitol is over 100 years old

The current Utah state Capitol has been in use for over 100 years. It took four years to construct between 1912 and 1916 and is primarily made of granite and copper.

The building was designed by Richard K. A. Kletting who later became a prolific architect in the state. His design was chosen from 40 designs that were submitted to the state's government.

The Colorado Plateau spreads out

One of the interesting Utah facts and information is that the Colorado Plateau is a prominent state land mass.

The plateau spans more than 240,000 square miles and is shared by other neighboring states. It's made up of multiple plateaus formed close together in a highland basin.

It has strict alcohol laws

Like everywhere in the United States, in order to consume or purchase alcohol, you have to be at least 21 years old. However, the law in Utah has even stricter laws regarding serving alcoholic beverages.

For example, alcohol can't be served before 10 a.m. or after 1 a.m. The state is legally bound to enforce the erection of a partition in most drinking locations. This is so patrons can't see alcoholic drinks being poured.

A sign that says "Welcome to Four Corners U.S.A" next to a road
Utah is part of the Four Corners, where it meets New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado

It's part of the four corners states

The "Four Corners" is a special region of the USA where four separate states share a single border corner. The four states that make up this region are New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.

There is even a ground monument that marks the official spot. Visitors are encouraged to stand on it so they can say they've been in all four states simultaneously.

A lake next to grass, shrubs, and small mountains
There are around five billion tons of salt in the Great Salt Lake

The Salt Lake's salinity changes

Utah's Great Salt Lake is estimated to have nearly 5 billion tons of dissolved salt in its water. However, the saltiness of the water depends on its levels.

When the water drops, the amount of salt per volume increases and the converse applies when the water rises. Typically, you can find 5-27% of every liter of water in the lake to be salt.

The name means "people of the mountains"

Utah's name comes from the Apache language. The original word, "yuttahih" means people of the mountains. The state's name was adapted to "Utes" and eventually, "Utah."

Before becoming a state, the Mormons called the area the state of Deseret. Since the state is landlocked, its mountain ranges are some of the state's most prominent features, making the Native American name an obvious choice.

Weird Facts About Utah

A hill at a mining site with a sandy path in front of it under a blue sky
The Bingham Canyon mine is one of the largest pits in the world

There are a lot of plastic surgeons

According to an informal report, there are more plastic surgeons per capita in Salt Lake City than anywhere else in the country. There are around six plastic surgeons for every thousand residents in the city.

No one knows for sure why this is. It's speculated that the practice is much more accepted here than in other parts of the country.

It's not densely populated

Utah has its fair share of busy cities, but the state itself isn't very densely populated. The average population density is 37.2 people per square mile. The national average is 93.8.

The state's total population is only 3.3 million as of 2021. However, that number is increasing, and therefore likely that the population density will also increase.

Hill Air Force Base employs many Utahns

Hill Air Force Base is a major military base located near Ogden, Utah. It's been open since 1940, but its size has grown exponentially over the years. It currently has a million acres of land.

The base employs over 22 thousand Utah residents. While it might not be the largest employer in the state by company, it's the largest single-site employer.

A lot of famous people came from Utah

When you think about the home states of some of the rich and famous, you likely think about California and New York. However, quite a few famous people come from Utah.

Butch Cassidy, Jewel, and Donny Osmond are a few examples of famous Utahns. The state's proximity to California has helped some stars make it to fame!

Random Facts About Utah

A sign that says "Entering Capital Reef National Park" next to greenery-covered hills
Much of Utah's land is federally owned, like the land in Capitol Reef National Park

It has the highest married population

Marriage rates around the US have dropped, but a state of Utah fact is that they still beat the national average. Utah has 8.4 marriages per 1000 residents, while the national average is 5.1.

However, Utah doesn't have the most marriages in the country. That honor goes to Nevada with 21 weddings per 1000 residents. That number is higher because it also includes the infamous Las Vegas weddings.

The population is young

Utah might not have the largest population, but it has one of the youngest populations. The national average age of people in the US is 38.1. The average age of Utah residents is 31.1.

This age has gone up since the 2016 census, however, it's still the youngest state in the country. The reason is that Utah has one of the highest birth rates in the US.

Thank Utah for the Frisbee

A fun Utah fact is that it indirectly gave us the Frisbee. The popular flying disc brand was invented in 1948 by Walter Frederick Morrison, originally from Richfield, Utah.

It wouldn't be until 1957 that the Frisbee gained popularity and started being produced on a large scale for commercial sale.

Salt Lake City produces rubber chickens

If you've ever seen a clown act or been in a toy store, you've likely seen a rubber chicken. Did you know that many of these goofy toys come from Utah?

Salt Lake City is home to Loftus Novelty, the world's leading rubber chicken producer. To this day, the company has remained in the city and has expanded throughout the country.

Red rock mountains with some trees on them under a blue sky with clouds
Much of Utah's land is federally owned, like the land within Zion National Park

Most of the land is federally owned

As you saw earlier, Utah isn't a very populated state. Part of the reason is that most of the state's land is federally owned. Between national parks and military bases, over 60% of Utah is owned by the US.

Cool facts about Utah

Snow-covered hills with some trees and a small building under a blue sky
Cottonwood Canyon receives more snow per year than most places in the US
An aerial view of a circular mine with mountains surrounding it
Bingham Canyon is one of the world's largest excavation pits

Bingham Canyon is the deepest pit in the world

Bingham Canyon has been unofficially dubbed the deepest pit in the world.

This canyon is a copper, gold, molybdenum, and silver mine. It was first opened in 1903, and it still runs efficiently to this day. It's also the deepest open mine pit in the world.

Jell-O might have started in New York, but Utah has embraced the dessert. In 2001, the state's government even named it the official snack of Utah.

Some people speculate that the state's large number of families has something to do with the food's popularity. Its family-friendly dessert appeal has resulted in it being highly marketed to Utahns in particular.

The state rock is coal

While it's no longer a sustainable source of power throughout the world, coal is still widely used in Utah for power. Millions of pounds of coal production annually in the state led to it being designated as the state rock in 1991.

Many Utahns are volunteers

Since working together is one of the pillars of Utah's values, it's not surprising that volunteering is important in the state. 51% of Utahns report doing some sort of volunteer work.

That percentage is double the national average of 25%. Utah has the most volunteers of any other state in the country.

The view from a snowy ski hill with a snow-covered mountain and alpine trees in front
Cottonwood Canyon is one of the snowiest places in the United States

Cottonwood Canyon gets 550 inches of snow

No list of interesting Utah facts would be complete without mentioning Cottonwood Canyon. This part of the state is one of the snowiest places in the continental US.

On average, Cottonwood Canyon gets between 530 and 550 inches of snow per year. That's even more impressive when you consider it typically only snows between October and May.

No presidents have been from Utah

Since gaining its independence, the US has had 46 presidents. These men have originated from all over the country, but none have ever been born in Utah.

However, there have been presidential candidates from the state. The most famous Utahn to run for president was Mitt Romney. He ran in the 2012 election and was elected to the Senate.

In Summary

Did you find this list interesting? Which fact surprised you most? Learning that some parts of the state get over 500 inches of annual snow was probably a shock!

Hopefully, this has inspired you to learn more about one of the most underrated states in the country. That way, you'll be completely prepared for a trip to the "Beehive State." Plus, you'll be able to impress your friends and family, too!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Hi! I'm a lover of all things travel and culture. I'm originally from the USA, but I've lived in Italy for over a decade! I'm always ready to pack my bags, get my passport, and head out on an adventure!


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