Known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities.
Utah County is located in the state of Utah, situated between Salt Lake City and Provo in the Wasatch Range. It is one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States, with an estimated population of 643,000 people as of 2019.
The county's largest city is Provo, located in the heart of Utah Valley at the base of Mount Timpanogos. The area is home to Brigham Young University, one of the nation's top private universities; and nearby Orem hosts the annual Summerfest celebration. Other cities in Utah County include Lehi, American Fork, Spanish Fork, Saratoga Springs, and Eagle Mountain.
Utah County is known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities. Numerous hiking trails along the Wasatch Range, which runs along the county's eastern border, provide excellent views of nearby Utah Lake and the surrounding area. The Provo River winds through Utah Valley, offering a great spot for fishing and kayaking. Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter activities, with several ski resorts located near the county.
Discover the breathtaking landscapes of Utah County, featuring the majestic Wasatch Mountains and the expansive Utah Lake. These towering mountains, reaching heights of over 11,000 feet, receive abundant snowfall, nurturing the countless rivers and creeks that flow into the lake. Despite its vast surface area, Utah Lake surprises with its shallow depths, reaching only 18 feet at its lowest point.
Before Mormon pioneers settled the valley in the 1840s and 1850s, it was home to the Ute Indians. These peaceful and kind indigenous people resided along the lake's eastern shore, relying on its abundant fish as their primary food source. In 1776, Spanish Catholic priests Dominguez and Escalante, on a quest to find a route from Santa Fe to southern California, encountered the Ute Indians upon descending Spanish Fork Canyon. They became the first non-Indigenous people to enter Utah Valley.
Following in the footsteps of the Ute Indians, Mormon pioneers began to establish communities in Utah Valley in 1849. They wisely chose the fertile and well-watered lands nestled between the mountains and Utah Lake. The region boomed with the creation of over a dozen towns, stretching from Lehi in the north to Santaquin in the south. Notably, Provo, named after French fur trapper Etienne Provost, emerged as the largest town and county seat.
In March 1849, under the guidance of John S. Higbee, thirty-three families comprising approximately 150 individuals were called to settle in Utah Valley. Their mission? To fish, farm, and educate the Indigenous population. Over the next two years, communities were established in Lehi, Alpine, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Springville, Spanish Fork, Salem, and Payson, marking the beginnings of a vibrant and thriving region.
Utah County covers 3,245 square miles and is the second-largest county in Utah. It includes five distinct geographical regions: the Wasatch Range, Mount Timpanogos, Utah Valley, West Mountain/High Land areas, and the Uinta Basin. These diverse areas feature a variety of terrains ranging from rolling hills to dense forests and rugged mountain peaks.
Places of Interest
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Located near American Fork, this awe-inspiring cave system consists of three limestone caverns accessible via a steep one-mile hike up the mountainside. Visitors can explore the unique geological formations within these ancient caves, including stalactites and stalagmites, as well as rare animals like bats and salamanders.
This multifaceted farming and educational center is located in Lehi. Visitors can explore its 55 acres of manicured gardens, take a serene stroll through the Discovery Walk, or learn about agriculture at the Farm Country exhibit. The museum complex showcases a variety of interactive exhibits designed to educate and entertain visitors of all ages.
Brigham Young University
The world-renowned Brigham Young University is located in Provo and offers a variety of academic programs. The university's campus boasts historic buildings, beautiful landscaping, and scenic views of the Wasatch Mountains. BYU also plays host to numerous sporting events including basketball and football games with rival schools.
Planning a trip to Utah County
When planning a trip to Utah County, there are plenty of things to do and see. Visitors can ski or snowboard in the winter months, hike along numerous trails, participate in arts and cultural events throughout the year, visit various museums and attractions, or simply enjoy the area's stunning natural beauty. Whether you're looking for an outdoor adventure or some quiet relaxation time, you're sure to find what you're looking for in Utah County.
Lodging options are plentiful and varied. Visitors can choose to stay in one of the area's many hotels, resorts, or bed and breakfasts. For those looking for a more rustic experience, camping is also available at several campgrounds throughout the county.
Utah County offers a wide variety of dining choices. From fast food to fine dining, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From traditional American fare to ethnic cuisine, the restaurants in Utah County offer a wide variety of flavors and experiences.
Summer in Utah County offers mild temperatures, making it perfect for outdoor activities. During this time of year, visitors can explore the area's hiking trails and lakes or enjoy some of the county's many festivals. Winters provide a blanket of snow that is ideal for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. Spring brings warm weather and vibrant colors to the landscape as plants and flowers begin to bloom. Fall is the perfect time of year for exploring Utah County’s stunning red rock canyons and unique geological formations.