My Views of Utah

Where's Utah?

USA line Map

Above: On this map of the United States, Utah is outlined in red. Its neighbors are Nevada to the west, Idaho to the north, Wyoming in the northeast corner, Colorado to the east, and Arizona to the south. Notice the point where Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico come together. This is the only place in the United States where this happens, and the only place where one can stand in four states at the same time! Four Corners is part of the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American nation in the US.

Utah Map

Above: On this map, red lines represent represent major highways and black lines represent railroads. The first transcontinental railroad was completed in Utah with the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads at Promintory Point just north of the Great Salt Lake. The driving of the Golden Spike occurred on May 10, 1869, creating "the first serious and permanent breech in the frontier, and established the process by which the entire frontier was to be demolished." (Robert M. Uttley, Special Report on Promontory Summit, Utah, February 1960) The trains no longer cross the state that far north, but rather travel across a causeway built through the the Great Salt Lake to shorten travel time. The number of passenger trains has declined dramatically over the intervening 130+ years, but numerous freight trains still travel the rails daily.

Three Interstate Highways pass through Utah. I-15 enters Utah at the Idaho border, north of Tremonton, travels south the length of the State and exits at the Arizona border, just south of St. George. (This highway recently went through four years of upgrade and reconstruction along the Wasatch front making it, now, one of the best engineered and constructed sections of interstate freeway in the country.) I-80 enters Utah from Nevada at Wendover, travels eastward to the Wyoming border where it exits near Evanston. I-70 enters from Colorado, east of Thompson, travels west through the longest stretch of open country on the US Interstate system, and ends where it joins I-15 at Cove Fort.

Utah Relief Map

Above: This false color relief map gives an indication of land forms and elevations of Utah. The Uinta Mountains (pinkish) are located near the northeast border with Wyoming. This unusual east-west oriented range has Utah's highest mountain, King's Peak, which rises to over 13,000 feet in elevation.

Of the north-south mountain ranges, the most familiar is the Wasatch which runs along the eastern edge of the western purple area (the Great Basin). Most of Utah's 2.5 million residents live along the western front of this range from about the north end of the Great Salt Lake to about the center of the state. The average elevation of this populated area is about 4,500 ft.

Now the Great Basin is a high desert area, but about 10,000 years ago it was filled with water, creating Lake Bonneville. When most of the water suddenly drained through the Columbia Gorge to the Pacific Ocean, the Great Salt Lake was left with no outlet, causing it to become salty rather than fresh water. Ancient shorelines of Lake Bonneville are still clearly visible along the foothills in Utah and Idaho where a foot/bicycle path is being developed.

The National Parks are located in the southern third of the state, part of the Colorado Plateau. Comparing this map with the one above will help you locate them among the high tablelands. In the southwest corner of the state, where the city of St. George is located, the elevation drops to about 2.500 ft. For a satellite view of the same area, click here.

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*Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this website were taken by Venita, who also holds the copyright. Should you wish to download any of them for any reason (other than your own enjoyment), please credit  Venita  as the photographer and add my URL:

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