Memorial Hill in Heber City, Utah.

These Towns In Utah Come Alive In Spring

Being far away from beaches and tropics, Utah is often overlooked as a spring destination. But this geographic wonderland does not lose its wonder outside of summer. In fact, some would argue that it is even more magical in the cooler months. Spring in Utah contains striking wildflowers, vibrant festivals, extreme sporting events, and if snow outlasts the winter, geological landmarks frozen with an elegance unlike anything you have ever seen. Plus, if you choose small towns rather than big cities, you can avoid the crowds that plague the state in the season. See which small Utah communities spring to life in spring.

Bryce Canyon City

The famous Bryce Canyon of Utah.
The famous Bryce Canyon of Utah.

Bryce Canyon City is a tiny town on the edge of Bryce Canyon National Park, a 35,000-acre preserve of extraordinary geological formations. These include natural amphitheaters like the Sinking Ship, the Chinese Wall, and Thor's Hammer. Hiking through Bryce can be easier in spring, given the lack of tourists, but it can also be harder due to rain and snow. As long as you bring microspikes, trekking poles, and other spring-appropriate gear, you can experience the canyon at its absolute prettiest. In fact, many people battle Bryce in snowshoes.

After conquering the frosty canyon, spring breakers can relax in the numerous Ruby-named in-town haunts. Until 2007, Bryce Canyon City was called Ruby's Inn and consisted exclusively of the namesake resort, which was founded by Reuben "Ruby" Syrett. It became a town under a short-lived law and is still monopolized by Ruby's descendants and their businesses, but now there are additional operations like Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel and Valhalla Pizzeria and Coffee Shop.


The sign for The Flute Store Gift Shop and Motel in Torrey, Utah
The sign for The Flute Store Gift Shop and Motel in Torrey, Utah.

Like Bryce Canyon City, Torrey is a super-small town that services a super-large park. In this case, it is Capitol Reef National Park, which covers 241,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, and domes just east of town. Spring adds extra color to Capitol Reef via blooming wildflowers, which are missed by tourists who think Utah's parks are summer-specific. Once they have stimulated their eyes and nostrils along the flowering trails of Hickman Bridge and Grand Wash, spring vacationers can stimulate their ears at Fort Desolation Fest, a three-night music festival scheduled for early June in Torrey's Cougar Ridge Resort.

Heber City

Heber City, Utah.
The charming town of Heber City, Utah, in spring. Image credit: Victoria -

Heber City would be considered a town in many states besides Utah. Around 17,000 people live in Heber, but that is a dramatic increase from a couple of decades ago when its population was 7,000. Since Heber sits in a mountain valley of the same name, outdoor activities have attracted many new visitors and residents, some of whom come in spring for a mix of sun, snow, and space. You can join them for skiing at Sundance Mountain Resort, tubing at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, fishing at Deer Creek Reservoir, and horseback riding along the Wasatch Back. For a truly hot spring, dive into Utah Crater, which is a 65-foot, 95-degree geothermal hot spring at Homestead Farm. You can cap off the season with the Intermountain Championships Powwow, which is held by Cultural Fire Events and is set to run from June 1 to 2 at River's Edge Campground.


The 'Balloons and Tunes' Festival is held in Kanab, UT.
The 'Balloons and Tunes' Festival is held in Kanab, Utah. Editorial credit: Layne V. Naylor /

Another town-sized Utah community classified as a city, Kanab springs into action for an Easter egg hunt in one of the most remarkable locations on planet Earth. The Coral Pink Sand Dunes Egg Hunt is scheduled for March 23 at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, which, true to its name, contains coral-pink sand dunes. But that is far from the only Kanab-adjacent attraction to explore in spring. The "city" is about 15 minutes from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a half hour from Zion National Park, and a couple hours from the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Moreover, Kanab proper is set to host the Red Rock ATV Jamboree from April 24 to 27 and Kanab Film Fest from May 2 to 4.


The charming resort town of Alta, Utah.
The charming resort town of Alta, Utah.

Alta is a 200ish-person town adjoining the Albion Basin, which is considered the mountain wildflower mecca of Utah. Over 120 species of flowers are known to blossom in this area, which can be accessed via the Albion Basin Campground. However, spring starts a lot later in the mountains than in the canyons, which means that Albion's flowers, such as paintbrush and lupine, do not usually bloom until July or August. If you prefer white powder over colorful flowers, Alta is, first and foremost, a skiing town centered around the Alta Ski Area, which tends to stay open until late April.


Aerial View of Swimming Beach on the Great Salt Lake, Utah
Aerial view of swimming beach on the Great Salt Lake, Utah.

Located in the Ogden-Clearfield metropolitan area, Marriott-Slaterville has just over 2,000 residents but is surrounded by roughly 700,000 people. Knowing the latter population makes its status as the host of UtahRenFest much more sensible. Previously called the Utah Renaissance Festival & Fantasy Faire, UtahRenFest is going into its 18th season, and it is set to span three whole weekends in May. Each weekend has its own theme: "Faerie" is May 11 to 12, "Pirate" is May 18 to 19, and "Vikings and Heroes" is May 25 to 27. If Renaissance cosplaying is not your idea of spring vacation, Marriott-Slaterville is close to the Great Salt Lake with its huge selection of scenic activities. It is also near Salt Lake City, whose spring festivals include Mural Fest, Living Traditions Festival, Utah Pride Festival, and Utah Asian Festival.


Aerial view of Moab, Utah.
Aerial view of Moab, Utah. Editorial credit: Gerald Peplow /

Moab is an explosion of spring activities. This eastern Utah community abuts Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, whose giant shale slopes and sandstone arches resemble skate ramps built for a rock monster. Naturally, Moab is a paradise for extreme outdoor adventurers. Cyclists come in early March for Skinny Tire Festival; runners come in mid-March for Canyonlands Half Marathon and 5 Mile; and four-wheel drivers come in late March for Easter Jeep Safari. More cyclists arrive in May for Gran Fondo Moab, a 60-mile race through paved Castle Valley, while rugged cyclists are set to compete in the inaugural Gravel Fondo Moab, which is to be held the next day on a gravel track rather than a paved road. Moabers who prefer a relaxing spring vacation can attend Moab Arts Festival, which takes place on Memorial Day Weekend and features art, music, food, and kids' games.

Utah is a special state in spring. Though it lacks conventional spring break attractions, it has all the sites that attract millions of tourists in the summer, only they are quieter and arguably prettier in the earlier months. Instead of coming alive with vacationers, Utah in spring comes alive with flowers, festivals, fairs, and fantastic physical feats. Bryce Canyon City, Torrey, Heber City, Kanab, Alta, Marriott-Slaterville, and Moab are seven of the best towns for experiencing spring in Utah.

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