Utah Geography

Utah has a geography that people come from all over the world to visit.  Utah’s geography also provides the foundation for a diverse people and the resources for a vibrant economy. Utah is generally divided into three distinct regions:   the Great Basin Region, the Rocky Mountain Region, and the Colorado Plateau. Among those regions are a large number of National Parks and Monuments. Because Utah is in an arid region of the United States, water will always play a crucial role in its development.  The geography of Utah can be studied through the five themes of geography which are: Location, Place, Region, Movement and Human-Environmental Interaction.

The Great Basin National Heritage Area was designated by Congress in 2006 to recognize its “classic western landscape that contains long natural vistas, isolated high desert valleys, mountain ranges, ranches, mines, historic railroads, archaeological sites and tribal communities.” The recognized Area is made up of two neighboring counties, White Pine in Nevada and Millard in Utah, as representative of the larger geographic Great Basin. The Great Basin National Heritage Partnership was designated at the local coordinating entity for the Area.

Image and Video of Rattlesnake from Great Basin

Great Basin (Western) Rattlesnake Sounds of a Rattlesnake from the Great Basin.

Map of the Territory West of the Rocky Mountains

Map of the Territory West of the Rocky Mountains. The second map included in Washington Irving’s book: The Rocky Mountains; or Scenes, Incidents, and Adventures in the Far West. Later this was called The Adventures of Captain Bonneville. This book together with this map produced by Capt. Bonneville was a result of his expedition, was … Continue reading Map of the Territory West of the Rocky Mountains

Map of Deseret Counties (1850)

Counties existing in Deseret at the end of 1850 are blacked in on the map. The first counties were restricted to inhabited valleys. Iron County between January and December 1850 was called Little Salt Lake County. Davis County was created in October, 1850, out of Weber and Great Salt Lake Counties; the latter originally extended … Continue reading Map of Deseret Counties (1850)

Manti National Forest

The deep sandstone canyons, mountaintops, meadows, lakes, and streams of the Manti-La Sal National Forest create a diverse landscape.  From the Abajos and La Sals in southeastern Utah to the Wasatch Plateau and Sanpitch mountains hundreds of miles away in central Utah, the Forest is a welcome retreat.

The Shortest Route to California

An account of the shortest route to California illustrated by a history of explorations of the Great Basin of Utah with its topographical and geological character and some account of the Indian tribes.

National Park Service Sound Spectrograms

National Park Service scientists record and analyze sounds in national parks to inform and improve management of national parks across the country. The data is collected through recording systems installed by the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division in selected parks for about a month at a time. The systems record audio as mp3 files … Continue reading National Park Service Sound Spectrograms

View of Mt. Washington

Mount Washington is a mountain in White Pine County in the state of Nevada. The mountain climbs to an elevation of 11,658 feet (3,553 m) and is in Great Basin National Park. Land near the summit and adjoining the national park was purchased in 2001 by The Long Now Foundation as a potential site for the Clock of the Long Now. The announcement … Continue reading View of Mt. Washington

Views of Lehman Cave

Lehman Caves, large, spectacular cavern at Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada, U.S. The cave lies 5 miles (8 km) west of Baker at the base of the eastern slope of Wheeler Peak (13,063 feet [3,982 meters]) in the Snake Range. It is made of light gray and white limestone that is honeycombed by tunnels and galleries containing a spectacular array … Continue reading Views of Lehman Cave

Map of Great Basin National Heritage Area

The Great Basin National Heritage Area was designated by Congress in 2006 to recognize its “classic western landscape that contains long natural vistas, isolated high desert valleys, mountain ranges, ranches, mines, historic railroads, archaeological sites and tribal communities.” The recognized Area is made up of two neighboring counties, White Pine in Nevada and Millard in … Continue reading Map of Great Basin National Heritage Area

Zion National Park

Zion National Park showing the Virgin River with The Watchmen in the distance, 1924.

Rocky Mountain Elk

This link contains different information regarding Rocky Mountain Elk, specifically about its antlers, habitat, behavior, and reproduction information.

Audio Tracks of Various Wildlife

Audio track of a Bighorn Sheep (Ram) from Zion National Park. Audio track of Utah Prairie Dog calls.

Uinta Mountains

Uinta Mountains, segment of the south-central Rocky Mountains, extending eastward for more than 100 miles (160 km) from the Wasatch Range across northeastern Utah and slightly into southwestern Wyoming, U.S. Many of the range’s summits exceed 13,000 feet (4,000 m), including Kings Peak (13,528 feet [4,123 m]), the highest point in Utah. The mountains are a headstream region for the Provo, Bear, and Duchesne … Continue reading Uinta Mountains

Map of Northern Utah and Southern Idaho (Bear Lake)

This map is from rare manuscript volume “A Description of the Location, Works and Business of the Bear Lake and River Water Works and Irrigation Co.” (1889) which is also in this digital collection. Printed against a township & range grid, this map shows various rivers and lakes (Great Salt Lake and Bear Lake) in … Continue reading Map of Northern Utah and Southern Idaho (Bear Lake)

Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake, lake in northern Utah, U.S., the largest inland body of salt water in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most saline inland bodies of water in the world. The lake is fed by the Bear, Weber, and Jordan rivers and has no outlet. The lake has fluctuated greatly in size, depending on the rates of evaporation and the … Continue reading Great Salt Lake

Utah Lake and Mt. Timpanogos

A view of the ice-filled Utah Lake looking east towards Mt. Timpanogos.

Map of Lake Bonneville Showing its Extent at the Date of the Provo Shoreline

Map of prehistoric freshwater Lake Bonneville showing its main body and Sevier body, with the Provo water area marked in blue. Lake Bonneville was about 10 times larger than today’s Great Salt Lake which actually is a remnant of Lake Bonneville. The Provo shoreline was formed when the Lake levels stabilized following massive flooding out … Continue reading Map of Lake Bonneville Showing its Extent at the Date of the Provo Shoreline

Colorado River Bridge (Moab, Utah)

The highway to the left is US 160. The photo was taken in July when the water was high and the river at a flood state. Regular boat trips are scheduled from this point to Lees Ferry, a distance of nearly 270 miles.

New York American: vol. 8 no. 750, The Rocky Mountains

Extract from a letter by Mr. D.D. Potts dated “Rocky Mountains, 16 July 1826.” He describes the geography of the area from the Bear River to the Great Salt Lake.

Garden of Eden, Arches National Park

The Garden of Eden is located in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. With no designated trails it is more of an open hiking area where visitors can explore its various fins and geological structures including Serpentine Arch and Owl Rock. You can see medium sized arches and tiny baby arches just starting to form … Continue reading Garden of Eden, Arches National Park

Digging for Fossils

Dinosaur National Monument is famous for its remarkable dinosaur quarry. Today, visitors have the opportunity to see the bones in-situ, which means that bones have been carefully exposed but left in the ground as they were found. However, in the early 1900s, the Carnegie Quarry was very active and many dinosaurs were removed, studied, and put on … Continue reading Digging for Fossils

Rainbow Bridge National Park, Lake Powell

Spanning 275 feet, the Rainbow Bridge is the largest natural bridge in the world. It was formed by the action of Bridge Creek as it flowed down from the Navajo Mountain Gradually, an amazing sandstone arch was formed. The Paiute and Navajo tribes named the bridge Nonnezoshe which means “rainbow turned to stone.” For centuries, … Continue reading Rainbow Bridge National Park, Lake Powell

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park lies on the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in south central Utah. Bryce Canyon National Monument (administered by the U.S. Forest Service) was originally established on June 8, 1923 to preserve the “unusual scenic beauty, scientific interest, and importance.” On June 7, 1924, the monument’s name was changed to Utah … Continue reading Bryce Canyon National Park

Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument preserves a wide variety of resources both from the past and today. The geological and paleontological resources that exist in the park provide glimpses into environments millions of years ago and some of the plant and animals that lived then. The Carnegie Fossil Quarry is world renowned and specimens from it are … Continue reading Dinosaur National Monument

Zion National Park (1950-1960)

Tourist stagecoach inside Zion National Park. This picture was developed between 1950-1960.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park acknowledges the peoples who are traditionally associated with these landscapes: Hopi Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Paiute, Moapa Band of Paiute Indians of the Moapa River Reservation, Navajo Nation, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Pueblo of Zuni, Rosebud Sioux, San Juan Southern Paiute, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Indian … Continue reading Arches National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

The area of Capitol Reef has been a homeland to people for thousands of years. Archaic hunters and gatherers migrated through the canyons. The Fremont Culture solidified around 500 CE (Common Era), from food foraging groups, to farmers of corn, beans and squash. Petroglyphs etched in rock walls and painted pictographs remain as sacred remnants of the … Continue reading Capitol Reef National Park

Letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior dated September 6, 1911

The Commissioner of Indian Affairs discusses a legal claim by the Uintah and White River Utes against the U.S. Government over the construction of the Uintah National Forest

Photographs of the Colorado Plateau from Gregory Herbert’s book.

Utah Prairie Dog Call

A six second audio clip of a prairie dog call.

Brigham Young on Colorado Plateau

The image shows Brigham Young and a group of his followers at the Colorado Plateau in Arizona. This picture was taken in 1870.

Colorado Plateau Canyon

The Colorado Plateau is largely made up of high desert, with scattered areas of forests. In the southwest corner of the Colorado Plateau lies the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River and Mount Taylor. Much of the Plateau’s landscape is related, in both appearance and geologic history, to the Grand Canyon. The nickname “Red Rock Country” suggests the … Continue reading Colorado Plateau Canyon

Yellow Pines (Pinus Ponderosa)

The Jeffrey pine and the ponderosa pine are common in drier montane areas of the Sierra Nevada. They are often confused by casual observers. Across the remainder of the American West, Jeffrey pine is absent, with ponderosa pine being the sole yellow pine. Ponderosa pine-dominated forests (“Ponderosa pine forest”) occur at elevations from about 300 to … Continue reading Yellow Pines (Pinus Ponderosa)

Map of Colorado Plateau

This region is one of the world’s premier natural showcases for Earth history. Encompassing 240,000 square miles (386,242 km), the Colorado Plateau straddles the region known as The Four Corners, where the states of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico meet. Ancient volcanic mountains, plateaus and buttes, deeply carved canyons, and amazing ranges in color … Continue reading Map of Colorado Plateau

Colorado River

Colorado River, major river of North America, rising in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, U.S., and flowing generally west and south for 1,450 miles (2,330 kilometers) into the Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico. Its drainage basin covers 246,000 square miles (637,000 square kilometers) and includes parts of seven states—Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California. For 17 miles the river forms the international boundary between the U.S. … Continue reading Colorado River