7 Most Bizarre Places to Visit in Utah (2023)
Utah is one of the most spectacular states in the United States. Known for its luminescent red rock formations, majestically towering canyons with crystal clear icy waters cutting through them, Olympic-standard bobsledding, and some of the best snow in the world, there are many beautiful things about Utah that will make you fall in low with the state. A visit to Utah will quickly become an once-in-a-lifetime experience for any visitor.
7 Most Bizarre Places to Visit in Utah
For those tourists who want to step out of their comfort zone and indulge in the quirky and strange things in Utah, here are some of the most bizarre places you must visit in Utah.
1. Thistle Ghost Town
Location in Thistle, this is one of the biggest and most well-preserved examples of the Old West. A railroad company set this entire town up at the start of the 20th century. This quaint little town soon epitomized what small-town America really looked like, and families started to settle in, with tourists coming and going through the rail. However, this fairytale did not last for long as disaster struck this beautiful town in 1983 in the form of severe mudslides.
The population quickly shrunk down to just 50 people as there was a very wet year that pummeled the mountainside right down into the valley. The town never recovered from this disaster, and the houses were destroyed. You can still many several structures preserved just like they were abandoned many years ago. In fact, there is still one house here that remains submerged inside a lake. This place is very popular with metal detectorists and ghost hunters looking to cash in on the eeriness of this ghost town. If you like to visit such bizarre places, then you must begin your trip to Utah from the Thistle Ghost town itself.
2. Pando – The Trembling Giant
Located just one mile southwest of Fish Lake is another strange place that you will find only in Utah. This is the oldest and heaviest living organism in the world. Pando is an Aspen clone that is 80,000 years old and is believed to weigh in at around 6,000,000 kilograms. However, despite of its ancient history, Pando seems to be nearing its end, so if you are planning to visit Utah, it is recommended that you catch sight of this old organism before the end of its atrophic journey. The best time to visit Pando is in the autumn.
3. Spiral Jetty
The famous Spiral Jetty in Utah is an earthwork sculpture that was made in April 1970. This bizarre artwork is considered to be the most important work of renowned American sculptor Robert Smithson. Smithson actually documents the construction of this sculpture in a 32-minute color film also called Spiral Jetty.
Constructed on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake close to Rozel Point in Utah, the earthwork sculpture is entirely made up of salt crystals, mud, and basalt rocks. The sculpture forms a 1500 foot long, 15-foot wide counterclockwise coil that juts out from the shore of the lake. However, whether or not you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this sculpture depends on the water level of the Great Salt Lake.
4. Victim of the Beast Gravesite
This one seems to be right from the horror novels of Stephen King. Located in the Salt Lake City cemetery, this bizarre gravestone belonging to Lilly E. Gray states that she was “A victim of the Beast 666.” To date, no one knows what it means. Lilly was born in 1881 and died in 1958.
What remains unclear to many who visit this cemetery to check out this strange tombstone is whether the inscription is stranger or the fact that no one in the nearby areas seems to know what it means or why it was put there. Even after so many years of Lilly’s death, the mystery behind this inscription endures on.
5. Mars Desert Research Station
This is not a tourist attraction that is open to visitors. This bizarre sight in San Rafael Swell is only accessible to the team of researchers and scientists who work here. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is the biggest and longest-running Mars surface simulation facility in the world. It is one of the two simulated Mars analog habitats that are owned and operated by the Mars Society.
The MDRS station was constructed in the early 2000s, and it is managed by small teams of just 6 to 8 people who carry out various missions at the facility. The MDRS campus has a two-story habitat known as the Hab, a greenhouse called the GreenHab, a robotic observatory, an engineering pod known as the RAM, and a solar-related Musk Observatory.
Even though the facility is not open to the public, it is always interesting to catch a sight of it as you pass through Hansville in Utah.
6. Fantasy Canyon
Situated 27 miles south of Vernal in Utah, Fantasy Canyon is a small but unique attraction of extremely weathered rock formations that have been eroded into some very strange shapes. While this is not a major tourist destination, it makes for a wonderful short trip before or after you go to check out the White River. It is only a couple of miles from the Enron White River takeout. This is especially popular with families with children as kids love to play and explore these rocks.
Even though the entire area is only around 10 acres in size, it is home to some of the most unique and strange geological features in the world. The paleontologist who officially documented this site had named this place as The Devil’s Playground. You can access this canyon from the 0.6-mile long fantasy Canyon trail, which is sometimes also referred to as the Fantasy Canyon Loop Trail.
7. The Real ‘Up’ House
Remember the charming and beautiful little house from the hit Pixar animated movie ‘Up?’ Well, that house is very much real, and it sits in Herriman, Utah. Built-in 2011 after getting permission from the Disney Company, the house is built in an exact replica of the one in the movie, right down to the smallest of details. Even the exterior paint and the custom-made furniture are the same as the ones in the movie.