Utah State Parks - Five of 43...

Posted On
Apr 15, 2016

By Hollie Brown


The Utah State Park system consists of 43 units that offer visitors a smorgasbord of recreational activities, culture, history, golf, water sports, fishing, camping and events.

In the heart of the state, along Interstate 70 and the Interstate 15 corridor, lie hidden gems that are part of the park system. Fremont Indian, Frontier Homestead, Palisade, Territorial and Yuba state parks offer a variety of recreational activities, including a glimpse of Utah’s pioneer and American Indian history.


Fremont Indian State Park and Museum

One thousand years ago, the valleys along what is now Interstate 70 near the town of Sevier were home to the largest community of Fremont Indians ever discovered. Their rock art and structures are still visible in the canyons of Fremont Indian State Park.

The visitor center houses thousands of artifacts excavated during the building of Interstate 70. Special programs enhance museum collections and include rock art tours, pottery-making workshops and art exhibits featuring works of local artists. The museum store carries American Indian themed crafts and jewelry, books, t-shirts and souvenirs.

Camping is available in the Castle Rock campground, the Sam Stowe Group-Use Area or spend the night in one of the park’s teepees.

Numerous non-motorized trails lead visitors to hundreds of rock art panels, viewpoints and geologic wonders located throughout Clear Creek Canyon. Petroglyphs, pictographs, columnar jointing, hoodoos and bubble caves are all easily accessible. Trail information is available at the visitor center. Trails range from one-quarter mile to five miles in length.

The Paiute ATV Trail, a 240 mile loop with over 2000 miles of side trails, is the most impressive off-highway vehicle system in the world.  The main loop runs right through the middle of the park where trailheads and parking are located.


Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum is Utah’s oldest exist­ing governmental building and first state park. Glimpse into Utah’s history through photographs, antiques, furniture, textiles and historical items from the late 19th century.

In 1851, early Mormon leader Brigham Young and a group of lawmakers chose a centrally located site, 150 miles south of Salt Lake City, to be the state capital. The group named the city Fillmore in honor of Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States.

When the petition of statehood was denied, a territorial government was established. Brigham Young was appointed governor of the Utah Territory and Fillmore became the territorial capital.

Construction of the Statehouse began in 1852. The original building plans called for three levels and four wings. Due to a lack of funding, only the existing south wing was completed. The territorial legislature met there in December 1855 and was the only full session held in the Statehouse. The seat of government returned to Salt Lake in 1858.

Over the years, the Statehouse functioned as a civic center, religious meeting center, school, theater and even a jail.

Today, the Statehouse reveals Utah pioneer culture and history, through artifacts and paintings and special events. It is also home to the All-American Rose Society Garden and two restored pioneer cabins and an 1867 stone schoolhouse.  A museum gift shop sells books, candy and souvenirs.

Special annual events include the Old Capital Arts Festival, which is held the first weekend after Labor Day; Pioneer Christmas and Statehood Day.


Frontier Homestead State Park Museum

Relive the pioneer and early industrial history of Cedar City, Iron County, and southwest Utah through an extensive horse-drawn wagon collection used from 1850-1920, historic buildings, Paiute native camp, sawmill and replica blast furnace.  An iron industry exhibit features the only known remaining artifact from the original foundry - the town bell.

Lack of iron was a major concern to pioneers who began settling Utah in 1847. When iron ore was discovered in southern Utah, Mormon leader Brigham Young called for volunteers to colonize the Cedar City area in December of 1850.  Ten months later, the colony completed a blast furnace and began operating an iron foundry.  Despite its initial success, Iron Mission faced many difficulties and ultimately closed in 1858. 

A desire to preserve and interpret the history of this endeavor eventually led to the establishment of Iron Mission State Park in 1973.  In 2008, the museum received funds to recreate the original blast furnace which visitors can view.  In 2009, Iron Mission State Park changed the museum name to Frontier Homestead State Park Museum to more accurately reflect the mission of the museum along with its variety of collections and exhibits.

In addition to the permanent collections, changing special exhibits highlight artists from the local region, as well as rarely seen artifacts from the museum's collections. Other items of interest include a large collection of horse-drawn farm equipment and a replicated pioneer household.

Annual events include Iron Mission Days, Christmas at the Homestead and children’s history camps.


Yuba State Park offers a variety of recreation opportunities including boating, off-highway vehicle riding and fishing for northern pike, walleye, yellow perch and trout. In fact, the current Utah angling record pike was caught at Yuba in 2013 and measured 45.5 inches long.

Warm water temperatures during the summer make the reservoir extremely popular for boating, waterskiing, personal watercraft, sailing and swimming. Two boat ramps, one on the west side and one on the east provide access for all watercraft.

Camping is very popular at the park, especially when water levels are lower and expose sandy beaches. RV hookup sites are available in the Oasis camping. Two cabins are available for those wanting a few more comforts of home.

Off-highway vehicle enthusiasts can ride directly from the campground to nearby West and Valley mountain trailheads.

Yuba has two zip lines for thrill seekers - the only ones in a Utah state park. Choose from the 850-foot Monster Mega Zip or the Mega Zip at 650-feet. Purchase a zip pass or get a discounted rate Monday through Wednesday.

Visitors with a good eye can sometimes find evidence of the ancient American Indians that once lived in the area. Rock art, pieces of pottery and stone tools are among items that have been found around the reservoir. Remnants of mining and ranching that took place in the area are also visible to those with an interest in older cultures. Visitors are allowed to explore the area, but are asked not to disturb or remove any artifacts.

Annual park events include a sand castle building competition, Easter egg hunt and carp bow fishing tournament.


Palisade State Park is located in the center of Utah in beautiful Sanpete County.  Its picturesque surroundings add a relaxing dimension to any activity.

Often called one of Sanpete County’s best kept secrets, the 18-hole golf course is a favorite and offers some of the most challenging putting greens in the state.  Many players regard the par-three, signature hole #4 to be among the best in the state.

The clubhouse amenities include a golf shop, restaurant, club rental, clothing, equipment, and accessories, food and beverages, private and group lessons, driving range and cart rental. Tee times may be made seven days in advance.

Views and vistas of the natural surrounding are stunning. Many golfers use their cameras as much as their clubs.

Pitch a tent or pull an RV into one of the many campsites, with some including full hook-ups. Overnight and day-use group areas are available and are popular for family reunions and other gatherings. Reservations are strongly encouraged and available at palisade.utah.gov.

Palisade also offers three cabins with sleeping accommodations up to eight people and are furnished with bunk beds/futon, table and chairs, power, heat, air conditioner, microwave and refrigerator. 

Off-highway vehicle trails are located in nearby Six-Mile Canyon, which provides access to Skyline Drive - a 10,000-foot-high road along the crest of the spectacular Wasatch Plateau.  During the summer months, park rangers’ offer guided off-highway vehicle tours. Mountain biking is a popular activity in Six-Mile Canyon and on Skyline as well.  Annual events include the popular Manti Miracle Pageant and various golf tournaments.

Utah State Parks offers an annual pass that waives the entrance fee into most state parks. Cost is $75 or $35 for those 62 years and older. Passes can be purchased on the state parks website or at any state park.

Camping reservations are available online or by calling 800-322-3770. Individual campsite reservations are accepted up to four months or 11 months for group sites.

For more information or to discover more about Utah’s state parks, call 801-538-7220.  Play. Discover. Explore.