The Wasatch Range shares the same desert climate as the Great Basin, which it rims, but these craggy peaks rising to more than 11,000 feet stall storms moving in from the Pacific causing massive precipitations. The result is a 160-mile stretch of verdure that is home to 2 million people, or three-fourths of all Utahns. Although its landscape is crisscrossed by freeways and dappled by towns large and small, the Wasatch still beckons adventurers with its alpine forests and windswept canyons. Those who visit follow in the footsteps of Native Americans and in the wagon-wheel ruts of Mormon pioneers and miners.
Where three geologically distinct regions—the Rocky Mountain, the Colorado Plateau, and the Basin and Range provinces—converge, the Wasatch Range combines characteristics of each. You'll find broad glacial canyons with towering granite walls, stream-cut gorges through purple, tan, and green shale, and red-rock bluffs and valleys.
Uppermost in many people's minds is the legendary skiing, but this is truly a year-round destination. Bright-blue lakes afford fantastic boating and water sports, and some of the West's best trout streams flow from the high country. Add picturesque mountain communities, miles of hiking and biking trails, and spectacular alpine scenery, and you have a vacation that's hard to beat.
You can also find cultural activities and entertainment at every turn. The Sundance Film Festival, hosted by actor-director Robert Redford, attracts movie stars and independent filmmakers from all over. Major recording artists of all types play indoor and outdoor venues, and nightlife abounds in the city and resorts, with an increasing number of nightclubs and music venues.