Highway 89 Itinerary Day 6

Highway 89 Road Trip Day 6: Capitol Reef National Park to Salt Lake City

Embarking on a journey from Capitol Reef National Park to Salt Lake City blends the rugged beauty of the park with the urban allure of Utah’s capital. As the reddish hues of the park give way to the bustling streets of Salt Lake, immerse yourself in the rich history, architecture, and vibrant culture of this city by the mountains.

This photo by Sean Pavone

Morning: Departure from Richfield to Provo

As the morning light gently filters through, your day begins with the promise of new landscapes and urban exploration. After a nourishing breakfast in Richfield, set your course north towards the vibrant life of Salt Lake City, with a planned mid-morning stop in the charming city of Provo.

The journey from Richfield to Provo is a scenic delight. As you drive, witness the transition from the rugged beauty of Southern Utah to the more diverse and lush landscapes of the northern part of the state. The route offers captivating views of rolling hills, vast open fields, and distant mountain ranges, inviting you to pause and capture these moments.

Arriving in Provo, you’ll find yourself in the cultural heart of Utah County. Home to Brigham Young University, the city exudes a youthful and energetic vibe, with streets lined with quaint shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Take this opportunity for a mid-morning break to stretch your legs and perhaps enjoy a cup of local brew.

The inviting ambiance of Provo’s downtown is perfect for a leisurely stroll, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture and architecture. As you wander, let the city’s unique blend of historical charm and modern innovation set the tone for the rest of your day.

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Afternoon: Cultural Exploration in Provo

Your afternoon in Provo beckons with a blend of culture, nature, and culinary delights. Consider visiting the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, one of the largest and best-attended art museums in the Mountain West. The museum’s diverse collections and exhibitions provide a thoughtful and inspiring look at both historical and contemporary art.

For a taste of Provo’s natural beauty, a short drive to Provo Canyon offers a refreshing outdoor escape. The canyon’s rugged cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and the serene Provo River create a picturesque setting for an afternoon stroll or a picnic. The scenic Bridal Veil Falls, easily accessible from the highway, is a must-see with its beautiful cascades feeding into the Provo River.

As lunchtime approaches, indulge in Provo’s culinary scene. The city’s vibrant food culture offers everything from cozy cafes to fine dining. Enjoy a meal at [Recommended Lunch Spot], known for its delicious [Type of Cuisine] and inviting atmosphere, or [Alternative Lunch Spot], where the [Signature Dish] comes highly recommended.

After satisfying your appetite and cultural curiosity in Provo, continue your journey towards Salt Lake City. The drive to Utah’s capital is filled with anticipation, as the skyline, framed by the stunning Wasatch Mountain Range, gradually comes into view.

Upon arrival, immerse yourself in the city’s rich heritage by visiting the iconic Temple Square. This 10-acre complex, located in the heart of downtown, is not only a testament to the city’s historical roots but also a center of cultural and spiritual significance.

As the afternoon gives way to the evening, Salt Lake City’s vibrant streets invite you to discover more. The downtown area, with its blend of historic buildings and modern architecture, offers a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options to explore before settling in for the night.

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Evening: Unwind in the Heart of Salt Lake City

As the evening hues settle over Salt Lake City, the urban landscape takes on a vibrant life of its own. Begin your evening exploration at Temple Square, the spiritual center and headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even if you’re not visiting for religious purposes, the stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and peaceful ambiance make it a noteworthy stop.

Next, consider a leisurely walk to the Utah State Capitol Building, perched on Capitol Hill. The building’s impressive Neoclassical architecture and the panoramic views of the city it offers are well worth the visit. As night falls, the illuminated structure against the backdrop of the Salt Lake skyline provides a picturesque scene.

For dinner, immerse yourself in Salt Lake City’s burgeoning culinary scene. The city boasts a diverse array of dining options that cater to every palate. [Recommended Dinner Spot] offers a menu that perfectly combines local flavors with modern culinary techniques. Alternatively, [Alternative Dinner Spot] provides a cozy ambiance and a menu that’s sure to delight.

After dinner, if you’re inclined to experience Salt Lake City’s cultural scene further, check out the events at the Eccles Theater or the Utah Symphony. The city often hosts a variety of performances, ranging from music and dance to theater and live shows.

End your evening with a casual stroll through the city’s downtown area. The streets of Salt Lake City offer a pleasant blend of historic charm and contemporary buzz. As you walk, take in the unique atmosphere, perhaps stopping at a local cafe or dessert spot to savor a sweet treat before returning to your accommodation.

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Dining Recommendations

  • Recommended lunch spot: [LOCATION]
  • Alternative lunch location: [LOCATION]
  • Recommended dinner spot: [LOCATION]
  • Alternative dinner spot: [LOCATION]
  • Breakfast, snacks, dessert, and more: [INFORMATION]

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Lodging Recommendations

While there are ample camping and vacation rental options all over Highway 89, I personally highly prefer staying at Hilton-branded properties when traveling to national parks and during road trips. As such, here is three recommendations for places to stay in Salt Lake City, Utah on day 6 of the ultimate Highway 89 road trip.

  1. Lodging Recommendation 1
  2. Lodging Recommendation 2
  3. Lodging Recommendation 3

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Quick Things To Note

Salt Lake City, as a bustling urban center, can have busy traffic, especially during peak hours. Plan your travel times accordingly. Parking is available downtown, but it’s wise to check parking regulations and fees. Many hotels offer parking, and there are also public parking lots and garages.

If you’re planning to visit Temple Square, check the visiting hours in advance. The area is open to the public and free to enter, but some buildings and facilities may have specific hours, especially in the evening.

Salt Lake City’s dining scene is vibrant and diverse, with many popular spots getting booked quickly. To ensure a spot at your restaurant of choice, consider making a reservation, especially for dinner.

If you’re interested in attending a performance at the Eccles Theater, the Utah Symphony, or any other cultural venue, it’s a good idea to check schedules and book tickets in advance. These venues often host a wide array of performances that can be a highlight of your evening.

While Salt Lake City isn’t as high as some of the other locations on Highway 89, it still sits at over 4,000 feet. If you’re coming from a lower elevation, remember to stay hydrated and give yourself time to acclimate to the altitude.

Even during summer, nighttime temperatures in Salt Lake City can be cool. If you plan to explore the city in the evening, carrying a light jacket or sweater is advisable.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Temple Square and the Utah State Capitol Building are iconic landmarks. For a taste of local culture, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts or the Natural History Museum of Utah offer fascinating exhibits. Don’t miss the Great Salt Lake, known for its unique ecosystem and stunning sunsets.

Downtown Salt Lake City is quite walkable, with many attractions, restaurants, and shops within easy walking distance of each other. The city also has a reliable public transit system, including a light rail service called TRAX, which can be handy for covering longer distances.

Salt Lake City offers a diverse culinary scene. For a fine dining experience, try [Recommended Dinner Spot], known for its innovative dishes. For something more casual but equally delicious, [Alternative Dinner Spot] is a local favorite.

Yes, free guided tours are available at Temple Square, offering insights into the history and architecture of the area. The tours are conducted by volunteers and provide a comprehensive look at this significant cultural and religious site.

The Great Salt Lake is known for its high salinity and unique ecosystem. Antelope Island State Park offers beautiful views and opportunities to see local wildlife. Remember, the lake can have a distinct odor due to the brine shrimp and mineral composition, and biting gnats are present during certain seasons, so come prepared.

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Our Final Thoughts on Highway 89 Day 6

As Day 6 of our Highway 89 odyssey comes to a close, we find ourselves reflecting on the rich tapestry of experiences that the day unfolded. Transitioning from the natural splendor of Capitol Reef to the urban heartbeat of Salt Lake City, we navigated through diverse landscapes, each with its unique allure.

The cultural interlude in Provo, set against the backdrop of Utah’s stunning mountains and canyons, was a reminder of the seamless blend of nature and culture that this journey offers.

Salt Lake City, with its majestic backdrop of the Wasatch Range, presented a world where history meets modernity. Temple Square’s spiritual aura, combined with the architectural elegance of the Capitol and the city’s vibrant culinary scene, made for an enriching urban experience.

As we nestled into the comfort of this bustling city, the contrast between the day’s serene beginnings and its lively conclusion only added depth to our journey.

Looking ahead to Day 7, our sense of adventure is rekindled with the promise of new discoveries. As Highway 89 continues to weave its story, we carry with us the memories of red rock vistas, verdant valleys, and city lights—a mosaic of experiences that epitomizes the heart and soul of the American Southwest.