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Utah may have been the most rapidly growing American state in 2008, but most of this southwest state remains a sparsely populated oasis filled with five national parks, seven national monuments, and countless other breathtaking vistas. Salt Lake City and its surrounding Wasatch Front are home to about 80 per cent of Utah’s population, while nearby Park City is consistently ranked among America’s finest ski resorts. Between 2000 and 2005, no American metropolitan area grew at a faster rate than the southwest Utah city of St George.
Thrifty, Hertz, and Alamo are just three of the nine different companies offering vehicles at Salt Lake City International Airport, but just as many options are available throughout Utah’s biggest city. St George offers the largest number of vehicle selections in southwest Utah. Intending travellers should compare car hire before they begin their trip so as to secure the best possible deal.
Salt Lake City International Airport, by far Utah’s largest, offers non-stop flights to not only more than 100 cities across North America, but even to Tokyo and Paris. The airport is expected to connect with the Salt Lake Valley’s TRAX light rail system soon. The Utah Transit Authority bus network travels throughout the Wasatch Front and makes winter runs to Park City and other ski resorts. Nonetheless, many parts of the state are still only accessible with car rental in Utah.
I-15, Utah’s longest interstate highway, passes directly through St George and Salt Lake City on its way south to California and north to the Canadian border. I-80 is the fastest way to travel between Salt Lake City and Denver, but it also extends as far west as Reno and San Francisco. I-70 may not travel through any of Utah’s cities, but offers spectacular southern Utah desert views. Most Utah cities use the same easily understandable grid system as Salt Lake City.
The more than 100 mile long Skyline Drive ranks among the highest roads in the United States and takes drivers with their car hire in Utah past countless alpine forests and meadows on the Wasatch Plateau’s summit. Rock climbers can scale some of the world’s most colourful sandstone cliffs in southwest Utah’s Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks. Visitors can boat on Great Salt Lake, which never freezes, 12 months of the year.
Many believe early autumn is Utah’s ideal season, when the brutally hot summer desert temperatures decrease, snow has yet to appear, and the colourful autumn foliage of the Wasatch Mountains rivals that of New England. Snow is far more common than rain, and remains on the ground in most of Utah from November to March, when temperatures hover around freezing. Southwest Utah, known as Dixie, experiences hotter summers (with temperatures of up to 38°C) and has far less snow than the rest of the state.