Just the Facts…
bird – Common American Gull flower – Sego Lily tree – Blue Spruce capital – Salt Lake City union – 45th state on January 4, 1896 population – almost 3 million
About 80% of Utah’s population lives in the Salt Lake City area. Salt Lake City is near the Great Salt Lake, the biggest natural lake west of the Mississippi River. Utah has a diverse landscape – ranging from desert to mountains and everything in between. Most of Utah gets very little rainfall, with the exception of the mountains (Utah has some pretty great ski resorts).
Utah is one of three states to have all its borders determined by latitude and longitude lines (the others are Colorado and Wyoming). It is also part of Four Corners, where you can stand on 4 states at once – Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Utah was originally formed as a safe haven for Mormons, who are members of the church of Latter Day Saints. Brigham Young led Mormons from Illinois to Utah, seeking a place where they could live in peace and practice their religion. They settled along the Great Salt Lake, forming Salt Lake City. When they first arrived, Mexico still claimed ownership to the area. Even today, over 1/2 of Utah’s population claim to be Mormon.
Its Claim to Fame
The first transcontinental railroad was completed in Utah. The railroad was built simultaneously from both coasts and they met on Promontory Summit. California’s Governor, Leland Stanford, pounded in the final railroad spike that connected each part of the railroad in 1869 – he used a ceremonial spike that was pure gold! Everyone around the country was excited for the event – the spike was even attached to a telegraph wire in the hopes that people could hear the “Golden Spike” being pounded into the railroad. The West was finally connected to the East by railroad!
The Great Salt Lake has more salt in it than some oceans. It gets so salty because there is no natural outlet – water flow into the lake and then does not flow out. Instead, the water evaporates in the heat, leaving a higher concentration of salt than any other fresh water lake! In fact, the Great Salt Lake is so salty that most fish can’t survive – the only aquatic life is brine shrimp. And, it is so salty that is is almost impossible for a person to sink! People naturally float in the Great Salt Lake – but if you visit make sure you don’t drink the water!
What Makes it Tick
Utah is home to five national parks, seven national monuments, and many more protected parks, forests and recreation areas. It is an outdoor playground, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, camping, and rock climbing.
Mining has been big business in Utah for over 100 years. Some of the largest open pit mines are located in Utah. And, a wide variety of minerals and metals are mined in Utah – from gold, silver and copper to coal, oil and natural gas.
If You Visited
If you visited Utah, you might go see the Delicate Arch, which is a natural rock formation in Arches National Park. The wind and rain has eroded the sandstone arch over thousands of years, creating the delicate formation that we see today. Much of southern Utah is reddish colored sandstone, which is soft and very susceptible to wind and water erosion. This combination can create some pretty spectacular rock formations! The Colorado River winds its way through this region as well.
Or, you might visit the sites of the Winter Olympics. Salt Lake City was home to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and the facilities are still used for competitions today. You could watch a bobsleigh race at the Olympic Park Track or speed skating on the Olympic Oval! There is even a 2002 Winter Olympics Museum and a ski museum.
Want to Know More?
Check our Utah state scrapbook for an industry map, state symbols and information we received from the Governor and Board of Tourism.
Do you live in Utah? Or, maybe you have visited Utah? We want to hear from you!! Post a comment at the end of this page.
- What is your very favorite thing about Utah?
- What is your favorite thing to eat?
- What is your favorite thing to do?
- What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?
Do you have any photos of Utah to share? Email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids
Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Utah. Visit these websites to learn more: