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Move Over Zion National Park! This Utah Recreation Area Is Breaking All-Time Visitor Records

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There are only a handful of U.S. National Parks and recreation areas that come to mind when itching to book an epic trip to see America's wild side.

First and foremost, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon probably come to mind, even though it's the Great Smoky Mountains that are the most visited.

Woman enjoying the view of Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Park

Beyond those amazing parks to visit, Utah's claim to fame is, of course, none other than Zion National Park.

As popular as this destination may be, another Utah National Recreation Area is breaking all-time visitor records and giving Zion a run for its money.

Glen Canyon welcomed well over 5 million visitors last year, which surpassed Zion by hundreds of thousands.

While Glen Canyon isn't a national park (it's a National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service), its beauty rivals that of many parks.

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Unique rock formation in Glen Canyon National Park

Utah has an odd reputation when compared to other states. For example, many NBA players roll their eyes when they see the Utah Jazz scheduled, thinking there is nothing to do in Salt Lake City.

While it's certainly no New York City, Salt Lake has become low-key trendy and even broke tourism records.

Without knowing about Utah's jaw-dropping nature, the state is often overlooked and may actually be one reason why Glen Canyon has soared to new heights.

Like other National Parks and recreation areas, they take up a ton of space and sometimes cross state lines. Although widely considered a Utah destination, Glen Canyon shares its wonders with neighboring Arizona.

Couple dining outdoors at Glen Canyon National Park

And we all know how Utahns love to share. There are even reality shows about it.

Kidding aside, the area serves as a great alternative to the hassles of Zion and the Grand Canyon and is surely making a name for itself.

Are People Fed Up With Zion's Rules?

If you visit Zion in peak season, fill up with gas first and prepare to sit in a line of cars.

But hey, on the bright side, the views are immaculate!

There are a lot of rules visiting Zion from making advanced reservations for both hiking and camping to limited trails permitted for man's best friend to tag along.

Gridlock traffic in Zion National Park

Given how Zion has long been the staple of Utah's natural attractions, there has to be a reason why Glen Canyon is surging beyond the most iconic National Park in the state.

If we're being honest, National Parks are what they are. It's not like there's a new animal at the zoo, a new Michelin star restaurant, or a new geyser popping up out of nowhere.

They're just…there. And drop-dead gorgeous at that, with ample reasons to be protected. Right, Pierce Brosnan?

Glen Canyon Is A Stunning Year-Round Destination

Horseshoe Bend in Glen Canyon National Park

As we live in such a digitized world, National Parks and recreation areas are the perfect place to reset.

It's certainly no different for Glen Canyon, as there is so much to see that will leave your jaw on the floor and boost your dopamine beyond 10,000 ‘likes'.

Perhaps the most recognizable site to visit is Horseshoe Bend, which is in the Arizona section of the recreation area and where you can take in the scenic views wrapping around the Colorado River.

One of the most sought-after selfie spots for the ‘gram is an easy hike just 1.5 miles long to the best viewing area, but make sure to leave drones at home as this is deemed a ‘no drone zone'.

Scenic views of Lake Powell

Next up is the beautiful majestic views of Lake Powell perfect for hiking and boating, amongst other water activities, like fishing, where you can actually be paid for your catch!

Another popular Instagram spot, you don't have to have a boat to enjoy the water as there are guided tour boats for hire.

That being said, reports detail how the highly popular lake is seeing water levels drop, so it is best to check the latest reports to avoid disappointment.

Like Zion, another disappointment could be long lines and crowds. While camping and road trips for unbelievably beautiful drives are common here, the huge spike in popularity will surely scrunch the open space.

RV driving in Utah

Local communities are dealing with the ‘blessing and curse' aftermaths of such a surge and so will visitors if this trajectory continues.

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Sunday 21st of April 2024

Since you didn't mention some of the most amazing sights on and near the lake, we will just keep them well guarded secret treasures. And thank you for not mentioning them!