Nestled at the base of the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains just 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City is Utah County--known regionally as Utah Valley. Bound on the east by snow-capped Mount Timpanogos and on the west by 139-square mile Utah Lake, the area is a favorite for outdoor recreation. Hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, golfing, and water sports of all kinds are favorite pastimes in this temperate summer climate; while hunting, snowmobiling, ice climbing, downhill and cross-country skiing satisfy the adventurous during the colder months of the year. The County's central location puts it within a half-day's drive of fifteen national parks, monuments, and recreation areas.
At the center of all this activity are the sister communities of Provo and Orem, which together form the second-largest metropolitan area of Utah. The combined community is regularly cited in surveys as among the best places to live in America. A healthy, highly educated work force, relatively low taxes, little poverty, and minuscule crime rate are just a few of the superlatives frequently listed. The strong work ethic of the Mormon church, the predominate religion, and BYU (Brigham Young University), its 30,000-student institution of higher learning, are credited with supplying a bright, young workforce to the area. The church's practice of sending young people as missionaries around the world has rendered a society with a high level of literacy in foreign languages, a phenomenon conducive to success in a global marketplace.
Places to Visit
Bridal Veil Falls
Located on Utah Highway 189, just five minutes northeast of Provo in Provo Canyon is Bridal Veil Falls. This double cataract waterfall drops 607 feet and presents and awe-inspiring view from the canyon below.
Springville Museum of Art
Located in Springville, Utah's "Art City," this nationally-recognized collection is housed in Utah's oldest and most beautiful museum for the visual fine arts. An early WPA project, this Spanish Colonial Revival style building was completed in 1937. Noted for its collection of Utah art, the Springville Museum has documented the art of the state from pioneer days.
Selections from the Museum's noted permanent collection of over 1,500 works of Utah and American art are exhibited on the second floor. Four main floor galleries display temporary exhibitions offering a wide variety of styles and media dealing with historical and contemporary art of Utah. A little-known treasure is the museum's collection of Soviet working class impressionism. The museum boasts a full program of lectures, guided tours, videos, publications and research library. Admission is free. (801) 489-2727
A favorite family spot, this 26-acre water theme park features over 40 ways to soak, slide, surf, or swim. Wintertime affords continued enjoyment as frozen water lure ice-skaters.
Alpine Loop Scenic Backway
This 20-mile drive winds through rugged alpine canyons of the Wasatch Range offering stupendous views of Mount Timpanogos and other glacier-carved peaks. The route follows Utah Hwy. 92 up American Fork Canyon and then continues through Uinta National Forest into Provo Canyon on U.S. 189. Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Robert Redford's Sundance are located along the route. Along the route, take a short detour to Cascade Springs. This mountain spring is criss-crossed by a 1/4-mile boardwalk, leading out over clear natural pools and cascading terraces filled with fish and aquatic plants.
Entirely paved, the Alpine Loop is open from approximately late May to late October. Snow closes part of the road the rest of the year. Not recommended for vehicles more than 30 feet long.
Nebo Loop Scenic Byway
This mountain drive offers stunning panoramic views of Mount Nebo, the Wasatch Range, and Utah Valley below. Babbling mountain streams lure fishermen and wildlife abounds. The Devil's Kitchen geologic site features red-rock formations reminiscent of those found in Southern Utah's famous parks. Fall foliage is never more beautiful than along this route. Payson Lakes is a favorite for camping, fishing, and water fun. The Nebo Loop is accessible from Interstate 15 in the communities of Payson, Santaquin, or Nephi.
BYU (Brigham Young University)
With more than 27,000 students, BYU is one of the largest privately-owned universities in the United States. A one-hour-long tour of the campus is available through the BYU Visitors Center (801-422-4678). Must see activities on campus include:
- Museum of Art at BYU. Housed in one of the largest facilities of its kind in the west, this museum features a family interactive center, print study room, theater, art study center, a 75-seat restaurant, bookstore and gift shop. Frequent host of international exhibitions. Lectures, gallery talks and education programs are on-going. (801-422-8287)
- Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. Houses an extensive collection of biological specimens and exhibits. Supports public education programs such as reptile shows, children's programs and a hands-on playroom, gallery presentations, and outreach presentations. (801-422-5051)
- BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures. With collections as old as 50,000 years, the museum displays artifacts of prehistoric Utah, the American Southwest, Mesoamerica, and Polynesia. (801-422-0020)
- BYU Earth Science Museum. Dinosaur lovers of all ages will love this museum housing one of the nation's most extensive fossil collections. (801-422-3680)
- Performing Arts. International as well as campus performing groups grace the stages of the Harris Fine Arts Center. Quality music, theatre, and dance events abound. (801-422-4322)
- BYU Sports. The Cougar athletic teams consistently rank at the top of the Mountain West Conference. For current events, phone (801-422-2981)
For additional information on all Utah Valley events and attractions:
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