If you’ve spent any time exploring Utah’s mountains, deserts, lakes and canyons, you know they look good from every angle. From above and below. From afar and up close. From whatever you call the angle where you’re barely lifting your head up from a camping hammock.
But there’s one angle that few travelers view Utah from — waaaaaaay up above. Sure, you might have gotten a peek on the plane, but your window seat is a far cry from a 360-degree panoramic view with nothing but rushing air around you. The most unique views in Utah are the ones you’ll get while skydiving, and the state’s five skydiving operations each offer something a little different.
Well, everyone’s skydiving experience is different, but if it’s your first time skydiving, the first thing you should expect is to be jumping with an instructor. Every first-time jumper will do a tandem jump, which means you’ll be securely harnessed to an expert throughout the entire dive.
If you were imagining a triumphant, action movie style solo jump for your first time, we’re sorry to break the news. But by the time you get up in the plane, we’re betting you’ll be glad you’re in an expert’s hands. If you do decide you want to jump on your own someday, almost every skydiving location in Utah offers a training program, where you can work your way up to a solo jump, one tandem at a time.
You should also be aware of any weight requirements that a skydiving operation might have. While the age requirement is the same (18+) no matter what, each operation has different weight policies. A good rule of thumb is to call ahead if you are over 200 pounds. Some companies may attach a fee of one or two dollars per pound above 200, and some may make a hard cutoff at a certain weight. These requirements are about nothing more than your safety — skydiving can be very dangerous if you’re not physically prepared or if your combined weight is too great.
If you meet all requirements, you’ll usually watch an instructional video and/or go through some brief safety training once you arrive for your jump. Again, your instructor will be doing all the work, so training is more about preparing you for what to expect out of the experience and getting you familiar with the safety equipment.
Once you’re in the plane and have reached the proper altitude, you and your instructor will take the plunge! You’ll freefall for about a minute before pulling the ripcord and parachuting for the next five to ten. During that time you’ll be treated to some of the most spectacular views imaginable. What will those views contain? That depends on which location you choose.
Skydive the Wasatch’s headquarters — or should we say jumping-off point??? — is in Nephi, under the shadow of Mount Nebo, one of Utah’s highest peaks. Not only will you see Nebo and plenty of other imposing peaks as you freefall, but you’ll also take in the quilt-like patchwork of farmland along the Wasatch Front. Rural scenery meets mountains, all within an hour and a half of downtown Salt Lake.
Tandem skydive price: Weekday: $219. Saturday: $249. Sunday: $199.
Located in Tooele within rock-skimming distance of the Great Salt Lake’s briney shores, Skydive Utah is the place to go if you want to take in Utah’s most famous lake from above. Watch the salty water grow closer as salty water builds up in your eyes, and look to the mountains surrounding (or in) the lake’s glassy tides.
Tandem skydive price: Monday-Thursday: $220. Friday: $240. Saturday: $260. Sunday: $240.
If “I Want It All” by Queen is your anthem in life, head to Skydive Ogden and get the best of all worlds. As the name suggests, it’s located in the heart of Ogden, surrounded by craggy peaks, a bustling town and the shores of the Great Salt Lake. It’s a little bit city, a little bit country and a whole lot of rock and roll.
Tandem skydive price: Base Tandem: $250
It’s not surprising that someone in Utah thought of skydiving over a national park, and it’s even less surprising that two people thought of it. Whether you’re exploring Delicate Arch or Angels Landing, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of them when you jump with either Skydive Moab or Skydive Zion.
Located in Hurricane (a town, not an omen of your jumping weather), Skydive Zion provides stunning views of Zion National Park and the surrounding area. While everyone else is trying to beat the park’s summer crowds, you’ll leave your worries on the ground and take off on a high flying adventure. It’s drier than The Narrows (unless you count sweat) and somehow less intimidating than Angels Landing.
With a takeoff point just outside of Arches National Park (and Utahraptor, the state’s newest park), Skydive Moab shows off some of Moab’s most iconic scenery within the first few minutes of your flight. And the higher you climb, the better it gets. With winding canyons, towering buttes and desert views as far as the eye can see, there are few better places to feel at one with the natural world as you fall through the sky.
Skydive Zion tandem price: $255.
Skydive Moab tandem price: From 8,000 feet: $189. From 13,00 feet: $260.
If the top of your local hiking trail is high enough for you, iFly Utah is the way to go. Utah’s only indoor skydiving facility simulates the skydiving experience in a state-of-the-art wind tunnel. 150 mph winds will lift your body into the air, allowing you to feel the sensation of freefall without any of the, you know, falling.
This unique adventure experience is great for those who are afraid of the full skydiving experience, can’t afford the price tag or are pretending they can’t afford the price tag because they’re afraid of skydiving. It’s also great for kids! Whether you’re planning a birthday party or making the most of a rainy day, iFly is a great way to give the entire family (including kids as young as 3) the rush of a lifetime.
Flight packages: Individual: Starting from $69. Two-person: $129. 5 people: $289. 12 people: $649.
From the deserts to the mountains, Utah offers some of the most scenic skydiving locations in the country. And if you couldn’t care less about the views so long as you get the ground in one piece, you’re in good hands on that front too. All of Utah’s skydiving operations have glowing safety reviews for their tandem operations, and will ensure you have a safe and awesome time as you enjoy one of the most unique experiences life has to offer.