|Located in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States, Utah is a land of snow-covered peaks,
natural rock formations, and beautifully colored canyons. Utah's geography is characterized by three
major land areas; the Rocky Mountains, the Basin and Ridge Region, and the Colorado Plateau.
Rocky Mountains: Running north to south through the United States, the Rocky Mountians are an
imposing presence in many of the western states. In Utah, two ranges of the Rockies extend through the northeast corner of the
state; the Uinta Range and the Wasatch Range.
The Uinta Range extends from Colorado in the east almost all of the way to Salt Lake City in north
central Utah. It is the only range of the Rocky Mountains that runs east and west. Lakes and flat-bottomed
canyons, formed by glacial activity, are interspersed with mountains that reach over 13,000 feet above
sea level. Kings Peak, the highest point (13,528 feet above sea level) in Utah, is found in the Uinta Range.
The Wasatch Range stretches from Mount Nebo in north central Utah northward into Idaho. On the west, the
mountains range from 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level.
Basin and Ridge Region: One of the driest areas of the United States, the Basin and Ridge Region
covers parts of several states, including Utah. The Basin and Ridge Region of Utah, which spreads over the
western part of the state, is covered by small mountains and basins except on the east and west edges where
the mountains are higher. Great Salt Lake is located in the northeastern corner of the Basin and Ridge
Region with the Great Salt Lake Desert to the west and southwest of the lake. About 4,000 acres of hard
flat salt beds are found in the center of the Great Salt Lake Desert; Bonneville Salt Flats. The Bonneville
Salt Flats are named after the ancient sea that covered the area, Lake Bonneville.
"Utah's Dixie" is located in the extreme southwestern corner of the Basin and Ridge Region. This area is
the warmest and the lowest part of the state.
Colorado Plateau: The Colorado Plateau covers most of the southern and eastern areas of Utah.
The area is characterized by broad high country cut by deep canyons and valleys. The western part of
the region is comprised of high plateaus such as Aquarius, Fish Lake, and Markagunt. These plateaus
are more than 11,000 feet above sea level. Famous Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks Canyon, and Zion Canyon
are found in the Colorado Plateau area. The Colorado River passes through Utah in the east with
the Henry Mountains on the west banks of the river and the Abajo and La Sal mountains to the east of the river.
Photograph by James Bynum
Utah's southeastern corner meets the corners of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Referred to as "Four
Corners," this is the only place in the United States where four states meet.
( Utah Close-up )