When you hear “Utah,” what comes to mind first?
UtahValley360.com has declared the 25 most identifiable objects, symbols and people most uniquely and synonymous with “Utah,” ranked here from least known objects up to the No. 1 most Utah-specific icon.
Utahns are so passionate about the quaking aspen that state politicians passed a bill a year ago to officially switch Utah’s state tree from the Colorado Blue Spruce to the Quaking Aspen. Utah is also home to the world’s largest living organism, a cluster of more than 47,000 quaking aspens near Fish Lake.
While it’s true Utahns might consider the seagull one of the state’s most honored symbols, it only ranks No. 24 on this list because a resident of California doesn’t look at a seagull and think “Hey, Utah!” However, in honor of the ‘Miracle of the Gulls’ in 1848, they have a place on our list.
More than 100 years ago, miners started extracting copper from the Oquirrh Mountains in southwest Salt Lake City. Today, the hole they’ve created is more than a half-mile deep and 2.5 miles across. In 1966 the pit was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Of all the adventures to be had in Utah, hiking The Narrows inside Zion National Park could quite possibly rank No. 1. And in a state filled with excitement and thrills around every corner, that’s saying something.
The two most iconic coaches in history of the two most popular teams in the state definitely deserve a place on this list. Why these two coaches have not been immortalized in bronze is a mystery.
LDS culture and Utah culture are heavily intertwined. Case in point? The Grammy and Emmy Award-winning MoTab symbolize Utah to viewers worldwide who regularly tune in to watch the 360-member choir.
Perhaps a more popular landmark outside the state than in, the Tree Room restaurant is in a unique location and serves an uncommon menu. The Robert Redford-owned restaurant is decorated in rustic, Old West themes — and an actual tree is the central feature.
For out-of-staters, landmarks along I-15 have a much greater chance of being spotted and remembered. Because of its uniqueness and location (at the very center of Utah’s booming population), this Utah County landmark ranks No. 18.
When it comes to unique Utah sightscapes, Bryce Canyon is off the charts. More than a million visitors per year can’t be wrong. On a clear day, the visibility at Bryce Canyon exceeds 100 miles, making it a visibly impressive Utah landmark.
Ask someone from Lithuania what they know about Salt Lake City, Utah, and they’ll likely answer “Winter Olympics.” Landing the 2002 Games put Utah on the map. No other city in the United States has hosted the Winter Games since Salt Lake welcomed 2,400 athletes to the world stage.
Due largely to the Sundance Film Festival and selfies of Hollywood A-listers, this historic street in an old mining town makes the cut. With more than 50 restaurants and 100 independent boutiques, this landmark has plenty of tasty reasons to have a uniquely Utah experience.
The makers of Utah’s official quarter judged this symbol important enough to mint it as the state’s historic icon. However, true Utahns know this symbol is not as dear to our hearts or statewide culture. At the end of the day, the quarter inclusion is too big to ignore.
From St. George to Vernal to the Wasatch Front, dinosaurs have left big footprints — literally and historically — in Utah. With the release of “Jurassic World” in theaters on June 12, 2015, prepare for dinosaurs to increase in popularity once more.
Although residents of Arizona have some right to claim this popular summer destination as their own, most of Lake Powell (including Rainbow Bridge) is located in Utah. Watch for Lake Powell on upcoming shows on the National Geographic and Smithsonian channels.
From the “BR” in Tremonton to the “D” in St. George, Utah is big on putting letters on our mountainsides.
The two most-recognized letters are the University of Utah’s “Block U,” which is about 100 feet tall, and BYU’s “Y Mountain,” which is 380 feet tall.
The “U of U,” with its Pac-12 membership and medical school, was founded as the University of Deseret in 1850 by Brigham Young. Notable alumni include president of Walt Disney and Pixar animation studios Ed Catmull, Marriott Hotels founder J. Willard Marriott and science fiction writer Orson Scott Card.
Stone cold sober BYU, the largest religious university in the U.S., is the center of life in Provo. Notable alumni include Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former NFL quarterback Steve Young and author Stephenie Meyer.
It’s becoming more and more difficult to see a new car commercial that doesn’t feature this famous dried up remnant of the ancient Lake Bonneville. The area has also made appearances in movies like “Independence Day,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Land of the Lost.”
Between 1985 and 2003, John Stockton and Karl Malone pick-and-rolled their way into the NBA record books. Power forward Malone ranks second on the all-time scoring list with 36,928 career points, while Stockton is first in both assists (15,806) and steals (3,265).
Brigham Young literally founded not only the universities that would go on to become the University of Utah and BYU, but the entire state of Utah. Perhaps a more apt name for Utah would be “Young.” A 1940s film was titled “Brigham Young,” and he continues to be an iconic figure in Utah lore.
Mounts Timpanogos, Olympus and Loafer are more than enormous mountains of sedimentary limestone, they are towers of stability that call out “home” to the more than two million people who live along the Wasatch Front.
So beloved is Utah’s Delicate Arch, that in 2000 when photographer Michael Fatali lit fires near the arch, it became a federal offense. Delicate Arch’s uniqueness goes without saying, and the predominate Utah license plate is evidence of Utahn’s pride in the symbol.
This symbol is commonly used as an emblem and background on countless state buildings, signs and logos. The beehive has been embraced by Utahns as symbolic of the state’s energetic worth ethic. The first bees were allegedly brought to Utah from a Mormon colony in California.
Fill in the blank. Utah has the world’s greatest … beaches? … cheese? Of course not … snow! Utah makes about a billion dollars in tourism-related state and local tax revenues, and snow is the reason — by a landslide.
Forty years of blood, sweat and tears went into making this building the “go-to” shot of nearly every TV show and magazine cover that showcases either Utah or its closest relative — the LDS Church.