It might be the state’s religious roots that first come to mind when you think of Utah travel, or its stunning red rock landscapes. But this western state also has a wild side, one associated with the days when cowboys rode the range alongside the Ute and Shoshone, while outlaws on the lam lurked in remote hideouts, playing cards and drinking hard liquor (or whatever it was that outlaws did). These days, there are still a number of ways to merge Utah travel with Old West atmosphere, some less strenuous then others.
For outdoor adventurers with some canyoneering experience, our top recommendation is a trip to the Robbers Roost region. Laced with confusing slot canyons and pocked with secret caves, this was one of the big outlaw hangouts during the late nineteenth century; even the law stayed away from this natural maze. If you’re less inclined to venture off into the wilds and more inclined say, to look for the nearest saloon, plan for dinner at a spot like the Bar-M Chuckwagon in Moab, Utah, or Ruby’s Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park. A more all-in alternative is to book a stay at a Western-themed guest ranch, or a multi-day, guided trip horseback through a scenic stretch of red rock.
In spring and summer, you might be lucky enough to catch a Mountain Man Rendezvous weekend; think period clothing, plenty of black powder and an emphasis on wilderness survival. Whether or not you get a glimpse of a veritable mountain man, be sure to add a stop at either the American West Heritage Center (in Cache Valley) or This Is The Place Heritage Park to your itinerary. Or both, if you have children in tow. Actors in period costumes offer an entertaining and educational glimpse of a bygone era, that will leave you thanking your lucky stars for modern conveniences like mosquito spray and shorts.