Above: On this map of
the United States, Utah is outlined in red. Its
neighbors are Nevada to the west, Idaho to the north, Wyoming in the northeast corner, Colorado
to the east, and Arizona to the south. Notice the point where Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New
Mexico come together. This is the only place in the United States where this happens, and the
only place where one can stand in four states at the same time!
Four Corners is part of the
Navajo Nation, the largest Native American nation in the US.
|Above: On this map, red lines represent
represent major highways and black lines represent railroads. The first transcontinental
railroad was completed in Utah with the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads
at Promintory Point just north of the Great Salt Lake.
The driving of the Golden Spike occurred on May 10, 1869, creating "the first serious and
permanent breech in the frontier, and established the process by which the entire frontier
was to be demolished." (Robert M. Uttley, Special Report on Promontory Summit, Utah, February 1960)
The trains no longer cross the state that far north, but rather travel across a causeway built through the
the Great Salt Lake
to shorten travel time. The number of passenger trains has declined dramatically over the
intervening 130+ years, but numerous freight trains still travel the rails daily.
Three Interstate Highways pass through Utah.
I-15 enters Utah at the Idaho border, north of Tremonton, travels south the
length of the State and exits at the Arizona border, just south of St. George. (This highway
recently went through four years of upgrade and reconstruction along the Wasatch front making it,
now, one of the best engineered and constructed sections of interstate freeway in the country.)
I-80 enters Utah
from Nevada at Wendover, travels eastward to the Wyoming border where it exits near Evanston.
I-70 enters from
Colorado, east of Thompson, travels west through the longest stretch of open
country on the US Interstate system, and ends where it joins I-15 at Cove Fort.
|Above: This false color relief map gives
an indication of land forms and elevations of Utah. The
(pinkish) are located near the northeast border with Wyoming. This unusual east-west oriented
range has Utah's highest mountain, King's Peak, which rises
to over 13,000 feet in elevation.
Of the north-south mountain ranges, the most
familiar is the Wasatch which runs along the eastern edge of the western purple area
(the Great Basin).
Most of Utah's 2.5 million residents live along the western front of this
range from about the north end of the
Great Salt Lake
to about the center of the state. The average elevation of this populated area is about 4,500 ft.
Great Basin is a high desert area, but about
10,000 years ago it was filled with water, creating
Lake Bonneville. When most of the water
suddenly drained through the Columbia Gorge to the Pacific Ocean, the
Great Salt Lake was left
with no outlet, causing it to become salty rather than fresh water.
Ancient shorelines of Lake Bonneville are still clearly visible
along the foothills in Utah and Idaho where a foot/bicycle path is being developed.
The National Parks are located in the southern third of
the state, part of the
Colorado Plateau. Comparing this map with the
one above will help you locate them among the high tablelands. In the southwest corner of the
state, where the city of St. George is located, the elevation drops to about 2.500 ft. For a satellite view of the
same area, click here.
Want to know more about Utah?|
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Venita, who also holds the copyright.
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