Vernal has become more and more popular for its civic pride. Vernal is best known for its dinosaur fossils and natural gas production, but a hike through Fantasy Canyon or the Steinaker State Park is a must. So, Whether you are visiting Vernal -or you’re a local- be sure that an adventure awaits. Vernal offers several off-the-beaten-path activities for the day or as an overnight.

Besides Utah’s five national parks, it also boasts nearly 50 state parks, some in -or near- Vernal. Take a look at this list, and remember to visit the next time you’re around.


Fantasy Canyon 

Located less than an hour south of Vernal, his hidden gem is unlike anywhere else you’ve visited in Utah. The trail length is about 0.6 miles, filled with abstract sandstone-like castles; you’ll have fun exploring this place. This landscape looks like something out of a movie; here, you can let your imagination run wild, visualizing the different structures as faces, animals, and even castles. 

This park is definitely off the beaten path, but the drive we’re sure will be enjoyable. This is an easy place to get around if you have toddlers and want to explore the whole area. The formations are unique, and there are some pretty incredible photo opportunities here, too, so be sure your visit will be worth the drive!


Moonshine Arch

Visit this 2.3-km out-and-back trail near Vernal, Utah. This beautiful place is considered an easy route, and it takes 40 min to complete on average. The course is all year and is gorgeous to visit anytime. It is pet-friendly, and dogs may be off-leash in some areas. 

Even though it is considered an easy route, a few dicey sections require extra care and decent footwear. Bring plenty of water and something to cover yourself from the sun cause there are few shaded areas. You won’t see the arch until the last bit, so don’t give up!


Steinaker State Park

Located in the scenic desert steppes in the Uinta Mountains, This park near Vernal is a fantastic summer getaway for kids and adults. You can dip in the reservoir’s warm water, explore the surrounding areas, then sleep under the stars at a secluded campsite.

Since its opening in the 60s, Steinaker has become a popular spot for serious anglers. You can expect to pull in a rainbow trout while fishing. You may even pull in a bass during the summer season. You can spend relaxing morning hours cruising the 850 acres of water. 


Red Fleet State Park

Visit and hike to 200-million-year-old dinosaur tracks, boat, or fish on Red Fleet Reservoir, and camp or have a picnic in a campground overlooking a desert landscape. This cozy and scenic place is a destination and a great location to explore the area.

Unique sandstone cliffs surround this place. Red Fleet is located a few miles north of Vernal, Utah. It’s a perfect spot for stellar camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, and biking. So, get ready to explore the sculpted sandstone waves and the calm and clear water this destination offers.


McCoy Flats Trail Complex

This biking Complex offers approximately 60 miles of recreational space. With a stacked loop system. You can mix different trails and add more challenges to your visit. The Flats trails were designed by locals, with the assistance of meandering cattle, which helped create a sweet trail system through the desert. 

The silent desert highland of McCoy Flats is perfect for finding riding adventures no matter how long, short, easy, or as hard. Its experience is ideal for those just starting to bike. You can add on the trail “and Cookies” for a melodic loop back to the trailhead, and it remains at a beginner level with an entire length of fewer than four miles.