Utah and Salt Lake City Travel and Registration
Utah, located in the Southwest region of the United States, is well known for its year round outdoor activities including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, boating, water skiing, horseback riding, camping, and rock climbing. The capital city of Salt Lake City has a number of unique modern and historical sites to visit.
* Salt Lake City â€“ located along the Wasatch Front, it is the largest city and capital of the state, the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS Church, whose members are known as Mormons), including Temple Square, and the University of Utah; host city of the 2002 Winter Olympics
A "Park Pass" from the United States National Park Service  is a particularly good investment if you're visiting Utah and planning to see its national parks and monuments. The $80 fee allows unlimited access to all National Park Service units for a year, and also provides discounts on some of the services within the units. Paying for this pass may save you money in the long run as you move from park to park in Utah. (Note, however, that there are a very few national monuments that are not part of the National Park Service, and are therefore not covered by a Park Pass; Monument Valley is one prominent example in Utah.)
* Arches National Park â€“ largest concentration of natural arches in the world, just northeast of Moab, as well as other strange sandstone formations, such as pinnacles, cliffs, mesas, and gorges
Dixie refers to the low-lying area in the southwest corner of the state. It contains the city of St. George, and the climate is more closely-related to the southwestern deserts than it is to the rest of the state, with low annual precipitation, hot, dry summers, and mild winters with infrequent snowfall. Early settlers were able to grow cotton in the area, hence the name Dixie (a name for the cotton belt of the southern U.S.).
The Wasatch Front is the heavily-populated region of basins and valleys located between the Wasatch Mountains on the east and on the west by the Great Salt Lake (to the north) and the Oquirrh Mountains (to the south). 3/4 of Utah's population lies in this portion of the state, which stretches from Brigham City in the north to Santaquin in the south. Ogden, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Orem, and Provo are located on the Wasatch Front.
The benches are the higher slopes along the Wasatch Front. Residential development on the Wasatch Front typically extends high onto the slopes of the Wasatch Mountains in some areas. Homes here are generally more affluent, as they provide spectacular views of the surrounding areas, and the benches receive more precipitation and much more snow than the valley floors.
Mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints make up a good part of Utah's population. The beliefs and practices of these people are one of the stronger influences for public policy. Drinking and smoking aren't permitted by their church, and Utah's drinking laws are well-known for being strict and somewhat archaic. Sunday is considered a day of rest, and so some stores will be closed on Sunday. These stereotypes hold more weight in smaller cities and towns, and in some areas (especially Park City and Salt Lake City) the number of non-Mormons do outnumber members of the LDS faith. Mormons are generally tolerant and friendly towards non-Mormons, but may be taken aback by cussing, smoking, or drinking in their presence.
Utah has four distinct seasons and widely-variable climate zones. The southern valleys, especially the southwest around St. George, are hot in the summer, with temperatures frequently exceeding 100Â°F (38Â°C) and occasionally reaching 110Â°F. The north usually sees temperatures from 75-100Â°F. Temperatures in the mountains are typically mild in the summer, great for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities, with temperatures in the 60s and 70sF. The humidity is low, making the heat somewhat bearable. Only occasional scattered, but powerful, thunderstorms relieve the heat during summer. Winter can be cold in the north, and especially in the mountains and high mountain valleys, although temperatures below 0Â°F (-18Â°C) are rare except in the higher valleys. Below freezing temperatures are common in the north for most of the day, but usually only occur overnight in the southern valleys. Spring and fall see mild temperatures that are perfectly suited for outdoor and recreational activities, with temperatures from about 60Â°-90Â°F in the south and 50Â°F-80Â°F in the north. During these times, however, temperatures are often cold in the mountains.
Precipitation-wise, only about 5-10 inches of precipitation falls throughout most of the state, although totals reach 15-20 inches along the Wasatch Front and up to 55 inches in the mountains. Snowfall is rare in the southern valleys, averaging no more than 10 inches per year, but is common throughout the rest of the state. The Wasatch Front sees 40-80 inches while the mountains receive 200-500 inches. The first significant snowfall in the mountains usually occurs in October and usually sometime in November in the valleys, while the last significant snowfall in the mountains occurs in May in the mountains and in March (sometimes even early April) in the valleys.
Spring is the "rainy" season throughout most of Utah. In the southern valleys, it's often warm enough for rain throughout winter, with the "rainy" season beginning around December, while March is when rain becomes more common than snow in the north. The storm track slowly drags further north as the season goes on, and the rainy season usually ends during April in the south and during May in the north. The summer monsoon, which lasts from mid-July through mid-September, brings scattered but powerful thunderstorms to the state, usually in the late afternoon and evening. The storms are usually far more powerful in the mountains, and are more common in the south and east. Although summer is a great time to enjoy the mountains, these powerful evening thunderstorms should be watched for, especially in August. Storms are usually much less violent in the valleys, but can occasionally bring street flooding, hail, and powerful lightning. These storms rarely last more than a few hours, but can be very fierce. These storms can bring flash flooding to the narrow slot canyons of southern Utah, so make sure to evacuate the slot canyons as soon as possible if you see thunderstorms nearby.
September and early October is usually the best time to enjoy Utah, especially the mountains, with milder temperatures than summer, less chance of violent thunderstorms, and little chance of snow in the mountains. Temperatures are about the same as in spring, but it's usually drier. In addition, significant snowpack can linger in the mountains through May, while by fall, summer has melted all of the snow, and snowstorms are rare. Finally, fall colors are spectacular in the mountains of Utah, and reach their peak in September. Fall colors in the valley peak in October. The gorgeous fall colors in the mountains rival those found in New England, and are sometimes accompanied by early fall snow, creating a splash of red, yellow, and orange mixed with the soft white of snow.
ESTA Travel Registration for Utah/Salt Lake City
As of 12th January 2009 everyone wanting to travel to Utah/Salt Lake City from the 26 countries that do not require a Visa at the moment will have to complete an online US Travel Registration ESTA form up to 3 days before the trip. This will help travelers register for 2 years for entry into the US for holidays. If you are traveling from any of these countries to Utah/Salt Lake City you will need to complete the online ESTA form.
The current countries covered by the ESTA Via Waiver Program are:
Anybody traveling to Utah/Salt Lake City are asked to Register 3 days in advance to travel. The form can be completed online and is called â€œElectronic System for Travel Authorisationâ€, or ESTA. You can complete you application here: ESTA Application Page ESTA has been designed to allow for the accommodation of last minute and emergency travellers and you will no longer have to fill out a green Visa Waiver form on the Aircraft. The ESTA form requires your flight details - so if you are planning to travel to Utah/Salt Lake City ensure you have booked your flight and have the flight details before you complete the ESTA form.
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