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Wordtravels

Salt Lake City Travel Guide

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Salt Lake City at twilight © Alan Yorgason

Situated in a basin between the rugged, snow-covered Wasatch mountain range to the east and the Great Salt Lake to the west, Salt Lake City's scenic backdrop frames a pleasantly spacious and hassle-free city that is surprisingly sensible and down-to-earth for a growing state capital.

The vast salty wasteland that ultimately became one of America's prize cities was originally picked out by a band of Mormon pioneers who were searching for a quiet spot where they could follow their faith undisturbed by the world. Led by Brigham Young, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the followers surveyed the desolate-looking valley of the Great Salt Lake basin and declared it to be the peaceful haven they had been seeking for the past five months. 'This Is The Place' Heritage Park commemorates the site where they ended their trek, named after the famous words uttered by Young in 1847. To this day the city is dominated by the Mormon influence, with more than 40 percent of the population belonging to the Latter-Day Saints. Visitors come to listen to the singing of the exceptional Mormon Tabernacle Choir and to see the fascinating Temple Square that is the spiritual headquarters of the Mormon faith and the heart of the city.

Despite being steeped in religious tradition, Salt Lake City is rapidly emerging as one of the foremost business locations in the country, attracting large numbers of high-technology firms and software corporations, and a favoured venue for major corporate and professional conferences and conventions. The city is also growing in reputation as an outdoor recreation centre, enhanced by its international recognition as the excellent host of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Throngs of outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the nearby mountains where world-class skiing is offered at top resorts, as well as miles of stunning mountain trails for hiking, biking and rock climbing. Salt Lake City is also within a day's drive of numerous national and state parks, rivers, forests and canyons, offering endless opportunities for outdoor sports and recreation.

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