Green Travel Magzine

16 Sustainable Stays, Eats, Shops, and Experiences in Utah

From hiking and skiing to rock climbing and stargazing, the state of Utah is filled with endless outdoor opportunities. Known for its rugged mountains, premier skiing, National Parks & Monuments, and rich Indigenous history, a trip to this Mountain West state will satisfy any need for adventure. 

Part of the 4 corners region of the U.S. along with Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, Utah is very geographically diverse. In Northern Utah, you’ll find the beautiful state capital of Salt Lake City where you can enjoy great vegan eats and some of the best skiing in the world. Southern Utah is actually home to the state’s five National Parks, known as the “Mighty Five”, where the striking landscapes and unique geology will have you feeling like you’re in another world. Arches National Park in Moab and Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding are popular Southeast destinations while the Southwest is home to Canyonlands National Park, Zion National Park, and beautiful Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. You can’t go wrong no matter where you go in Utah as there is always something new to explore and enjoy.

When traveling to new places, be sure to support businesses that give back to local communities and take care of our beautiful planet. A look through this guide will introduce you to many amazing accommodations, shops, and eateries where you can eat, shop, stay, and play your way through Utah – and feel good about it!

Accommodations

Flanigan’s Inn

Source: Flanigan’s Inn

Price Range – $$

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Located just a short walk from Zion National Park, Flanigan’s Inn is an inclusive eco resort and spa offering guests rest and rejuvenation after busy days exploring the park and Zion Canyon. The Inn’s many lovely rooms, suites, and villas are surrounded by gardens, ponds, and pathways for guests to explore at their leisure. A walk on the property’s nature trail leads to the Hilltop Labyrinth, where guests can enjoy a meditative walk and panoramic views of the Zion Canyon cliffs. Guests are also invited to enjoy a soothing treatment at the resort’s Deep Canyon Spa, which uses organic and botanical essence products. The resort’s eatery, Spotted Dog Cafe, offers delicious food crafted with locally sourced produce, hormone-free meats, and sustainably harvested fish. The cafe also serves organic, fair trade coffee that is locally roasted by River Rock Roasting Company.

Under Canvas

Source: Under Canvas

Price Range – $$$

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Spend a night under the stars with Under Canvas’ desert glamping, located just minutes from Utah’s famed Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The mission of Under Canvas is to bring people into nature to help foster an appreciation and respect for the natural world. Under Canvas, who believe in being responsible stewards of the environment, employ practices that reduce their environmental footprint, such as low-flow toilets, pull chain showers, and low lighting. With its commitment to environmental conservation, Under Canvas also strives to minimize disturbances to the land and works with local conservation-backed organizations to protect outdoor spaces from development.

Sundance Mountain Resort

Source: Booking.com

Price Range – $$

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Located at the base of 12,000 ft. Mt. Timpanogos, Sundance Mountain Resort is a stunning mountain oasis offering year round mountain activities including skiing, hiking, horseback riding, and fly fishing. Created by actor and activist Robert Redford in 1970, the resort is a hub for artistic expression, outdoor exploration, and restful rejuvenation. The resort is committed to protecting the natural environment and strives to inspire conservation in others through offering access to all Northfork Canyon has to offer. In keeping with its green operations, the resort has a Green Building Policy which governs all new development and remodeling projects and implements green practices such as energy efficient lighting and heating and sustainable material sourcing. The resort also has several eateries, most notably the award winning Tree Room, which features organic produce, seasonal mountain cuisine, and beautiful artwork from the Indigenous communities that once called this canyon home. A stay at Sundance Mountain Resort will leave you well fed, rested, and inspired to protect our beautiful planet.

Red Moon Lodge

Source: Red Moon Lodge

Price Range – $$

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Red Moon Lodge can be found in the thick of Moab Valley, Utah. With a mission devoted to conscious change and mindfulness, the lodge offers travelers a place to recharge that has minimal impact on the Earth. Red Moon Lodge is completely solar powered and serves only organic food, composts, recycles, uses non-toxic cleaning materials and natural pest management, and practices water efficiency techniques. This special, spiritual lodge guarantees respect for you during your stay, while appreciating and valuing what Mother Nature has continually offered.

Bunk House Inn at Zion

Source: Airbnb

Price Range – $$

Book this place , call +1(435)772-3393 or email ‘meg-n-bo@infowest.com

Bunk House Inn is an earth conscious bed and breakfast that exists on the perimeter of Zion National Park. Surrounded by orchards, pastures, and majestic red cliffs, this eco-accommodation is committed to the values of ‘reduce, reuse & recycle’. Their most notable green stride is that solar panels produce about 80% of the energy they use, while the remaining 20% is derived from wind power. Furthermore, they reduce their water consumption by installing water saving faucets and shower head attachments; and their front porch was crafted with 100 year old reclaimed wood from the Great Salt Lake railroad trestle. With all their eco-conscious effort, the Bunk House Inn offers a peaceful atmosphere and a low-impact consciousness.

Eateries

Vertical Diner

Source: Vertical Diner

Price Range – $$

Named for the vertical mountains surrounding Salt Lake, Vertical Diner is an amazing plant-based restaurant situated in a retro diner. Located in downtown SLC, the diner serves an incredible menu of 100% plant-based comfort foods – including all day breakfast! The diner strives to source local ingredients seasonally and 30% of the menu is comprised of organic ingredients. While you’re there, be sure to try the fan favorite dude cakes which are two pancakes topped with sausage, caramelized onions, grilled peppers, mushrooms, french fries all smothered in gravy!

Seasons Plant Based Bistro

Source: HappyCow

Price Range – $$

Seasons Plant Based creates amazing pizzas and cheeses that are 100% plant based and delicious. Located in Salt Lake City, Seasons strives to make beautiful food that is sustainable, respects nature, and nourishes all life. Everything at Seasons is hand-crafted and the restaurant strives to use ingredients that are local, organic, and non-GMO. Through creating delicious plant based foods, Seasons hopes to show everyone how satisfying, filling, and comforting plant based foods can be!

Zest Kitchen & Bar

Source: Zest Kitchen & Bar

Price Range – $$

Zest Kitchen & Bar is a Salt Lake City eatery serving delicious organic vegan and vegetarian dishes. The restaurant’s amazing menu features a globally inspired and chef-driven menu that combines sustainable, plant-based ingredients with artful preparations. The team at Zest strongly believe in the connection between our plates and our planet and are proud to support local farmers and purveyors. The menu at Zest is made up of 85% organic ingredients and all lunch and dinner options are made without processed sugars! The restaurant also has an amazing drink menu with many handcrafted cocktails, such as the margarita with muddled jalapeños, and a large selection of organic wines, beers, and spirits.

Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm

Source: Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm

Price Range – $$$

The owners of Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Jen and Blake, are committed to environmental ethics, sustainability, and social responsibility and community development. The meals served at Hell’s accentuates local, regional, and seasonally appropriate cuisine; appropriately, their menu rotates periodically. Much of the produce served is grown at their own six-acre farm – including potatoes, lettuce, radish, peas, kale, even garlic! Resonating further with their bountiful resources, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm has arranged so their food scraps are returned to Earth, by either composting or feeding to their chickens which carry on to lay their eggs served in the restaurant.

Shopping

Salt & Honey

Source: Salt & Honey

Price Range – $$

Salt & Honey is a makers marketplace selling locally produced gifts, art, jewelry, home decor, and so much more! Founded by two female entrepreneurs, Salt & Honey provides shoppers with the opportunity to buy fun, unique items while supporting local artists and crafters. Through showcasing local products, the store strives to help creative professionals establish their own successful local shops. Salt & Honey now has two locations in the Salt Lake City area, one near downtown SLC and one in Murray.

HelloBulk Markets

Source: HelloBulk Markets

Price Range – $$

HelloBulk Markets is a female-owned, Salt Lake City grocery store supplying bulk items that help save the environment by cutting down on waste. With a visit to HelloBulk, shoppers can fill up on a wide variety of grocery, personal care, and household cleaning items, all by bringing their own containers and filling them up as much as they need! Founder Jamaica Trinnaman started HelloBulk after many years working in the grocery industry where she was exposed to all of the unnecessary packaging that is included with most grocery items. In response to this discouraging observation, she started HelloBulk, which she intends to one day grow into a larger bulk store that will meet an even wider variety of needs while giving back to the community! You can support this amazing business and satisfy your grocery needs with a visit to the store, which is located on the West side of Salt Lake City in the Granary District.

Experiences

Arches National Park

Source: @moriahaslan

Price Range – $$

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Where the red rocks roam, Arches National Park will render many memories in Moab, Utah. Whether driving or hiking, be sure to take a moment to view how these rocks get in formation! Arches National Park consists of over 2,000 stone arches, including the iconic Delicate Arch, and the longest arch in North America, the Landscape Arch! Be sure to check out the Balanced Rock, and be bewildered at how these boulders have maintained their position for decades. With various forms the rocks and stones take in this park, Arches National Park will grant you a better appreciation of geology after your visit!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Source: @sheenawoodhead

Price Range – $$

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If you travel to the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in south central Utah, you’ll find the Bryce Canyon National Park! Head over to viewpoints such as Bryce, Inspiration, and Sunrise to get an overlook of the Silent City, its amphitheater, and many other structured, rock depositions known as hoodoos. If you are able to drive a distance, check out the Rainbow and Yovimpa viewpoints to see a collection of colorful rock layers regarded as the “Grand Staircase”. After an amazing day of rock exploration, stay during the sundown, and witness one of the world’s darkest skies, where nothing but stars and sections of the Milky Way galaxy shines bright! Visit Bryce Canyon for quality air and geology galore!

Canyonlands National Park

Source: @rondiel

Price Range – $$

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A compilation of colorful canyons awaits you at the Canyonlands National Park! In the heart of the Southeastern Utah desert, journey through acres and acres of canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires. Districts such as The Needles will give you an opportunity to see colorful sandstone spires in the backcountry area, while the Island In The Sky district allows you to climb the sandstone cliffs and spot a scenic view of the Canyonlands once you reach the top! The captivating canyons aren’t the only thing the park has to offer; the rivers flowing within the Canyonlands have enough current that you can boat or packraft once meeting the proper requirements! Come sightsee and sail into the Canyonlands soon!

Capitol Reef National Park

Source: Capitol Reef

Price Range – $$

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Canyons, valleys, and an area settlers once called home, Capitol Reef National Park has a little bit of everything to enjoy! Canyoneer through many cliffs and boulders formed of sedimentary strata and enjoy the geological structures shaped like Navajo sandstone domes and ocean reefs. When you are done playing in the deposition districts, take a walk to the Waterpocket District, where the Fremont River flows, and there are springs filled with drinkable water once you filter it. If the Waterpocket area didn’t quench your thirst enough, stop by the verdant valley known as Fruita for extraordinary views of the heart of this park! In Fruita, you’ll learn some of the history of the various settlers who once called the area home; you’ll see places like a one-room school, the Gifford Homestead, and an orchard filled with various fruits, depending on season, available to pick if ripe and if under the “u-pick” signs around the orchard. So much to learn, do, and taste, it is worth the capital to catapult your way to Capitol Reef National Park!

Zion National Park

Source: Jaclyn Yost

Price Range – $$

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The first national park in Utah, Zion is the park to play and pay respects to the pioneers who once claimed this national park as their place of residence. After taking the Zion pledge to protect and preserve the park, explore various locations within the park on foot, by care, or by stock animals, and see the beauty of this haven of desertous habitats; rove through the Virgin River to enter The Narrows, the narrowest place within Zion Canyon. If recreational activities such as canyoneering, bicycling, or stargazing don’t leave you tiresome, take a stroll to the Kolob Canyons to relish in the lavishing landscape, or learn about the lifestyle of the past Zion natives and colonizers through archaeological sites such as the Cable Mountain Draw Works, and other sites so ancient it requires permission to view to prevent the public for damaging any artifacts. After your visit through the pleasant park with such a praiseworthy past, you will definitely sing Zion’s name to the heavens!

ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.


Stephanie Stevens
Stephanie is a writer and photographer passionate about sustainable living, mindfulness, and exploring the outdoors. She loves micro-adventures but her favorite part about traveling abroad is immersing herself in other cultures. When she’s not writing, you can find her drinking coffee, playing soccer, or backpacking.