Delicate Arch “doesn’t look anything like the license plate.”
Zion National Park’s scenery is ”huge and up in the air and distant and impersonal,” and the taco bar in the lodge restaurant is boring.
And Antelope Island is “out of a horror movie,” “hellish,” “one of the worst experiences of our lives” and it “smells like a wet dog’s butt.”
Utah’s natural wonders generally win high praise from visitors, but not everyone is convinced. Every so often, for entertainment, I check in at Yelp and Trip Advisor to see the one-star reviews and chortle at the travel miseries of people who think Nine Mile Canyon is “a total waste of time” and Kodachrome Basin State Park ”was about as interesting and exciting as driving thru a Walmart parking lot except you have to pay to get in.”
Some dissatisfied customers just had bad luck: A trail was closed, a ranger was rude or they hit Zion on a holiday weekend.
But it’s hard to know what someone expects of a slot canyon when he says of the famed Peekaboo Gulch near Escalante: “This place stinks. It’s hot and just walking thru some rock.”
Or what visitors to Zion’s Narrows might prefer when they complain, “If there is a danger of a flash flood it is closed.”
A one-star rating for Red Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon is accompanied by claims that the trail can’t be hiked in winter because the reviewer “couldn’t find access to the trail.” It must have disappeared, having been replaced by a mysterious white substance on everything!
One wonders how a person imagined an arid landscape when she dismays of Kodachrome Basin, which is in the middle of the desert: ”There were no trees — just bushes.”
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if they’re kidding.
Re: The Subway in Zion: “I legit can’t believe how trash this was. If you’re a Jerry then you might enjoy this trash of a walk.” (A Jerry is ”an individual who exhibits a true lack of understanding for their sport, or for life in general,” per the Twitter user @jerryoftheday.)
Re: the beautifully striated slot canyon formed by Willis Creek south of Cannonville: ”I went here expecting some sort of US Forrestry [sic] interpretive tour and nobody was there. No artwork painted on any of the walls. The concrete was of a boring color. You had to get your feet wet the whole time and that was cold. No bathrooms or even a hotdog cart midway thru for snacks or a beer.”
Re: Canyonlands National Park: ”Negative Stars possible? 40 mile drive one way for a few minutes view? Skip this and go to Arches. Sure the view is great but thats it. No trails to hike, nowhere to picnic. Worthless park.”
(There are literally hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Canyonlands.)
By far the most maligned natural spots in Utah are Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake — features to which reviewers have given over great poetic efforts in their condemnation.
“THE SALT AND DESPAIR STICK TO YOU,” writes one reviewer, in all caps. ”There was such a thick blanket of black flies that it looked like the ground until you walked through them, and then they attacked. They swarmed up, landing on every part of you. They blanketed everything. I set down the baby carrier with my baby inside and she was instantly covered with flies.
“This is when the collective sobbing of all of the children began.”
Reports another: ”I ended up in urgent care … where the doctor said that I had an allergic reaction to the blood sucking gnats that don’t bite like a mosquito, but rather, cut your scalp with scissor-like jaws.”
”Walking to the water, the horrible smells get stronger as you have to watch your step to make sure you don’t step on one of the hundreds of petrified dead seagulls half buried in the ground. ”
”The front of the car looks like we drove through a chocolate factory. The walk down to the water was apocalyptic.”
If you find yourself underwhelmed by Utah’s landmark attractions, definitely share your thoughts. Just consider there’s maybe more to see of these places than this guy did before he left a one-star review for Ensign Peak:
“We hiked about 50 feet at 9:30 pm. We saw a rattle snake leap out ahead of us and we turned around and went back down. We heard it shaking just before it leaped out. Luckily it didn’t strike me or my wife.”