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Park City and Springdale noted for beauty

Forbes Traveler puts them on its top 20 'prettiest towns' list

People and cars crowd Main Street in Park City during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Park City boasts a population of 6,500.
People and cars crowd Main Street in Park City during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Park City boasts a population of 6,500.
Mike Terry, Deseret News

Two Utah towns are feeling pretty, witty and very pleased with themselves after being recognized as lovely by a national travel publication.

Park City in Utah's north and Springdale, the gateway to Zion National Park, made the Forbes Traveler list of 20 "prettiest towns in America," published online Tuesday.

The list highlights several quaint Victorian-era towns from the East Coast but also draws attention to spots as diverse as Flagstaff, Ariz., and the gold-mining ghost town of Bodie, Calif. The list was compiled by a travel photographer, travel authors and an urban designer.

Springdale town manager Rick Wixom was "tickled and very pleased" to learn of his town's placement on the list of delightful locales.

"It was a total shock to us. We're pretty excited, though. It's nice to be recognized," Wixom said. "We have a lot of very concerned citizens who care how the town looks and feels."

Springdale is home to about 500 full-time residents, but 3 million visitors stop for a visit each year or drive through on their way to see the red rocks of Zion.

Members of the Springdale Town Council are conscious of the town's appeal and the ordinances governing development reflect that concern, Wixom said.

"We're trying to keep an atmosphere of small-town charm," he said. "Springdale is really a wonderful place to live and work. It's full of people who care about their town."

Park City Mayor Dana Williams said the town's "prettiness" has more to do with what it hasn't built than what it has.

Dozens of brightly colored residences in "Old Town" are restored historic homes, he said.

"While (the town) has morphed over time, there has been a very strong preservation mentality," he said. "We're not doing it to be like Disneyland."

The "drop-dead gorgeous" town has also benefited from protecting 7,000 acres of open space and keeping development at the base of snow-capped peaks, Williams said.

Home to the Sundance Film Festival and close to several premier ski resorts, Park City boasts a population of 6,500.

Park City's ski and tourism industries rival those in Aspen, Colo., which also made Forbes' list. But though some of the basic beauty is similar, the Utah town is a lot less expensive and easier to get to, Williams said.

Photos of towns featured by the travel magazine can be found at forbestraveler

.com/best-lists. For further information on visiting Utah's acclaimed pretty spots, visit or