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Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah and its biggest city, is a testimony to the industriousness and vision of early settlers, who also founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today, Mormons constitute less than half the population, but have played a major role in building the city.

It's still a great place for Latter-day Saints, as well as skiers, hikers, mountain bikers and anyone who enjoys the robustness of outdoor pursuits. The spacious, pleasant, hassle-free city is uniquely sandwiched between a briny inland sea and a snowcapped range of 11,000ft (3300m) mountains.

When followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints trekked westward in 1847 to escape persecution, their leader, Brigham Young, put down his pack on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, hoping his community could finally live in peace. Surveying the barren-looking wasteland, he uttered the now famous words, 'This is the right place.' If you're a downhill skier, an ardent hiker or an avid bird-watcher, you might agree. The city remained almost 100% Mormon until 1869, when the transcontinental railway brought in a flood of outsiders.

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