Even though we are a “desert” state, Utah’s rivers are world-renowned among river runners and geoscientists. Several of America’s early geologists, including G.K. Gilbert, W.M. Davis, C.E. Dutton, and J.W. Powell contributed to theories of stream evolution from observations made in Utah.
Rivers typically originate in the mountains, flow away from them in a more-or-less constant direction, enter increasingly broad river plains, and terminate at an ocean. But many rivers in Utah flow toward and across mountains, run contrary to valleys, make U-turns, and many never reach the ocean.