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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, October 17, 2014

Utah's Best Halloween Destinations and Activities

Plan now to spend Halloween at Goblin Valley. It's a natural. Where else would you want to be?

Well, it turns out there are other great spots in Utah to catch the spirit of the upcoming holiday. Here's a list of some of our favorites. We'd love to hear about yours.

1. Places like Devils Garden, Dead Horse Point, Death Hallow and Hells Backbone are wonderful spots any time of the year, and are delightful during the fall.

2. The Haunted Village at This is the Place Heritage Park: “There are a few haunted houses around, but only one Haunted Village! The most anticipated haunting of the season is at This Is The Place Heritage Park...where you can experience an entire village of hair raising haunts! Ghost hunters say the place really is haunted, but why take their word for it? All the itchy fingers are waiting for the dark of the park.”

3. Haunted Hollow at America West Heritage Center: “Take a walk on the dark side of history through the scariest river hollow in Cache Valley. Keep a weather eye on the trees, where you may run into the likes of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, mummies, and the Hound of Baskerville. There have been bumps in the night that have kept people awake for generations… and you’ll find them here. Recommended for visitors ages 8 and older.” The Center also has a great Corn Maze.

4. Frightmares at Lagoon: Haunted rides, shows and activities at a favorite amusement park.

5. Hunt Mysteries Mystery Dinner Theater: Our professional actors will mingle with your guests from beginning to end making them a part of the experience. Your guests become the detectives, working together to solve a hilarious, light-hearted mystery.

6. Haunted Half Marathon in Provo, Oct 25: “The 2014 Haunted Half Marathon is a unique party run that brings together runners and volunteers for 13.1 miles full of candy, fun, and entertainment! Grab your friends and your Halloween costumes and get ready for the run of your lives!”

There are corn mazes, haunted houses and other activities in many communities around the state. Check locally for activities where you will be traveling.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Utah Wins Big With 'Mighty 5' Tourism Campaign

Utah has been running an innovative tourism campaign touting our “Mighty 5” national parks. The campaign has been popular and effective, and has now been given top honors at the National Council of State Tourism Directors’ Mercury Awards. has this article on the award. The video below is a key part of the campaign. Below the video we give excerpts from the article.

The state won two awards: best overall branding and integrated marketing campaign, and best television broadcast advertising.

“The Mercury Awards are the Academy Awards of our business, and the category we won is like getting best picture,” said Vicki Varela, Managing Director, Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding. “We are deeply honored to be recognized for our breakthrough Mighty 5 campaign.”

In a research report conducted by Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI), the following results are directly attributable to The Mighty 5 campaign launch:
  • The campaign reached nearly half of the target audience, or about 5.75 million households.
  • It returned $126 in visitor spending for each advertising dollar invested. The 2011 and 2012 non-winter campaigns returned $55 and $68.
  • Nearly 375,000 Utah trips between March and December 2013 are attributable to The Mighty 5 campaign.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Top 20 US Cities for 20-Somethings? Salt Lake Is Number 2 has this interesting article naming the 20 best US cities for people in the 20-Something range, and Salt Lake City is number 2 on this list.

Strange? Well, we don't think so. Here's the articles lead, which explains some of the things they looked for:

The verdict is in: 20-somethings want to live in cities. The question then becomes: Which urban centers offer the best situation for those in their 20s? Some things at the top of young adults’ wish lists are universally agreeable (cheap rent, a good job market, and great public transportation). Others are up for debate—do 20-somethings care about fitness, finding love, or the local startup scene?

We do undoubtedly have many good things going for us:
  • Relatively cheap rent
  • Low unemployment and strong job market
  • Excellent universities with low tuition
  • Abundant recreational opportunities
  • Oh, yeah, great skiing
  • Extensive public transportation
Here are tidbits from the article's comments on Salt Lake City:
SLC earned the honor of least-stressed city because of its minimal cost of living and low unemployment rate.

Salt Lake was just named one of America’s five new foodie cities.

Plus, what other major city allows you to hit the slopes right after work at one of the four major ski resorts just minutes from city limits?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gorgeous Road Trips For Fall

Thistles along the road between Pinto and Newcastle. has an interesting article describing “5 gorgeous road trips for fall.” Utah's Hwy 12, our All American Road, is on the list. Here's their recommendations:
  • Pacific Coast Highway
  • Utah's red-rock country
  • Maine's craggy coast
  • Texas Hill Country
  • Lake Superior Loop also has an interesting post: “Most Mind-Blowing Fall Foliage Train Tours. Utah's Heber Valley Railroad makes that list. The article notes that fall colors will now fade fast in northern Utah. If you want to see these colors, do it now.

Fall Backcountry Drives
Caught up in the spirit, here's my list of the best Utah fall backcountry drives. (Backcountry means away form civilization; beyond the normal routes most tourists take.)
  • La Sal Mountain Loop Road, out from Moab - When we talk Moab, we mostly focus on red rock, But in you may notice the towering La Sal Mountain dominate the horizon to the east. The loop road cuts across the mountains at about mid-elevation, in the forest, where you will find trees and small lakes and non-desert-like scenery. It's an amazing drive, very scenic.

    The Las Sal loop road is paved. All the others listed here are dirt/gravel suitable for high clearance vehicles.
  • Kolob Terrace Road, from Virgin near the south entrance of Zion Park, through the Kolob Terrace section of the park, past Kolob Reservoir and then over Kolob Mountain to Hwy 14 on Cedar Mountain. That's one of my personal favorites.
  • My honorable mention award goes to the route from Pine Valley to Pinto and then Newcastle, north of St. George. I did that drive yesterday and really enjoyed it. Colors are coming on strong in southern Utah. 
-- Dave Webb

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bryce Canyon Wants Your Opinion On Bike Trail Inside Park

The Park Service has proposed building a “multi-use visitor path” connecting Bryce Canyon City, Dixie National Forest, and popular overlooks and trailheads in Bryce Canyon National Park. The path would be used by pedestrian and bikers.

An open house to discuss the plan will be held tomorrow (Oct 14, 2014), 5 to 7 p.m. at the Bryce Canyon City Public Safety Building, 70 W. 100 North, in Bryce Canyon City. People not able to attend the open house can make comments via the comment link in the left column on this page.

The initial portion of the trail would run some 7 miles, from Bryce Canyon City to Inspiration Point. It would probably be extended another mile to Bryce Point. In the future, the trail could connect with the route down Red Canyon, providing some 21 miles (one way) of interconnected trail.

Officials hope the trail will reduce traffic congestion within the park, while also providing an enjoyable, healthy travel alternative.

Below is a summary of the proposal provided by Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon National Park Multi-Use Path

The National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the United States Forest Service (USFS), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Utah Department of Transportation, Garfield County, and Bryce Canyon City, is proposing to design and construct a multi-use visitor path connecting Bryce Canyon City, Dixie National Forest, and popular viewpoints and trailheads in Bryce Canyon National Park. The proposed project would begin at the shuttle bus staging area in Bryce Canyon City and continue through Dixie National Forest to key developed visitor use areas in the park.

The primary purpose of the proposed project is to relieve safety issues for all visitors who choose to use nonmotorized transportation-such as walking, jogging, cycling, and cross-country skiing-to experience the park and adjacent United States Forest Service areas near Bryce Canyon City. Increases in visitation at the park (30% increase between 2008 and 2012) are leading to transportation system capacity issues and traffic congestion. Cyclists and pedestrians need a way to travel to and within the park that is more safe, provides a better visitor experience, promotes nonmotorized travel between nearby communities and the park as well as between key destinations in the park. The proposed path project would also connect to the existing transportation system, including visitor shuttle buses, hiking trails and walking paths, parking lots, and roads linking major visitor attractions and facilities with both nonmotorized and motorized transportation modes. Visitor safety would be improved by separating motor vehicles from bicyclists, pedestrians, and other nonmotorized user groups where possible. The path is also intended to help manage congestion, improve visitor experience, and provide alternative means of accessing United States Forest Service and National Park Service lands. Doing so would enhance the parks transportation system by connecting the parks gateway communities with high visitor use areas along the canyon rim in the Bryce Amphitheater and other key features of the park. To facilitate easy transition between transportation modes, the proposed project would connect Bryce Canyon City to current and future multimodal transportation hubs in the park as identified in the Bryce Canyon National Park Multimodal Transportation Plan.

Contact Information
Dan Cloud, Bryce Canyon National Park, at or (435) 834-4720
Nick Glidden, Dixie National Forest, at or (435) 865-3747

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lake Powell Is Paradise In October

Lone Rock at Lake Powell - by Dave Webb
Last week I enjoyed a few days boating at Lake Powell, camping on the beach and doing a little fishing. It was wonderful – this is my favorite time of year to be at the big lake.

Why? Here are the reasons I like this season:

1. Water is still warm
2. Air is warm but not hot
3. Not as many people
4. Fishing is very good

I launched at Wahweap and camped on Lone Rock Beach. There were plenty of other people camped there but it wasn't crowded. There was little boat traffic regardless of the direction we traveled.

I normally prefer to boat away from the marina and camp in some secluded canyon, but we had too many people in our party this time. Camping in a remote cove is my idea of paradise. As the sun goes down, all boat traffic stops. In many coves you can't see or hear anyone else on the lake. I think it is wonderful.

Striped bass surface fishing as slowed down but the big predator fish can still be caught working lures under the surface. Smallmouth and largemouth fishing can be very good at this time of year. The fish seem to understand lean winter days are ahead and so they eat voraciously.

The lake's water is cooling and seasonally changes will soon take their toll on recreation at the lake. But late October must people choose to stop skiing and swimming, although a quick dip can still be refreshing.

If you stay dry, boating, camping and hiking can be very enjoyable through November. Fishing success usually begins to fade in November and by the end of the month it becomes much more difficult to catch most species in the lake.

During winter, the lake is incredibly peaceful, with few humans to be seen. People boat on the lake during every week of the year, but you need to use caution during the cold months. Since there are fewer people out, there may not be any help nearby if you get in trouble.

The lake never freezes. Some years a skim of ice ice may form in the very back of some canyons, but it usually doesn't extend far or last long.

The major marinas are open year-round.

Come on down and enjoy paradise.

– Dave Webb

Thursday, October 09, 2014

National Parks May Raise Entrance And Camping Fees, Public Input Will Be Sought

Fees may increase at Lake Powell (Photo © Dave Webb)
A National Park Service memo says fees may be increased at 131 properties across the nation, including Utah's five national parks and several of our national monuments. Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area may also raise rates.

The Deseret News has this article about the memo, which suggests public comments will be considered before any decisions are made. Below are excerpts from the article.

A late summer memo by the agency's director Jon Jarvis instructed his regional managers to begin readying for public outreach with congressional delegations, gateway community leaders and park service visitors to determine, what — if any increase in fees — may be palatable.
"Parks must thoroughly engage their stakeholders and document the support and concerns expressed by the public," the memo states.
The proposed fee increases — which could bump from $15 to $25 per carload and jump to $20 for overnight camping — would be the first since the rate schedule was updated in 2006 and became effective two years later.

Park superintendents at Zion, Arches, Bryce, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands national parks, impacted national monuments, and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will begin soliciting input in the coming months in advance of a March 2 deadline to determine what rates may go up. In Utah, beyond the national parks that could be impacted, fees could jump at Cedar Breaks, Dinosaur, Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments, the Golden Spike National Historic Site and Glen Canyon.

The article has one sentence that confuses me:

The state's five national parks, a handful of its national monuments and its lone national recreation area could see fee increases by next spring under a proposal by the National Park Service.

It appears the writer is not including Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. I don't know if that means “The Gorge” is safe from any rate increase, or if it was simply overlooked in the news article.

-- Dave Webb
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