Bookmark and Share

Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, July 31, 2009

NY Times Touts Utah's Pastrami Burgers

The Times has this fun article describing the pastrami burger and the role it plays in Utah's unique fast food culture. Below are excerpts.

The American hamburger is a many splendored and spangled dish. And nowhere, perhaps, is the burger more spangled than in Salt Lake City.

Here, Crown Burgers and various imitators have, over the last three decades, convinced the citizens of Utah that it is perfectly normal to wedge a quarter pound of thin-sliced pastrami between a cheese-draped charbroiled beef patty and a sesame seed bun, slathered with a Thousand-Island-like sauce and dressed with sliced tomatoes, shaved lettuce and onions.

Salt Lake City’s detractors, perhaps making too much of the conservative influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, portray the town as culturally and gastronomically staid. The pastrami burger challenges such notions.

In Salt Lake City, pastrami is not a mere condiment, applied sparingly, in the manner of a couple of bacon slices or a spot of mayonnaise. It’s as integral to the burger as the patty itself. (Greek-owned restaurants here understand how meat complements meat. Several of them top gyros with so-called red sauce, a meat sauce comparable to the filling in a traditional Greek pastitsio.)

Read the full article.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Zion's Kolob Canyons Closed Because of Wildfire

The entire Kolob Canyons district in Zion National Park is closed because of a wildfire. The closed area includes the five mile Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive (located at Exit 40 on Interstate 15), and all trails leading from it. These trails include LaVerkin Creek, Middle Fork of Taylor Creek, Timber Creek Overlook and Hop Valley. The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center remains open.

The Zion Canyon area of the park is open and not affected by the fire. Zion Canyon is the most popular area for tourists. It is located near the town of Springdale.

The fire is very visible from Interstate 15. For safety concerns, the public is asked not to stop along the highway.

Here is more info about that fire. In addition, the Park Service provided this news release.

Another fire continues to burn near Lava Point, also in Zion Park. The West Rim Trail from Lava Point to Potato Hollow has been temporarily closed for visitor safety. Here is more info about that fire.

Several other fires are burning in Utah but they are not hampering travel or recreation at this time.

Most Utah wildfires are caused by lightning. Afternoon thunderstorms are common during this season and can spark fires anywhere. Most such fires die quickly.

This website has current information about Utah wildfires.

People traveling and recreating in the backcountry are urged to be extremely careful with fire. Please learn about and follow fire restrictions in the areas you visit.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Enjoy the Moab Music Festival

The annual Moab Music Festival will run Sept 3-14, 2009. If offers world-class musical performances set in various locations in Moab and the surrounding canyon country.

Some performances are staged in natural red-rock amphitheaters. Others are held on the banks of the Colorado River, or at Moab-area parks and resorts. You can even combine concerts with whitewater river trips.

Here's some background from the festival website:

The Moab Music Festival was founded in 1992 by Michael Barrett and Leslie Tomkins, professional musicians based in New York with an abiding love for the red rock country of southeastern Utah. According to Michael, "Creating the Festival allows us to combine two of the major passions of our lives—our love of great music beautifully performed and the tremendous beauty of the Moab area."

Since its inception, the Festival has remained true to their dream: to marry world class musical performances with the spectacular landscape of the Utah canyonlands region and to bring musical opportunities to the Moab community, particularly to its children. The Festival engages the Moab Community, its children and youth through the Education Outreach and Artist-in-Residence programs.

The Festival is noted for its distinctive programming. Classical chamber music is the mainstay of the Festival, with traditional folk music, jazz, Latin music, and the compositions of living composers, many of whom have served as Composers-in-Residence, adding spice to the repertoire. Over the course of the Festival’s history, close to 170 professional, world-class musicians have performed in Moab; many returning year after year, driven by their desire to make music in concert with the landscape. Recognized for its excellence, the Festival received the Utah Arts Council’s 2002 Governor's Award in the Arts, the 2003 ASCAP First Prize for "Adventurous Programming" and a 2007 Utah Governor's Mansion Artist Award.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Change Slowly Comes To Beautiful, Remote Monument Valley

Monument Valley, located on the Utah/Arizona border, seems to be little touched by the passage of time. It has taken thousands of years for wind and water to carve the valley's iconic rock formations. The sand dunes are alive and moving, but shifting very slowly with the prevailing winds.

Many of the people here choose traditional ways that have endured for centuries.

Monument Valley is a stark, beautiful, fascinating place.

But change is coming. This USA Today article describes a new lodge being built right in the valley. Below are excerpts.

Change comes slowly to this rugged land of pinnacles, mesas and buttes. And that's only fitting, given that it took eons of wind, rain and other forces to carve the magnificent spires, alcoves and monoliths that have come to symbolize the untamed West.

But change has come to Monument Valley. And more is on the way.

Just beyond the hut where Rock and other local Navajos book tours into the heart of the valley, a new $14 million lodging, appropriately dubbed The View Hotel, rises from a sandstone bluff. The hotel is the first ever to be built inside the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, a vast 29,816-acre tract that remains home to a handful of Navajo families who maintain grazing rights here.

Next door to The View, workers are building a new visitors center and museum, set to open in October. It will provide much-needed interpretive information (a scant commodity at present for those who opt not to hire a guide), and a museum honoring World War II Navajo code talkers.

And a few miles west of the park's boundaries, the sale of the venerable Goulding's Lodge is underway. If the sale goes through, plans call for convention facilities, a spa and an upgrade to four-star accommodations, says longtime manager Ronnie Baird.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Park City Music and Art Festivals

Several major art and music festivals will take place in the Park City area during the next few weeks. These events are becoming more popular every year and are definitely worth attending.

The Park City area is inviting this time of year for several reasons. The mountain air is refreshing, the wildflowers are in bloom and there are great deals on lodging during the summer months.

Park City Kimball Arts Festival, August 1-2

Deer Valley® Music Festival, weekly Performances through August 15

Summit County Fair and Art Show, August 1-8

2009 Park City Jazz Festival Presented by Mark Miller Subaru, August 21-23

St Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Outdoor Concert Series, runs through September 7

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Days Of '47: The Day When Pioneers Are Cool

The Salt Lake Tribune has this interesting rundown of Pioneer Day celebrations in Salt Lake City and around the sate. (Pioneer Day, July 24, is a Utah holiday commemorating the arrival of pioneer settlers.)

In Salt Lake, festivities are refereed to as the Days of '47. The Trib reports: "The main event is the parade, of course, which organizers claim is the third largest in the nation, following the Pasadena Tournament of Roses the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parades. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. July 24, with the processional starting at South Temple and State Street and ending at Liberty Park."

ABC 4 also lists festivities: "The Days of '47 Rodeo is going on at the E Center in West Valley. The yearly event is consistently voted as one of the top rodeos in the country. This year's entertainment includes "Whiplash", a monkey that rides a sheep dog and herds sheep around the arena, and all the classic rodeo events from bull riding to wild cow milking."

The Standard-Examiner gives this list of events in northern Utah: Cowboys, clowns, cars on the move for Pioneer Days in Ogden.

Monday, July 20, 2009

On The Buffalo Trail At Antelope Island

Hugo Martin participated in the annual bison roundup on Antelope Island, in Utah's Great Salt Lake, and lived to write this article for the Los Angeles Times. Below are excerpts.

Buffaloes don't herd easily. If pushed too fast, they lower their heads and charge at anyone dumb enough to get in the way.

But that is exactly what we were trying to do -- about 150 riders and me as we trotted across a flat field on Antelope Island in the middle of Utah's Great Salt Lake. Ahead of us, a herd of about 250 bison -- a woolly, snorting blanket of black shoulders and rising dust -- shuffled toward the corrals on the north end of the island. To move the animals, riders whooped like warriors. One rider snapped a bullwhip.

In all the commotion, at least eight riders were thrown to the ground, and one suffered a broken wrist.

Antelope Island's bison are descendants of a dozen buffaloes brought by barge by ranchers William Glassman and John Dooly in 1893. With plenty of grazing land and spring water, the bison thrived. When the state took over the island, park officials invited the public to take part in the annual roundup. Each year, for the last 22 years, the bison are herded into pens so veterinarians can perform medical tests, administer vaccinations, collect blood and check the cows and heifers for pregnancies. To ensure the population does not exceed the island's food supply, some are sold at auctions. The state also sells handful of hunting permits -- about six -- to cull the older bulls that are too ornery to herd or put in trailers.

Read the entire article.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hiking 101: What are the best hikes in Utah?

Writing for, Deb Stanley lists her top 10 hikes, plus one more for honorable mention.

"Thousands of Coloradans make a run for the border everyday to hike, bike and explore," she begins. "Not the Mexico border, but the Utah border. Utah offers breathtaking slot canyons, hidden and not-so-hidden arches, waterfalls and much more."

Some of her hikes are relatively easy (Calf Creek Falls, Devils Garden and Delicate Arch in Arches National Park), but some are strenuous (Buckskin Gulch). Some, like the Zion Narrows, can range from easy to intense, depending on your approach.

See her complete list.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Campers Warned to Follow Safety Rules in Utah's Bear Country

Some 3,000-4,000 black bears live in Utah and they are normally shy - most people will never see one.

But the animals can cause trouble when they become accustomed to living around humans. To avoid problems, people camping and engaging in other recreational activities are encouraged to follow basic safety rules. Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) offers these tips.

So far in July, 5 bears have been shot and killed by people who felt threatened by the animals. That is an amazingly high number - more than in any other year on record. In many years no bears are killed by recreationists.

DWR officials are concerned about the high number. Normal bear behavior is to avoid humans. Even when bears become accustomed to humans, they usually avoid direct confrontation and will try to get away.

People are justified in killing a bear if it is threatening them. But DWR officials fear people are shooting first, without giving the animals a change to get away.

DWR personnel routinely trap and move problem bears, putting them into remote mountain locations where they are less likely to encounter humans. If possible, people encountering a bear should call DWR and let them take care of the problem.

KSL TV has this interesting report (with video) about the bear problem.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 24 Pioneer Day Holiday

July 24 is an official Utah holiday commemorating the arrival of the state's pioneer settlers in 1847. Parades, fireworks and other festivities will be held in many communities. A lot of people will have the day off and so many parks and recreational areas will be crowded. Grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and most other businesses serving travelers will be open as usual.

Salt Lake City hosts an extensive celebration called The Days of '47, with activities climaxing on the 24th. Many events are held in downtown Salt Lake City, including a marathon and parade. The parade begins at 9 am at the intersection of South Temple and State Street. It runs east to 200 East, then turns south to 900 South, then turns east to Liberty Park at 600 East. Pedestrian and vehicle traffic will be heavy in those areas.

A Pioneer Heritage Festival will be held on July 24th and 25th at This Is The Place Heritage Park, on the east side of Salt Lake City. It offers food, music and plenty of opportunity to watch or participate in living history demonstrations and activities.

The Days of 47 website has complete info about activities.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Touring Southern Utah's Parks - With A Dog

Many people want to bring pets as they explore the national parks in southern Utah. This article, from Silicon Valley, describes one couple's adventures as they visit five parks in a week's time, with their dog.

The national parks are owned by the people, but when it comes to dogs, they are notoriously unfriendly. This is going to require a bit of ingenuity.

After setting up camp at dog-friendly Watchman Campground in the park, we take the Pa'rus Trail, the only trail where dogs are allowed inside Zion. It winds down to the Virgin River, where we let LADI splash around in the shallow water.

From the Escalante River trailhead, hikers can go about 15 miles upstream or downstream. We hike downstream for about an hour, mostly in open sun that I imagine would be unbearable in the summer, before retracing our steps. LADI is overjoyed that this part of the trail includes several river crossings, and she gets to take a quick swim each time Daysi and I take off our shoes to wade across.

We return to the park the next morning to Grand Staircase for our biggest day of hiking. We're tackling the 6-mile round-trip Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail. Most of the trail is relatively flat, but it's very sandy in many places, so the walking is a bit strenuous, even for LADI, who huffs along.

The pool underneath the falls is too cool for us to brave, but LADI, with all those generations of breeding to hunt in the icy lakes of England, is in paradise. We let her off leash, and she joins two other dogs paddling away to their hearts' content.

When we arrive in the town of Moab, I take LADI for a run in a city park while Daysi hits the market. For the next three nights we cook and dine high-country style. Our cafe is our cabin at the Pack Creek Ranch, in the foothills of the La Sal Mountains about 10 miles outside of Moab.

We know that Arches National Park will be a lot more crowded than Grand Escalante and Capitol Reef, so we take LADI to Karen's Canine Campground for the day.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Zion Park Trails, Fires and Dogs

It is now wildfire season in Utah. Zion Park officials have temporarily closed the West Rim Trail from Lava Point to Potato Hollow because of a new wildfire. Here are details.

Fires sometimes affect travel and recreation in Utah. Watch this website for up to date info on fires in Utah, along with closures and advisories.

Pets at Zion Park
Here are a couple interesting questions about Zion Park submitted by a reader:

Question: I'm interested in coming to Utah in mid September, but am not sure what the weather maybe like.

Also, I wanted to get to Salt Lake and go down to Zion's. But I would like to travel with our small dog. Can you give me information about dogs on leash in Utah's National Parks?


Answer: Our weather is usually delightful in mid-September. The Zion area will have summer conditions, with daytime temperatures in the 90s. Nights start to cool off about them and are very pleasant.

Leashed pets are allowed in only a few areas in Zion Park.

Here's what the park service says: "Pets must be under physical control on a leash no longer than six feet at all times. They are not allowed on the shuttle, in the backcountry, on trails, or in public buildings."

Service animals are an exception. Leashed pets are allowed on the Pa'rus Trail and in the campgrounds.

Visitors who bring pets face a dilemma. What do you do with your pets while you tour the park? Some people leave pets locked in vehicles, but that is a bad idea. In mid-September, temperatures inside vehicles can become lethally hot within just a few minutes, even if windows are cracked.

There are pet boarding facilities in nearby towns.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wasatch Wildflower Festival

This annual event will be held July 17-19 in the mountains east of Salt Lake City.

Enjoy three fabulous days celebrating some of the most beautiful mountain wildflower displays in the Wasatch Mountains July 17th, 18th, and 19th, 2009.

The Festival will host beginner and intermediate wildflower walks for kids and adults. Festivities include live music, children’s art, fabulous food, and glorious wildflowers.

This event is hosted by the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, Alta Community Enrichment and the Snowbird Renaissance Center

Festival locations:
Solitude & Brighton- Friday, July 17
Alta - Saturday, July 18
Snowbird - Sunday, July 19

Contact: Jessie Walters

Phone: (801) 947-8263

Event Hours: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Web Site:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Boating on the Improved Utah Lake

Utah Lake is an interesting resource, under-utilized but becoming more popular every year. It is the closest freshwater lake to a large majority of Utah's citizens but many don't consider it when they are planning recreational activities. The lake has an undeserved bad rap.

I boated there yesterday afternoon and had a great time. We pulled kids on tubs and the kids had a ball. They can't wait to go back.

My boat was in the water and we were underway within 20 minutes from the time we left home. Not bad, just 20 minutes. We launched from the American Fork Boat Harbor. The Utah Lake State Park ramp is actually a little closer to me, but I was meeting people from Salt Lake and so we chose a midway meeting point.

The water was murky - Utah Lake is always murky - and that is part of the reason the lake is not more popular. It is a shallow lake and so wind action causes waves that stir up sediment. But tests show the water quality is actually good and getting better.

The lake is the subject of a huge improvement project, which will make it more appealing to man and wildlife. The lake is a priority in part because it is home to an endangered endemic fish - the June sucker. Recent projects have effectively reduced industrial and agricultural pollution going into the lake and an interesting campaign is now underway to reduce the number of carp. (Carp are a problem because they make the water less habitable for other species.)

There are several projects underway to improve access, improve facilities and make the lake more attractive. The Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune both have recent news articles about progress:
-- Road map in place for rehabilitating Utah Lake
-- Rare fish shows signs of recovery

Many people are surprised to learn that Utah Lake is a good fishery. Channel cats grow big there and can be caught fairly easily. There are also nice walleye and a huge number of white bass.

Twenty minutes from home, uncrowded boat ramps, good fishing and fun water sports. Utah Lake is good and getting better.

Monday, July 06, 2009

LED Headlamp Is Product of the Week

People rely on for the best information available on where to hike, camp and engage in other recreational activities.

Now we've teamed with wholesalers to bring you bargains on some of the equipment you need to enjoy those activities. Every week we will feature another quality product at a deeply discounted price.

Watch this page for information about our weekly specials.

If you decide to purchase one, be assured that our site is secure; we work with industry leaders to make sure your shopping experience is pleasant and risk-free.

We are sportsmen and we use these and similar products ourselves as we hike and camp and fish. We understand the need for quality as well as affordability. Every week we will bring you some of the best values available anywhere.

- Dave

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Relaxed Liquor Laws Go Into Effect in Utah

As of July 1, Utah liquor laws have become more "normal" and the state's notorious private club system has been abolished. Under the old system People had to buy a private club membership before they could drink hard liquor in a bar or pub. Now the bars are open to everyone of legal age, no membership required.

The Washington Times has this article about the changes.

Utah made history this year by eliminating its 40-year-old private-club system, which required would-be drinkers to purchase a membership. The move is expected to boost tourism and convention business as word of the state's less-restrictive laws spreads to other states.

In exchange for the move, the state Legislature tightened DUI laws and required bars to scan the driver's licenses of anyone who appears younger than 35.

The legislature agreed to tear down the so-called "Zion Curtain," the glass partition that separated bartenders from customers in a setup similar to all-night gas stations and convenience stores. The move allows bartenders to serve their patrons directly over the bar, instead of having to walk around the partition.

More significantly, lawmakers ended the system that classified hard-liquor bars as clubs that could only serve members, requiring customers to fill out an application and pay a small fee before they could be served. Still, certain features of the law gave savvy Utahns ways to work around it.

Local papers have published numerous articles on the subject. Below are excerpts from this Salt Lake Tribune editorial.

Independence Day came early this year for people who enjoy tipping a few with friends without being subjected to oppressive regulations. Starting today, state Senate Bill 187 takes effect, and residents and visitors of legal age can walk into a Utah club and order an alcoholic beverage without first buying a membership. And so ends one of the most onerous restrictions on legal libations in the state since Prohibition.

Of course, there were trade-offs required to satiate the unfounded fears of legislative teetotalers who believed club memberships curbed underage drinking. So expect to have your driver license scanned if you appear to be under 35 years of age. But make no mistake, this is a landmark occasion, and, hopefully, just the beginning of expansive liquor law reforms.
Back to top Print this page E-mail this page