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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Provo Ranked Best US City For People Growing Old

Many people come to Utah to vacation, play and relax. After getting a taste of our recreational opportunities and lifestyle, more and more are coming here to live and retire.

Utah often ranks at or near the top in "quality of life" surveys. Today we received another top honor. The Milken Institute studied a wide range of variables and concluded that Provo is the best city in the U.S. for people ages 65-79. Salt Lake City tied for the number 6 spot.

For people 80+, the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area took top honors and Provo ranked number 7 in the US.

The complete tally can be seen here. If you want to learn about criteria considered in the study, go to this page. Here's an excerpt:

Best Cities for Successful Aging is a comprehensive index that generates a composite ranking for each metro area. The composite ranking is based on eight subcomponents (general indicators, health care, wellness, living arrangements, transportation/convenience, financial well-being, employment/education, and community engagement). Each of the eight subcomponents is composed of multiple individual indicators—78 individual indicators in all.

At the same time, we recognize that a 65-year-old’s needs likely differ from an 80-year-old’s. By using the same data but weighting the indicators differently, we created two subindexes, one for ages 65 through 79 and another for age 80 and up. Takes More Top Honors

Utah's government website is often held up as an example of successful and innovative use of technology to serve the public. Recently the website received one more accolade. has this report about the honor. Here's an excerpt:

As a clear eGovernment industry leader, Utah.Gov was recognized with another Best in Class Interactive Media Award last week. Sponsored by the Interactive Media Council, Inc. (IMC), the Best in Class signifies the highest honor bestowed by the Interactive Media Awards—a near perfect overall score. Entries are judged on five different criteria areas including design, content, feature functionality, usability, and standards compliance and cross-browser compatibility.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Capitol Reef Celebrates 75th Anniversary, Offers Fresh Fruit, Works To Protect Rare Cacti

Capitol Reef was proclaimed a national park by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 2, 1937. Anniversary activities will take place during the next few days. This park news release has details. Here's a quote:
The park and Capitol Reef Natural History Association are teaming up to celebrate this noteworthy milestone August 2-4, 2012 with special events and activities including cultural demonstrations, interpretive programs, live music and a cowboy cookout. A complete schedule of events will be available two weeks prior. Scheduled activities include:

Fruit Harvest
The historic orchards in Capitol Reef produce many kinds of fruit, which is available for public consumption. Summer apples are now in season and peaches will soon be coming on. The fruit is available for purchase at $1 per pound.

Current information about the fruit harvest is available on a recorded Fruit Hotline, updated as specific harvest start dates are determined or orchards are close. The fruit hotline may be reached by calling (435) 425-3791.

See this news release for more information about the fruit harvest.

Rare Plants
Several species of rare and endangered plants live within the boundaries of Capitol Reef National Park. The park is working to formulate reasonable regulations to protect the plants while also allowing public recreation and other activities.

The two efforts sometimes produce conflicts. The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about efforts to protect endangered cacti while also stopping some visitors who want to dig up plants or harvest seeds. Here are excerpts from the article.

Capitol Reef is a unique north-south twist of sandstone uplifts that catch varied amounts of sunlight and moisture to create microhabitats for dozens of rare plants. The Winkler cactus, like the similar-looking Wright fish hook cactus that also is poached from the park, is one of seven park plants protected under the Endangered Species Act.

...That first dilemma, about public enjoyment, pains the park staff. Occasionally somebody in the know will approach a ranger asking help locating a cactus in flower season. They generally won’t help. "It bums me out," Worthington said, because displaying unique natural phenomena is what national parks are all about.

"It’s too bad," park biologist Sandy Borthwick said, "because they would love to see them. If they stumble on them by themselves, that’s great. But we don’t really want to direct them."

Rangers have positioned remote motion detectors, automatic cameras and highly sensitive seismic detectors in the brush around some cactus beds. Even with that help, it’s tough duty for five rangers policing a 70-mile-long backcountry park with 670,000 annual visitors. "I just don’t have the resources," Brown said.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Historic Utah Ghost Town Is Offered For Sale

The ghost town of Woodside, located along Hwy 6 in Emery County, is up for sale. It is an old rail road town that once boasted a population of about 300. Now it consists of a deserted service station, a couple other tumble-down buildings and about 700 acres extending along the Price River on both sides of the highway.

Oh, there is also an unpredictable cold water geyser and two or more “free range” llamas.

Woodside is located about halfway between Price and Green River, on the main road to Moab. Many people drive past it every day and the current owners think it has recreational potential. They are asking almost $4 million.

It is not often that a historic Utah town comes on the market. The official town charter would need to be renewed, but the town could be resurrected.

This Deseret News article provides background information. Here are excerpts:

Woodside got its start in 1881. It was called Lower Crossing then and was used by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad as a water stop.

The town grew to include several stores, a blacksmith shop and even a school. The population peaked around 1920, when about 300 people called Woodside home.

"When the railroad had no more use for (Woodside), it was just kind of doomed to a slow death," said Edward Geary, a retired BYU professor and the author of "A History of Emery County."

The land is owned by the Pogue family and sits midway between Price and Green River on the way to Moab, so it could become a viable stop for travelers.(Mike) Metzger also noted that if the nuclear power plant goes in near Green River, that could increase the properties development potential.

Geary conceded that some ghost towns — and even towns facing the threat of extinction — have made impressive comebacks.

"You have to remember, Park City was never a ghost town, but it was close," he said. "It was only a shadow of what you see there now, but they (developed) recreation and then it became just a wonderful place to live.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Park City's Kimball Arts Festival Runs Aug 3-5

With art, music, food and activities for children, the Kimball Arts Festival has wide appeal. This is the 43rd annual festival. It will be held August 3-5 along Main Street in Park City.

The Park Record newspaper has this article giving background about the festival. Here's a quote:

Next to the Sundance Film Festival, the Park City Kimball Arts Center is the largest single event in Park City, said KAC executive director Robin Marrouche.

The festival website provides complete information and a list of associated events. Here are excerpts:

"The art festival is our main fundraiser for the year and it allows the Kimball Art Center to have free admission throughout the year, and to keep those excellent exhibitions coming," Marrouche told The Park Record.

Welcome to the 43rd Annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival, presented by KSL 5 benefiting the Kimball Art Center!

We hope you will enjoy your time in Park City at one of the oldest and largest Arts festivals in the West.

There’s something for everyone at this year’s festival. In addition to our 220 exhibiting artists this year, don’t miss the city wide recreation and entertainment options and the restaurants participating in Taste of Art. Our 2011 BEST OF SHOW ARTISTS will be located at the intersection of Heber Avenue and Main Street showcasing the best of their work in 10 categories from 2011.

Every single ticket we sell for admission to our annual Arts Festival goes toward supporting our FREE year-round education, exhibitions and events at the Kimball Art Center.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Springville World Folkfest Runs July 30 - Aug 4

he small community of Springville hosts a big event every summer, when its Folkfest attracts dancers from around the world.

The 26th annual World Folkfest will run July 30th through Aug 4th, 2012, in Springville, Utah, USA. (Springville is located just south of Provo, about 50 miles from downtown Salt Lake City.)

The festival website has detailed information about the festival. Here are excerpts:

Folk dancers and musicians travel from countries around the world to attend the Springville Folkfest, which has grown to become one of the largest festivals of folk dance and music in the United States. Teams scheduled to perform this year will arrive from Austria, Catalonia (Spain), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, India, Kenya, and Sierra Leone. Local groups will include Morniing Star, Rocky Mountain Express, and Voice of Polynesia.

The Springville World Folkfest annually features approximately 250 performers dressed in the brilliantly colored costumes of their native lands. Each dance group brings a select group of musicians to provide live music for the dancing.

The Provo Herald has this article about the festival. Here's a quote:

And while the festival's food vendors, craft booths and traditional street dance always make for an enjoyable time, its laundry list of international dance ensembles will once again steal the spotlight at this year's event.

In fact, organizers this year have recruited talent from every continent outside of Australia and Antarctica, with local acts being joined by groups from Austria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, India, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Spain throughout the week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

California Residents Can Ski Free At Eagle Point

Eagle Point Resort is Utah's newest ski resort. It is located in south-central Utah near the town of Beaver, near the site of the old Elk Meadows Resort.

The resort is launching an interesting new promotion, offering free skiing to first time guests and free skiing all season for California residents. (Southern California is a primary market for the resort.)

The resort provided this news release:

Utah's Newest Ski and Snowboard Resort Targets First-Time Guests With Free Skiing and
Snowboarding, Including Free Admission All Season Long For California Residents

Beaver, Utah --- Eagle Point Resort announces its operating schedule and Free Days promotion
for 2012-2013 season. Every Thursday in January 2013, Eagle Point Resort will offer unlimited
free access for skiing and snowboarding to any guest. California residents will enjoy free skiing
and snowboarding for the entire 2012/2013 season.  There are no strings attached other than
the requirement to provide a name and email address. "What we have learned overwhelmingly
from our guests during the first two seasons since reopening is that we have a truly exceptional
mountain that people love to visit. Our goal is to be the premier ski resort in southern Utah."
explained Shane Gadbaw, CEO and Co-Owner of the resort. "We have spent millions to make
the property and the service first class from the newly renovated Canyonside Lodge down to
the friendly greeters in the parking lots. Our last remaining challenge is to massively increase
awareness in the core markets of Las Vegas, southern California and Utah so people know that
we have this new boutique resort with thrilling terrain, super friendly staff, gorgeous views and
long-lasting powder stashes."

The resort owners cited the successful model of the Las Vegas casino resorts as an inspiration
for the Free Days campaign. "By owning or controlling all of the restaurants, services and rental
properties around the resort and maintaining low overhead, we have the same advantage as
the Vegas resorts. We can give lift access away for free yet still achieve a sufficient yield from
our guests on food & beverage sales, rentals, instruction, retail or condo stays." said Gadbaw.
"More importantly, the free admission spurs the first-time visit. That is all we need because the
vast majority of new guests fall in love with the place and go home to tell their friends and
family." Gadbaw added. "Within two years, we have transformed the resort from an
abandoned ghost town into our guests' new favorite resort in the region." The resort hopes
that the Free Days campaign will encourage first-time guests to visit and continue building the
resort's fan base.

Eagle Point intends to open for the 2012/2013 season on December 21, 2012 and remain open
daily until January 6, 2013. Beginning January 10, Eagle Point will switch to a Thursday through
Sunday operating schedule for the remainder of the season making exceptions to be open on
the two holiday Mondays, Martin Luther King Day (January 21) and Presidents' Day (February
18). The resort will continue promoting private rentals of the resort for groups on the days it is
not open to the public (Monday through Wednesday). "We had our first group rent the resort
for two days last year and they loved it. This year we expect more private group rentals especially from the casino industry in Las Vegas. Because of the low overhead we maintain, groups are amazed at how affordable it is to rent out the entire resort on one of our down days for an incredible experience." explained Joe Clough, Co-Owner of the resort. The resort can host turnkey private events for large groups of up to 500 people including snow sports, lodging, fine dining, conference space and transportation.

By targeting California residents with free skiing and snowboarding all season, Eagle Point
expects to significantly increase its brand identify in the California market and earn many new

Eagle Point Resort, located 18 miles east of historic Beaver, Utah and a scenic 3.5 hour drive
from Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, is an all seasons destination resort offering snow sports,
lodging, fine dining, summer activities and day excursions to nearby attractions like Bryce
Canyon and Zion National Parks.  The resort features 600 skiable acres, over 40 named runs,
1500 vertical feet, 5 lifts, 2 transport snow cats, lodging, dining and endless backcountry

For more information or to discuss a private group reservation, please contact Shane Gadbaw
at 855-EAGLEPT or visit or Facebook/EaglePointResort.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Camping In The Rainy Uinta Mountains

For the big Pioneer Day holiday, my family went camping in the Uinta Mountains. We camped in a group area in the Stillwater Campground, along Highway 150 on the northern side of the mountains. The campground features plenty of tent sites and parking areas large enough for RVs. It offers forest restrooms and drinking water.

Our group has stayed in that particular campground many times over the years. We keep coming back because it is one of our favorite spots. The group areas are laid out so we can get off by ourselves, even when we have 40 people. We pitched tents amid the tall pine trees and had a great time.

The area is very scenic and it is close to many spots we like to frequent. The Stillwater Fork of the Bear River flows through the campground. We enjoy fishing in that stream and also in the Bear River proper. Mirror Lake is just up the road, and we always enjoy fishing and picnicking there.

Highway 150 is one of my favorite backcountry byways. We you drive it you pass close to dozens of small lakes, including many that can be seen from the road. You also pass many trailheads where hiking/backpacking routes take you to remote destinations in the High Uintas Wilderness Area.

We always do a hike and this area offers several options that are great for mixed groups where there are people of various ages and fitness levels. This time we choose to hike the 3 mile round trip trail to the top of Bald Mountain, starting where Hwy 150 reaches its highest point as it climbs over the mountains. From the top of Bald Mountain you can see some 45 lakes in the distance.

The hike is out and back; those who do not have the stamina to reach the summit can just go as far as they want and then rest as they wait for the group to come back, or simple start back down the trail whenever they feel like it. Most of our group summited the mountain, including some quite young children.

(Years ago one of my friends climbed to the top of 5 summits in a 24-hour period in the Bald Mountain area. He did it just to prove he could.)

From our camp on the Stillwater, there are adventure opportunities in every direction. I love to explore along the North Slope road, fishing the numerous streams and backpacking to remote lakes.

It rained on us every afternoon, of course. That's expected in those high mountains. Utah experienced a warm, dry spring and early summer but we have now entered our “monsoon” season when afternoon showers are possible statewide and are expected in the Uintas. In the high country it can rain or hail or snow on even the hottest summer days.

Prime time to explore this area extends from late July through August. Winter snow piles deep in these mountains and it is often late July before highest passes open up. The season usually ends in September, when winter-like storms become more frequent.

We really enjoyed our trip.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Help Preserve History In Arches National Park

Volunteers are needed for two projects to preserve historic cabins in Arches National Park.

In late September of this year, crews will work to stabilize and restore the Wolfe Ranch Cabin, in the Delicate Arch area, and also the Stone Cabin, located off-trail in a remote part of the park. Crews will work from a base camp at the Devils Garden Campground.

This web page has details about the projects. Here are highlights:

The Wolfe Ranch needs the existing deteriorated mud daubing (more commonly known as chinking) to be removed and then replaced with a similar mud and binder mixture. The Stone Cabin needs a mortar and acrylic cap installed along the top of the stone-walls to protect the building from further collapse. Work on both cabins will protect and preserve the structures for future study and enjoyment.

Volunteers will learn to:
  • Mix and apply traditional daubing to the exterior of the Wolfe Ranch Cabin
  • Stabilize masonry walls
  • Install a protective cap along masonry walls
  • Session 1, September 24th-28th (we will work on both cabins)
  • Session 2, October 1st-5th (only the Stone Cabin during this week)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Doggy Days Adventure At Sorrel River Ranch

If you love to travel with your dog (or dogs), Sorrel River Ranch has a deal for you. They run a pet-friendly luxury resort on the banks of the Colorado River, just upstream from Moab. They are famous for their equestrian center and horseback rides. Less well know are their dog-friendly adventures.

The ranch has put together a Doggy Days Adventure program. Here are details:

Package Includes:
Luxury Pet and Pet Owner Accommodations in a Mountain View King or Double Queen
Dog Friendly Self-Guided Canoe Trip compliments of Moab Rafting & Canoe
Doggie Life Jacket from the Moab Barkery
Welcome Gift Basket from the Moab Barkery to include:
  • Organic Dog Treats Locally Home Made (incl. Organic Garbanzo Beans, Eggs, Raw Carob)
  • My Dog Digs Moab” Car Sticker and Fridge Magnet
  • Moab Doggie Bandana
Adventure Concierge Resource offering Pet Friendly Hikes such as Sorrel Ridge Hike & Negro Bill Hike

Complimentary Washing Station Use

Complimentary Kennel Use

Resort Doggie Package including Dog Bed, pet accessories, treats, water and food bowls, scooper and plastic bags

Value Priced from $599.00 plus tax and applicable fees based on one pet and up to two owners.

Two Night Minimum Applies.

Contact us directly to book this package at or (877) 317-8244.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pioneer Day Holiday Activities In Utah

July 24th is a major holiday in Utah. It is Pioneer Day, marking arrival of the Mormon Pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley, which happened on July 24th, 1847.

State government offices and some other businesses will be closed on Tuesday. Many retail stores will be open and some offer holiday specials. Restaurants, motels and other travel-related businesses will be open.

Communities throughout the state will hold parades and other festivities. Some will offer fireworks displays. Travelers are always welcome to participate. Check our events calendar and talk to the locals to find out about events where you will be staying.

Salt Lake City holds a massive celebration called Days of '47, which spreads over several days with activities culminating on Tuesday. The festival website has complete details. Below we list some of the highlights.
  • Jul 19, Pioneers of Progress Awards and Dinner
  • Jul 21, First Encampment Hike
  • Jul 21, Brother Brigham’s Ball
  • Jul 24, Sunrise Service
  • Jul 24, Days of ’47 KSL 5 Parade
  • Jul 24, Union Pacific Anniversary Celebration
The Pioneer Day holiday is a popular time for camping, boating and other recreational activities. Campgrounds around the state will be crowded. Many people will take a long, long weekend and camp from Saturday through Tuesday.

Many lakes and reservoirs will also be crowded.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Salt Lake Temple Listed Among 8 Religious Wonders To See In The U.S. has this interesting new article with this title: 8 religious wonders to see in the U.S.

The Mormon Temple on Temple Square in Salt Lake City made the list. Here are some excerpts from the article:

Although the country (US) may not have a reputation for religious landmarks, America is home to more than just secular city halls and strip malls. Whether or not you practice a faith, visiting these beautiful and historic U.S. religious spots may provide inspiration.

In 2011, (Mormon) Temple Square saw about 2,750,000 visitors from all over the world. And for those not allowed inside the temple, a scaled model is on display in the Temple Square South Visitors' Center, which shows off the building's interior.

Most buildings in Temple Square are open daily to the public, free of charge.

Here is a list of the religious wonders described in the article:
  • Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois
  • Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California
  • Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan
  • Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine, Florida
  • Temple Emanu-El in New York City
  • Palace of Gold in Moundsville, West Virginia
  • Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City

Monday, July 16, 2012

Amazing Rescue - Man Found Alive After Wandering Three Weeks In Utah Desert

Often these articles do not have a happy ending. But this one does, and has enough intrigue to warrant another Hollywood Movie. An autistic man was recently rescued after spending three weeks wandering down the Escalante River, trying to get from the town of Boulder to Lake Powell and then to Page Arizona.

The guy was nearly starved to death, surviving by eating roots and a frog while fighting his way through one of the most remote and rugged areas in the United States.

Stories about the rescue have now been carried by newspapers around the world. The LA Times has this account. Below are excerpts.

(Sheriff's spokeswoman Becki) Bronson told The Times that the desert landscape from which LaFever was plucked is as inhospitable as Mars.

“It’s a place where they hold outdoor survival classes, a mixture of jagged lava rock and slippery sandstone, heavy sagebrush and juniper trees, desert terrain marked by sheer cliffs,” she said. “This is some of the most unforgiving terrain you will find anywhere on Earth. Where he was – there just isn’t anyone out there. There are no people. There are no towns."

Consider these odds: Deputy Ray Gardner, who participated in LaFever’s rescue, had recently completed training in search and rescue operations for people with autism. That training taught him that those with autism are naturally drawn to water, so the helicopter search focused on the Escalante River.

The rescue team planned to fly the river and turn around at Lake Powell. “That would have been, like, ‘Well, we tried,’” Bronson said. “There was absolutely no expectation of finding him. It was a shot in the dark."

On Thursday afternoon, just a few miles before reaching Lake Powell and their turnaround point, the searchers spotted a figure sitting in the middle of the river, waving weakly.

She said LaFever told his rescuers that he rolled to the river bank at night for sleep and then rolled back in the water the following morning. “He was able to lift his arms and try to wave at them, and that’s it,” Bronson said. “He couldn’t move, couldn’t stand on his own, when they found him he couldn’t even crawl.”

The Escalante River canyons are extremely beautiful but very rugged and remote. Serious backpackers with the latest technical gear love to explore the area but few make it all the way down to Lake Powell. It's incredibly big, difficult country.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Drinking in Utah: A Road Trip

The title for this post comes from this article. The author, Patrick Comiskey, is their "drinks columnist." His article talks about the beauties of southern Utah, and the difficulty of getting a good drink in the southern half of the state.

It is interesting, albeit somewhat misleading. A large photo at the top of the article shows a glass of beer sitting on a rock overlooking the Grand Canyon, in northern Arizona.

He talks about how he and his wife travel to southern Utah every year or two, to escape from their pressure-cooker lives in California. To rejuvenate they: "...crawl into pits and gullies, slot and box canyons, into washes and draws and meadows, taking in geological epochs in a glance, where the rock is red and every wall face bears the promise of art in an ancient hand."

Not bad.

They he adds this paragraph:

Utah seems as backward as California is forward. You're more likely to see a mule deer than a cellphone tower for long stretches of road and open space, and signals come not from satellites but from the murmur of your bloodstream and your breath. You're forced to slow down and gather.

Wait a minute. Which place is more backward? Would you rather see a mule deer or a cell phone tower? Would you rather live in a pressure cooker or a slow-paced wonderland?

We do appreciate those enlightened Californians who love our backward backcountry.

Then he talks about the tragedy that comes because of Utah's restrictive liquor laws, and drags the Mormon faith into the mix. Here's a quote:

Needless to say, there wasn't a cocktail to be found. I'm sure there are taverns in Salt Lake City and environs, but I have yet to see anything that resembles a bar in the southern half of the state, where Mormon roots run deep.

Now, I'm just a hick from southern Utah and so I'm sure I wouldn't recognize a real tavern if I fell into one. However, some of my out-of-state friends like the pub at Spotted Dog in Springdale. The Bit and Spur saloon, also in Springdale, has a large liquor selection, as do several local eateries.

Actually, I wonder if Comiskey kept his eyes focused a bit too tightly on the amazing natural beauty of our canyon country, or maybe he didn't probe very far beyond the Grand Canyon, because he missed many excellent establishments that serve and sell a wide assortment of drinks. In Moab, for example, there are two wineries and numerous places where alcoholic beverages are served. In Boulder, Hells Backbone Grill offers an extensive selection of fine wines.

Comiskey does praise our "homegrown beer:"

There was, however, a small but very good selection of homegrown beer. Actually, better than very good: fresh, well-crafted, small-batch marvels that made us look forward to the end of each day's hike.

Perhaps the state's best-known brewery is Wasatch, its fame derived from its playful fun-poking at Mormonism, with brews like Polygamy Porter, Evolution Amber and Brigham's Brew (which is, in fact, root beer). My wife and I went for summer brews, however, like the Kölsch-style ale from Wasatch, and Uinta's Golden Spike Hefeweizen.

He also recommends the whiskey produced by the High West distillery in Park City.

Despite the backwardness of southern Utah, it sounds like he had an enjoyable trip. I do wonder, however, if he made it past the North Rim.

- Dave Webb

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Zion Park Reworks Online Wilderness Permit System

Canyoneering, hiking and backpacking permits are required to explore many backcountry areas in Zion National Park. Some canyons and routes are very popular and so permits go fast. To make the allocation system more convenient and fair, the pack has reworked the advanced permit system on its website.

The website also has new information on backcountry areas. Click here to see the information and use the online permit system.

The park offers some of the world's best canyonerring routes. Three canyons, in particular, attract massive interest. They are:
  1. The top-down Narrows one day hike
  2. The Subway
  3. Mystery Canyon
Here's an overview of how canyoneering permits for The Subway are now allocated.

The advanced lottery: Entries must be submitted online 3 months prior to your planned trip. Permits are allocated on a random basis.

Advanced reservations: If not all permits are allocated in the lottery, they will be available and can be reserved on-line up to 3 months prior to your trip.

Last minute draw: If permits are still available, they are made available for a last minute draw 7-2 days before the trip date.

Walk-In Permits: If there are still permits available, they can be purchased at the park's backcountry desk the day before the trip date.

Weekends fill up fast. If you want a permit on a weekend during the warm season, your best chance is to apply for the advanced lottery.

If you can be flexible and hike mid-week, you can often find last minute draw permits available.

For me, this system is a big improvement. I like to hike mid-week because trails are usually not as crowded. In the past, I've driven down to the park hoping I can get a last minute permit. Now, I can apply online and get verification if a permit will be available.

Again, if you have set dates and want a weekend permit, you are out of luck this season. But if you can be flexible and hike mid-week, you can probably get a permit.

I think I'll snag a few permits and get down there. A couple friends have been asking me to take them through The Subway. Party size is restricted to 12 individuals. I'll probably only have 5-6 with me, so that will make it easier to get permits.

- Dave Webb

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

High Wildfire Danger Prompts Restrictions On Target Shooting

Wildfire danger remains high in Utah because of dry conditions. Right now crews are battling 6 major fires. They are not causing any problems at national parks or major recreation areas, but are causing some interference with travel and recreation in specific areas.

The most significant is the Shingle Fire, burning about 6 miles south of Duck Creek Village off Hwy 14. The Utah Fire Info website has up to date information on Utah wildfires and fire restrictions.

Many wildfires in Utah this year have been human-caused. A few have been caused when target shooters bullets have produced sparks. To reduce that risk target shooting has been restricted in some areas around Utah. The restrictions went into effect today. This Salt Lake Tribune article has details. Here are excerpts.

The order from State Forester Dick Buehler, which took effect Wednesday, bars target shooting in nearly all of unincorporated Utah County, parts of Summit County and scattered slivers of Cache, Davis and Weber counties.

Steve Terry, president of the Salt Lake Practical Shooters Association, a group of professional target shooters, conceded the restrictions probably are needed.

"It shouldn’t be necessary, but unfortunately there are a lot of laws being put in place that are silly because, if people had any common sense, there would be no need for them," Terry said.

There are restrictions on campfires and fireworks in many areas around the state. The Utah Fire Info website mentioned above also has information about those restrictions.

July 24th is Pioneer Day in Utah. It is a popular holiday when there will be parades and fireworks. Many people will stage their own armature fireworks shows. They need to be sure they stay within legal limits.

In general, campfires and fireworks are not allowed on National Park, Forest Service on BLM land in many areas around the state. Many communities also restrict fireworks. Find out the rules where you will be staying.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zion Park During The Heat Of Summer

We're now moving into the hottest part of summer and temperatures in SW Utah can get very warm. In the St George and Zion National Park areas mid-afternoon temperatures often climb above 100 F. Still, this is a great time to visit and explore the area.

I'm just back from a long Boy Scout campout where we had a great time exploring the park. We knew it would be hot - we planned for that as we mapped out our itinerary. All of the kids said it was one of the best trips of their young lives. Here's an outline of what we did and where we did it.

We camped at Lava Point, on top of the mountain in the Kolob Terrace section of the point. Temperatures there run about 20 F lower than in Zion Canyon. The Lava Point Campground is small but the area is spectacular. The campground offers pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits, but no potable water.

The campground is first-come, first-served, no reservations allowed. We arrive mid-week and found a couple vacant sites. It often fills up on weekends.

From Lava Point we drove down into the park every day. That's quite a drive, and we felt the pinch from gas prices, but still felt it worthwhile. Evenings were splendid at Lava Point, and nighttime temperatures were ideal for sleeping.

We hiked The Narrows, of course. In my opinion, it is one of the world's great hikes and it is perfect for hot weather. The kids had a great time wading and swimming up the river. We went up the main canyon and also explored the lower portion of Orderville Gulch. The Narrows hike was a highlight of the trip.

We also hiked to Observation Point. That's a dry hike but the lower half is shady during morning hours and so we started early.

There are a couple couple very nice swimming holes on Pine Creek, a small stream that flows into the Virgin River in the lower portion of Zion Canyon. The stream flows under what is called the Great Arch. It crosses Hwy 9 at the bottom of the famous switchbacks below the Zion Tunnel. Park at the bridge where Pine Creek crosses beneath Hwy 9 and it is just a short hike upstream to one swimming hole and a beautiful waterfall. A larger swimming hole is a little farther upstream. To reach it park at the middle switchback and just hike into the canyon.

We also enjoyed hiking up Kanarra Creek, east of the small town of Kanarrville, on the edge of the park's Kolob Canyons section. That hikes goes through some very nice slots and then up two small waterfalls. It is great on a hot summer day.

We basically did Zion as a waterpark. It was a very fun trip.

- Dave Webb

Monday, July 09, 2012

2 Utah Routes Make List Of 11 Best Day Hikes In America

Adventure Journal has published this article with a list its 11 top day hikes in America and two are located in Utah. One is the famous Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park. The other is less well know. It is the Chesler Park Loop in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

Here's the list from Adventure Journal.

1. Chesler Park Loop, Canyonlands National Park, Needles District, Utah

2. Half Dome Cables Route, Yosemite National Park, California

3. Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

4. Presidential Traverse, Presidential Range, New Hampshire

5. Glacier Gorge trail to Mills Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

6. Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

7. Tall Trees Trail, Redwoods National Park, California

8. Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

9. Knife Edge, Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine

10. Garnet Canyon, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

11. Spray Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Those are all great hikes, not doubt about it. But there are many more in Utah just as good. Here are four I personally think rank with the best in the nation.

The Narrows in Zion National Park

Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands National Park

Devils Garden Loop in Arches National Park

North Peak in our West Desert

Friday, July 06, 2012

10 Great Hikes To Utah Mountain Lakes

The title of this post comes from this Salt Lake Tribune Article. The writer describes 10 scenic high mountain lakes that can only be reached by hiking. Here's one quote:

In Utah, you can combine your lake lounging with a good mountain hike. Here are 10 Utah trails, in no particular order, leading to a high-altitude lake. Where swimming is allowed, do so at your own risk.

Below we list the lakes recommended in the article, and the areas where you will find them. Lakes from all around Utah make the list, but several are located in the canyons on the east side of the Wasatch Front. These canyons are close to Salt Lake City, our major population center, and offer excellent hiking trails to many beautiful high mountain lakes.
  • Red Pine Lake — Little Cottonwood Canyon
  • Island Lake — Uinta Mountains
  • Oowah Lake — Moab
  • Forest Lake — American Fork Canyon
  • White Pine Lake — Logan Canyon
  • Silver Lake - American Fork Canyon
  • Lake Blanche — Big Cottonwood Canyon
  • Deer Creek Lake — Boulder Mountain
  • South Willow Lake — Tooele County
  • Five lakes loop at Brighton — Big Cottonwood Canyon

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Free Day At Natural History Museum of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah is offering 4 free admission days in 2012. One of the free days will be this Monday, July 9, between 10 am and 5 pm.

The museum offers extensive collections in paleontology, anthropology, entomology, mineralogy and many other disciplines. It is one of the great places in the world to see and learn about dinosaur fossils, ancient Native American artifacts and other historic and prehistoric items.

The museum is located on the eastern edge of Salt Lake City, at the University of Utah.

The museum provided this information about the free days.

The Museum is pleased to offer four Free Days in 2012 in appreciation for the important Zoo, Arts, and Parks funding we receive from Salt Lake County. The next Free Day at the Museum for 2012 is scheduled for Monday, July 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Advance reservations for free tickets for the July 9 Free Day will be available online via the Buy Tickets Now link starting Tuesday, July 3, 2012, at 12:00 Noon MDT.

Learn more about the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks Program.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Have A Safe And Enjoyable Fourth of July

Update: This news report gives the latest info about city-sponsored fireworks - where they will go forward and where they have been cancelled.

We hope all of you have a save and enjoyable Fourth of July.

We salute our active military personnel and also all of our veterans. We know we owe those people a huge vote of thanks.

We invite you to participate in Fourth of July activities wherever you are. Below we provide links to some of the bigger Independence Day events in Utah.

Provo's Stadium of Fire is one of the largest celebrations in the US. It culminates with a fireworks display that can be seen throughout the area. It is fun to be right there in the stadium, but it is also enjoyable to view the fireworks from other spots in town.

In Salt Lake City, there will be a big fireworks show in Sugarhouse Park. There will also be fireworks in other communities in the Salt Lake Valley.

In Ogden, the Hot Rock'n 4th offers a range of activities. At last report, officials said they would make a game time decision whether the fireworks would go on, or be canceled because of fire danger. Undoubtedly, there will be fireworks in several places in the Ogden area.

Moab and St George will also host celebrations that include fireworks.

Many other communities will stage fireworks shows, but some communities have canceled fireworks because of fire danger. Private fireworks are banned on public lands and in many other areas in the state. We hope people will honor the restrictions. Where fireworks are legal, we hope people will follow safety rules.

Wildfires are burning in several areas around Utah. At this time they are not inhibiting travel on freeways or major highways, and they are not blocking recreation in our national parks or major recreation areas.

Check for current information on wildfires, and also on fire restrictions.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Enjoy Fourth Of July Events Around Utah

Communities throughout Utah will hold many activities on Wednesday in celebration of Independence Day. There will be pancake breakfasts, parades, rodeos, concerts and fireworks.

Travelers are always welcome to join in the festivities. Our website events section has details about celebrations in many areas. Check locally to learn details.

Many communities are carefully controlling fireworks in an effort to minimize fire danger. Grass and brush in foothill areas are dry and pose extreme fire danger. People are encouraged to exercise caution to help prevent fires.

Most communities will stage professional firework shows, although a few have totally eliminated fireworks. Check locally to find out if there will be a show where you are.

There are severe restrictions on private fireworks. In general, fireworks are not allowed anywhere on public lands. That includes National Parks, National Forests, State Parks and BLM land. A few communities have totally outlawed fireworks. Others allow fireworks in some areas but have prohibited them in others.

Campfires are prohibited in all areas outside of approved fire pits in developed campgrounds.

This Deseret News article has extensive details about fireworks restrictions in various communities.

Again, we invite you to participate in community celebrations wherever you will be staying. And check to find out about any restrictions.

Have a great and safe Fourth of July.

- Dave Webb
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