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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Utah Dominates SKI Magazine Resort Rankings

(Related note: Utah's Office Of Tourism is out with a new ski video, you can see it at right.)

We've now had a chance to digest the annual ski resort rankings generated by SKI Magazine readers. For five consecutive years, Deer Valley Resort scored as the #1 resort in North America, but fell to #2 this year.

The magazine breaks the stats down by category and Utah resorts dominates in several key areas including quality of snow, access to the resorts and weather. Deer Valley dominates in food, lodging and service.

Below we show how Utah fared in the magazine's Western Resorts rankings.

2013 Resort Guide Top 10's West
1. Alta, Utah
2. Powder Mountain, Utah
4. Snowbird, Utah
6. Brighton, Utah
7. Solitude, Utah
9. Snowbasin, Utah
10. Deer Valley, Utah

1. Park City, Utah
2. Deer Valley, Utah
3. Canyons, Utah
5. Snowbird, Utah
6. Brighton, Utah
7. Solitude, Utah
8. Alta, Utah

1. Brighton, Utah
2. Deer Valley, Utah
3. Solitude, Utah
4. Alta, Utah
5. Snowbird, Utah
6. Sundance, Utah
9. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

1. Powder Mountain, Utah
3. Brighton, Utah
7. Alta, Utah
9. Solitude, Utah

1. Deer Valley, Utah
7. Snowbasin, Utah
9. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

Terrain Variety:
5. Alta, Utah
7. Snowbird, Utah

Terrain Challenge:
2. Snowbird, Utah
3. Alta, Utah

On-Mountain Food:
1. Deer Valley, Utah
3. Snowbasin, Utah
9. Canyons, Utah
10. Sundance, Utah

1. Deer Valley, Utah
8. Sundance, Utah
9. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

1. Deer Valley, Utah
10. Canyons, Utah

#8 Alta, Utah
#10 Snowbird, Utah

Off-Hill Activities:
1. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
7. Deer Valley, Utah

Family Programs:
1. Deer Valley, Utah
3. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

Terrain Parks:
2. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
5. Brighton, Utah
9. Canyons, Utah

3. Alta, Utah
4. Powder Mountain, Utah

Overall Satisfaction:
3. Alta, Utah
5. Deer Valley, Utah
7. Snowbasin, Utah
9. Powder Mountain, Utah
10. Brighton, Utah

3. Deer Valley, Utah
5. Snowbasin, Utah
10. Snowbird, Utah

1. Deer Valley, Utah
4. Snowbasin, Utah

Digital Performance:
4. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
5. Deer Valley, Utah
10. Snowbird, Utah

3. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
7. Deer Valley, Utah

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Visit National Parks For Free In November, January

Utah's national parks are attractive destinations year-round. Bryce Canyon receives heavy snow and becomes a winter wonderland. The same is true of the higher elevations in Zion Park. In other areas, our parks experience mild winters and the next several weeks will bring great opportunities to hike, bike and explore.

On five weekends every year, no entrance fees are charged at properties managed by the National Parks Service. Two of those weeks are coming up:
  • November 10-12 (Veterans Day Weekend)
  • January 19-21, 2012 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend)
(Entrance fees will be waved on these weekends, but the parks will still charge for camping and some in-park activities.)

Other free weekends will be over National Park Week in mid-April, Get Outdoors Day in early June and National Public Lands Day in late September. Plan now to take advantage of these weekends at national parks, monuments, recreation areas, wildlife refuges and other federal properties.

Capitol Reef National Park is particularly attractive during winter, offering great desert hikes in sun-drenched areas. The park is open every day of the year but the visitor center is closed on winter federal holidays. Those include Nov. 12, Nov. 22, Dec. 25, Jan. 1, Jan. 21 and Feb. 18.

Traditionally, I take a jaunt to Capitol Reef in mid-winter. Nights are usually cold but days are mostly sunny and mild. I've been wanting to get back into Cathedral Valley, to photograph the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon. The crisp winter air is great for vivid photographs.

I have an American The Beautiful park pass so I don't have to worry about the fee entrance days.

Hope to see you down there.

- Dave Webb

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hiking Snow In Sunshine

Slot in Snow Canyon
Our condolences go out to people on the East Coast who are endangered or suffering because of “superstorm” Sandy.

In Utah we are enjoying massive sunshine and seriously mid temperatures. We may see record warm temps later this week.

This is always a great time of year to hike in southern Utah. For the next week or so, hiking conditions will be excellent all over the state, because we have high pressure and a nice weather pattern. After that, northern Utah will start to get winter-like weather but our low deserts will continue to be very attractive for all kinds of outdoor adventure.

I hiked in Snow Canyon today and had a great time. Snow is a Utah state park located near St. George. It is famous for its sand dune and red rock scenery. It has a very nice picnic area and campground. It is popular for hiking, biking and horseback riding year-round.

I'm still on a quest to find an photograph ancient Native American rock art and I have found several impressive panels in the Snow Canyon area. Today we did a short, easy hike into a narrow slot where we saw many interesting faded images.

Snow Canyon Rock Art
Talking to another hiker, I learned about a new panel in the area were we were hiking. We did not have time to track it down today but I will get back and find it. It is always nice to have an excuse to get down and hike in the sunshine.

It is easy to hike and golf, with several famous championship courses located near the state park. Tuacahn Theatre is located located just on the edge of the part. I usually get down to St George 2-3 times every winter because it is so nice and there is so much to do.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ski With A Pro At Deer Valley

The luxurious Montage Deer Valley resort is offering a unique special deal, a package that allows you to ski with and learn from top professional skiers.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association is based in Park City. It is the US governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding and the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team. Many Olympic and professional skiers have homes in Park City and nearby Deer Valley. The Montage has partnered with some of these top athletes to provide this opportunity. has this blog that explains the program. Here's an excerpt:

Three-day packages, available from Dec. 7, 2012, through April 15, 2013, start at $2,575 per person and include lift tickets, a full-day retreat with a pro from the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, breakfast and accommodations. That day with a pro sees one to four people skiing alongside an athlete in the Wasatch Mountains, with the skill level of the group taken into account.

Of course, when you are not skiing with one of the pros you are free to enjoy Deer Valley's immaculate slopes on your own, or jump over and sample Park City Mountain Resort or Canyons Resort.

The ski season is quickly approaching. Now's the time to find deals and book trips.

- Dave Webb

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Backpacking Magazine Lists Killer Trips – Several In Utah

Shaman Gallery rock art in Grand Canyon
Backpacking Magazine has an interesting serious of articles in its October issue, focusing on “Killer Trips” in several categories. The magazine calls them: “Hair-raising tales of wilderness terror that will haunt your backcountry dreams.” Several are in Utah, or just across the border.

Two of the hikes are in Zion National Park. Two more are in Grand Canyon. Another is in Canyonlands and, surprise, one is in the Wasatch Mountain just east of Salt Lake City.

Below we list the hikes in our area, along with the reason they are considered “killer.”

Killer Trips: Gravity - Angels Landing Trail, Zion NP. The “blade-like ridge” to Angels Landing offers stunning views, but if you slip you could fall 1,000 feet or more.

Killer Trips: Wildlife - Mt. Aire Trail, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache NF. Moose are commonly seen along the route. Backpacker says, “The 1,000-pound ungulates have charged several hikers here, so keep dogs leashed and eyes peeled for Bullwinkles in thick brush.” (The Mt Aire Trail runs between Elbow Fork in Mill Creek Canyon and Mount Aire Canyon off Parleys Canyon.)

Killer Trips: Weather - Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon NP. This is one of the most popular hikes in the Grand Canyon, and for good reason. But, “Most of the Grand Canyon’s 200 annual heat-related rescues occur on this popular river-to-rim stairway.”

Killer Trips: Terrain - Spry Canyon, Zion NP. Terrain is the subject here. It is very scenic but also technical. “Spry Canyon gives hikers plenty of ropework practice, with 11 rappels scattered along the three-mile slot.”

Killer Trips: You - The Maze, Canyonlands NP. The Maze is so remote, and some roads are so rough, you need to take care before venturing here. “Devising your own route (and staying found) through The Fins (a trailless zone north of Ernie’s Country) can uncover never-glimpsed arches.”

Killer Trips: You - Tuckup Trail, Grand Canyon NP. This is in the Toroweap ditrict, off the Arizona Strip. Just driving to the trailhead is an adventure. “Payoff? Easy walking on one of the Grand’s rare patches of flat trail and its best pictograph panel, Shaman’s Gallery, at mile three.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Here Comes The Snow - And Skiers

It's beginning... Snow fell over northern Utah's mountains last night and this morning. Enough snow fell that some people broke out their skis and snowboards and hit the slopes. With more snow expected tonight and tomorrow.

Powder Mountain Ski Resort picked up a couple feet. The video above shows people skiing there, courtesy of We're also hearing reports of people skiing at Snowbasin and the Park City resorts. The town of Randolph was buried under 17 inches. KSLTV has this report with photos showing the snow in Randolph.

It's early - way early. Warmer weather is expected next week and most of this early snow will probably melt. But if it doesn't, and if we get another cold storm within the next couple weeks, we could see the ski resorts open early.

Many Utah ski resort typically open just before the Thanksgiving holiday. If we get significant early snow some will open in mid-November. On rare years a few resorts will open in early November.

It's coming...

Snowmobilers are also excited by the coming season. They have an advantage because they can take their machines to the snow. Cache Valley was hit hard by last night's storm and the surrounding mountains will probably offer some of our earliest snowmobiling.

Our friends at Beaver Creek Lodge report several inches on the ground. They buy a fleet of new snowmobiles every year, so they always offer the latest and best machines. They are lining them up now and will be ready if this snow sticks around, or if we get more soon.

The snowmobile season usually starts about the same time the ski season kicks off, but it can begin earlier in some areas. Now's the time to book trips.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fishing For The Colors Of Fall

Upper Sixth Water
The fall season is progressing. Colored leaves are putting on a dazzling show in canyons throughout Utah. The annual show of color is now fading at high elevations in northern Utah but is going strong in canyons throughout the sate, and at higher elevations in southern Utah.

But leaves are not the only things that show beautiful colors during fall. Hues on several species of fish become more vivid during fall. For example, the big brook trout on Boulder Mountain develop a brilliant splash of orange/red as they prepare to spawn. The brown trout in the Green, Provo, Weber and other rivers take on a rich golden color with iridescent spots that radiate a rainbow of colors.

I fished Upper Sixth Water on Saturday and caught very nice, very beautiful browns. I've never seen more colorful browns. (Sixth Water is a tributary to Diamond Fork, which is a tributary to the Spanish Fork River.)

The quaking aspen trees were totally naked - they had already lost their leaves. But the willows along the stream were bright yellow and the canyon was beautiful.

Fall is also the perfect time to catch big fish in Utah. In Flaming Gorge, lake trout spawn in the fall and they become more predictable as they congregate near spawning grounds. The giant lakers are always hard to catch but they become a little easier at this time of year. Smaller lake trout are frequently caught during late October and November.

Sixth Water Brown Trout
Walleye are very active in the fall and several trophy fish will be caught during the next few weeks at Willard Bay, Deer Creek Reservoir and Starvation Reservoir.

At Strawberry, big cutthroat are cruising the shorelines where they can be caught from boat and shore. Minnow-imitating lures are good bets right now. In recent years the Lucky Craft Pointer Minnow has become the lure of choice at Strawberry. I like and use them, but also often use traditional Rapalas. A medium-sized Rapala in rainbow colors can be killer during fall.

At Lake Powell, fishing was red hot during the summer and early fall but is becoming less consistent now. Still, many large stripers, largemouth and smallmouth bass will be caught during the next couple weeks.

This is a great time to enjoy the colors of fall.

- Dave Webb

Monday, October 22, 2012

Zion Park Moves To Off-Season Schedule

Lava Point Campground Area
As the season progresses, Zion NationalPark is adjusting by moving to its off-season schedule.

The park's Lava Point Campground closes today. It is located at a high elevation in the Kolob Terrace area where snow will soon start to accumulate. It won't be long before the Kolob Terrace Road closes because of snow pack.

The area is spectacular during winter but access is very difficult. Some people own cabins on private land in the Kolob Reservoir area above the park. Those folks are allowed to drive snowmobiles up the Kolob Terrace Road to their property. The road crosses into the park in a couple areas. Snowmobile use is not allowed in any other area in the park. People who want to explore the Kolob Terrace area during winter need to use cross country skis and snowshoes.

The park's shuttle system will end after this weekend. Most park visitors are required to ride the shuttle into Zion Canyon during the busy tourist season. Now, as the warm weather season ends, private vehicles will be allowed to drive into Zion Canyon and park in parking lots at major attractions.

The shuttle system is efficient and convenient, with shuttles running every few minutes. You can board the shuttle at many stops in Springdale and inside the park. With the number of people visiting the park, the shuttle is absolutely necessary during the spring, summer and early fall.

Still, I always enjoy visiting the park during winter when I can drive right up to attractions and trailheads. Even in winter, on weekends some parking lots will be full and some trails will have good numbers of people. But there will also be plenty of spots where I can get away from the crowds and enjoy solitude.

- Dave Webb

Friday, October 19, 2012

Heber Cowboy Poetry Gathering Will Be Oct 31 - Nov 4

The 18th annual Heber Valley Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair will be held October 31st through November 4th, 2012, in Heber City, Utah.

The mission of the gathering is simple:

"To promote the cowboy way of life through music, poetry and art by holding an annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair and by giving back to the community along the way."

The event is very popular, with something for everyone. The cowboy poetry is a top draw. If you've never heard it live you are in for a treat. The poets are true performers - great entertainers. Members of the public are also welcome to try their vocal cords during the open mic sessions.

Country and Western music is also featured at the gathering, which attracts top artists. 2012 performers include:
  • Host Waddie Mitchell
  • Bar J Wranglers
  • Michael Martin Murphey
  • Sons of the San Joaquin
  • Suzy Bogguss
  • Joey + Rory
  • R W Hampton
  • Chris Isaacs
  • Haunted Windchimes
There will be cowboy grub, of course, along with cowboy church Sunday afternoon. There will also be writing workshops and other activities.

Hope to see you there.

- Dave Webb

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Utah Shines For Education, Employment And Business

Some of the same factors that attract people to visit Utah for vacations and outdoor recreation also entice them to come here seeking an education, a job or a place to start a new business. Several new reports are out and they list Utah among top states in many lifestyle categories.

Southern Utah University, located in Cedar City, has a very strong program for outdoor recreation education, along with many other great fields. A new study ranks SUU among the most affordable schools in America. The university provided this news release. Here's a quote:

Southern Utah University is pleased to announce its second consecutive designation as one of “America’s 100 Best College Buys.” What’s more: SUU stand out among the 100 colleges and universities across the nation to successfully balance academic excellence and affordability, touting the second lowest annual tuition among the group.

Utah officials released information today reporting that Utah's unemployment rate fell from 5.8% in August to 5.4% in September, giving it one of the lowest unemployment rates in America. You can see the official report here.

Another report says Utah has one of the top 10 tax climates for business. This Deseret News article gives details. Here is a quote:

“We’ve done a good job ensuring that we have a very business-friendly environment in the state of Utah and that’s attractive to companies,” Spencer P. Eccles, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said in a phone interview. “Whether you’re talking about Salt Lake or all the way down to Washington County, we’re finding that we’re winning all over the place.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2013 Utah Scenic Calendar Now On Sale

Every year the Utah Office of Tourism publishes a calendar with stunning photos of Utah attractions. The calendars are always beautiful and often win awards for design and photography. They are very popular and sell out quickly.

The calendars can be purchased online from the Office of Tourism. The office provided this information:

The Utah Office of Tourism has released its 2013 Utah ‘Life Elevated®’ Official Scenic Calendar. Now in its 41st year, the annual award-winning publication highlights many of Utah’s iconic destinations, outdoor activities, and events through its stunning photography and award-winning graphic design.

A photo Bryce Canyon National Park, taken by accomplished photographer Ed Riche, was selected as the cover image. Many other Utah destinations are featured throughout the calendar including all five national parks, many of Utah’s state parks, national monuments, ski resorts, national forests, Temple Square, and various activities available to visitors.

The Utah Scenic Calendar is recognized regularly for design and photography. The 2011 edition was honored with 13 awards in the National and World Calendar Awards competition, including a Gold Award for Best Graphic Design.

This year's cover features Thor's Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park. Other photos include:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

All Three Park City Resorts Make Ski Magazine Top 10

Ski Magazine is out with its annual ranking of North American ski resorts and all three Park City area resorts rank in the top 10.

Deer Valley ranks #2 in this year's report, dropping one slot after being ranked as the #1 resort in North America for the previous five years. Whistler Blackcomb took first place this year.

Park City Mountain Resort climbed to #4, up from #6 last year.

Canyons Resort moved up six slots to #10.

The Park Record has this article about the Ski Magazine rankings. Here are excerpts.

Park City was the only resort town to have three resorts fall in the Top 10, but the list included popular competitors such as Vail and Telluride, Colo., Jackson Hole Wyo. and Sun Valley, Idaho.

Deer Valley Resort took the most subcategory Ski Magazine awards of any single resort, winning first place in six of 20 categories, which included first place for grooming, guest services, on-mountain food, lodging, dining and family programs.

"This survey says something about the three resorts," (Deer Valley General Manager Bob) Wheaton added, "but it says something even stronger about everyone in town and how we're regarded in the industry. Everybody contributes. That's one thing we hear time and time again, how friendly and cooperative everyone is, and it really shows."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween Events And National Park Photo Workshops

With Halloween just around the corner, more and more spookish events are cropping up. KSL has this report that highlights some of the best. Below is the headline and then a couple quotes from the report.

17 Halloween-ish things to do this week

Oct. 15–27: Heber Valley Railroad Pumpkin Festival, 450 S. 600 West. Creative pumpkin decoration, children activities at the Train Depot and entertainment, 45-minute train ride across Heber Valley. Two trains each afternoon, 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 15–31: Haunted Village at This is the Place Heritage Park, 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave., Salt Lake City. $15 per person, gates open at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 20: The Ghosts of Camp Floyd paranormal investigation. 5:30 p.m., free admission. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own tape recorders, film, digital and infrared cameras where park staff will assist participants in the use of their equipment in finding paranormal orbs, mists and sounds. 18035 W. 1540 North, Fairfield.

See the full list of 17 events.

National Park Photo Workshops

Everyone carries a camera or two (or three) nowadays. Most of us snap photos with our cell phones, or take a little step toward higher quality by shooting with a genuine camera.

If you want to go beyond that and really improve your landscape photography, consider enrolling in a workshop. The Moab/Arches/Canyonlands area is a prime destination for serious photographers and several great artists make their home in the area. Some offer classes and workshops - including time in the field where you get personal, hands-on instruction.

This blog post lists 25 photography workshops that will be held in the Moab area in 2013, complete with dates and contact information.

Some of the photographers involved are legendary. I once had the chance to spend an afternoon walking through the Sand Flats area with Tom Till, listening as he described how he creates magazine cover photos. It was fascinating and I still use many of the techniques he described.

If you want to improve your photography, get out with one of the masters.

- Dave Webb

Friday, October 12, 2012

Spectacular Flooding In Southern Utah; Timpanogos Cave Hosts Birthday Party

Heavy rain caused flooding in Capitol Reef National Park today and caused the Scenic Drive to be closed temporarily. Officials hope to be able to reopen the drive tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

An employe posed a photo on Twitter that shows a rain-soaked park.

Moab also received heavy rain and saw some brief street flooding. KSL has this report with video. The rain produced spectacular waterfalls and the video shows the power of the torrents. It is worth watching.

Timp Cave Season Closing Party
Timpanogos Cave National Monument is celebrating its 90th birthday with cake at the Visitor Center on Sunday. There will also be a card for visitors to sign.

Also Sunday will mark the final cave tours of the 2012 season. The trail to the cave is steep and it receives heavy snow during winter. The cave season usually runs from mid-May through mid-October.

Additional birthday activities will be held as the cave reopens next spring.

The Provo Herald has this article about the cave closing. Below are excerpts.

The cave's actual 90th birthday is on Sunday, he said. At 1 p.m. staffers will join with the public at the visitors center to cut a cake decorated with the famous Heart of Timpanogos -- the likeness of a huge heart-shaped natural feature in the cave.

Cave staffer Mike Gosse told the Daily Herald on Thursday that tickets are still available for the final cave tours of the year.

Additional activities to celebrate the parks 90th year will be held in 2013.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cowboy Up For The Antelope Island Bison Roundup

The annual Antelope Island bison roundup will take place October 26 and 27, 2012. Members of the public are invited to participate in the popular event, which attracts crowds.

A herd of some 500 free-roaming bison live on the island, which is located in the Great Salt Lake near Salt Lake City. Much of the island is a state park and is managed for public recreation and conservation. Every fall biologists gather the bison for health assessments and other purposes. Many people participate in the roundup, either as spectators or riders herding the bison.

Volunteers on horseback push the bison toward holding corrals. Park officials also participate, and use helicopters and other kinds of equipment as needed to ensure safety and move the huge animals in an orderly manner.

People come from all around the region to help round up the buffalo. The event is very popular you need to make advanced reservations if you want to ride. There are limited campsites on the island and you need to reserve one in advance if you want to camp.

People coming as spectators for a day do not need advanced reservations.

The park website has details about the roundup, along with comprehensive information about recreation on the island. The park provided this information for people who may want to volunteer.

No registration will be accepted after October 20, 2012; if you are not registered by
that date you will not be allowed to participate in the range ride. No exceptions.

Payment must be postmarked on or before October 13, 2012 to avoid a $65 late
registration fee. Registrations postmarked on, or after October 14, but received before
October 20, 2012 will be assessed a $65 late fee.

Mandatory Ride Orientation: 8:00 a.m. both mornings at the Fielding Garr Ranch. All
riders must attend the orientation(s) in order to ride and be assigned to a group.

Camping: For those wishing to camp at the Fielding Garr Ranch, you may check-in
Thursday, October 25, 2012 starting at 12 noon. The overnight camping fee is
$15/night/vehicle. A $15 extra camping vehicle fee will be charged. Camping fees are due
at time of registration.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Explore Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin is a little-known gem, a Utah state park that is often overlooked because it is sandwiched between some of Utah's major tourist attractions. It is a wonderful destination that deserves exploration, and fall is the perfect time to visit the park and surrounding area.

Kodachrome is located just south of All American Hwy 12, about 22 miles from Bryce Canyon. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument wraps almost completely around the park. The area offers mild weather during spring and fall. Auto touring, camping, hiking and horseback riding are very popular here.

The Las Vegas Review Journal has this interesting article showcasing Kodachrome Basin. The Journal notes that the park is about 270 miles from Las Vegas. Interestingly, the park is about 285 miles from Salt Lake City. Southern Utah is a prime playground for people living in southern Nevada.

Below are excerpts from the article.

The 2,240-acre park protects unusual formations with origins still not completely understood. Called sand pipes or chimney rocks, nearly 70 stone monoliths point skyward throughout the park, ranging from 6 feet to more than 170 feet tall. These might be the remains mineralized geyser columns through semiliquid or even solidified layers. The minerals deposited were harder than the surrounding layers. When erosion wore away the stone layers, the strange spires were left standing.

Kodachrome Basin offers picnicking, camping, a visitor center, ranger programs, restrooms and water. A trail system includes miles of hiking within the park. Some trails are open to mountain bikers and equestrians as well as hikers. Expect to pay a $6-per-vehicle day-use fee in Kodachrome Basin. The park campground contains 36 individual sites and two group areas. Campers have access to water, hot showers, firewood and an RV dump station. Camping costs $16 per night for sites without hookups and $25 for the four RV sites with full hookups. Only a few campsites are available without reservations. Reserve campsites at 800-322-3770, especially if your visit falls on a weekend or holiday.

Vehicles must stay on established roads in the park. The surrounding area offers great opportunity for off-highway Jeep, ATV and mountain bike excursions.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Great Hikes Near Salt Lake City

A new Falcon guidebook describes details 42 hikes with a short distance from Salt Lake City. Titled Best Hikes Near Salt Lake City, the book was written by Lori J. Lee, a Utah native who has written three previous Utah guidebooks and has been published in national, regional and local magazines.

The Falcon website has details about the book, along with links to where you can buy it from online retailers. The website provides this overview:

Here are forty-two of the best hikes, nearly all of them within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake City, Utah—from Deseret Peak to Waterfall Canyon. The hikes offer unbeatable views, waterfalls, mountain lakes, and fields of wildflowers. Whether you’re in the mood for an easy nature walk or a day-long hike, this guide offers plenty to choose from:
  • Deseret Peak – Highest peak in the Stansbury Range
  • Frary Peak – Highest peak on Antelope Island
  • Brighton Lakes Tour – World-class wildflower displays
  • Ferguson Canyon – The lesser known canyon
  • Mount Timpanogos – The beloved trail of the Wasatch
  • Diamond Fork Hot Springs – Natural hot springs
Each hike features full-color photos; a brief route description; thorough directions to the trailhead (GPS coordinates included); a detailed, full-color trail map; and at-a-glance information on distance and difficulty level, hiking time, canine compatibility, and fees and permits. Inside you’ll also find a Trail Finder that categorizes each hike (e.g., for attractions such as best hikes for peak baggers, best view hikes, best easy access hikes, best hikes for dogs, best hikes for children, and best hikes for waterfalls); Green Tips; and information about local lore, points of interest, and the area’s array of wildlife.

The Deseret News has this review of the book. Below are excerpts.

The book includes local favorites such as the Timpanogos summit hike and Adams Canyon in Davis County, but also more overlooked yet wonderful hikes such as Ferguson Canyon in the Cottonwood Heights neighborhood.

Several pages, including photos, are dedicated to each hike and comes with an overview of the hike, logistics and strategy, hazards, season optimal hiking, and the route to get there. Also, each hike is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 for physical and psychological challenges.

Read the complete review.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

2013 Calendar Offers Stunning Geologic Photos

Some of Utah's most stunning scenery is showcased in a new calendar produced by the Utah Geological Survey. It is now on sale at the Utah Department of Natural Resources Map & Bookstore, 1594 W. North Temple, or can be purchased online at

This is the 7th year the Survey has produced a calendar. This one features unique landscapes in Utah's national parks and monuments, but also dramatic scenery off the beaten path in areas that seldom see visitors.

The Deseret News has this article about the new calendar. Below are excerpts.

"This year, we selected the photos that brought out the different textures in the landscape," said Vicky Clarke, the survey's publication manager. "Hopefully, that will make people view the world around them in a new way."

January's photo, for example, is the stunning and somewhat imposing Tower of Silence in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Kane County.

"The tower landscape almost looks like it's moving because of the lines in the sandstone formed by rainwater," said geologist Gregg Beukelman, who snapped the photo. "By venturing out to remote areas, I am often rewarded with the sighting of stunning and scenic landscapes."

All photos are taken by Utah Geological Survey staff. Each year, consideration for inclusion in the calendar grows into a fierce but friendly competition. More than 270 photos were potential candidates for the 2013 edition, and of those, Clarke said 35 were selected by a six-member committee.

The calendars sell for $4.95 per copy or $4.25 for 10 or more copies. They are expected to sell out in early December.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Tourism, Movie Industry Grow In Utah

More and more people are discovering Utah's national parks, ski resorts and other attractions. The Utah Office of Tourism reports that the number of visitors was up last year, and the number of dollars travelers contributed to the economy was also up - by a whopping 6.1 percent over 2010.

At the same time, Utah continues to attract movie and TV production projects. "The Lone Ranger," starring Johnny Depp, was shot in southeastern Utah. The upcoming science fiction film "After Earth," starring Will Smith, was shot in the Moab area.

During the past fiscal year, 18 new films were shot in Utah, bringing some $33 million in direct spending into the state. That's up from 13 productions the year before.

This Salt Lake Tribune article has details about growth in Utah's film industry.

The Deseret News has this article about tourism in Utah. Below are excerpts.

Last year, the Beehive State took in around $6.9 billion on total travel spending from an estimated 22 million visitors — a 6.1 percent jump in revenue over 2010, according to the Utah Office of Tourism.

Travelers generated $842 million in state and local taxes, the state tourism office said. In 2010, Utah hosted more than 20 million visitors who spent $6.5 billion.

In an effort to bolster that interest and boost revenues, the state will spend $9 million on marketing this year, up from $7 million a year ago, (Office of Tourism Directory Leigh) von der Esch said.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Utah Haunted Halloween Events

People in Utah are getting into the Halloween spirit, putting up decorations, staging haunted houses and offering many special events. Most will take place in the Salt Lake City, Provo and Ogden areas, since most of our population resides along that Wasatch Front corridor, but there will be events in communities all around the state.

We list some of the events below. Check our events database for others.

The North Logan Pumpkin Walk will be held October 18-23, in Elk Ridge Park, 1100 East 2500 North, North Logan Utah. The Pumpkin Walk website offers this introduction:

Since 1983, the North Logan Pumpkin Walk has been a Cache Valley Utah tradition! This free to the public event features dozens of displays created from pumpkins by local residents.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this list of major events. Below are highlights.
  • Cornbelly’s Maze and Pumpkin Fest, Oct. 5-29, at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.
  • Breakfast with a Witch, Oct. 5-27, at Gardner Village in West Jordan.
  • Halloween Hoot, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, at Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City.
  • This is the Place Haunted Village, Oct. 10-30, at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.
  • Barnyard Boo, Oct. 11-29, at Thanksgiving Point.
  • Family Spooktacular Science Night, Oct. 24, in Park City.
  • Monster Block Party, Oct. 27, at Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City.
Read the full article for more ideas, and more details about these events.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

24 Hours Of Moab Will Bring Crowds This Weekend

Moab will be busy this weekend, as the town hosts the big 24 Hours Of Moab bike race. The race will be held Oct 6-7 in the Behind The Rocks area SW of town. Motels and campgrounds will be full and the town will bustle with activity.

The race website includes these tidbits:

In seventeen years time this race has become one of the single greatest mountain bike races in the history of the sport. Each year, thousands of racers, support crew, and spectators have made the pilgrimage to Moab to enjoy this amazing event.

Set in the enchanted, red rock desert, most of the course is on an old jeep trail, but it's technical enough that you have to pick your lines, carefully if not strategically.

The course has super-fast and super-fun terrain, technical double-track, slick-rock sections, gnarly down-hills, 1,360 feet of climb per lap, and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world! So, join us on the dusty trail Behind-the-Rocks for one of the greatest mountain bike races on the planet!

This year the race will serve as a fundraiser for the World Cup Dreams disability fund for injured athletes. This website has this interesting report about the bike race. Here's a quote:

The 24 hours of Moab, basically a punishing, only a serious athlete can even think about it endurance bike ride through the desert, is on for this weekend with a eye on raising a goal of $25,000 for the World Cup Dreams disability fund for injured athletes.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Fall Festival & Corn Maze At American West Heritage Center

The American West Heritage Center offers many traditional fall family activities during the month of October. The center is located in Cache Valley near Logan. Fall activities including:
  • 7 acre corn maze
  • Giant hay jump
  • Spiderweb rope climb
  • Kids’ maze
  • Gourd launcher (while the gourds last)
  • The legendary GIANT slide
  • Black Out Maze
  • BB gun range
  • Pony and Train Rides 5-8 pm week night 1-4 and 5-8 Saturdays
Activities take place:
  • Monday-Thrusday, 10 am - 9 pm
  • Friday-Saturday, 10 am - 10 pm
The AWHC website provides this information about other activities in October:

HAUNTED HOLLOW: Legends of Terror
Take a walk on the dark side of history through the scariest river hollow in the valley. Keep a weather eye on the trees, where you may run into the likes of Frankenstein or Alice in Wonderland. 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.

Fall Harvest Festival: October 19-20 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Help us bring in the harvest the old-fashioned way (with living history activities such as cider-pressing and corn-shelling). Enjoy our barn yard boo! Let your little ones trick or treat around our historic sites 1-3. Our hundred year old steam engine will be hard at work threshing. Watch out for the Gunfighters of the American west as they pillage and plunder through town. (Festival admission includes corn maze for these two days. Extra for Haunted Hollow.)

Monday, October 01, 2012

Utah To Get $27 Million 'Museum of Natural Curiosity'

Utah has some outstanding museums that draw patrons from around the region, including the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah and the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point.

Now, ground has been broken on a large and innovative museum that will offer hands-on learning activities for children. Called the "Museum of Natural Curiosity," the new facility aims to serve families with children ages 3-12.

The museum will feature five main exhibits:
  • Rainforest
  • Waterworks
  • Kidopolis
  • Children’s Discovery Garden
  • Traveling Exhibits
The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the new museum. Below are excerpts.

"First and foremost the museum will be fun," (Thanksgiving Point President Mike) Washburn said. "But all of this fun will also be educational and it will all be tied back to common core curriculum."

For example, the Waterworks exhibit area will focus on helping guests learn about energy, weather and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through hands-on experiences involving Utah rocks, a giant mechanical water mover, a water geyser, sand tables and an ice tower while Rainforest’s exhibits gets guests moving and swinging through treetops.

"Children’s museum is a bit of a misnomer. They’re really family museums. These are places where families come together and form bonds and experiences that will last a lifetime," he said.

"Many people believe that curiosity and intelligence are two different things," (sixth-grade teacher Karre) Nevarez said after receiving her award. "I take a different viewpoint. To me creativity is the highest form of intelligence."

But $3.6 million in additional funding is still needed to complete the 45,000-square-foot museum. As of Oct. 1, $23.4 million has been raised through private donations as well as public contributions from the state and county, museum officials said.
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