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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, April 30, 2012

Zion Narrows Hike Opens From Bottom Up

Spring runoff is ending early this year in southern Utah and as a result the hike into The Narrows from Temple of Sinawava is now open. The hike from the top down is not yet open but will open up soon.

The National Park Service posted this information and photo on the Zion Park Facebook page:

The hike into The Narrows from the bottom up (starting at the Temple of Sinawava) is open, including Imlay, Orderville, and Mystery Canyons. The top down portion from Chamberlain’s Ranch to Big Spring remains closed.

Though The Narrows are open, keep in mind that the river is still cold, swift, and deep. The water temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Always check the weather and current conditions at the visitor center before starting your hike. The flow rate can be found at

During spring snowmelt, The Narrows from the Temple of Sinawava to Big Spring closes when the flow rate is over 150 cubic feet per second. It reopens when the flow rate drops below 150 CFS for 24 consecutive hours. The top down portion, from Chamberlain’s Ranch to Big Spring, closes when the flow rate is over 120 CFS. It remains closed until the river flow drops below 120 CFS for 24 consecutive hours.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Popular Destinations For Summer Travel In Utah

If you have not yet made summer travel plans, now's the time to do it. Right now there is still plenty of availability for summer dates at most of our popular destinations, including places in Salt Lake City and our national parks.

The Deseret News has this article to help people make plans. Below is the headline and then excerpts.

Ideas and popular destinations for summer travel in Utah

If you’re interested in visiting the most popular places in Utah, historic Temple Square in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City would be the first place to start.

“We recommend visitors to Temple Square take time to see the Christus statue located in the North Visitors Center and the scale model replica of the Salt Lake Temple in the South Visitors Center. The Thursday evening Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsals and the Sunday morning Music and the Spoken Word broadcast are always highlights for visitors. All of these suggested opportunities are available at no charge.”

Also high on the list of most visited places in the state are its national parks.

Utah’s five parks include BryceCanyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion and Arches National Park. Arches National Park is home to one of Utah’s popular symbols, the Delicate Arch.

“I can’t even tell you how many people I know up in Salt Lake who have never been to Delicate Arch or seen it,” says (Marian) DeLay. “It’s branded on their license plate and it’s right here in their own backyard.”

World-class skiing attracts visitors to Utah’s slopes in the winter, but many of Utah’s resorts also offer activities during the summertime. Check out places like Snowbird or Park City Mountain Resort for things like their alpine slides, ziplines or horseback riding.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Exploring Salt Lake's Pop Culture has a section called PopCandy that focuses on "pop culture's hip and hidden treasures." The section recently carried this article with this title:

The Pop Traveler: Eleven reasons to visit Salt Lake City!

Writer Whitney Matheson talks about some of her favorites in Salt Lake City. Here's an abbreviated rundown of her list:

1. Killer Mexican food at the Red Iguana

2. Free summer tunes via the Salt Lake Arts Council's Twilight Concert Series

3. A popular concert venue known as The Saltair

4. The Heavy Metal Shop

5. Sculptures and engraved stones at a Gilgal Garden.

6. Les Madeleines, The Tin Angel, Pago, Bambara, The Copper Onion and other cafes and eateries.

7. Salt Lake's gay community and the annual Pride parade

8. The mustaches prevalent on locals

9. Easy access to the outdoors

10. Food carts selling meals on street corners

11. Red Butte Gardens and other lush spots.

Read the complete article.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Utah's Spring Fishing Action Heats Up

Fishing just keeps getting better and better in Utah, as more waters open up and fish become more active. Action is now very good at most waters around the state. Here are some highights.
Lake Powell is red hot right now for smallmouth and largemouth bass. It is also good to very good for striped bass, walleye, crappie and catfish. Spring action is peaking right now. As hot weather settles in the action will slow a bit, down to just extremely good, and continue good through the summer.

Sand Hollow Reservoir also offers excellent largemouth fishing right now.

Strawberry Reservoir now has open water and success has been sporadic. The action will become more consistent as the water warms a little. Even when success is inconsistent, Strawberry is a good choice because it offers big trout. Year in and year out, it is one of our best fisheries. I fished there last week and caught a very nice rainbow, as you can see in the photo.

Scofield Reservoir also has open water and good fishing. As with Strawberry, action will improve during the next couple weeks as the water warms a little.

Green River has very good fly fishing Mayfly hatches.

Flaming Gorge is good to great now for rainbows and lake trout. Smallmouth fishing will pick up there in 3-4 weeks.

Most of our other trout reservoirs are fishing.

Typically, our streams have high runoff this time of year. This year our snowpack is low; streams are running high but not nearly as high as in past years. Some are carrying a little muddy water but all of them are still fishable. Stream sections below dams are in great shape and offer good fishing.

I'm a serious fisherman and I love getting out this time of year. Lake Powell is one of my all-time favorite fishing spots and I plan to get down there within the week to enjoy the hot action.

Watch my Utah fishing report for more details.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Salt Lake To Cedar City Jet Service Will Begin June 1

The Federal Aviation Administration today approved a plan to allow SkyWest to offer jet air service between Salt Lake City and Cedar City beginning on June 1.

Scheduled air service using small planes has long been allowed to the southern Utah city. Private jets have also been allowed to use the municipal airport. Now scheduled jet service will make it quicker and easier to travel from Salt Lake to Cedar City. has this news article about the approval. Below are excerpts.

“People come to Cedar from around the world every summer for the Shakespeare Festival and to visit SUU, and scheduled jet service will make the experience for our guests even better,” Hatch said in a press release. “I appreciate the willingness of the FAA to listen to our concerns and applaud this important step forward.”

“Six years ago we built the new terminal. Two and a half years ago we finished the runway refurbishments, which will extend its life for decades,” Volk said. “Then this summer we finished the new fire station at the airport. We are ready for jets.”

A schedule change made a year ago in which SkyWest gave Cedar City more early morning flights helped increase the number of emplanements — paying customers who actually board in Cedar City — from about 6,000 in 2010 to more than 8,500 in 2011. Volk said this increase proved to SkyWest that jet service in Cedar City would be viable.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Osprey Are Nesting In Heber Valley, Live On Webcam

Osprey are fish hawks - they live and nest near open water. A pair is now nesting on a tower in HeberVally, near Deer Creek Reservoir, and the nest can be viewed live via web cam. We have embedded the live video feed below.

Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources has this information about the nesting pair and the nest location. The DWR also has this background information about osprey.

Here's the web cam feed:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Salt Lake Marathon Will Be Saturday, April 21

The annual Salt Lake Marathon will be held tomorrow morning. It will bring crowds to the Salt Lake City downtown and University of Utah areas and will disrupt traffic in the city.

Ownership of the marathon changed this spring and the new organizers had to scramble to get things set for the race. There was some concern whether they would be able to stage the race on such short notice. But they have pulled things together and the race will begin at 7 am.

The event actually includes several races: the full marathon, a half-marathon, a kids marathon, a 5K run plus walking and biking events.

The marathon website has detailed information and schedules.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the marathon, including anticipated traffic adjustments. Below are excerpts.

The race begins Saturday at 7 a.m. at its usual location at the Legacy Bridge at the University of Utah, but finishes at a slightly different location, due to construction around the Gateway shopping mall. Finishers will cross the line on South Temple, instead, between 200 West and 300 West.

The Utah Transit Authority will make several adjustments to TRAX and bus service for the Salt Lake City Marathon on Saturday. UTA encourages marathon participants and supporters to avoid parking and congestion in the downtown area by riding public transit.

TRAX » UTA will run early trains and extra service to downtown and the University of Utah to serve race participants, volunteers and spectators.

Bus » Due to the number of road closures during the marathon, some UTA bus routes will be on detour, while others will experience a delayed service start.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Utah Grand Prix Will Run April 27-29

“The thundering stock cars of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West headline Miller Motorsports Park’s premiere automobile road racing weekend, with drivers who are accustomed to turning left only trying to cope with one of America’s finest road racing tracks. Count on a great variety of cars and fun for the whole family!”

That’s how Miller Motorsports Park introduces its Grand Prix event, the biggest event of the year at the popular track. The Park’s website has complete details. Below are excerpts.

“Each time the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West has raced at MMP, there has always been late-race drama that resulted in leaders falling by the wayside in the closing laps and a surprise winner finding his way onto the podium. This year’s event should be no different, so make your plans now to be here for one of the most exciting stock car races you’ll ever see!

“Now in its 23rd consecutive season, the Pirelli World Challenge is one of North America's top production car-based racing championships. Divided into four separate categories (Pirelli World Challenge GT, Pirelli World Challenge GTS, Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car and Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B-Spec), each race features thrilling standing starts, adrenaline filled door-to-door action and world-class drivers. The Pirelli World Challenge features cars from the world's most popular manufacturers – race-prepped versions of the cars driven on the streets. Sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, the series races at North America's premier road and temporary street courses.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Now's The Time For A Great Utah Road Trip

Spring is the perfect time to hit the open road and tour our red rock desert country. Scenic byways in southern Utah are open and in good condition. The weather is perfect, with warm days and cool nights. Campgrounds and motels are open and most have plenty of room during this times of year. out of Toronto has this interesting article about Utah road trips. The article was apparently written by the paper's movie critic. Below we give the headline and then excerpts.

USA Travel: Utah offers great scenic routes

Scenic Highway 12 is a greatest-hits highway, going from Capital Reef National Park to Bryce Canyon National Parks, with a stretch of heart-stopping views in between. Near Grand Staircase National Monument and the town of Escalante, the road often simply falls away on one side or another — or both with staggering views down to the desert. My boyfriend and I drove that half-hour stretch several times so one could admire the view while the other kept eyes glued to the steep and winding road.

Just to the north of Escalante on Hwy. 24 near the town of Hanksville is Goblin Valley State Park, one of the weirdest and coolest places I’ve ever seen. It’s aptly named. The soft sandstone has been shaped by the wind into jutting formations called hoodoos and these ones look like space invaders, ghosts or, yes, goblins rising from the red sand floor of the shallow canyon. They’re varying sizes and just beg to be climbed on or posed beside.

Just a couple of clarifications. Goblin Valley is not located north of the town of Escalante. It is quite a ways east of Escalante, north of the town of Hanksville.

The article also refers to Arches as a state park. It is in fact quite a famous US National Park.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Celebrate Earth Day And National Park Week

The annual Earth Day celebration will be held this weekend. Activities will be spread over several days but many will fall on the official day, which is Sunday, April 22.

Earth Day overlaps with National Parks Week, which runs April 21-29. During National Park Week there will be no fees to gain entrance to Utah National Parks and National Sites, along with other parks around the country.. Camping fees will still be accessed.

Many National Parks will offer special events this weekend in celebration of Earth Day. Other events will be held in communities and popular destinations all around the country. See the Earth Day website for more information.

Zion Park always sponsors several Earth Day events. This year the park will offer ranger-led hikes, demonstrations, live music from local bands performed on a solar-powered stage, a farmer’s market, food booths, giveaways and information and solar/wind energy, alternative building materials and living green.

Dixie National Forest and Southern Utah University are partnering for several Earth Day events including a special art event. offers this this article on the events. Here's a quote:

The Dixie National Forest is a landscape of contrast in color, climate and culture through its geology, world class recreation, scenery and natural and heritage resources. The spectacular landscape of the Dixie National Forest will be presented in a special art exhibition entitled, “Into the Woods: A Painted Diary of the Dixie National Forest by Arlene Braithwaite.” Southern Utah University’s Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery offers a chance to see over 20 works depicting the landscapes within the Forest, by the well-known regional artist Arlene Braithwaite, including work commissioned by the Dixie National Forest.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Three Utah Ski Resorts Are Still Open

A weekend storm dumped new powder on our mountains and produced great conditions for the last weekend of skiing at some Utah ski resorts.

Three of our resorts are still open. They are:
  • Snowbird, which will remain open as long as conditions permit
  • Alta, which is scheduled to close after skiing on April 29
  • Brighton, which will close after skiing on April 22
KSL has great video showing weekend skiing. You can see it here. Here are excerpts from the accompanying article:

"This year has been a very different season than last year," Kunzer said. "We've had slightly below our average snowfall, but still had a fair amount of visitors coming. Some resorts were busier over the holiday than they were last year."

Kunzer said the Utah ski season has seen consistent positive growth since the Olympics in 2002 and that this year was still a great year for skiing. Sunday's snow illustrated that.

Meanwhile, Snowbird has announced plans to replace its Little Cloud and Gad II chairlifts with high-speed detachable quads. The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the announcement. Here are excerpts:

Gad II dates to the resort’s beginnings in the 1971-72 season, while Little Cloud has provided access to the broad bowl below American Fork Twin Peaks since 1980.

"Our guests have told us replacing Little Cloud is a top priority and they welcome the faster ride to Little Cloud Bowl and Mineral Basin," (General Manager Bob) Bonar said in a news release. The lift will be built by Doppelmayr, a European company with North American headquarters in Salt Lake City.

A new pump station also will be installed in Peruvian Gulch this summer, allowing simultaneous snow making there, in Gad Valley and in Mineral Basin.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Hiking and Camping In Grand Staircase-Escalante

Right now is the perfect time to explore southern Utah's desert country. I just returned from a camping/hiking trip in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and we had a great time. Daytime air temperatures were ideal for hiking the dry trails. Nights were crisp and it was very nice snuggling into the mummy bag.

We camped at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, on the edge of the town of Escalante. The campground is very nice, with heated restrooms and hot showers. We were in tents but most people in the campground were in RVs. Really roughin' it.

We were there during the middle of the week and the campground was almost completely full. I'm sure it is packed on weekends. Call ahead to make reservations if you want to camp there during the next few months. The campground makes a great base camp from which to explore the surrounding area.

We drove down the Hole-In-The-Rock Road and hiked the Peekaboo/Spooky Gulch loop. The loop is short but fairly intense, and it is a great adventure hike suitable for teens. It is one of those hikes where people have to help each other to get through - good scramblers can make it by themselves but most need a hand getting up and down rocks.

There were a couple dozen people hiking the canyon - more than I expected for a week day. I'm sure it will be crowded there on weekends for the next several weeks.

The Hole-In-The-Rock Road is in very good shape. Some year's it has deep sand and massive washboardy areas but we found it smooth enough to be driven in a family car. The spur over to the Dry Fork Trailhead (where we started hiking) was in poor shape and required a high clearance vehicle.

We stopped by the Visitor Information Center in Escalante and the people at the desk said the road it good all of the way to the rim above Glen Canyon, where Mormon pioneers winched covered wagons down the cliff as they forged a "shortcut" between Cedar City and the San Juan River at the present town of Bluff.

We enjoyed a great trip. Now I'm anxious to get back down for more adventure.

I think my next outing will be to Lake Powell. Fishing is really picking up there right now. Peak spring fishing for smallmouth bass and striped bass will probably occur in late April or early May. Fishing will be red hot then, and will continue very good through the summer.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Road Construction Season Begins In Utah

Utah has had several road construction projects going year-round and now as we move into the warm season there will be more projects launched. Travelers should be aware of projects that may cause delays.

The biggest project involves reconstruction of I-15 in Utah County. Much work has been done to add lanes to the freeway and that is now wrapping up. However, several interchanges will be rebuilt during the next few weeks and they will cause changes in the traffic flow.

There will be a major closure this weekend, with the University Parkway exchange in Orem shut down from Friday evening through early morning on Monday.

The Utah Department of Transportation website has current information on road projects. View general details here. The I-15 core project has its own website - see current information here.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the I-15 project. Below are excerpts.

"This will be a year of interchange construction," said Todd Jensen, project manager for the Utah Department of Transportation."The project is 75 percent complete, so the end is near [expected in December]. But we still have a lot of work to do this year that will impact traffic."

First up is a closure of University Parkway at I-15 beginning Friday at 9 p.m. until Monday at 5:30 a.m. for signal work. The southbound on- and off-ramps of I-15 there are also scheduled to be closed for ramp reconstruction and paving.

Reconstruction of other interchanges will then come to the north half of the 1600 North interchange in Orem, scheduled to close as early as April 23 for 30 days.

Jensen said that UDOT research shows that for such a large highway project — costing at least $1 billion — it is the quickest-completed project of its kind in U.S. history. The 24-mile project from Lehi to Spanish Fork is now scheduled to be completed in 35 months, or just under three years, from start to finish.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Free Admission During Upcoming National Parks Week

National Parks Week will be April 21-29. All Utah National Parks and other parks in the US will offer free admission during the entire week. Special activities will be held at many parks, and some activities will begin as early as this Saturday.

The week is a joint effort involving the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation. The Foundation provided this information about the week, and some of the activities.

National Park Foundation
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, is teaming up with the National Park Service to celebrate National Park Week 2011 April 16 – 24.

Beginning this Saturday, people everywhere are invited to experience America’s nearly 400 national parks which will be fee FREE all week. Celebrating the theme “Healthy Parks, Healthy People,” national parks across the country are encouraging people to come visit, get outdoors, and embrace a healthy lifestyle, while also embracing the importance of keeping our parks protected and preserved.

In honor of National Park Week, the National Park Foundation is releasing 10 great ways to celebrate:

• Visit a national park! There are nearly 400 national parks in America, and during National Park Week, they are all fee FREE. Take the time to go visit, and discover the magic of these treasured places. Start by visiting

• Healthy Parks make Healthy People. From hiking to biking to swimming, there are great outdoor activities in your national parks for visitors of all ages. Start by getting the FREE National Park Foundation Owner’s Guide and Parks For Play: 35 National Park Adventures for Kids of All Ages.

• Show your support! As we celebrate National Park Week, take the time to consider what it would be like without these iconic places. Give today to the National Park Foundation and your gift will be MATCHED up to $50,000! With your help we can provide the necessary support to America’s nearly 400 national parks.

• Volunteer Day is April 16! Give back to the national parks that give so much to us. Find a complete listing of volunteer events.

• Become a Junior Ranger! Introduce a young person to our national parks on Junior Ranger Day, April 23. Through the Junior Ranger program kids learn about history, the environment and much more. At the end, each participant will be sworn in as a National Park Service Junior Ranger. Kids can also get active with the new “Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger” program celebrating First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative striving to end childhood obesity within a generation.

• “Check-In” on Facebook. Using Facebook “Places” on your mobile device, “check-in” at a national park and The North Face will donate $1 to the National Park Foundation! Just search for the national park near you using the latest version of the Facebook for iPhone app or by visiting from your HTML5-enabled mobile device.

• Meet a National Park Service Ranger! Do you know the people that help safeguard our national parks every day? Take the time to learn more about the National Park Service and the men and women that protect these special places. Get out and visit them or go to to learn more.

• Share your adventure! Upload your photos, videos, poems or stories exclusively at, and share your National Park Week experience with the world!

• Celebrate Earth Day in the parks! Take the time on April 22 to get outside to a national park and celebrate all the wonders and magical places that our planet has given us. In return, do the small things to show your appreciation like using environmentally-friendly transportation, recycling and supporting the National Park Foundation.

• Enter the “I Heart Parks” contest! Go to for the opportunity to win daily prizes from the National Park Foundation including park passes, outdoor gear, and a trip to Shenandoah National Park!

For more information on National Park Week, and a full listing of events, including details on park-specific Earth Day events (April 22), Junior Ranger Day activities (April 23), and ways to lend a hand in local parks on Volunteer Day (April 16), visit

At this site, visitors will find resources on National Park Week events, special activities for visitors of all ages, details on how you can share your park adventure with other travelers, as well as information on how to support the parks. Whether it is during National Park Week, or any other day of the year, it is the generous support of individuals, foundations and corporations that allow the National Park Foundation to continue its Congressionally-chartered mission to support and protect America’s treasured national parks. The National Park Foundation is proud to recognize Aramark Parks and Destinations, Bank of America, Energizer, Peace Cereal and The North Face for their support of National Park Week. Find out more about the work of the National Park Foundation and how to help at


Best Of Utah 2012

Every year City Weekly compiles comprehensive "Best of Utah" lists, with a blend of serious and zany and entertaining information about companies that excel in one way or another. Here's this year's list. It includes these categories:
  • Goods & Services
  • Faves & Raves
  • Media & Politics
  • Food & Drink
  • Nightlife
  • Active Life
The descriptions under each category provide info about local people consider to be the best of Utah. Everything is subjective, and the tally can be easily swayed if a business enlists friends to pad the vote. Still, it is an interesting study and can introduce you to companies you have not find in any other way.

Here are a few examples:
  • Best mid-valley restaurant - Cafe Madrid
  • Best local beer - Epic Brewing Company
  • Best steaks - Ruby River Steakhouse
  • Best new SLC Restaurant - Plum Alley
  • Best retro-modern bar - The Spot
  • Best live music club - The Urban Lounge
  • Best new club - Bourbon House

Monday, April 09, 2012

Scenic Hwy SR 14 Will Reopen In June

Crews are making steady progress in rebuilding a section of SR 14, which was destroyed by a landslide last fall. The road should be open on weekends beginning June 1, and be open full time by July 4.

SR 14 runs from Cedar City east over Cedar Mountain to its junction with US 89. It provides access to Navajo Lake and Duck Creek Village. It is also a popular route used by some to reach the Cedar Breaks/Brian Head and Bryce Canyon National Park areas.

The slide occurred about 8 miles east of Cedar City.

The Spectrum has this extensive article describing the road work. The article contains several impressive photos showing the slide.

Below are excerpts from the article.

Early estimates of fixing the road within weeks soon spread to months as aerial surveying in the late fall of 2011 showed that the landslide had moved approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of material.

"You worry about those small businesses out there," said Cedar City resident Becki DeMille, who said she often visited Duck Creek when SR-14 was open. "I go up there now the long way around, and it's just sad to see it nearly abandoned."

Grimshaw said the process involves using a PC800 excavator with a six-foot bucket to remove the top six to nine feet of material from the landslide area while dump trucks move the material to an area where it will be used to fortify the base of the road. This process will continue until the area reaches the proper elevation for the new road base.

Meanwhile, other workers are using giant hydraulic jackhammers to break up large boulders for easy removal.

"Some of these are bigger than a two-story house," said UDOT worker Mikel Jake.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Recreational Activities Draw Many Retirees To Utah has this interesting article recommending three Utah areas as great places to retire, mostly because they offer outstanding opportunities for recreation. It says Park City is great but too expensive. St George, Ogden and Cedar City are recommended as great retirement options.

The article contains some inaccuracies. For example, it says St George is "nestled in the balmy southeastern section of the state..." St George is actually in the southwestern corner of Utah.

It also mentions Tuacahn, in the St George area, and says it "often hosts traveling Broadway plays." Tuacahn actually produces plays itself, it doesn't host traveling shows. It does host some traveling concerts.

Here is another interesting statement about St George: "Though there is an airport and a few small hospitals in town, many residents say they drive the two hours to Las Vegas for medical care and flights, not to mention restaurants and shopping." There is, in fact, a major regional hospital in St George.

It is true that St George is close to Las Vegas. Many people from Vegas come into southern Utah for recreation and many St George-area residents go to Vegas for shows, concerts, shopping and dining.

The article also talks about Utah's dominant LDS culture as a "drawback." Well, that's a rather subjective statement. Many people not of the LDS faith choose to live and play in Utah and get along fine with resident the Mormons.

The article does have some glowing descriptions of recreational opportunities in Utah:

St. George is often referred to as "Utah's golf capital" and anyone who has ever teed off looking out on the brilliant red rocks knows why.

The hiking here is world-class -- it's located within minutes of Zion National Park, one of the area's top tourist attractions and only a few hours from Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Park.

Located in the Wasatch Mountains in northern Utah, Ogden is just 20 to 30 miles from some of the region's best skiing, including the well-regarded Snowbasin resort, Power Mountain and Wolf Mountain.

Often called "Festival City," this town works hard to live up to the nickname. Cedar City hosts the Utah Shakespearean Festival, which has won the Tony Award for outstanding regional theater and attracts roughly 130,000 guests each year.

And, because this is Utah, there's no shortage of outdoor endeavors nearby... Brian Head Ski Resort is just 30 miles away and Zion and Bryce National Parks are both within 65 miles.


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Red Canyon Visitors Center Opens For The Season

The visitor center in Red Canyon will open for the season tomorrow, April 6.

Red Canyon is a very scenic area along Hwy 12 just west of Bryce Canyon National Park. The canyon has hoodoos similar to those seen in Bryce Canyon. The canyon is managed by the US Forest Service. It offers a nice campground, hiking and biking trails and many other attractions.

The environment in Red Canyon is very similar to that of Bryce Canyon. If it was located in any other state it would be a state park or perhaps a national park or monument. Since this is Utah, it is managed as a National Forest recreation area.

The Forest Service provided the news release below:

PANGUITCH, UT – The Powell Ranger District, Dixie National Forest will open the Red Canyon Visitor Center for the 2012 season, on Friday April 6. The Visitor Center will initially be open Friday through Monday during the month of April, and then expand operations to seven days a week starting May 1. Visitor Center hours of operation will be 9AM to 6 PM daily. The Visitor Center has a book store, art gallery and interpretive displays highlighting the area’s resources, along with current events and activities taking place in the Red Canyon area.

"The Red Canyon Visitor Center is a great spot to stretch your legs on a short hike, view local artwork, photograph the surrounding beauty, as well as learn about the natural and culture resources of the Dixie National Forest," said Powell District Ranger, Karen Schroyer.

This coming season interpretive programs in geology, solar observation and night sky programs will be presented at the Visitor Center and Red Canyon Campground. The Red Canyon Visitor Center will again partner with Bryce Canyon National Park to provide the solar scoping and night sky programs, which were very popular during the 2011 season.
The Art Gallery at the Visitor Center will have three painting exhibits this season featuring local southern Utah artists. The opening art exhibit will be local Panguitch artist/painter Virginia Valcourt, who will feature oil paintings along with pen and ink drawings of the Red Canyon area. The exhibit will run April 6 – June 6 and will be open during regular Visitor Center hours.

Come explore your Dixie National Forest this year for a great outdoor family recreation experience and be sure to stop in at the Red Canyon Visitor Center. For more information please contact the Powell Ranger District office located in Panguitch, Utah, 435-676-9300, or call the Visitor Center at 435-676-2676 during regular business hours.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Easter Marks Last Big Ski Season Weekend

Easter is the final big ski weekend in Utah. A storm expected tomorrow and Friday should put another couple inches of snow in some resorts. Many of our resorts are still open and have relatively good conditions.

Some resorts will stay open as long as conditions allow. Snowbird expects to offer daily skiing through April and then move to weekends only in May. Other resorts have scheduled closing dates.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about Easter skiing and other recreational activities. Here are excerpts.

"This time of year, most skiers are hoping for sunny skies," said Jessica Kunzer of Ski Utah. "We will have that later in the week. … Everybody wants to don bright Easter colors and sunglasses. This is the last big holiday weekend for the resorts. They are reporting that it will be relatively busy. We are hoping it will be a nice strong finish to our season."

And that season is definitely winding down. Beaver Mountain, Wolf Mountain and Eagle Point are closed. Snowbasin and Sundance will close Sunday. Brian Head, Deer Valley, Canyons, Park City, Solitude and Powder Mountain end their seasons April 15.

Much of the spring recreation interest is moving to southern Utah. Many state and national park campgrounds will be full this weekend and motel rooms will be hard to find.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Jeep Safari Brings Concept Cars To Moab

The annual Moab Jeep Safari runs through April 12. It is a big event that brings thousands of participants and spectators to the southeastern Utah area. Moab will be packed until the event ends. Motels and campgrounds are full and trails are busy.

One of the fun things about the safari is the opportunity to see concept cars actually challenge Moab's famous terrain. Jeep, in particular, always runs new vehicles over some of the trails. Other manufacturers have also started to show off special equipment at the big event.

The safari is sponsored by Red Rock 4-Wheelers. Their website has information about the trails and official associated activities. his this article about the products Jeep has at this year's safari. Here's a quote:

Jeep always builds a few cool concept vehicles to bring to the annual Easter Jeep Safari held in Moab, Utah. The concepts range from pie-in-the-sky ideas that have no chance of production to virtual test vehicles for new parts and accessories that will be available at your local Jeep dealer in the coming months. As the Easter Jeep Safari brings Jeep’s most loyal customers together for a week of off-road adventures on some of the best trails in the country, it gives Jeep an excellent venue to solicit feedback on new ideas. has this interesting release about a vehicle being shown by Venchurs Vwerks. Here are excerpts:

ADRIAN, Mich., April 3, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Not many vehicles can say they have a lightweight Level III "Dragon Skin" ballistic armored cabin that defeats 7.62x39 AK-47 ammunition. Fewer have a resume that includes an optional 700-horsepower V-10 tucked between Aramid Kevlar front fenders. Add an off-road tuned suspension with 14 inches of wheel travel and you have equipment only found in the new Caballo Diablo debuted at by Venchurs VWerks at the 2012 Moab Easter Jeep Safari.

One option found on Caballo Diablo not available in the United States is a full perimeter force field flame defensive countermeasure system dubbed "Dragon's Mouth" which on command, blasts the area surrounding the truck with flames. Also on the tactical options list is a full Night Vision System (NVS) compatible cockpit. What is standard though, is a suspension system able to cut through urbanized terrain and unimproved surfaces with extreme precision.

There is still time to get down to Moab and join the fun.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Spring Is The Time To Rockhound In Utah

Right now is my favorite time to go rock hounding in Utah. Many of our best spots are located in desert open country where air temperatures get hot during the summer. Conditions will be perfect for exploring these areas on many days during the next couple months.

(Many spots are accessible via dirt roads, which become treacherous when wet, but our West Desert area does not receive much rainfall and so that is not usually a problem.)

Utah's Geological Survey has added an interactive map to its website to help people find some of our best rock hounding spots. You can see the map here.

The Survey recommends these spots:
  • Stansbury Island for Oolitic Sand
  • Knolls Area for gypsum sand
  • Vernon Hills for wonderstone
  • Dugway for geodes
  • Topaz Mountain for topaz
  • Manti-La Sal Forest for birdseye marble
  • Mt Nebo for onyx marble
  • Sunstone Knoll for sunstones
  • Black Rock Desert for obsidian
  • Mineral Mountains for smokey quartz and feldspar
  • Marysvale area for bixbyite, rutile and amethyst
  • Capitol Reef National Park for agate, chert, jasper and petrified wood
The survey website also provides details about the latest collecting rules. If you are interested in rock hounding, the website is a great resource with basic information. It also provides links to local rock and mineral clubs.

- Dave Webb
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