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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Utah Announces New Public Transportation Options

Utah is expanding its bus, light rail and commuter rail systems, which provide options for people traveling around the Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo and Park City areas. That includes public transportation to and from our International Airport and to ski resorts in the Cottonwood Canyons and Park City areas.

Today the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) announced enhancements that include “more frequent commuter rail service, the opening of a light rail extension in Draper and enhancements to university bus service in Weber and Salt Lake counties.”

That's according to this article in the Deseret News. Below are excerpts.

Starting Aug. 18, FrontRunner will offer hourly service on Saturdays, with departures changed to match weekday times. In addition, UTA will also launch service on the new Draper TRAX extension. The 3.8-mile line will expand service into Draper providing three new light rail stations to South Valley commuters.

The Draper TRAX Line also will mark the completion of the FrontLines 2015 project, which will add more than 70 miles of new rail lines to the UTA system and is expected to be completed two years ahead of schedule and $300 million under budget, according to the company.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Moab Music Festival Runs August 29-September 9

Music will fill the red-rock alcoves around Moab as the annual Moab Music Festival provides 12 days of chamber music, Latin groove, and songs from many traditions.

The 2013 festival will be held August 29-September 9. See the official website for details. The festival provided this information:

According to co-founder and Music Director Michael Barrett, "Our 21st season celebrates a new generation of instrumentalists and singer/songwriters, while paying hommage to the ancient characteristics of the Moab landscape, the original people of America, and musical masterpieces. I think we've found a fabulous balance of youthful energy and history. And of course the red-rock landscape always seems to give our concerts an added depth we can find only here."

Musical activities include:
  • Grotto Concert I
  • Festival Opening Night
  • Open Rehearsal Conversation I
  • The Future of American Song
  • Classical Music Hike
  • The Wisdom of the Earth
  • Rocky Mountain Power Family Picnic Concert
  • Ranch Benefit Concert
  • House Benefit Concert
  • Grotto Concert II
  • The Four Seasons
  • Open Rehearsal Conversation II
  • The Pedrito Martinez Group
  • Traditional Music Hike
  • Beethoven's Shadow
  • Grotto Concert III
  • Musical River Raft Trip

Monday, July 29, 2013

World Folkfest Underway In Springville

The small town of Springville, in Utah County just south of Provo, offers a surprising variety of cultural activities. Among other things it has an impressive art museum, displays sculptures all around town and offers annual World Folkfest performances.

The Folkfest has grown every year. Invited groups for 2013 come from:
  • Chile
  • Lithuania
  • Martinique
  • Netherlands
  • South Africa
  • Taiwan
  • USA

The festival website provides these additional details.

The Springville World Folkfest will bring the color and excitement of traditional folk dance and music from around the world to Springville during the 27th annual World Folkfest from July 29th through Aug 3rd, 2013, in Springville, Utah, USA.

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.

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.

Visitors are always welcome at the events.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Renaissance Makes Salt Lake City A Vibrant Destination

Salt Lake City is maturing, according to this article in the New York Times. Long viewed as the gateway to great ski resorts and national parks, the article says Salt Lake is now becoming a destination in its own right, worth a second look.

The article says the City Creek Center has sparked a renaissance that is attracting new restaurants, shops, other businesses, residents and tourists to the city's downtown area. Below are excerpts.

No one will mistake it for the East Village, but downtown is starting to become a place people actually seek out to eat and play. One fact captured the change as well as any, apparent on a recent visit: Four craft breweries now operate within 10 blocks of Temple Square, the historic center of both downtown and of the teetotaling Mormon world.

City Creek Center (, at 50 South Main Street, is a handsome monument to consumption. There are more than 100 stores, many of them high-end and new to the market — Tiffany, Nordstrom, Coach. The development also has Las Vegas-like fountains (music! jets of flame!), a fully retractable glass roof that closes in inclement weather and a river that runs through it (O.K., a stream; the eponymous, reimagined City Creek, with actual trout).

...This (new TRAX-airport) connection opens up an intriguing possibility for skiers: staying downtown, riding transit to the slopes and never bothering with the expense or trouble of a rental car.

...There’s been an explosion of places to eat in downtown Salt Lake. Some 40 restaurants and other eating establishments have opened since 2010, or are poised to open — from Taste of Red Iguana, the latest outpost of the Mexican mini-empire in the food court of City Creek Center, to the Copper Onion, which Salt Lake magazine recently anointed the city’s best restaurant.

Read the entire article.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Camping in the Uinta Mountains

In case you haven't noticed, it's hot in Utah's deserts and valleys. These are the “dog days of summer” and daytime temperatures often push into the high 90s or low 100s F.

That's perfect if you want to play in the water. This is an ideal time to visit Lake Powell, Sand Hollow, Flaming Gorge or many other Utah lakes and reservoirs.

Happily, there are also other options. The High Uinta Mountains offer a very pleasant oasis, with lush forests, cascading streams, green meadows and small lakes teaming with trout. They stand in stark contract to our low elevation deserts.

I spent the Pioneer Day holiday in the mountains and had a great time. We camped at Stillwater Campground along Hwy 150 – the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. We explored the byway, scouting out some of the small lakes. We also spent some time at Mirror Lake itself. (Mirror is one of the prettiest lakes in the mountains. It's a great place to camp, picnic, canoe, fish and relax.)

Daytime temperatures topped out at about 75 F. Not bad. Nights were pleasantly cool. We sleep in tents and were glad for warm sleeping bags.

The Uintas are a great destination for a wide variety of activities. I enjoy backpacking there, to any of a thousand lakes in the wilderness area where they are not accessible via motor vehicle. An extensive trail network leads to many lakes. I like finding the ones not located on trails – where I use GPS and bushwhack to remote spots.

Many people pack into the mountains using horses or llamas or even pack goats.

I'm a serious fisherman and these mountains are one of my favorite spots to cast a fly. Many lakes and streams offer excellent action for cutthroat, brookies or rainbows. Fish are usually pan-sized – not huge but plenty of them.

That, to me, is a slice of paradise.

-- Dave Webb

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Canyons Of The Escalante Featured On U-Haul Truck Graphics

U-Haul has a Venture Across America promotion where the company shows iconic images on the sides of rental trucks. Trucks in its Utah fleet show graphics the showcase some stunning graphics from the Escalante Canyons in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The graphics depict these themes:
"A work of art by a force of nature"
"Spectacular geological formations of the Escalante area have been exposed over millions of years by erosion and shifting of the earth"

The images are impressive and can be seen here.
If you click on the website links, U-Haul presents more images and amazing photos of the Escalante area, along with well-written text describing the area. Here's the intructions:

Southern Utah's Escalante Canyons contain some of the most desolate, wild and stunning country in the world. It includes sandstone rock arches, waterfalls and natural bridges that some say are more beautiful than any other natural scenery on earth.

But it also has a mysterious aura, a reputation that goes far beyond its beauty. For thousands of years, the strange and the unknown have enshrouded this region, a 400,000-acre expanse of rugged river canyons and majestic desert wilderness...

I enjoyed photos and descriptions, showcasing one of my favorite areas.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hiking Orderville Gulch In The Rain

Orderville Gulch - photo by Dave Webb
Zion Park is famous for its canyoneering adventures. It is perhaps the best place on earth to enjoy hiking/scrambling/climbing over chock stones and rappelling down waterfalls, as you make your way down slot canyons. I challenged one of Zion's slot canyons last week and had a great time.

Two of the park's most famous canyoneering destinations, The Narrows and The Subway, are very popular. To protect park resources, only a small number of people are allowed to hike these canyons top to bottom each day. Permits are limited and can be hard to get.

But the park offers many other great canyons. The one I chose, called Orderville Gulch, blends the best of its two famous siblings. It's like the Narrows, only more narrow and more rugged. Orderville is a tributary to The Narrows and so you end the trek by hiking out of the bottom of that canyon.

Like The Subway, Orderville is very narrow and you have to climb down chockstones, waterfalls and log jams. These obstacles make the hike challenging and enjoyable.

As long as it isn't raining. These canyons become very dangerous when rain falls anywhere in the drainage. Runoff is channeled into the narrow canyons and can become raging torrents that sweep away trees and boulders. Hikers need to take care and avoid hiking when there is a significant chance of a thunderstorm.

Normally, July is a dry month in southwestern Utah. In August, thunderstorms often develop on hot afternoons - what we call our "monsoon" season.

This year has not been normal. We've had strong thunderstorms during the past few weeks, and flash flooding in some areas.

That make sit difficult to plan canyoneering adventures.

We chose our date weeks in advance, knowing we would have to cancel if the forecast called for thunderstorms. We watched the weather closely. At first the report called for clear skies. Then, a few days before our hike, the report changed to a 20% chance of showers. Then, the day before, to a 30% chance.

We decided to make the trip and check again early the day of our hike, getting the best info we could before committing to hike the canyon.

Usually, mornings are dry and our storms develop later in the afternoon.

The sky was totally clear when we rolled out of our sleeping bags on Thursday morning. We stopped at the ranger station to pick up our permits, and get a final weather report, and they still said a 30% chance of rain.

The hike takes most people about 8 hours. We were making an early start and we figured we could be past the most narrow part by mid-afternoon, minimizing the chance that we would be caught in a storm. So we decided to proceed.

There was just one tiny cloud on the horizon as we started hiking. We descended into the slot, with the canyon walls rising higher with every step. In many places the walls are nearly vertical.

Orderville is a "technical" canyon, meaning you need ropes and gear to descend. There are two drops, both about 17 feet, where most people need to rappel. Strong, experienced climbers can make it without ropes but in my group we all needed to harness up and use the ropes to allow a controlled, safe descent.

When we stood at the top of that first rappel, I paused and looked at the sky, knowing that if we dropped down we would be committed to finishing the hike. Almost anyone can rappel down a cliff, but it is much more difficult to climb back up. By that time the sky was overcast but we decided to forge ahead, knowing there would be no turning back.

As we gathered up the rappelling gear it started to sprinkle. No problem, I though. The ground can absorb a light sprinkle. We decided to pick up the pace and continue down canyon.

As we approached the second rappel it started to rain hard. We quickly descended the waterfall and hurried to a wide spot in the canyon were we could climb to high ground - higher than a flash flood would reach.

We found such a spot and sat in safety, watching the rain, wondering how long it would last. It rained hard for about 10 minutes and then continued to sprinkle. We huddled under thick cover, mostly out of the rain, wondering if the storm was winding down or if it would pick back up.

We heard thunder and saw lightning that looked close. We had no idea what the storm was like up canyon. It could be raining 20 miles away and the runoff would channel down onto us.

We sat for about 40 minutes, until the rain and lightning stopped in our area. The stream had not risen and so we decided to proceed down the canyon, figuring we would find the next wide spot and re-evaluate. We did that, hiking and then pausing in safe spots, until we popped out into The Narrows and then completed the hike.

We enjoyed it, despite the uneasy feeling I got sitting under a tree in the rain.

The next day the park temporarily closed the slots because of high flash flood danger. Park officials try to monitor conditions and do what they can to keep people safe. Still, hikers have the ultimate responsibility for their own safety. It is impossible to tell just where and where flash floods will occur.

I love hiking the slots and I'll be back. But I'll also be alert and cautions.

(Here's a video that shows the Orderville hike, shot on a previous trip.)

– Dave Webb

Monday, July 22, 2013

Expect Construction Delays In Arches National Park

In August the National Park Service will be making improvements at Devils Garden in Arches National Park. As a result, services there will be limited and traffic delays are expected.

The Park Service provided this map and news release:

Construction Delays at Devils Garden

Starting August 5, 2013, visitors should expect heavy traffic congestion and delays in the Devils Garden area of Arches National Park. To avoid the construction area, visitors can take the following steps:

Enjoy the first 16.5 miles (26.5 km) of desert landscape along the scenic drive, and then turn around at Sand Dune Arch parking lot to return to the visitor center.
Visit Devils Garden on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. There will not be construction activity on those days.
Make alternate plans such as visiting other destination points in the area.
Modify your itinerary to visit the park after October.
No water will be available at Devils Garden trailhead during construction. Visitors are strongly encouraged to fill water bottles at the Arches Visitor Center prior to driving up the park road.

Construction is planned to continue through early October, and will be completed in phases to allow the area to remain open to the public. Work includes: replacing existing toilets with new larger models, installing benches for increased seating, replacing the water fountain, adding accessible parking spaces, providing tour bus parking and extending the sidewalk.

All park roads and trails will remain open throughout the construction period. Devils Garden trailhead accesses Landscape Arch, Double O Arch, Dark Angel, the Primitive Loop and other major arches in the park.

For more information, look for periodic updates on the park's Facebook page or call (435) 719-2100.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pioneer Day: Family Friendly Activities, Rodeos

Many communities and destinations around Utah will be holding "Pioneer Day" celebrations on July 24. The Deseret News has this article that features some of the most popular family friendly events around the state. Below are excerpts.

Pioneer Day celebrations taking place across the state range from rodeos and parades to pancake breakfasts and firework shows.

New to the celebrations this year are the Days of '47 Frontier Camps, which will take place July 19, 20 and 22-24 on the plaza of the EnergySolutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple.

The following is a list of Pioneer Day celebrations across the state, listed by county. See all the events by clicking through the list, or click below for events happening in your county:
Box Elder County 
Cache County
Davis County
Salt Lake County
San Juan County
Sanpete County
Tooele County
Utah County
Washington County

The rodeo season is in full swing and rodeos are popular activities at many Pioneer Day celebrations. The Deseret News has this interesting article, with this headline:

Heart of rodeo season heats up in Utah

...More prize money, more cowboys and more for spectators to see and do. That’s how organizers of this year’s Days of ’47 Rodeo plan to revitalize the annual rodeo held every year as part of the celebration commemorating the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in 1847.

...The Ogden rodeo will also welcome Miss Rodeo America, who happens to be from Roosevelt, Chenae Shiner. She is a professional barrel racer, and she’ll be on horseback for the five performances.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Q&A: Road Trips Through The American Southwest

If you are planning a road trip, or just dreaming about adventure, you should read the tidbits from this online question and answer session, hosted by

The questions are good and the answers insightful. They talk about our national parks, state parks and major play areas, but also give info on how to get off the tourist path find lessor-known treasures.

Here are just a couple excerpts. It really is worth reading the entire article.

Colorado, Utah and Nevada: travel expert Q&A

Top tip from @Dief
Zion, Bryce, Arches - check, check, check... A little less visited? Try an overnight at Natural Bridges National Monument near Canyonlands. The bridges themselves are nothing compared to what you'll see at Arches and can be done in a few hours but it has some of the darkest skies in the US.

Don't forget the state parks!
Expert Mike Matson says:
Everybody has heard about the National Parks, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands. But lots of travelers don't realize that Utah has some amazing state parks too! Places like Kodachrome Basin state park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes state park , and Snow Canyon state park are all examples of state parks that can be added to any southwest loop road trip.

More biking tips from @Brettprettyman: For a totally unique experience consider riding the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. It is a 100-mile loop starting from the Island in The Sky Visitor Center. Most people take two or three days to ride it, camping along the way with a support vehicle. Permits are required. Here's a story and short video we did after riding it this spring.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Big-Nosed Horned Dinosaur Found in Utah

Paleontologists have announced the discovery of a new dinosaur, a Triceratops relative with a supersized nose that once roamed what is now Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

Utah offers many great spots to hunt dinosaurs. The Grand Staircase is relatively new as a dinosaur hotspot, but continues to offer surprising new specimens.

KSL TV has this report about the finding. The report also gives good background info about dinosaurs in Grand Staircase. Below is an excerpt. Our photo is pulled from the KSL website.

The newly discovered species possesses several unique features, including an oversized nose relative to other members of the family, and exceptionally long, curving, forward-oriented horns over the eyes. The bony frill, rather than possessing elaborate ornamentations such as hooks or spikes, is relatively unadorned, with a simple, scalloped margin.

National Geographic has this report. Here are excerpts.

Nasutoceratops titusi belonged to a group of horned dinosaurs called ceratopsids, large four-legged herbivores that thrived during the Cretaceous period, according to a study released Tuesday.

Today, said Sampson, the vast expanse of untouched badlands is a "paleontologist's dream."

Within the continental United States, he said, "it's the last great relatively unexplored dinosaur boneyard."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 24th Holiday Events In Utah

July 24th is a big holiday in Utah. It is called Pioneer Day and commemorates the arrival of the Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley. There will be festivities in many communities around Utah, with most activities taking place next Thursday (the 24th).

Many businesses will be closed for the holiday.

Salt Lake City hosts a massive celebration called the “Days of '47.” It takes place over several days and offers many fun activities related to Western America, pioneers and frontier life. The festival provided the overview below. See the official website for more details.

We have exciting things planned for the 2013 version of The Days of ’47 celebration, from the Royalty Pageant and Parade, to the Rodeo and all the other colorful events. Our 2013 celebration will be full of thrills and spills. Schedule your summer plans to take advantage of our many activities — most of which are free to the public. Grab your hat, pull on those boots and c’mon down!

Activities include:
  • July 19 - Pioneer Day Commemoration Concert
  • Jul 20 - First Encampment Hike
  • Jul 20 - Youth Parade
  • Jul 19, 20, 22, 23 and 24 – Rodeo
  • July 19, 20, 22, 23 and 24 - Frontier Camp
  • Jul 24 - Sunrise Service
  • Jul 24 - Days of ’47 KSL 5 Parade
See the entire schedule.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meander Along Utah's Heritage Highway

Hwy 89 through central and southern Utah has been designated Utah's Heritage Highway. It wanders through small towns and agricultural areas and provides access to many scenic spots and recreational areas..

Hwy 89 parallels I-15 along much of its route. It provides a great opportunity to slow down and enjoy small town culture, including products made by local artisans.

The has this article about the highway. Below we give the headline and then excerpts.

Traveling Utah's Heritage Highway by motorhome offers a slower, more scenic, homespun look at the state

Highway 89 from Fairview on the north end to Big Water on the shore of Lake Powell in the south has been designated the Utah Heritage Highway to promote tourism in the small Mormon settlements and other cultural heritage spots that straddle the road. The highway runs parallel to Interstate 15, which is the preferred north-south route through Utah. But for travelers with time on their hands, the slower, more scenic Highway 89 offers a homespun look at the state.

It seems like every community along the highway has one or two shops catering to tourists with locally produced wares. Some towns are worth the stop, even if you aren't in the market for a handcrafted souvenir.

Well north of Junction lies Marysvale and Big Rock Candy Mountain. The multicolored mountain got its name after a song first popularized in the late 1920s. A few local residents placed a sign near the base of the stone, naming it "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and dubbed a creek near it "Lemonade Springs." The names stuck and the mountain became one of the most recognized sites along the highway.

The Sevier River brought Mormon settlers to the area, where they farmed and ran cattle. But abandoned farmhouses, barns and feedlots give silent, yet scenic, testimony to some plans and dreams that didn't quite work out.

Others hang on, investing in careers that may be more satisfying than profitable.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Celebrate 75 Years At Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument - photo by Dave Webb
The area now known as Dinosaur National Monument first drew national attention in 909, when Earl Douglass started collecting fossils there for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

It was proclaimed a national monument in 915 President Woodrow Wilson, protecting some 80 acres. In 1938, the monument boundaries were expanded to include over 200,000 acres in Utah and Colorado. The monument encompassing some of the most spectacular canyons of the Green and Yampa rivers.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the expansion. The Park Service is throwing a party and you are invited. The Monument provided the information below.

A celebration of the 75th anniversary of the expansion of the monument will kick off with cake this Sunday, July 14 at both the Quarry Visitor Center near Jensen, UT and the Canyon Visitor Center near Dinosaur, CO. Cake will be served from 11:00 am until it is gone. Throughout the year, a variety of special events and ranger programs will highlight Dinosaur National Monument’s broader natural and cultural resources and wilderness values. Topics will include night skies, homestead history, geology, petroglyphs and the spectacular river canyons of the Green and Yampa Rivers. If you can’t make it in person, we invite you to enjoy a virtual visit through photos and stories shared at

Monument staff and volunteers are also currently working on a new web video titled Dinosaur: Beyond the Bones, which we hope to debut in time for the 75th anniversary. Future events will be posted on Facebook and over the next several months, so check back often.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

NY Times: Goat Packing Utah's Uinta Mountains

The New York Times has this interesting article about a pack trip into the Uinta Mountains. A trip where the pack animals were goats. A 10 day probe into the wilderness area, along the Highline Trail, involving the 44-year-old writer, his 22-year-old friend and a 4-year-old son.

Sounds like a grand adventure. Below are excerpts:

Traversing the spine of the High Uintas Wilderness, the 100-mile route crosses nine major passes and rarely dips below 10,000 feet. Unable to convince my wife of goats’ genial nature, this escapade would mark the first time I took our eldest son into the wilderness alone. An unmistakable — but not unpleasant — sense of responsibility settled on my shoulders the instant we left home.

Hours later, on the shores of an alpine lake, Bodi leapt from boulder to boulder (eventually getting soaked) while Clay hung his hammock between two immense fir trees. I set up a tent, and the goats — irrepressibly curious — tried to join me inside. Spray from a water bottle (a Clay-approved technique) sent them scattering. We ate together in contented silence. Fresh air, winds, sun and exertion had begun to bond our disparate team.

The trail led over pass after pass (Dead Horse, Red Knob, Tungsten, Anderson) and traversed just beneath Kings Peak — at 13,528 feet, the highest point in Utah. But the inclines proved gentle and the views fantastic. So why was no one else here? The Uintas are often overlooked in favor of more famous neighbors (Tetons, Sawtooths and Wind Rivers), and according to Backpacker magazine, as few as 50 hikers tackle the Highline Trail annually.

I've packed with horses and llamas, but never with goats. Sounds like a good option.

The best time to backpack the Highline Trail is late July and August. This year the high passes opened up early but, many years, there is still snow in early July. Early September can be nice but cold storms can become a problem. (In the Uintas you expect rain every day and it can snow or hail on any day of the year.)

Interestingly, I've got a backpack trip scheduled for the first week of August going into what is regarded as one of the most remote and difficult to reach areas. It it turns out as well as expected, I'll post an report and photos here.

– Dave Webb

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Food & Wine Classic Begins In Park City

The annual Food & Wine Classic is now underway in Park City – it runs through July 14. It gives people a chance to enjoy some of the best cuisine to be found in this acclaimed resort town. Here's a summary from the event's website:

There is something for everyone – from food and wine tastings, to seminars and cooking demonstrations, to outdoor adventures with food & wine influences, there are tastes and temptations at every turn.

The Park Record has this article about the festival. Below are excerpts.

The festival started as a two-day event and it was sort of an afterthought for wineries to participate, he said.

"Now, we hold a five-day festival and a lot of wineries want to get involved because they see what an opportunity the Classic is to introduce themselves to the state," Ornstein said. "They call us because they want to be part of it."

The event, which is also a benefit for the People's Health Clinic, a nonprofit organization that provides health care to the uninsured in Summit and Wasatch Counties, will be filled with outdoor activities, wine tastings, educational seminars and public and private dinners throughout the town.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Antelope Island By Moonlight Plus Kayak Great Salt Lake

Two fun events are on the schedule for Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake.

The 20th annual Antelope by Moonlight bike ride is set for July 19 – under the full moon. It is billed as “The Funnest Bike Ride of the Year.” The kayak tour on the Great Salt Lake provides one of the best opportunities ever to see birds in their natural environment.

Utah State Parks provided the information below.

Kayak Tour: Birds Of Great Salt Lake
Join park staff for a morning kayak tour from 9:00 am to 11:30 am and discover some of the wonders of this amazing lake, including the millions of birds that come through here each year to nest, rest and fuel up for their autumn migration. Space is limited and registration is required. Register online at Kayak rentals are available from Gonzo Boat Rentals and Tours by calling 801-698-6288. Entrance fees apply. For more information call 801-721-9569 or visit the park website.

Antelope by Moonlight Bike Ride
The Antelope by Moonlight Bike Ride is back! Join us for the 20th annual family friendly, non-competitive bike ride at Antelope Island State Park, in the middle of Great Salt Lake.

The ride starts July 19, 2013 at 10:00pm (check-in starts at 7:30pm) at the White Rock Bay and is lit by the full moon. The 24 mile route goes from White Rock Bay to the historic Fielding Garr Ranch and back.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Visit Scenic Spots Shown In “The Lone Ranger”

Much of the Disney movie The Lone Ranger was shot in southeastern Utah, in the Moab and Monument Valley areas, where the scenery is pure Western America cowboy country.

The Utah Office of Tourism has put together this itinerary to guide people to spots featured prominently in the movie. The itinerary includes a map and is illustrated by photos and videos. has this article describing the itinerary. It also has stunning photos showing some of the movie locations. Below is the article headline and lead, and then one of the videos provided by the Utah Office of Tourism.

Step Into: Disney's The Lone Ranger

Disney' and Jerry Bruckheimer's new twist on the classic action Western film The Lone Ranger opened nationwide yesterday, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer.

Most of the film's scenes were shot in the wild and vast landscapes of Utah. So trekking through this great Western state is as close as you can get to feeling like you were actually in the movie. (That and walking around with a black mask on. Or face paint.) Monument Valley, Arches National Park, the Colorado River, Canyonlands National Park, and the outdoor-adventure lovers' city of Moab—not to mention the state's gorgeous red-rock arches and boulders—are thrust into the spotlight in this film. It's easy to see why: this state is home to five national parks, seven national monuments, two national recreation areas, and 43 state parks.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Travel Restrictions In Little Cottonwood Canyon Because Of Slides

Little Cottonwood Canyon - Photo courtesy of KSL TV
Multiple rock and mudslides closed the road in Little Cottonwood Canyon this morning. Crews are working to clear it and expect it to be open to the public about 1 p.m. today. However, they expect travel delays because of damage to the side of the road and because there will be equipment working in the area for several days.

Little Cottonwood Canyon is home to Alta and Snowbird ski resorts and is a very popular area for summer recreation. Many hiking trails and campgrounds can be accessed from the road, and the two resorts offer a multitude of summer activities.

KSL TV has this report on the slides and road condition. Below are excerpts.

Emergency crews became aware of the slides around 2:30 a.m. They found 10 areas of debris from about 4 miles down from Snowbird to the bottom of the canyon, between mile post 5 and mile post 8. Just before 9 a.m., Carillo said crews had cleared about 70 percent of the affected areas and were working on three remaining spots.

UDOT speculates the slides may have been the result of a flash flood.

UTA bus route 990 was closed Friday morning due to the slides.

Rockslides also were reported in Big Cottonwood Canyon and Millcreek Canyon but they remained open Friday morning.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Tips For The Holiday And Coming Weekend

Utah's public transportation services will not operate tomorrow, as employees celebrate the holiday. That includes UTA buses, TRAX and FrontRunner. Services will resume on regular schedules Friday, July 5.

Many people will be heading to the mountains and lakes for a long weekend. Below are some ideas and tips to help you enjoy recreation on an extended holiday.

Zion National Park ‏warns that afternoon thunderstorms are becoming more common – what we call our
Summer monsoon season. Always check the weather and flash flood potential before going into a slot canyon.

Lightning is a real danger and people need to use caution, particularly when they are on or near mountain peaks and on lakes/reservoirs. Seek shelter if a thunderstorm arises.

Cedar Breaks National Monument's 8th annual Wildflower Festival will begin this Saturday. It runs through July 21. Wildflowers are now peaking at high elevations.

The Unita Mountains are now fully accessible and are very inviting. Drive scenic the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway or one of the other access roads. Enjoy cooler temperatures at mountain lakes.

Remember, black bears live in Utah mountains. Our Division of Wildlife Resources created the video below with tips on how to stay safe.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Personal Fireworks Allowed On Bonneville Salt Flats

The Federal Bureau Of Land Management, which controls the Bonneville Salt Flats, has decided to allow personal fireworks displays along the access road to the famous speedway.

BLM provided the news release below.

Wildfire Near Beaver
Meanwhile, lightning has sparked a new wildfire burning in the Black Mountain area about three miles southeast of Minersville. Smoke can be seen from Cedar City. The Maple Springs Road is closed to the public because of the fire.

This fire is now and, at this writing, not yet on the Utah Fire Info website. But watch that site because info will soon be there, along with the latest information on other Utah wildfires.

Personal Fireworks Displays Allowed on July 4th at Bonneville Salt Flats

Salt Lake City—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), West Desert District is allowing an exemption to the fireworks restriction on July 4th along the access road of the Bonneville Salt Flats, near Wendover, Utah. The BLM will patrol the area during the festivities and will provide a dumpster at the access road for disposal of fireworks trash. This exception applies only to personal fireworks displays from 6 a.m. on July 4th to 6 a.m. on July 5th.  

“We have made this temporary exception to the fireworks restriction to provide a safe and fun location for celebrating the 4th of July,” said West Desert District Manager Kevin Oliver. “In past years, we have successfully provided this area for personal fireworks on the 4th of July. The Bonneville Salt Flats are an important resource used by many different groups including racing, and filming. With the public’s help keeping the area clean, we don’t anticipate any problems,” said Oliver.  

The public is being asked to practice the following:
  • Leave No Trace – Bring a trash bag and carry out what you bring in, including spent fireworks.
  • Firework Safety – Be sure children are properly supervised when setting off fireworks. 
  • Be sure fireworks are cold before placing in the trash. Make sure that all personal fireworks are legal for use in Utah.
  • Driving Safety – Wear your seatbelt. Don’t speed, and most importantly, don’t drink and drive.
The Bonneville Salt Flats is managed by the BLM Utah as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and a Special Recreation Management Area, and is on the National Register for Historic Places. To learn more about the Bonneville Salt Flats visit:

Fireworks are prohibited on all BLM-managed lands in the West Desert District. Currently, fire danger is very high and human-caused fires pose a threat to the public and the public lands.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Have A Safe Fourth of July Holiday

Fireworks will start popping now all around Utah, with festivities peaking on Thursday, July 4th. There will be celebrations in virtually all Utah communities and at many of our national and state parks. Travelers are always welcome to join the festivities. See our events database for details on many celebrations around the state.

Officials are urging caution because of conditions that make some activities more dangerous than usual this year. We are experiencing a drought and backcountry conditions are dry and so fire danger is high. Campfires are restricted to fire pits in developed campgrounds. Fireworks are not allowed on public land and are also prohibited from many foothill areas around our communities. Fireworks are never allowed in national parks and in Forest Service areas.

Also, air temperatures have been very high and hot weather is expected to continue through the holiday period. People involved in outdoor activities need to drink plenty of fluids and minimize activity during the hot part of the afternoon.

The Deseret News has these two good articles pertaining to the holiday celebrations:
Here are quotes from the first article:

Only fireworks that can be legally sold in Utah can be used in the state, meaning many popular explosives — firecrackers, M-80s, cherry bombs, bottle rockets and Roman candles — are prohibited, fire officials said.

State Fire Marshal Coy Porter said anything that shoots into the air and explodes — other than fireworks designated as "aerials" — is illegal in Utah.

State-approved fireworks can be purchased through July 27, but they can only be legally ignited between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. July 1-7 and July 21-27. The hours are extended to midnight on July Fourth and July 24.

The Utah Department of Public Safety website has information on where fireworks are legal, and where they are prohibited.
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