Bookmark and Share

Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, September 30, 2013

Rainbow Bridge And Grand Staircase Dinosaurs

Rainbow Bridge National Monument has reopened and is accessible again from Lake Powell.

The bridge was closed a couple weeks ago after floods washed out the trail. A temporary train has now been opened, debris has been cleaned up and docks have been repaired. The Park Service released this information:

The damage included the loss of approximately 150 feet of trail between the dock and the first shade structure, with a 21-foot drop-off into Bridge Creek.

Repairs were completed by the National Park Service Roads and Trails crew, ARAMARK, and Brown Brothers from Loa, Utah.

Big Water Dinosaur Festival

Big Water is the name of a small town along Hwy 89, just northwest of Lake Powell. It is bordered by the lake and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to the south. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument wrap around the town from other directions.

The Big Water Dinosaur Festival will be held October on 4th, 5th, and 6th in the area around the Town Hall and Fire Station at 60 Aaron Burr, just off Hwy 89 on. The festival provided this information:
The Big Water Dinosaur Festival is celebrating the many past and ongoing dinosaur fossil discoveries in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and other areas surrounding Big Water, UT. The festival will have arts, crafts, food, and entertainment. There will be tons of kids’ activities, including the BLM Dinosaur Murder Mystery, dinosaur drawing and coloring contests, lots of dinosaur games and activities and “Funtime Inflatables” with a bounce house, giant slide, etc. There will be evening music and entertainment and a dinosaur cake contest.

Friday, October 4
Opening event – Lecture from keynote speaker Dr. Joseph Sertich, PhD
Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm AZ time at Carl Hayden Visitor Center

Saturday, October 5
Arts, Crafts and Food Vendor Fair
Kids Activities - “Funtime Inflatables”- Dinosaur themed games and activities
8:00 am to 6:00 pm AZ time (9:00 am to 7:00 pm UT time)

Live Music and Entertainment
“Dance with the Dino” with The Band Sage
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm AZ time (7:00 pm to 9:00 pm UT time )

Sunday, October 6
Driving Paleo-Tour on Cottonwood Canyon Road
With Paleontologist Alan Titus
Big Water Dinosaur Festival Paleo Tours
Cottonwood Canyon & Half-Mile Canyon Dinosaur Site

Reservations: Beginning on September 19 until October 5, 2013, call the BLM Kanab Visitor Center between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 435- 644-1300. The tours are free to the general public. If you are unable to participate, please call and cancel your registration well in advance so others may be able to take advantage of this special opportunity. Limit of 25 participants per tour.

Participants may register for one or both parts of Tour #1 or Tour #2 (See Tour Itineraries on PDF download below). The first part of either Tour (1A or 2A) focuses on geological features along the Cottonwood Road. The second part (1B or 2B) highlights Four Mile Bench Road and includes a tour of a dinosaur excavation site.

Paleo Tour #1A & #1B Itinerary
Presenter Guide: Dr. Alan Titus, GSENM Paleontologist
Support: Larry Crutchfield, GSENM Public Affairs Officer
Tour #1A: Begins 8:00 a.m. at South Entrance to Cottonwood Road and ends approximately 12:00 p.m. at Grosvenor Arch.
Tour #1B: Begins 12:00 p.m. at Grosvenor Arch and ends approximately 5:00 p.m. at Grosvenor Arch

Paleo Tour #2A & #2B Itinerary
Presenter Guide: Tylor Birthisel, GSENM Paleo Lab Manager
Support: Mary Dewitz, GSENM Interpretive and Environmental Education Specialist
Tour #2A: Begins 10:00 a.m. at South Entrance to Cottonwood Road and ends approximately 2:00 p.m. at Grosvenor Arch.
Tour #2B: Begins 2:00 p.m. at Grosvenor Arch and ends approximately 7:00 p.m. at Grosvenor Arch

The first 20 minutes of this video with Dr Alan Titus, features the dinosaur discoveries being found right behind Big Water in the Grand Staircase Monument.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Monument Valley: A Stark Beauty Deep In Navajo Country

The title for this post comes from this LA Times article, which is part of the paper's series called “Postcards From The West.”

The article is excellent and it is illustrated by magnificent photos and a great video. It is well worth reading. It provides good information for people who may be interested in traveling to Monument Valley, and a fun read for those of us who love the place.

It also includes a time line describing some key events:
  • About 50 million years ago: Wind and water start shaping Monument Valley...
  • Before 1400: The Anasazi occupy Monument Valley...
  • After 1400: The Dine (pronounced Di-Nay) take up residence in and around Monument Valley...
Much of the time line describes the valley's movie history:
  • 1938: Eager to bring money to the Depression-ravaged valley, Harry Goulding goes to Hollywood bearing photos of Monument Valley and bluffs his way into a meeting with famed director John Ford. Soon after, Ford's cast and crew arrive in the valley to make "Stagecoach."
  • 1939: "Stagecoach" revives the western genre, gives Ford's career a new direction and makes John Wayne a star. Ford goes on to make numerous movies in the valley, including "My Darling Clementine" (1946), "Fort Apache" with Wayne (1948) and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," also with Wayne, (1949).
The time line isn't complete – it neglects to mention Forrest Gump Point and a few other spots made memorable in film. But it is interesting and worth reading.

On the web page below the Monument Valley article, the Times shows a beautiful photo of Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado, describes Antelope Canyon and then returns to describe photo ops at John Ford Point in Monument Valley.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Utah Has Snow!

Photo courtesy of KSL
A cold storm moved in yesterday and high elevation spots have snow this morning. It is clearly visible on the mountains from Salt Lake City. Our ski resort towns received considerable snow, as did other communities at similar elevations.

The Deseret News has this photo essay about the snow, including some fun photos.

KSL TV has this report about the snow, complete with video and tips about safety. (People always drive a little crazy during the first few storms of the season.)

Scattered rain and snow showers are expected tonight. By morning, many bench areas in northern Utah will have a dusting of snow.

It is early in the season and this snow will probably all melt (perhaps some will stay in shady areas at the highest elevations). But more will come and it will soon start to stick. Weather conditions were wet during late summer and fall is starting off with a bang.

Our ski resorts usually start opening during mid or late October. If weather projections hold, we might have an early ski season and abundant snow.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

National Public Lands Day & Cedar Breaks Fall Festival

National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. On that day entrance fees will be waived at most national parks, monuments, recreation areas and other federal properties. Camping fees will still be assessed, along with boat launch fees and other charges.

Utah's five national parks and those nearby will observe the day and will not charge entrance fees.

Many facilities will hold special activities including service projects where people can help improve and protect natural resources. See the Public Lands Day website for info on activities wherever you will be.

Cedar Breaks Fall Festival
Fall colors are approaching their peak at higher elevations around Utah. One of the great spots to view the colors is at Cedar Breaks National Monument, located in the tops of the mountains east of Cedar City. The Monument sponsors an annual Fall Festival to encourage people to come up and enjoy the beautiful scenery and delightful fall weather. provided the information below about the festival:

USA Today described Cedar Breaks National Monument and the surrounding area as “one of the top ten places to experience fall colors” in the United States. Special events include activities, workshops, and more. We will also celebrate National Public Lands Day, a fee-free day, on Saturday, September 28, with a volunteer service opportunity. For information call 435-586-0787 or visit

Schedule of Events:

Saturday and Sunday
Make-and-Take Crafts at the Visitor Center 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Track Attack Booklets
Leaf Stamp Art
Pine Cone Bird Feeders
Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt

Saturday Only
Public Lands Day Service Project – 10:00 am – 4:00 pm – Check in at the Fee Station for instructions.

The Living Forest, Patrick Moore, US Forest Service – Outdoor presentation meets at the Visitor Center area – 2:00 pm.

“Fire Safety in the Fall” – Campground Amphitheater – 4:00 pm – Free s’mores provided.

Sunday Only
Autumn Animals Guided Hike – Alpine Pond Trail – 2:00 pm – Meet at Chessman Ridge Overlook.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ski Magazine Names Best Ski Resorts, Deals

Ski Magazine has release the results of its annual readers survey ranking America's best resorts. The magazine divides resorts into two groups, East and West. That's needed because our Western resorts would always overshadow those in the East.

Utah resorts rank very well in the survey. For five consecutive years, Deer Valley held the number one spot but slipped to number 2 a couple years ago. It stayed in the second slot this year behind Jackson Hole.

Here's how Utah resorts ranked:
2 – Deer Valley
5 – Park City
10 – Canyons
17 – Snowbird
27 – Alta
28 – Solitude
29 – Snowbasin
30 – Brighton

Utah resorts placed first in 12 of the 20 individual categories ranked by Ski Magazine readers. For the best snow category, Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton placed in the top 10. Seven Utah resorts were in the top 10 for ease of access and six or our resorts placed in the top 10 ratings for weather.

Ski Magazine also has a roundup of ski pass deals, including those listed below .

The Mountain Collective
Two days each at Alta and Snowbird, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and Whistler-Blackcomb.

Yeti Pass
One day at all 14 Utah resorts.

Ski Utah Gold Pass
Fifty days at all 14 Utah resorts; Nordic skiing privileges at most Nordic areas; fully transferable to friends and family. Fast Tracks Express Lane at Park City Mountain Resort.

Best Benefit in the Wasatch
With a season pass to Alta, Park City, Deer Valley, or Snowbird, you get three free days at each of the other three resorts.

Monday, September 23, 2013

World's Most Beautiful Highways And Exciting Guest Ranches has this interesting feature with this title:

World’s 10 most beautiful highways

Sometimes, it’s not about the destination, but the journey and when it comes to these ten magnificently jaw-dropping highways, we couldn’t agree more...
Here's their list of top drives:
  1. Milford Road, New Zealand
(At elevations ranging from 5,000 to over 9,000 feet above sea level, Scenic Highway 12 curves 124 miles throughout the rugged landscape of southwestern Utah. The highway took nearly four decades to build and spans the area between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks...)
  1. Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, United Arab Emirates
  2. Great Ocean Road, Australia
  3. Overseas Highway, Florida
  4. Stelvio Pass, Italy
  5. The Atlantic Roadway, Norway
  6. Cabot Trail, Canada
  7. Col de Turini, France
  8. Ruta 40, Argentina
Wild West Ranches also has this interesting feature with this title:

Top 10 Wild West ranches in the US

Guest ranches have become a staple of American lodging. For those who want to unplug from the modern world without sacrificing comfort, we've compiled a selection of the finest haycations in the wild, wild West. Happy trails.

Sorrel River Ranch, located just outside Moab, is number 1 on the list.
For those seeking a horseback riding getaway with a generous side of luxury, Sorrel River Ranch is the perfect choice. Along with a private equestrian center, this 160-acre southwestern desert property features a full-service spa, fine farm-to-table dining with red rock views and boutique suites adorned with hand-crafted furnishings.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rain Improves Launch Conditions At Lake Powell

The water level is low at Lake Powell and people are urged to use caution when launching and trailering boats. However, the heavy rain during recent weeks has improved conditions, at least a little bit.

Antelope Point Marina was about to be closed but the latest word is that it will remain open, at least for the immediate future. The Park Service released this information:

Antelope Point launch ramp will remain open for the time being due to increased lake levels caused by the recent flood events. Boaters should still be aware that while the ramp is open, launching at these water levels is not safe for all sizes of boats and launching is at your own risk.

Southern Utah and western Colorado received heavy rain and saw multiple flood events, and those areas drain into the Colorado River system.

Earlier, the Park Service issued this news release.

Impacts of Lower Water Levels

Page, AZ – The public is asked to use extreme caution when using the public launch ramps at Lake Powell. The decrease in water levels has reduced the depth of water in these areas, creating shallow water on the ramps with steep drop-offs. The deepest launch ramp at Lake Powell continues to be Wahweap main ramp. Different boat/trailer combinations require varying depths of water, so remember to assess the water depth for your boat before launching.

“We had a similar issue nearly a decade ago,” said Superintendent Todd Brindle. “We will continue to provide access to the water for the boating public as long as we can, but ask that everyone be careful - launching is at your own risk.”

The boat pump-out at Stateline ramp is currently out of service, also due to the lower water levels. The station will require additional lift pumps before it can reopen. Pump-outs at Wahweap main ramp remain open.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s August 24-Month Study indicates that lake levels may continue to drop over the next two years, with the lowest predictions in March 2015 at approximately 3536 ft. The current lake level is about 3590 ft. and full pool is 3700 ft.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Holy War Football Comes To Provo Saturday

One of the longest running and hardest fought football rivalries in the U.S. will pit the University of Utah against Brigham Young University, with game time 8:15 p.m. in Provo.
Traffic will be heavy on I-15 in the Provo/Orem area before and after the game. There will not be a parking space to be found for miles around LaVell Edward Stadium, and nearby roads will be congested through the evening.

Public transit will offer an enhanced schedule to shuttle people between Salt Lake and Provo.
The Deseret News has an interesting series of articles on the rivalry. Below are headlines and excerpts.
Must-know facts and stats going into the BYU-Utah football game
Before 1972, it was almost a given that Utah would beat BYU. From 1922 to 1971, the Utes and Cougars met 47 times, and Utah dominated the series with a 38-5-4 record.

The years 1972 and 1993 were turning points in the rivalry. Why? BYU won 19 of the 21 matchups from 1972 to 1992, and Utah won 13 of the 20 contests from 1993 to 2012.
BYU football: Cougar seniors looking to end losing streak to Utah
BYU hasn’t defeated its archrival since 2009, when Andrew George scored the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The Cougar seniors will have one more shot at redemption Saturday.

“There’s no lying. I am 0-3 against them, and I want to win...”
      -- Kyle Van Noy, BYU football player
Utes football: Utah defense preparing to face BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, Cougars' offense
From one extreme to another. That’s the challenge Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake and the Utes face Saturday at BYU. Seven days after taking on a prolific passer in Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, they’ll face one of nation’s leading rushers in BYU quarterback Taysom Hill.

“We’ve got to shift our thoughts,” said Sitake, who is well aware that Hill is a dangerous runner. He rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns in BYU’s 40-21 win over Texas earlier this month.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Logan Lauded By Mother Earth News; Snow In Yellowstone

Snow fell in Yellowstone National Park overnight, prompting officials to temporarily close the road between West Thumb and Old Faithful over Craig Pass. Outbound traffic from Fishing Bridge to the East Entrance is still permitted - snow tires required. Temps tonight well be cold, but warm weather will return and this snow will melt. But, there is change in the air...

Logan City
Each year, MOTHER EARTH NEWS selects a handful of communities to highlight in their annual Great Places feature. Logan City made this year's list. See the article here. Below are excerpts.

“Everyone here is outdoorsy,” says Erin Evans, who moved to Logan in 2012 when she and her husband purchased Herm’s Inn, a restaurant that specializes in local food. “I can’t imagine living here and not wanting to be outdoors. The town is small enough that you can walk anywhere, and there’s a ton of trails that are hardly ever crowded, so bike riding is easy. Plus, the city offers free bus service, so it’s simple to get around without a car.”

The valley’s fertile soil was what first attracted Logan’s pioneer founders, and its richness still endears it to residents. Don Daugs, owner of Phoenix Tears Nursery, says Logan is a gardener’s paradise, where abundant vegetable gardens are the status quo. Logan’s Cache Valley Gardeners’ Market has grown like zucchini since its founding more than two decades ago, and it now features a wide variety of specialty booths, live music, fruit and vegetable vendors, and a vibrant crowd enjoying each other’s company as they stock their pantries and refrigerators.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Utah Tourism Shows Growth; Sundance Tickets Go On Sale

The Utah Office Of Tourism released numbers today that show more and more people are discovering Utah's unique national parks, ski resorts and other attractions. The news release below gives details.

Sundance Tickets On Sale
The Sundance Film Festival has opened online ticket sales for its 2014 season. The festival provided these links:
Utah Office of Tourism Releases 2012 Tourism Numbers

September 17, 2013, Salt Lake City - Economic numbers released today by the Utah Office of Tourism show continued growth in Utah's tourism industry, reaching $7.4 billion in traveler spending last year and employing 127,781 Utahns statewide.

These strong numbers set the backdrop for today's meeting between the Governor's Partnership for Rural Development and the Utah Office of Tourism in Richfield, Utah, where the two agencies will focus on developing an integrated strategy for improving the business outlook for rural Utah.

"The growth of Utah's tourism industry over the past decade has improved rural economies, stimulated entrepreneurship and small business development, in turn, strengthening our rural communities," Governor Gary R. Herbert said.

According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, tourism is a key job creator in rural Utah counties, employing 41.9% percent of the workforce in Garfield County, 35.6% in Grand County and 32.8% in Kane County.

"Visitors to the state contributed $960 million in state and local taxes last year," said Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED). "This new capital infusion is used to fund education, build roads and improve the quality of life for every resident."

Tourist visitation to Utah hit an all-time high in 2012 with 23.5 million visitors enjoying Utah's five national parks, 14 ski areas and scenic byways.

"As more visitors explore all corners of this great state, there is tremendous opportunity for economic development in Utah's rural communities," said Varela. "We're proud to be working closely with our partners at GOED to fulfill the Governor's initiative to bring lasting, sustainable jobs and economic development to all of Utah's 29 counties."

2012, Utah tourism by the numbers:

• Travelers and tourists spent $7.4 billion in 2012, a 7.8% increase over 2011.
• Last year, domestic and international visitation climbed 6.4% to 23.5 million.
• Travelers in 2012 contributed $960 million to state and local taxes, providing every Utah household with an estimated $1,076 tax relief.
• There are an estimated 127,781 tourism-related jobs statewide, a 3% increase from the year before.
• Utah's Mighty 5TM national parks, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef & Zion, continue to draw visitors from around the world, topping 6.5 million visits in 2012.
• Utah's 14 world-class ski resorts had more than 4 million skier days in 2012, up 6% from 2011

Sources: Governor's Office of Management and Budget, National Parks Service, Ski Utah, D. K. Shifflett, Utah Office of Tourism, Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah

Six counties where tourism employs more than one quarter of the workforce:

Garfield: 41.9%
Summit: 38.5%
Grand: 35.6%
Kane: 32.8%
Wayne: 29.3%
Daggett: 28.9%

Source: Utah Department of Workforce Services

Monday, September 16, 2013

10 Great Hidden State Parks

The travel section of USA Today has this interesting article listing what it calls 10 great hidden state parks. Utah's Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park makes the list, with this summary text:

This desert park glows pink year-round thanks to the massive sand dunes that get their color from the region's distinctive red rocks. "It's very pink. It's a real majestic visual," Dubi says. The dunes, which can shift as much as 50 feet a year, are laced with off-road trails, many of which can be explored on ATVs. 435-648-2800.

Coral Pink is a great park in a phenomenal location, near Kanab, between Zion National Park and Grand Staircase National Monument. Many people drive past it on their way to Lake Powell or
Grand Canyon and hardly realize it is there. It is a great place to camp, ride ATVs and hike.

Some of Utah's state parks are well known and very popular. But some of my favorite are not treasures that are not well know. Which little known parks are your favorites?

Here are some I enjoy from that category.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rainbow Bridge National Monument Closed Because Of Flooding

Rainbow Bridge, photo by Dave Webb
Heavy rains have hit most of Utah during the past few days and some areas have experienced flooding, albeit nothing as serious as that that has devastated our neighbor, Colorado. Our hearts go out to people there who have lost loved ones and who have been forced out of their homes.

Southern Utah has been hit hard, and many areas have seen flooding. Some backroads are washed out or impassable. Check locally before heading into the backcountry.

Slot canyons in Zion Park and other areas have been closed because of flash flood danger.

Hwy 24 between Capitol Reef National Park and Hanksville was closed when a portion was damaged by floodwater, but it has been reopened. The Scenic Drive was closed but is now open. The Grand Wash, Capitol Gorge, and Pleasant Creek Roads remain closed due to flood damage.

Rainbow Bridge Is Closed
The National Park Service provided the information below.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument is closed indefinitely due to a trail washout after heavy rains fell in the area over the last several days. The damage includes a complete loss of approximately 150 feet of trail between the dock and the first shade structure, with a 21 foot drop-off into Bridge Creek. Debris has collected at the mouth of the creek and will need to be removed from the dock area. Crews assessed the damage yesterday and plans are underway to develop a temporary trail until a more permanent trail can be constructed.

The Chains area near Page (AZ) is closed to vehicular traffic due to rains. Several feet of sand and mud were deposited on some areas of the road, while in other areas the water cut down through the dirt, making the road impassable. Visitors can still access the Hanging Garden Trail by walking in from the parking lot near the gate.

Lees Ferry (AZ) also received heavy rains, but crews have been able to remove the boulders and debris from roadways and all lanes and facilities are open, with the exception of the parking area near Paria Canyon.

Throughout the storm event, visitors were evacuated when needed and no one was injured. This is a reminder that flash floods can happen very quickly and it is important to be aware of your surroundings and the weather for an extended area. Higher resolution images of the storm damage are on our website in the photo galleries.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Escalante Canyons Art Festival: September 27-28

The tenth annual Escalante Canyons Art Festival, Everett Ruess Days, will be held September 27-28 in  Escalante, Utah.

Festival events include a plein air painting competition with over $9000 in prizes, a fine arts & crafts exhibition and sale, lecture series, exhibits, workshops and live music.

The festival provided this information. See the festival website for more details.
In 1934, young poet-artist Everett Ruess left the small town of Escalante, Utah, to “follow . . . the sweeping way of the wind” into the nearby deserts and canyons. A few months later his burros were found grazing peacefully in a box canyon, but he would never be seen again.

The disappearance of Ruess created enduring myth and mystery. Although he was only 20 years old, Ruess’s writings about the area now known as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument reveal a devout union between artist and place.

Known for his gregarious ways, Ruess befriended artists such as Maynard Dixon, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Dorthea Lange. Ruess left behind his own body of art—woodcuts, drawings, poetry, and other writings—inspired by the wilderness he traveled through.

Ruess also left indelible memories among the residents of small towns and Navajo communities he visited. Escalante, Utah, would be his last stop before his ethereal walk into a deep rock canyon called Davis Gulch, where he mysteriously disappeared.

To celebrate the life and work of this enigmatic artist – local business people, caring citizens and artists, with the help of top Ruess aficionados, have organized the Escalante Canyons Art Festival/Everett Ruess Days. The Non-Profit Organizations Envision Escalante and Escalante Canyons Group for Arts and Humanities and other supporters present this “Working Arts Festival” as a premiere art and literary gathering with the aim of welcoming people to the stunning landscapes surrounding this area of Utah and giving attendees an opportunity to learn some of its rich history.

We invite Utah and the world to come and experience the intense beauty in and around the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Everett’s spirit of adventure touches a special creative desire in all of us as we seek to express, as he did, our response to the rugged landscape and mystery of the Escalante Canyons and Red Rock Country.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fall Colors Are Showing In Northern Utah

Foliage is starting to put on fall colors in canyons around northern Utah. The annual extravaganza will be beautiful this weekend and will probably peak during the last week of September or the first week of October.

In southern Utah the colors come on a little later. At higher elevations the will probably peak about mid-October. At lower elevations (St. George/Zion Canyon) the best views will be in early November.

Our mountain and canyon drives offer outstanding scenery year-round but will be particular beautiful during the next few weeks.

I drove part of the Nebo Loop last weekend and made the short hike up to Grotto Falls. Colors were just starting, as you can see from my photos.

Some of our best fall color tours are listed below.
– Dave Webb

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

33 Most Beautiful Places In America ask its readers to identify the most beautiful places in America. Tough job, with some many great options. But our region is well represented on the list, as shown below.

The comments that follow the article are also interesting. Some lady tried to hijack the threat with a bunch of anti-religion mumbo-jumbo, but the rest of the comments are worth reading. I've included a couple.

We asked—you answered. From the beaches of Hawaii to the plains of the Midwest, here are the 33 most beautiful places in America, according to you.

1 - Golden Gate Bridge
3 - Lanikai Beach, Hawaii
4 - Maine coast
5 - Japanese Gardens at Manito in Spokane
7 - US Capitol Building
8 - Lake Tahoe
9 - St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
10 - Flagstaff, Arizona
11 - The Finger Lakes in New York State
12 - Nantucket
14 - The Redwood Forest and Pacific coastline
15 - White Mountains in New Hampshire
16 - New York City
17 - Blue Ridge Parkway
18 - Diamond Head in Hawaii
20 - Boulder, Colorado
21 - The Great Plains
22 - Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on a snowy morning
23 - Sequoia National Park
24 - Big Sur, California
25 - Na Pali Coast of Kauai
26 - Girdwood, Alaska
27 - Glacier National Park
29 - Olympic National Park
30 - The Beartooth Highway in Montana
31 - Muir Woods National Monument
32 - North Shore of Lake Superior
33 - The plains of South Dakota

And some comments:

How could MonumentValley NOT be on this list? One of the most desolate but also one of the most beautiful places in the lower 48!!

Obviously Yosemite needed to find a place here. Personally, I'd also say Misty Arm Fjord in Alaska should have found a spot as well.

Picture 27 with the caption about coming out of the Waldo Tunnel and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge had the incorrect photo. The photo is of the Bay Bridge taken from Yerba Buena Island lookingat the City, not the view of the olden Gate bridge from Waldo Grade. Thought you should know.

A couple of flat plains from the Midwest, a highway with some gray mountains in the background, an urban jungle picture of New York City; and something about the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, but with a picture of the SF/Oakland Bay Bridge.....but no Yosemite Valley? Absolutely incredible!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Great Destinations To View Fossils And Learn About Dinosaurs

Photo courtesy KSL
If you are interested in seeing dinosaur fossils and replicas, and learning about the prehistoric beasts, Utah offers several great options. KSL has this report describing great Utah dinosaur sites. The report also includes a photo gallery with impressive images.

Here's the introduction:

Utah is one of the best places in the U.S. to find, see and learn about dinosaurs. The state is home to a number of good, family-friendly natural history museums filled with fossils from dinosaurs large and small. Many of the dinosaurs on display were found in the state of Utah.

In Utah's remote regions, serious dinosaur hunters can see paleontologists at work, find fossils in the wild, and possibly even discover a new species. Here are a few of Utah's best dinosaur destinations.

The report describes these sites:

Wasatch Front
3. Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park
4. BYU Museum of Paleontology

Eastern Utah

Southern Utah

Friday, September 06, 2013

See Kokanee Salmon And Raptors At Wildlife Events

Kokanee Salmon - DWR Photo
Kokanee Salmon Day
The annual Kokanee Salmon Viewing Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21, this year. It provides a wonderful opportunity to see these interesting fish, and possibly other wildlife, and to learn about fishing in Strawberry Reservoir.

Good numbers of kokanee live in the reservoir, located in the mountains SE of Heber City. In the fall, these landlocked salmon turn bright red and spawn in tributaries. Many fish swim up the Strawberry River, where they are easily seen.

Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) sponsors an annual wildlife viewing event to help people see and learn about the fish. The event will be held at the Forest Service Visitor Center, along the banks of the river just off Hwy 40 west of Strawberry Reservoir. Other groups will also participate. The Strawberry Anglers Association will provide information about fishing the reservoir.

More information.

Raptor Watch Day
Thousands of hawks, eagles and other birds of prey fly through Utah's crisp, clear skies every fall.

This fall, rehabilitated Swainson's hawks and a great horned owl will join them!

You can see and learn more about raptors at this year's Raptor Watch Day. You can also watch as rehabilitators with Great Basin Wildlife Rescue release at least two rehabilitated Swainson's hawks and a great horned owl.

The hawks and owl will be released at 3 p.m.

Raptor Watch Day will happen at the Orem overlook on Sept. 21, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The overlook is along Squaw Peak Trail Road, just east of Orem (in Utah Valley).

More information.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Fruits Are Available For Harvest In Capitol Reef National Park

In addition to spectacular scenery and thrilling adventures, Capitol Reef National Park is a living history museum showcasing frontier farms and offering fruit from historic orchards.

The park provided this information today:

The Mott Orchard is currently open for apples and there are a few pears available for harvest at the Gifford House.

The park website adds this background information:

Up-to-date fruit harvest information and pricing is recorded on the Capitol Reef Fruit Hotline as fruit ripens and specific harvest start dates are determined. The fruit hotline may be reached by calling (435) 425-3791. Once the park number connects, press one for general information and, at the voice prompt for the orchard hotline, press five. Fruit harvest information is also posted on the park Facebook page and Twitter feed. Information on the Fruita Orchards is available on the park website at under "plan your visit."

Climbing fruit trees is not permitted in the park. The National Park Service provides special fruit picking ladders. Use care when picking fruit and carefully read and follow posted instructions on fruit picking and ladder use.

Capitol Reef National Park uses the receipts from fruit sales to defray the cost of maintaining the orchards. The historic Fruita orchards are among the largest in the National Park System and were established beginning in the 1880s by pioneer residents of Fruita.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Experience the Night Sky at Dinosaur National Monument

There are few places left in American where the night sky is truly dark. Areas with dark skies located within the US National Park service the feature dark skies are celebrated and protected. One such places is Dinosaur National Monument, located in northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado.

The Monument will host a night sky event this weekend, Friday, September 6 through Sunday, September 8. Staff at the Monument, along with local astronomers, will offer a variety of programs to help visitors explore and understand the wonders the universe.

The monument provided this news release:
Contact: Dan Johnson, (435) 781-7702
Contact: Sonya Berger, (435) 781-7701

Dinosaur National Monument has some of the darkest night skies in the United States. This darkness allows us to enjoy the stars just as people would have hundreds or even thousands of years ago. From Friday, September 6 through Sunday, September 8, staff at Dinosaur National Monument, along with local astronomers, will offer a variety of programs to help you explore and understand the wonders of our universe. Discover why the skies above the monument are just as important to enjoy and protect as the fossils, stunning scenery, and wild rivers. A variety of programs will be offered both during the day and night. See the activities and times below.

See the Sun
Did your mom ever tell you to never look at the sun? With proper equipment, like our specially designed solar telescopes, feel free to stare as long as you like at sun spots and prominences on the closest star in our sky. Join us on the back patio of the Quarry Visitor Center on Friday, September 6 from noon to 2:00 pm; Saturday, September 7 from noon to 2:00 pm; and Sunday, September 8 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Meet the Telescopes
Learn how different designs and sizes of telescopes can open your eyes to new worlds at the Quarry Visitor Center back patio on Saturday, September 7 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm; and on Sunday, September 8 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Be a Junior Astronomer
Explore our solar system and the stars around us though hands-on activities and stories. This program is good for all ages and counts as a Dinosaur Junior Ranger Program. We will meet at the Quarry Exhibit Hall shuttle area on Saturday, September 7; 10:30 am & 2:30 pm and Sunday, September 8; 10:30 am & 2:30 pm.

Also, at any time for any age, you can complete at least three pages (five if you are over 12) in our free Junior Ranger Night Explorer Activity book to earn a Night Explorer badge.

Campground Evening Program
Join a ranger at the Green River Campground campfire circle for a 30-45 minute program that will help you make the most of enjoying the sky once the sun sets. Offered on Friday, September 6 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, September 7 at 7:00 pm

Stories Behind the Stars & Telescope Viewing
A variety of telescopes will be available for you to seek out star clusters, nebula, and other galaxies. Rangers and volunteers will offer naked-eye stargazing programs at 9:00, 9:30 & 10:00 pm. Children must be attended at all times and pets are not allowed in the stargazing area. If you have your own telescope and wish to join us, please contact Sonya Berger 435-781-7701. Meet at the south end of the Split Mountain Campground (look for signs) on Friday, September 6 from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm and Saturday, September 7 from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm 

Programs may be added, altered or cancelled due to staffing or weather conditions. Check for updates in person at our visitor centers, call (435) 781-7700, or visit us at Specific topics for Junior Astronomer, Campground Evening Program, and Stories Behind the Stars programs will be posted at the Quarry Visitor Center.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Be Greek For A Day At The Salt Lake Greek Festival

The Salt Lake Greek Festival will be held Sept. 5-8 at the Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Salt LakeCity. It offers food, drink, music, dance, a marketplace and other activities related to Greek culture.

The festival provided this information, and the video clip below:

We are delighted to have you join us each September. For nearly four decades, the Greek Festival has endeavored to bring a touch of Greece to its friends and supporters in Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities.

Each year we celebrate our cultural heritage and share our faith with the city at this four-day event. Held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral campus in downtown Salt Lake, the festival features live music and dancing performances, authentic Greek cuisine, an outdoor marketplace and "kafeneio", and plenty of family-friendly activities. In addition to enjoying the Greek food, feeling the rhythm of the music, and dancing a little, we also invite you to make time to take a tour of the cathedral and visit our Hellenic Cultural Museum.

The annual festival is our largest fundraiser and all proceeds benefit the community to assist in funding maintenance and improvement of our two church campuses, along with the community's many ministries, services and activities. In addition to our capital needs, we make sizable contributions from Festival proceeds to numerous charitable organizations throughout the Salt lake Area.

On behalf of the countless parish-volunteers and friends, we want to thank you for sharing your time with us this weekend. Your support is deeply appreciated.

We thank you very much!
Σας ευχαριστούμε πάρα πολύ!

Dimitrios Tsagaris, Parish Council President
Greek Orthodox Community of Greater Salt Lake

Back to top Print this page E-mail this page