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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, March 31, 2014

Salt Lake Offers Pro Basketball, Soccer, Hockey and Baseball

This is a great time of year for pro sports, with several Utah teams offering action-packed viewing opportunity at economical prices.

The Utah Jazz have struggled this year - they are rebuilding - but still offer exciting NBA action in Salt Lake City. They host these teams as their season winds down:
  • April 4 - New Orleans Pelicans
  • April 8 - Dallas Mavericks
  • April 11 - Portland Trail Blazers
  • April 14 - Los Angeles Lakers
Real Salt Lake has been very successful playing MLS; the team won the 2009 MLS Cup and finished a runner-up of the 2013 MLS Cup. They are just getting into rhythm this year and host these teams in April:
  • April 19 - Portland
  • April 26 - Vancouver
The Utah Gizzlies are battling for the home ice playoff advantage as the ECHL regular season winds down. Four of their final 6 games will be at home, in the Maverik Center.
  • April 2 - Colorado
  • April 9 - Las Vegas
  • April 11 - Idaho
  • April 12 - Idaho
Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Bees kick off the local baseball season Thursday. They play in the minors, Pacific Coast League. Their April home games
  • April 3, 4, 5, 6 - Sacramento
  • April 7, 8, 9, 10 - Fresno
  • April 19, 20, 21, 22 - Albuquerque
Orem and Ogden also have professional baseball teams, the Owlz and Raptors, respectively. They are in the Pioneer League and will begin play a little later this spring.

Friday, March 28, 2014

10 Best Drives In US National Parks has this interesting article featuring its choices for the 10 best drives in US national parks. The Kolob Terrace Road in Zion National Park makes the list.

The Kolob Terrace area is a beautiful playground and not many people even realize it is a part of Zion Park. Most visitors drive Hwy 9 into the main part of the park and then ride the shuttle into Zion Canyon. Far fewer visit the Kolob Canyons section of the park, off I-15 near Cedar City, and even fewer drive the narrow, windy Kolob Terrace section.

The famous Subway hike is located in the Kolob Terrace section, along with several other excellent hiking trails and canyoneering routes. The primitive Lava Point Campground can be found near the top of the Kolob Terrace Road.

Here's a quote from the article:

"This is a road that goes across the top of the park as opposed to in the canyon, so you get an entirely different perspective: colorful rock bands, outcrops, and spires dotting the pine and juniper forests." Trailheads lead down to the canyon.

Major Construction On I-15 In South Davis County

Major construction work is about to begin on I-15, in Davis County north of Salt Lake City. Expect delays at times in that area.

This Deseret News article describes the work. Here are excerpts:

The Utah Department of Transportation is preparing to launch a major construction project on the I-15 freeway in south Davis County. The $117 million project will include significant roadway improvements from North Salt Lake to Farmington.

Work is expected to begin in mid-April, with interchange and bridge construction continuing through summer 2015.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

National Geographic Names America's 100 Best Adventures

Get out your bucket list because you're going to need to add a few things. has this interesting feature listing 100 of America's top adventures. The list includes several Utah classics, including The Narrows in Zion, canyoneering in Grand Staircase-Escalante and kayaking Lake Powell. The magazine shows amazing photos of each adventure, of course.

Also on the list are many adventures in nearby national parks including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier.

Here are excerpts:

Paddle Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah
The lake’s green-water tentacles extend from the main 185-mile (300-kilometer) watercourse into 96 side canyons, where kayakers can paddle free of tides, waves, currents, and motorboats. A reverential hush inevitably descends upon a group of kayakers when they proceed into slots of Navajo sandstone towering 500 feet (150 meters) overhead that constrict to barely the length of a paddle.

Backpack the Hayduke Trail, Utah
It’s only fitting that an 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) trail that began as a semisecret underground project be named after (Edware) Abbey’s folk hero. The Hayduke Trail was founded by hikers Joe Mitchell and Mike Coronella, who wanted to go out on a long, Abbey-esque trek that celebrated the land. They set a route that spans the Colorado’s Plateau’s must-see list of postcard landscapes, starting in Arches National Park (where Abbey worked), heading through Canyonlands National Park, down into Capitol Reef National Park, across the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, into Bryce Canyon National Park and the Grand Canyon, and finally ending up in Zion National Park.

Canyoneer Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah
The deep, tangled canyons of southern Utah are a remote and unforgiving country with the ever present danger of flash floods, extreme temperatures, lightning storms, and waist-high quicksand. In other words, perfect habitat for canyoneers, who know that the area’s unbroken wildness and otherworldly wind- and water-sculpted chasms are precisely what make it so appealing. Many canyons still remain unnamed, making true exploration a possibility.

Hike the Zion Narrows, Utah
If any place has the power to inspire awe, it’s the Zion Narrows, southern Utah’s premier hike in Zion National Park. For 16 miles (26 kilometers), the canyon winds voluptuously through the crimson sandstone, in some spots stretching 2,000 feet (610 meters) high and narrowing to 20 feet (6 meters).

Backcountry Ski Teton Pass, Wyoming
When it comes to terrain, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort claims some of the best on the planet—famed chutes like Corbet’s Couloir and backcountry gates that access stuff straight out of ski movies are the norm here. But the resort is, after all, still a resort. To take it to the next level, head to Teton Pass, where a quick hike from the apex of Wyoming Highway 22/Idaho 33 (which runs between Wilson, Wyoming, and Victor, Idaho) will reward you with myriad adventurous backcountry lines and practically guaranteed powder.

Hike Yellowstone’s Wild Southwest, Wyoming
It’s a mighty high claim to call one backpacking trip in our archetypal national park the best, but it’s hard to top this traverse of the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. Factor in a hot soak or two with a hike beside burbling hot springs, steaming fumaroles, streaming waterfalls, a grand finale at the park’s signature attraction and you’ve got plenty to back up the boast.

Climb the Grand Teton, Wyoming
Lording over the surrounding Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem at 13,770 feet (4,197 meters), the elegant Grand Teton demands to be summited. Lucky there are countless routes up the iconic peak for climbers of all abilities. In fact, it’s the ideal technical peak for everyone from alpinists looking for new challenges to average folks who just want to be guided to the top.

Kayak Lake Yellowstone, Wyoming
Located about as far from any roadway as it’s possible to get in the lower 48, the Thorofare region of Yellowstone is the most remote and spectacular feature of America’s first national park. It’s here that the Yellowstone River feeds into Yellowstone Lake through a reedy delta of interwoven canals, forming an American version of Africa’s Okavango Delta. All the key players are on hand: bison, grizzlies, wolves, elk, moose, bald eagles, ospreys, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, and cutthroat trout.

Row Down the Grand Canyon, Arizona
The most stunning river in the nation demands an American original: the human-powered wooden dory. Stern, graceful, and guaranteed to deliver a visceral, feel-the-river-in-your-bones thrill, the dory has been a canyon icon since John Wesley Powell captained a proto-version down the Colorado River in 1869.

Backpack Glacier National Park, Montana
With its sheer peaks, wildflowers, alpine lakes filled with trout, grizzly bears, and, of course, glaciers, Glacier National Park is the ideal place to lose yourself for days. The park typifies the Rocky Mountain experience and yet has cathedrals of loose-rock mountains and yearlong snowfields that make it unlike anywhere else on the planet...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ONE Wasatch Proposal Would Interconnect 7 Ski Resorts and the seven Park City/Salt Lake City ski resorts have unveiled a proposal that would interconnect the resorts, expanding skiable terrain and providing virtually unlimited adventure for the price of one lift pass. has comprehensive info about the plan. has this article presenting an objective summary. Below are excerpts from the News article.

A new proposal to connect skiers and snowboarders to several of the state’s top winter resorts is garnering support from some factions while drawing concern from other winter enthusiasts who worry the plan could harm the delicate balance between developed and undeveloped recreation areas.

The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance — a grass-roots group advocating for winter, human-powered recreation in the central Wasatch — believes the current balance between opportunities for resort and backcountry skiing is a crucial component of Utah’s attraction as a winter recreation mecca that must be protected, said Jamie Kent, the alliance's board president.

Given the significant growth in backcountry skiing and snowshoeing in the face of declining or flat resort skiing numbers, it is evident that human-powered winter recreation is an increasingly important contributor to Utah’s economy and quality of life, Kent said.

Meanwhile, managers of the state’s top resorts claim that because of the proximity of the Wasatch Front ski areas, it would be possible to link the seven resorts by connecting Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, Big Cottonwood Canyon to Park City, Park City Mountain Resort to Canyons Resort and dropping the boundary rope between Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What It Looks Like To Ski The Greatest Snow On Earth

Utah has long claimed the "Greatest Snow On Earth." Skiers and riders seem to agree. Every year our resorts pretty much sweep the snow quality categories, as reported in national ski magazines.

There is more of that famous powder coming this week, as a big storm approaches that is expected to drop rain in valleys and snow in mountain areas. Our ski season is winding down but there will yet be good ski days ahead this spring. is featuring a great video that shows what it is like to ski Utah resorts. We have embedded it below. See that website for a detailed shot log and other info about where/when/how the video was shot.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Living Planet Aquarium Plus Festival Of Colors

The Living Planet Aquarium will hold grand opening activities tomorrow, March 25, at its new location in Draper. See details.

The new location has allowed the aquarium to grow, offering more fish and other species, more activities and more fun. Here are highlights provided by the Aquarium:
12033 South Lone Peak Parkway Draper, UT 84020
Phone: 801-355-FISH (3474)

"1783 animals and 342 species are on display in our three main exhibits: Discover Utah, Ocean Explorer, and Journey to South America! There are always lots of things to see and do as you make your way through The Living Planet Aquarium."
The aquarium offers food services and a gift shop. It is a great place to stage events.

Holi Festival of Colors

The annual Holi Festival of Colors will be held March 29-30 at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.

The festival is a big event for the small Utah County community. Traffic along old Hwy 89 will be congested and parking will be limited. Participates are encouraged to park at the Fair Grounds or other areas in town and shuttle to the Temple.

This is one of the largest Festival of Colors held in the U.S. People come from all around to participate. Many students and young people come to get a taste of the Krishna culture.

There will be music, food and other activities. The video below shows highlights.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wild Horse Management Plus Updates On National Parks

Wild horses - mustangs - roam free in the West Desert in Central Utah, in the San Rafael Swell, and in other areas throughout the West. They are considered an important part of the American heritage, living symbols of the Old West.

It is thrilling to see a herd, to hear the thunder of hoof beats, knowing that the animals are as free as the wind.

But the herds have been growing, reproducing to the point that dwindling rangelands can not support their numbers, and so BLM faces the challenge finding ways to deal with them. Every year surplus wild horses are "adopted" by private citizens who pledge to care for them. But that has not been enough to solve the problem. (See info about wild horse adoptions in Utah.)

Now BLM is asking for proposals on horse population control. The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet April 14-15 in Sacramento, and is inviting public participation. Read about that meeting. Below is a quote from the news release:

"The BLM recently announced it is seeking research proposals to develop new or improve existing ways of controlling the population growth of wild horses and burros that roam public lands in the West. The agency has issued a Request for Applications to alert veterinarians, scientists, universities, pharmaceutical companies, and other researchers of the BLM’s need to develop new, innovative techniques and protocols for implementing population growth-suppression methods. The submission deadline for applications is May 7, 2014. "

Hickman Bridge trailhead will be closed March 26 to April 2 for rock wall maintenance work.

To combat traffic congestion, Zion National Park will implement traffic control on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive during the last weekends of March. The shuttle starts up April 1, and it will eliminate private vehicles from the scenic drive in Zion Canyon.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Get Kids Outdoors Plus Splash Down Cataract Canyon

At we believe outdoor recreation and adventure can be very beneficial, particularly for young people. We fully support the initiative outlined below.

US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has laid out her vision for getting America's youth to play, learn, serve and work outdoors. In the video below she explains the plan. Check out for more details.

Splash Down Cataract
One of the most thrilling adventures imaginable is a whitewater river trip over big rapids. CataractCanyon, on the Colorado below Moab, offers rapids that rate with the best anywhere. has this great article:

Essential Paddling Guide: Cataract Canyon, Sample The Best Of The Southwest's Rivers

From the time your raft enters the Colorado River near Moab, Utah, until you reach Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, this outing through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands will both infuse you with the joy of riverrunning and provide a solid introduction to the lore and history of canyon country.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tour The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon - photo by Dave Webb
Right now conditions are excellent for hiking/biking/exploring Grand Canyon National Park. I was there last weekend and had a great time driving to viewpoints and hiking a few of the trails.

It was sunny, windy and warm during my trip. I hiked without a jacket and was very comfortable. Nights were cool, and I did put on a jacket after the sun went down. But it was never cold. There were tiny patches of snow in shady areas on the South Rim but they will melt fast.

(The North Rim will not open until mid-May, because it is located at a higher elevation and crews do not attempt to keep roads open during the snow season.)

I attended meetings of the Grand Circle Association. Every meeting is held at a different scenic destination and the hosts always line up great adventures. On this trip we were able to choose from guided hikes, bike treks and a helicopter tour. Of course, the National Geographic Visitor Center and I-Max theater were also recommended activities.

Not a bad way to spend a business trip.

I've spent many days hiking in the Grand Canyon - it is a favorite destination - but I could spend every weekend of my life there and never see it all. It's huge! Well, I guess you knew that, but it is an amazing place - a must see, in my book.

google street view
Google Street View Down the Canyon
Google has been taking street-level photos around the world and putting them on its maps website. It recently added the Grand Canyon - the bottom of the canyon - to the list of filmed attractions. Now, if you go to and search for the grand canyon, and select Street View, you can take a virtual tour of the canyon.

I spent an enjoyable half hour figuring it out and looking at a few of the photos, before I was called back to reality.

This is one of the many new articles about google's Grand Canyon photos.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Great Things About Snowbird Plus SL Airport Is #1

This ski season is winding down but the snow keeps falling. Our resorts have received up to 11 inches of now snow during the past couple days. See our snow report for current conditions.

Snowbird is lauded in this interesting post on (Yes, Calgary is in Canada.) Here's an excerpt:

This past week, after two enjoyable but snowless days at Solitude and Brighton we hit another powder keg at Snowbird, with a more modest but still mind-blowing 36 centimetres falling the night before and all through our day on the hill (March 11). We earned every one of the Polygamy Porters, Full Suspension Pale Ales, Provo Girl Pilsners and other fine Utah craft beers we enjoyed that night (Despite persistent myths, Utah and especially Park City is home to a host of pubs and micro-brews.) Both days felt like skiing in a snow globe. Utterly blissful.

Salt Lake International Airport

Salt Lake International Airport ranks number 1 for on-time arrivals and departures, according to this article on Here are excerpts:

Salt Lake City International Airport retained its place on top for rankings of both on-time arrival and departure performance at major airports last year.

In 2013, 85.04 percent of arrivals and 86.69 percent of departures were on time, according to the United States Department of Transportation. Both numbers followed the general trend and went down about 3 percent from 2012, when the airport also took the top slots.

The quality of our airport and its proximity to Salt Lake and Park City, is often cited as a key reason people come here to ski. The airport is just 30 minutes from 4 resorts and about an hour away from seven others. Our resorts are some of the most accessible in the world.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St Paddys Day Plus Zion Traffic Congestion

Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Lake Powell Tourism tweeted this photo, showing Lake Powell with emerald green water. Fun. Hope you have enjoy this day.

Zion Canyon Traffic Congestion

The shuttle system in Zion National Park is set to resume operation on April 1. Until then, park officials expect heavy traffic and congestion in Zion Canyon. They provided this news release.
Springdale, Utah- Zion National Park expects heavy traffic during the last three weekends of March as a result of spring break, beautiful weather, and Zion Half Marathon participation visitation. During March 15 and 16, March 22 and 23, and March 29 and 30, the park may implement active traffic control along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to ensure visitor safety and mitigate resource damage. Park visitors should expect long lines at Entrance Stations and are encouraged to carpool. Zion National Park’s shuttle bus system does not begin operation until April 1, 2014. Currently, Zion Canyon is open to vehicular traffic and the high number of visitors is quickly filling the canyon’s parking lots.

Visitors in the park on these dates should expect designated parking lots and pullouts along the Scenic Drive to fill up quickly. For the protection of park visitors and park resources parking outside of designated areas is not permitted. During weekends in March, if it becomes apparent that visitation exceeds parking availability on the Scenic Drive, rangers will proactively manage traffic on the Scenic Drive.

Traffic control measures could include 1-2 hour periodic closures at the turn off onto the Scenic Drive from Highway 9. Vehicles parked outside of designated areas pose potential safety hazards to other vehicles, impede emergency response, and can cause resource damage to roads, drainage systems, and vegetation. Vehicles parked outside designated areas, on vegetation, or blocking or restricting the movement of vehicle traffic may be cited.

Visitors to Zion Canyon should be prepared to visit other areas of the park or to park farther than usual from their expected starting point and may find parking is full. The carrying capacity of Zion Main Canyon poses an ever increasing challenge to park management. While the shuttle system, implemented in 2000, addressed much of the challenge, annual visitation continues to increase and the busy season to grow longer. Park management is currently involved in a transportation study and is considering the possibility of expanding shuttle services in 2015.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Moab's Best New Bike Trails Plus Bears In Canyonlands

With the weather warming, Moab is coming to life. The next few weeks will be perhaps the best of the year to bike, hike, jeep and explore the Moab area including Arches and Canyonalds national parks. And publications around the world are taking note. Here's just a sample of articles I saw today. describes and shows photos of new trails that are just as good as some of the classics. Their list includes:
  • Magnificent 7 (actually a network of trails)
  • Great Escape
  • Gold Bar Trail
  • Amasa Back trails
  • Captain Ahab Trail
  • Klondike Bluff trails
Top Five Reasons To Mountain Bike The White Rim Trail
Julie Trevelyan has an excellent blog post, with photos, touting the White Rim experience.

"1) You get to cycle through an abundance of jaw-dropping landscape that will nurture, soothe, and simply exhilarate your soul. Many consider this the most scenic bike ride in the country."

Canyonlands National Park now requires backcountry campers to use bear resistant contains in the Upper Salt and Salt-Horse backcountry zones in the Needles District. Bears wander down from nearby mountains and sometimes encounter humans.

"In recent years, there has been an increase in the frequency of black bear sightings and signs (including tracks and scat) in the Salt Creek watershed. Other negative wildlife-visitor interactions in the Needles backcountry have involved repeated instances of rock squirrels and raccoons aggressively damaging visitors' gear in efforts to gain access to food. The behavior of these animals indicates that they have become habituated to human food that has not been adequately secured. The intent of the new bear-resistant container policy is to prevent wildlife access to human food, and to ultimately help protect visitors and wildlife from harm."

The Road Through Amazing Moab
Two Australians describe their Moab adventures.

Though it’s flanked by some the world’s finest scenery, the town is no Brigadoon. Its main road is a sea of neon-lit, garish little motels and fast food outlets with names like Eddy McStiff’s and Love Muffin. Yet there’s a certain endearing kitchiness about it (as with many tourist towns across the US built post World War II). The motel chains and fast food joints are purely there to cater to the tourists (who hold up the local economies), and good taste has never been a priority when there’s a fast buck on offer.

In Arches: "Around every bend on the Scenic Drive, we’d encounter formations so jaw-droppingly dramatic they made Ayers Rock seem like something of a beach pebble in comparison."

Heading Into Canyonlands: "The area is called Dead Horse Point, renowned as the most spectacular vantage point in Utah. With the snow-capped La Sal mountains in the distance and the Colorado River snaking thousands of feet below, it features some of the most breathtaking scenery we’d ever seen, easily rivaling anything the Grand Canyon has to offer." has a fun blog post providing an overview of the Moab area. This post also features beautiful photos.

Interestingly, one of the photos is of the famous Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River below Lake Powell. It's a great photo but it doesn't show the Moab area. Right river but wrong section.

- Dave Webb

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Southern Utah Makes List Of Best Spring Trips has this interesting article recommending destinations for spring travel. Kane County, in southern Utah, makes the list. The county seat is Kanab and the article correctly names the area is a major gateway to Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Here's the lead paragraph:

Kane County, Southwestern Utah
Kane County sits in the middle of southwestern Utah’s staggering geological smorgasbord: narrow slot canyons, polychrome cliffs, wavelike buttes, and world-class paleontological sites. From Kanab, the county seat, it’s 90 minutes or less to three national parks (Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion), Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, and the rugged and remote 1.9-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the last area in the continental United States to be mapped.

“What strikes people when they visit is the intensity of the outdoor experience available here,” says Kanab custom furniture maker Rich Csenge. “[There's] staggering natural beauty, trailheads everywhere, and the sense of eternity expressed in geology and topography that seems to change color and shape with every hour of the day.”

The article recommends when to visit, where to stay and where to eat.

The beautiful photo illustrating the Kane County section does not have a cutline or credit, so many people may wonder what it shows. It is the Golden Cathedral, a natural amphitheater in a narrow canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Other destinations on the list:
  • Wild Atlantic Way, County Donegal to County Cork, Ireland
  • Grande Rivière, Trinidad
  • El Greco Year, Toledo, Spain
  • Tasmanian Walking Tours
  • Valletta, Malta
  • El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
  • Casablanca Valley, Chile
  • Patriots’ Day Weekend, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Asheville, North Carolina

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Charges Filed Again Man Accused Of Stealing Ancient Dinosaur Track

Charges have now been filed against a man who is accused of stealing a sandstone slab containing a footprint fossil from a dinosaur site near Moab.

The man allegedly pried the rock from the ground and hauled it away. He apparently brought tools and equipment with him and a premeditated act.

When the theft attracted international attention, he apparently started to feel the heat and so he dumped the rock into the Colorado River.

Now, news media around the world will publish details about the charges. has the story here. Below are excerpts.

Jared Frederick Ehlers, 35, was indicted on one count each of removal of paleontological resources, theft of government property, depredation of government property and destruction of evidence.

Authorities believe Ehlers pried a fossilized Allosaurus footprint out of the ground near the Hell's Revenge off-road trail on Feb. 17. The track was later dumped off Dewey Bridge into the Colorado River, about 30 miles east of Moab.

Members of the Utah Department of Public Safety's dive team spent several hours Saturday searching the river for the fossil but came up empty.

Not long ago, two men were charged with intentionally destroying rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park. That case also prompted news reports around the world. Here's one. Those men made a video and posted it on YouTube, for all the world to see.

So, are we winning or losing the fight to preserve priceless natural treasures? These two cases suggest people should think twice before engaging in such abhorrent acts. The world is watching, and the pressure can be intense when you become the subject of world-wide rage.

Safely, people who commit such acts seem to lack common sense, at least at the time of the infraction. They don't seem to be thinking clearly and they later say they regret their actions.

How can we protect these resources? We can't put a park ranger next to every ancient/historic/geologic/scenic attraction. And we wouldn't want to. Such a heavy-handed approach would detract from the outdoor experience.

Someone apparently turned in the Moab dino thief. I'd like to express my thanks to that person, whoever it was. We all need to have the courage to do that. If you see people engaged in illegal or unethical behavior, turn them in. If we work together to report problems - if people know we are working together to report problems - it will go a long way toward deterring perpetrators.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Killer Hikes In Grand Canyon and Capitol Reef

I've just discovered this website, which gives excellent information about great outdoor adventures - including many in the greater Utah area. The author responds to questions and gives very specific advice.

I found recent posts on Grand Canyon and Capitol Reef to be particularly interesting. Below are excerpts.

The question: So, we’re considering doing the South Kaibab to Grandview Trail (via the Tonto Trail) or vice versa. Thoughts? It would be a long day trip. Curious which direction we should do it and what else must we know?

Part of the answer: That’ll be an awesome hike. I would go South Kaibab to Grandview: Get on the South Kaibab really early, before the crowds, and watch sunrise as you’re walking down. You’ll cruise much of the Tonto walking east, though there are some slower sections. The hardest leg is going from Cottonwood Creek up to Horseshoe Mesa: It’s pretty steep and the trail consists of mostly broken rocks, which is a good reason for going up it instead of down (in the other direction). Going up the Grandview has much better footing and, while steep, isn’t as hard. Plus, if you went up the South Kaibab, the best views are usually behind you, but going up the Grandview zigzags enough that you have killer views going uphill.

Only in southern Utah, home to America’s greatest concentration of national parks, could a place like Capitol Reef National Park remain relatively unknown. But that’s good for those of us who like parks where you see few other people on the trails—if any—and where the scenery just keeps getting more unbelievable around every bend. Through many visits over the years, including the past two years in spring with my family, I’ve had the opportunity to explore much of its backcountry, from the wild contours of rippled sandstone towers to the tightest slot canyons. And our kids have loved our adventures here.

I stumbled across this amazing photo of star trails over Delicate Arch. I wish I could show it here but I have to respect copyright. Click to see it.

Here is an excellent photo of Canyonlands National Park - well worth a click.

- Dave Webb

Monday, March 10, 2014

Park City Continues Golden Anniversary Activities Into Spring

Days are getting warmer now and spring is just around the corner. But Utah resorts still offer plenty of great skiing. A big storm is descending on northern Utah as I write this and it will probably drop a foot or more of new powder in mountain areas. Snow conditions are still good...

This is the Golden Anniversary season for Park City Mountain Resort and it continues to host special activities on a weekly basis. Below we list some events that caught our interest.

- Live music is preformed at Park City Mountain Resort’s plaza every Saturday through spring as part of the Miller Lite Après Music Series. From 3-5 p.m. a different band performs live on the PayDay Deck with a beer garden serving a variety of brews. Local bands Lash Larue, Ugly Valley Boys and Sideshow Ramblers are among the series’ featured acts. Guests of all ages are welcome.

- Snowasis, the resort’s annual spring family on-snow celebration, returns with an expanded nine-day schedule in 2014. Running March 21-30, Snowasis’ agenda showcases a variety of family-friendly on-snow activities including: carnival games, an avalanche dog meet ‘n greet, on-mountain scavenger hunts and more.

- The IPC and USSA sanctioned Huntsman Cup, a 2GS/2SL adaptive race for disabled racers, will be held March 25-29 in the Eagle Race Arena.

- The Lib Tech Holy Bowly, an international snowboard gathering of creativity and flow, comes to the United States for the first time when Park City Mountain Resort hosts it April 15-20. Previously held exclusively in Japan, the exhibition features many of the world’s best riders hitting a hand-shaped course inspired by skate bowls and surf.

- The spring celebration culminates in the Resort’s traditional Easter celebration and on-mountain egg hunt on Easter Sunday, April 20. The Easter Bunny hosts a kids’ exclusive egg hunt in the Kids’ Korral, while hunters of all ages can scour the mountain for treat-filled eggs and the two prized Golden Eggs – each holding a 2014-15 season pass.

- April 20 is also the resort’s scheduled Closing Day, with a live Closing Day concert scheduled in the resort plaza.

(Some info for this post was taken from this press release.)

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Beautiful Arch And Unique Rock Art West Of St. George

Lone Pine Arch - photo by Dave Webb
The weather has been spectacular in southern Utah during the past several days – sunny, warm and dry. And it looks like that pattern will hold through next week. Now is a perfect time to hike, bike, jeep and explore Utah's red-rock national parks and playgrounds.

It is now spring in the St. George area. I'm just back from a visit and I enjoyed seeing the almond trees in bloom. But, most of all I enjoyed hiking in the warm sunshine. I choose to get away from the crowds and explore an area west of St. George, and I had a great time. We hunted down a beautiful natural arch and found unique and interesting rock art in an area known as Red Hollow. My photos show those attractions.

We were way out in the boonies, all by ourselves in a rugged and remote area, which is exactly the experience I wanted. We drove old US Hwy 91 west from St. George, west from Ivins, and continued west past the Gunlock Road. We turned onto the dirt Motoqua Road and drive northwest for about 16 miles, crossing the Shivwits Indian Reservation. We then drove east on a very rough 4X4 road which brought us right up to Red Hollow.

The natural arch seems to be known by a couple names, the most common of which is Lone Pine Arch. It may also be know as Ripple Arch. It is located high on a red sandstone mountain and can be reached by serious scrambling up several cliff faces.

Rock Art In Red Hollow - photo by Dave Webb
Arches are common in southeastern Utah (Arches National Park) but are less common in the St. George/Zion Park area. Kolob Arch, in Zion, is one of our most famous arches and it was long thought to be the largest natural arch in the world. Now, with modern measurements, it is thought that Landscape Arch is the largest and Kolob is a near second.

But most people would be hard pressed to name another natural arch or bridge in the St. George/Zion area. During the past few years I've hiked to and photographed several that are very impressive, and Lone Pine is one of the best.

I was tickled to find the rock art. I've been searching the area around Gunlock for rock art and I've found a number of good panels. But the art at Red Hollow is totally unique, quite different from other panels in the area. I've launched a website where I'm compiling my rock art photos and I'm getting a pretty good collection.

I'll be going back soon because I've heard of a couple more excellent panels in the area.

With weather this nice, I might just decide to stay down there.

- Dave Webb

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Ashley Forest Seeks Public Input On Plan To Decommission Some Recreation Facilities

Flaming Gorge Reservoir - photo by Dave Webb
Ashley National Forest includes popular recreation areas in the Uinta Mountains and around Flaming Gorge Reservoir, north of Vernal. The Forest is considering a plan that would remove some facilities at some campgrounds and reservoirs. Public meetings have been scheduled to allow members of the public to comment on the plan.

The Forest provided the news release below:

Public Meetings to Discuss Decommissioning Recreation Facilities

The Ashley National Forest is reviewing recreation facilities on the Vernal and Flaming Gorge Ranger Districts for decommissioning under an Environmental Assessment (EA) and is holding public meetings to seek public input into this effort.

With the consistent reduction in budget and personnel to sustain the recreational infrastructure on the Ashley National Forest many facilities now face backlogged maintenance needs leading to a reduction in the Forest’s ability to provide quality recreational facilities for public use.

After an initial assessment the proposed action has identified 12 recreation locations for decommissioning.

Locations identified for decommissioning include the following:

Upper Marsh Creek - Remove the crumbling boat ramp and decommission the site.

Long Park - Remove the crumbling boat ramp and nonfunctioning vault toilet and decommission the site.

Greendale Campground - Remove the furnishings; decommission the water system and individual campsites, but leave the Group Site across HWY 191 open.

Antelope Flat Campground - Remove the furnishings and decommission individual camp sites, but leave the Group sites open along with the REA boat ramp facilities.

Skull Creek Campground - (1) Remove the furnishings and decommission the water system and campground, or (2) Decommission the water system but leave the campground open with reduced fees.

Oaks Park Campground - Remove the vault toilet and furnishings and decommission the site.

Red Canyon Campground - Remove the furnishings and decommission the site.

Sheep Creek Bay Campground - Remove the fence and restroom facilities. Make this a part of the Sheep Creek bay boat ramp parking area.

Red Spring Campground - Remove toilets and furnishings and decommission the campground.

Kaler Hollow - Remove the furnishings and toilet and decommission the site.

Navajo Cliff Picnic Site - Remove the furnishings and toilet and decommission the site.

Lucerne Group Campground - Remove the shelters for safety reasons, remove the bathroom facilities, and decommission the older group campground above Lucerne Marina.

A goal of this process is to identify those recreation structures that are not sustainable and using public comments make a decision that reduces the recreational infrastructure and gain alignment with current and projected budget and personnel levels.

This will enable the Forest to sustain quality recreational infrastructure for public use across the Ashley National Forest.

To discuss this effort the Forest has planned four public meetings to discuss this proposed action.
March 13, 2014 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Daggett County Office Building, Manila, Utah
95 North 1st West
Manila, UT 84046
March 14, 2014 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Duchesne County Building, Duchesne, Utah
734 North Center Street
Duchesne, UT 84021
March 19, 2014 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Uintah Applied Technology Campus, Vernal, Utah
450 N 2000 W
Vernal, UT 84078
March 20, 2014 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dutch John Community Center, Dutch John, Utah
530 South Blvd.
Dutch John, UT 84023

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Utah State Parks Photo Contest

Photo fro photo essay
Utah offers 43 state parks offering incredible scenery and wonderful adventures. Some of these parks compare to national parks in terms of natural beauty and recreational values. These parks are a bargain - some do not have entrance fees and those that do have relatively low fees.

Our state parks have just launched a photo contest where members of the public are invited to share their best photos of these areas. Go to the Utah State Parks Facebook page for details, and also to see entries. Below are highlights about the contest.

Its contest time! For the next two weeks, we are running a photo contest celebrating Utah’s state parks. Please send us your favorite scenic or activity photos taken during your state parks visits. Your submission just might be selected as the cover photo for our next Field Guide! Either post your photos to our Facebook wall or email to Contest ends March 19.

We will pick our favorite photo and the winner will receive some cool Utah State Parks gifts.

Photos of Moab-Area Parks has this beautiful photo essay showing photos from the Arches/Canyonlands/Moab area. The photo that illustrates this blog post comes from the essay. All of the photos there are worth viewing.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

North America's Best Mountain Bike Destinations has this interesting blog post giving its take on the best mountain bike destinations in North America. Since many of us naturally think Moab has the best trails in the world, perhaps even in the universe, I was interested to read about their criteria and see their list. Below are excerpts.

Choosing the top 10 mountain bike destinations in North America was no easy feat. To start with, we decided that this was to be a list of true destinations: not residential areas with good mountain bike trail access, but rather destinations that you could plan your entire year’s worth of vacation time around.

Narrowing the list down to just 10 places was a very difficult, controversial process. There was quite a bit of disagreement, even internally, about which towns should make the list, and which ones weren’t deserving.

So, here is their list. They don't say if order is important.

• Whistler, British Columbia

• Moab, Utah - "In addition to all the great riding, Moab is also home to two national parks, a signature state park, and more open BLM land than you could ever explore in a lifetime. Wrap all this up with plentiful lodging, affordable eats, several microbreweries, excellent bike shops, and plenty of camping options, and you’ve got yourself a bona fide mountain biking destination!"

• Park City, Utah - "Epic length tours like Mid-Mountain and the Wasatch Crest are easily accessible and, if you need one, so are guides. Inexpensive condo rentals and great benefits like free concerts and local beer make Park City an excellent choice for your next mountain bike vacation."

• Crested Butte, Colorado
• Downieville, California
• Fruita, Colorado
• Santa Fe, New Mexico
• Brevard, North Carolina
• Banff, Alberta
• Sedona, Arizona

Best Mountain Bike Cities
The same blog has this post listing the best cities, large metropolitan areas, for mountain biking. Here's that list:

The Top 10 Mountain Bike Cities in North America
• Los Angeles, California
• Boston, Massachusetts
• Vancouver, British Columbia
• San Jose, California
• Salt Lake City, Utah
• Albuquerque, New Mexico
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
• Augusta, Georgia / South Carolina
• Chattanooga, Tennessee

- Dave Webb

Monday, March 03, 2014

Register Now For Great Salt Lake Bird Festival

The marshes around the Great Salt Lake are important habitat for birds and other wildlife and provide are prime areas for bird watching and wildlife photography. The annual Great Salt Lake Bird Festival provides a great opportunity to participate in those activities.

The festival will be held May 15-19, 2014. Registration is now open for classes, field trips and other activities associated with the festival. See the festival website for details.

Here are tidbits of info from the festival:

Great Salt Lake Bird Festival is excited to announce the 2014 Keynote Speaker for May 17, 2014 will be The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Geographer and expert birder Tim Boucher.

In addition to giving the Keynote address, Tim will also guide fieldtrips to Antelope Island and Farmington Bay and offer a workshop on Learning Bird Calls.

Many festival events take place around Farmington Bay, in Davis County just north of Salt Lake City, but field trips extend into many areas. Sometimes, field trips provide access into prime spots not generally open to the public.

See hundreds of tundra swans

On March 15, the Division of Wildlife Resources will host Utah's annual Tundra Swan Day. Admission is free. The event will be held at the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area west of Corinne.

Phil Douglass, regional conservation outreach manager with the DWR, says viewing will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"Spotting scopes will be available, so you can get a close look at the swans," Douglass says. "If you have your own binoculars or a spotting scope, though, please bring it."

In addition to enjoying the spring weather, you'll enjoy a thrilling viewing experience. "Just seeing and hearing these birds is worth the trip," he says, "but knowledgeable and friendly people from the DWR and Wasatch Audubon will also be available to answer any questions you have. And, if you have a Scout group that needs to talk to a conservation officer, this is the perfect place to do it."

If you have questions about Tundra Swan Day, call the DWR's Northern Region office at 801-476-2740. You can also download a free fact sheet about tundra swans.

To reach the Salt Creek WMA, exit Interstate 15 at Exit 365, and travel west on state Route 83 through Corinne. Stay on Route 83 until you get to 6800 West (Iowa String). Travel north on 6800 W. to 6800 N. Travel west on 6800 N. until you reach the Salt Creek WMA/Compton's Knoll Watchable Wildlife site.
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