Bookmark and Share

Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, November 28, 2014

Utah's Festival of Trees – One of Our Best Holiday Traditions

The annual Festival of Trees will b held Dec 3-6 at South Towne Expo Center, 9575 South State Street, Sandy (south of Salt Lake City).

Every penny (100%) raised at the Festival of Trees benefits children at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Over 800 trees will be displayed, each with its own unique style – ornate, whimsical, creative, humorous, classic, and sentimental.

The Festival also features wreaths, centerpieces, gingerbread creations, backyard playhouses, quilts, gifts, treats, activities for children, and holiday entertainment.

Beautiful small trees are decorated, donated, and displayed at Festival of Trees. These trees are sold by silent auction on Opening Night, December 2, 2014 and throughout Festival week, December 3 - 6, 2014. Wreaths and other decorations are also sold. But there is plenty to see and do, even if you don't come to buy.

We invite you to walk through the winter wonderland and hear sleigh bells ring at the 2014 Festival of Trees!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From

We hope you have an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day wherever you are. Hope you have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones. Hope you take time to express thanks for blessings and opportunities in your life.

Some of the things we are thankful for:
  • Family and friends, of course
  • Food and shelter and other necessities of life
  • The opportunity to work, to earn a living and provide for family members
  • Recreational opportunities, particularly those that can be shared with loved ones
  • The beauties of nature including wild animals and wild places
  • The opportunity to travel, see new places, learn new things, meet new people
  • The opportunity to relax, unwind, de-stress
Hope you have occasion to enjoy the laughter of a child, the song of a bird, a fresh breeze bouncing tree limbs bending tree limbs, and the tranquility of wild places.

Hope to see you on the trail, the slopes, the beach or the river.

– Dave Webb

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving First, Then Favorite Christmas Festivities

Thanksgiving is a family-centered holiday for most people and many businesses will be closed Thursday. Many of our ski resorts will be open, along with hotels, restaurants, service stations and convenience stores, but most people will have the day off.

There will be some special activities including groups providing Thanksgiving dinners to homeless and low-income people. Such groups often need volunteer help. The article below gives details and some of the dinners:

On Black Friday, shoppers will be out in full force:

Friday evening, Christmas lights will be turned on at Temple Square and many other spots around Utah:

Our national parks and many state parks are open year-round. Visitor Centers will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day, but parks are open and offer a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and outdoor recreation during this special time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving.

– Dave Webb

Monday, November 24, 2014

Forbes Names Resorts With PAF (Pure Awesomeness Factor)

Try the “Virtual Ski Jump at Utah's Alf Engen Ski Museum
Forbes has released its annual ranking of ski resorts with PAF and Salt Lake City has the highest concentration of resorts on the list.

“...we’re pleased once again to offer you the Forbes Top 10 U.S. Ski Resorts. These are the best ski resorts in the United States...

“...we use a proprietary algorithm that renders for each resort what’s known in PhD circles as the Pure Awesomeness Factor, or PAF. By measuring PAF, we determine what ski resorts are best...”

These Utah resorts made the list.
#2 – Snowbird
#3 – Alta
          #10 – Solitude

Deer Valley Named Best Resort in the US
Ski tourism professionals worldwide, as well as hundreds of thousands of skiers from 127 countries, voted for the world's best ski resorts and Deer Valley was named the top US resort, for the second consecutive year. That announcement came at award ceremonies in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

Stein Eriksen Lodge Wins World's Best Ski Hotel
Also at the World Ski Awards at Kitzbuhel, Austria, Stein Eriksen Lodge was named the World's Best Ski Hotel.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Desolation Canyon - America's Best Do-It-Yourslf Rafting Destination

River Trip – Are You Up To Running Desolation On Your Own?

The Green River through Desolation and Gray canyons offers a long, scenic, exciting whitewater trip that is well suited for do-it-yourself adventurers. You need a permit to float the river and now's the time to apply.

Now is the time to book all kinds of river trips – regardless of whether you will be self-guided or go with a professional outfitter.

BLM provided this video about Desolation, and also the info below.

Desolation Gray Canyons River Permit

Published on Nov 19, 2014
Want to run a river? Want to experience the beautiful scenery of canyons in central Utah? Desolation Gray Canyons of the Green River may just be what you want. The 84-mile trip from Sand Wash to Swaseys Rapid offers outstanding scenery, interesting geologic formations, evidence of prehistoric and historic human activity, and whitewater opportunities.

A permit is required year round for floating the Desolation Gray Canyons section of the Green River. Permits can be reserved at

River Information:
The Green River enters Desolation Canyon just north of Sand Wash as it exits the Uinta Basin. Canyon walls are stream and lake deposits of the Eocene age then transition into the Cretaceous delta and sea deposits of Gray Canyon.

Along the river, the riparian zone holds willow, cottonwood, box elder and other woody riparian species and provides critical habitat to neo-tropical migrant birds, nesting waterfowl, and wintering deer and elk. Moving away from the cool shade of the riparian zone, one immediately enters a desert environment dominated by salt shrubs and bunch grasses. There is a small sagebrush zone that gives way to pinyon and juniper slopes. The view is always dominated by rock and cliff. Douglas fir finds a home in protected, well watered alcoves.

Over sixty riffles and rapids punctuate the trip. None are particularly difficult – a dozen or so can cause some trouble for the unprepared traveler. Camping tends to be idyllic on a clean sandy beach in front of a grove of cottonwood trees which offer shade and a windbreak. More than 60 side canyons descend from the plateau to meet the Green River. Every side canyon holds a surprise. In a few, a cold, clear stream pours into a warm silty river. Prehistoric rock art is prolific along with the ruins of dwellings, towers and granaries.

Between Sand Wash and Nefertiti Rapid, users set their own itinerary. There are a number of hiking trails in the canyon. Of the 84 mile long river segment, 66 miles are within the Desolation Canyon Wilderness Study Area – the largest in the lower 48 states.

The Desolation Canyon National Historic Landmark (NHL) extends one mile on either side of the river from Nine Mile Creek to Florence Creek. The NHL was designated by the Secretary of the Interior in 1969 as part of the centennial celebration of the 1869 exploration of the Green and Colorado Rivers by John Wesley Powell.

There is a primitive boat ramp at Sand Wash, a primitive eight-site campground, a contact/information station, staffed ranger station and toilets. Trash receptacles and water are not provided. With the remoteness of the area groups can camp the night before at Sand Wash. Due to frequent mosquito plagues, Sand Wash offers four campsites with screened cabins. This contrasts with the more developed Swaseys Boat Ramp where there is a large concrete boat ramp along with improved parking, toilets and trash removal services.

The east side of the river, above Coal Creek, is Ute Tribal Land. Hiking and camping on Ute lands is allowed with a permit from the Ute Tribe. After a valid Bureau of Land Management permit has been acquired, a Ute Tribal permit may be purchased at­t.html. The Ute Indian Tribe would like you to experience nature’s beauty but would like you to remember that you are a visitor to their lands. The Ute people hold cultural resources in highest regard. Respect all features and aesthetics of the area so that future generations can also share first-hand, nature’s order and magnificence.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Best of Utah's National and State Park has published the video below, offering an overview of some of Utah's best national and state parks. The video features Capitol Reef, Antelope Island, Bryce Canyon and Snow Canyon.

Other Tidbits has this amazing panorama showing Arches National Park at night. Click and drag to rotate the photo, or zoom in.

Arches plans to enlarge the parking area for the Delicate Arch hike. Details.

SkyWest announces it will end air service to Moab next spring.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Utah Offers Free App To Help Hunters and Fishermen

Hunting and fishing are very popular in Utah - with both residents and visitors alike. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has just released a new app to help sportsmen find information, buy licenses and locate productive areas. Versions are available for both Apple and Android devices.

The DWR provided this information:

DWR launches hunting & fishing app

Carry all of your licenses and permits on one mobile device
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah.Gov, a leader in mobile and online technology, with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) recently launched a free Hunting and Fishing iPhone and Android app. The application gives Utah's outdoor enthusiasts the best information available on their mobile phones and helps them get the most out of their outdoor adventures. The application is Utah's mobile resource for wildlife events, licenses, permits, and communicating with the DWR for outdoor enthusiasts.
You can download the free app on Android or Apple devices.
You can download the free app onAndroid or Apple devices.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources photo
Greg Sheehan, director of the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the free app allows hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers to blend their outdoor adventures and the latest technology together, "The app makes it easier to obtain and display hunting and fishing licenses," Sheehan says. "It provides users with quick access to information that will help them in the field. We encourage you to download it, and give it a try."
The Utah DWR surveyed the current technology and looked for ways to provide a leading edge solution that would enhance the outdoor experience for hunters and anglers. The Division developed the application to help the public easily find hunting locations, even in remote areas where they may not have mobile service. One great feature is the ability to store and display hunting and fishing licenses right from a mobile device. In fact, licenses for a whole family or group can all be stored on one smart phone.
One note: if you're hunting a wildlife species that requires you to place a paper tag on an animal after taking it, you must carry the tag with you and attach it to the animal after harvesting it.
Hunters and anglers can download all current valid licenses and new licenses to their mobile device and display them for game wardens. In addition they can:
  • Find public hunting lands
  • View Walk-In Access properties
  • Report poachers
  • Check shooting hours
  • Identify wildlife, waterfowl, and fish species found in Utah
You can download the app for free:
Download the iOS version from the Apple App Store
Download the Android version from the Google Play Store

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Video Shows New Snow As Utah Resorts Open

Brighton Ski Resort opened today with a 19 inch base. The first video below shows opening day action.

Impressive amounts of new snow are reported at resorts around Utah, as more prepare to open. Alta, with a 17 inch base, will open Nov 21. Deer Valley reports 15 inches but will not open until Dec. 6.

Snowbird, Solitude and Brian Head are not yet reporting totals but are scheduled to open Nov 21.

Park City will open on Nov 22. Canyons will open Nov 28.

Here's the Brighton video.

This video shows preseason activity at Snowbird.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Brighton Opens For Skiing Tomorrow (With Video)

Utah's ski season will kick off earlier than expected, with Brighton opening for skiing tomorrow. The early opening is possible because a cold, winter-like storm has dumped heavy snow on our northern Mountains.

Other resorts will follow quickly. Other resorts opening this week include:
Alta – Nov 21
Snowbird – Nov 21
Solitude – Nov 21
Brian Head – Nov 22

The video below was provided by Brighton and shows its preseason rail jam on Nov 15, with the new snow.

Everyone expects this to be a great season - perhaps even our best ever. This report gives a preview.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Salt Lake Settles For 'Ski City,' Gives Up 'USA'

A couple months ago we reported on a new tourism drive by, where they had adopted the moniker “Ski City USA” to promote the four Wasatch Mountain resorts. Well, they were sued and vowed to fight. But now they have settled and will be known as Ski City. Here's their official website. has this report, which includes the video below.

“We are Ski City. We are going to tout all aspects that make up Ski City as the unique winter destination that it is. There's only one Ski City. It's what we're unapologetically going to promote and it is who we are.”
–Shawn Stinson, Visit Salt Lake

This could be a record year for Utah ski resorts. We're excited for the new season.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Utah Has Snow! Resorts Start Opening Next Weekend

A big, cold, wet storm smashed into Utah today, dropping 4-6 inches of snow in some mountain locations. Snow will continue to fall in mountain areas tomorrow, with rain at times in valleys, and then another round will bring snow to valleys Saturday.

The snow caused some minor travel problems, but nothing too serious. Travelers should watch forecasts and be prepared for winter-like conditions.

Utah's ski resorts are loving the snow as they prepare to open for the season during the next couple weeks. Below we give tentative opening dates as provided by With this cold snow, a resort or two may decide to open early, so check back for updates.

Opening Dates
Alta Ski Area – November 21
Brian Head Resort – November 22
Brighton Ski Resort – November 22
Snowbasin – November 26
Canyons Resort – November 28
Sundance Resort – December 5
Deer Valley Resort – December 6
Powder Mountain – December 12
Cherry Peak – December 13
Eagle Point – December 20
Beaver Mountain Resort – To be arranged

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

10 Beautiful Utah Spots, 10 Non-Skiing Winter Adventure Spots

Sunset Arch In Grand Staircase-Escalante has this article recommending 10 must-see beautiful spots in Utah. Here's a tidbit from the intro and then highlights from their list:

...Rocks rise from desolate planes and majestic mountains protrude from rolling hills, the gulches, lakes, and canyons that punctuate this environment proclaim Utah as an adventure seekers paradise...
Non-Skiing Winter Adventure Slideshow

This article has some fun ideas for winter adventure that doesn't involve skiing. Here's a quick list of their recommended spots.
  • Crystal Hot Springs near Brigham City
  • Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab
  • Antelope Island Wildlife
  • Farmington Bay State Waterfowl Management Area
  • Provo River Winter Fishing
  • Snow Canyon State Park Hiking
  • Bonneville Salt Flats
  • St George Golf
  • Sun Tunnels At Solstice
  • Heber Valley Railroad's North Pole Express

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rainbow Bridge Trail To Close For Improvements

Rainbow Bridge
Happy Veterans Day. We salute all who are serving and all who have served.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is one of the most popular destinations at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lake Powell). It is often described as a rainbow frozen in stone. Boaters can approach the bridge but have to hike to get up close. The length of the high depends of the lake's level.

The trail that leads from floating docks up to the bridge was damaged by floods during the past couple years and is in need of repair. National Park Service crews will make those repairs during January, when visitation is low. During that time, people will not be able to visit the bridge.

A few hardy backpackers follow a long route through Navajo land to reach the bridge. (A permit from the tribe is required.) Those people also need to be aware the the area around the bridge will be closed.

Winter is actually a great time to boat, sight see and hike in the Lake Powell area. Nighttime temperatures are cold but days are usually mild (except during infrequent storms.) The water temperature is too cold for comfort and so most people choose not to get wet during the dead of winter, but there is still plenty to do at the big lake.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Top Choices For Native American Heritage Month

Hovenweep National Monument - © Dave Webb
November is Native American Heritage Month. It brings opportunities to learn about Native American cultures.

In Utah you can do more than just “learn about” places and cultures. We offer tremendous opportunities to experience modern and ancient cultures – to walk and dine and stay in Indian country. Here are a few of my favorite options.
  1. Explore Monument Valley with a Native American guide. Travel by jeep, horseback and foot to remarkable places in this sacred valley. Bring your camera.
  1. Participate in ranger led programs at Mesa Verde National Park. View archaeological and cultural sites from the prehistoric Puebloan-era.
  1. Explore Hovenweep and any of a dozen other major ancient Native American sites along the Trail of the Ancients National Byway.
  1. Enjoy a Navajo taco at Gouldings, or any of the cafes in Blanding or Bluff. Stay at Gouldings or at other lodging in Navajo country.
  1. See the exhibit, “Nuchu: Voices of the Ute People,” at the BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures.
  1. Learn about ancient Native cultures at the Natural History Museum of Utah.
  1. Stay alert through the year and participate in Native American Pow Wows and other cultural events.
  • Dave Webb

Friday, November 07, 2014

Free Entrance To National Parks On Tuesday – Veterans Day

Bryce Canyon Waterfall - © Dave Webb
In honor of Veterans Day, federal recreational lands in Utah will not charge entrance fees on Tuesday, Nov 11. That includes Utah's Mighty 5 national parks plus our National Monuments and National Recreation Areas. Visitors may still have to pay fees for camping and special activities..

The Park Service has several days every year when entrance fees are waived. The free entrance days include:
  • Martin Luther King Jr Day in January
  • Presidents Day Weekend in February
  • National Parks Week in April
  • National Park Service birthday in August
  • National Public Lands Day in September
  • Veterans Day in November
The Park Service provided this additional information:

Only 133 of our country's 401 national parks usually charge an entrance fee. So start Planning Your Visit!

If you're planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands--more than 2,000 in all. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

A Love Letter to Moab – Timelapse

The video below was posted on by Ron Risman, along with the into text below. A love letter to Moab! What more can we say?

“This is a video love letter to Moab, Utah and surrounding area to show my appreciation for how much I love the beauty of her landscapes and the dark skies above”

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

America’s 20 prettiest national parks in winter

Bryce Canyon in winter - © Dave Webb has an interesting article with this intriguing title:

Which parks would you put on your list? I was a bit surprised by the article's suggestions. I expected some of our Mighty 5 parks are in the ranking - but was surprised to see Arches top the list. Yes, Arches is very beautiful when frosted with snow. But is it more beautiful than Bryce? (Bryce is more famous as a winter destination, with its annual snow festival.)

Here's their list, with excerpts:

1. Arches National Park, Utah - ...white snow contrasts with the red rocks and blue skies to create some stunning sights.

2. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

3. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah - While it may be hard to imagine, Bryce Canyon's earthly spires are even more spectacular when icy.

4. Yosemite National Park, California

5. Denali National Park, Alaska

6. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

7. Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming

8. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

9. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

10. Zion National Park, Utah - Zion National Park's majestic rocks appear all the more dramatic when cloaked in white.

11. Acadia National Park, Maine

12. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

13. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

14. Glacier National Park, Montana

15. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

16. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

17. Olympic National Park, Washington

18. Joshua Tree National Park, California

19. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

20. Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Where You Can Legally Cut Your Own Christmas Tree In Utah

“In a tradition from way back, my family would make an annual trek into the forest, search out the perfect Christmas tree, then chop it down and carry it home where we would make it a centerpiece of our holiday festivities. I have many fond memories of those trips, enjoyed during a simpler time when we lived in the country.” – Dave Webb

You can still cut your own tree in Utah, if you buy the appropriate permit. Forest managers annually offer a suitable number of permits and allow people to cut trees from specific locations. The federal Bureau of Land Management, which manages much of the public land in Utah, provided the information below.

Christmas Tree-Cutting Permits Available

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah will sell non-commercial permits to cut pinyon pine and juniper Christmas trees beginning in early November. Permits will be available at the following locations:

Salt Lake Field Office
Dates: Nov. 3 – Dec. 24
Cost: $10 each with a limit of two per household
Type: Juniper and Pinyon Pine
Where to purchase permits: Salt Lake Field Office, 2370 South 2300 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84119
For more information call: (801)977-4300

Fillmore Field Office
Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 24
Cost: $5 each with a limit of one per household
Type: Juniper and Pinyon Pine
Where to purchase permits: Fillmore Field Office, 95 East 500 North, Fillmore, UT 84631
For more information call: (435)743-3100

Cedar City Field Office
Dates: Nov. 3 – Dec. 24
Cost: $10 each with a limit of two per household
Type: Juniper, Pinyon Pine and White Fir
Where to purchase permits: Cedar City Field Office, 176 East D.L. Sargent Drive, Cedar City, UT 84721
For more information call: (435)865-3000

Richfield Field Office
Dates: Nov. 3 – Dec. 24
Cost: $10 each with a limit of two per person
Type: Pinyon Pine and Juniper
Where to purchase permits: Richfield Field Office, 150 East 900 North, Richfield, UT 84701
For more information call: (435)896-1500

St. George Field Office
Dates: Nov. 10 – Dec. 24
Cost: $10 each with a limit of two per household
Type: Pinyon Pine
Where to purchase permits: St. George Field Office, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790
For more information call: (435)688-3200

Kanab Field Office
Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 24
Cost: $10 each with a limit of two per household
Type: Juniper and Pinyon Pine
Where to purchase permits: Kanab Field Office, 669 South Highway 89 A, Kanab, UT 84741
For more information call: (435)644-1200

Moab Field Office
Dates: Nov. 1 – Dec. 24
Cost: $10 each with a limit of two per household
Type: Pinyon Pine
Where to purchase permits: Moab Field Office, 82 East Dogwood Moab, UT 84532
For more information call: (435)259-2100

Monticello Field Office
Dates: Nov. 1 – Dec. 24
Cost: $10 each with a limit of two per household
Type: Pinyon Pine and Juniper
Where to purchase permits: Monticello Field Office, 365 North Main, Monticello, UT 84535
For more information call: (435)587-1500

Price Field Office
Dates: Nov. 25 – Dec. 24
Cost: $10 each with a limit of one per household
Type: Pinyon Pine and Juniper
Where to purchase permits: Price Field Office, 125 South 600 West, Price, UT 84501
For more information call: (435)636-3600

Vernal Field Office
Dates: Nov. 21 – Dec. 24 (depending on purchase location)
Cost: $10 each with one permit per household.
Type: Pinyon Pine and Juniper

Where to purchase permits: Vernal Field Office, 170 South 500 East, Vernal, UT 84078
For more information call: (435)781-4400
Davis Food & Drugs, 575 West Main, Vernal, UT 84078, (through Dec. 20), (435)789-7011
Roosevelt at:
Davis Food & Drugs, 750 East 200 North, Roosevelt, UT 84066, (435)722-2296 (Nov. 22 through Dec. 23)
Stewart’s Marketplace, 245 W Hwy 40, Roosevelt, UT, 84066, (435)722-5650 (Nov. 22 through Dec. 23)

Monday, November 03, 2014

See Peak Fall Colors In Zion Park

Nov 3, 2014, along the Kolob Terrace Road (photo by Dave Webb)
Colors are peaking right now at mid-elevations in Zion National Park, and are starting to show in Zion Canyon and through the St. George area. The next couple weeks will bring peak colors along the Virgin River.

Zion is spectacular at any time, but is particularly impressive when colorful foliage is set against the red and caramel colored cliffs. Many people think fall is the best time of year to visit. I can't argue – temperatures are perfect for dry hikes and there are far fewer people in the backcountry.

The changing leaves draw people into Zion Canyon, so expect crowds there. Also, the park shuttle only runs on weekends during November, so you can drive right into Zion Canyon. That means parking can be an issue near popular trailheads.

Today I drove into the Kolob Terrace section of the park and enjoyed great views from my car, and even better scenery on short hikes. I found vivid foliage halfway up the mountain. I did not drive all the way to Lava Point, but I suspect colors have probably already peaked up that high.

In a few weeks snow will accumulate on Kolob Terrace and close the road. Now's the time to explore there, unless you want to go in on cross country skis. (Cabin owners on Kolob Mountain are allowed to snowmobile to their properties, but others are asked to not snowmobile up the road.)

-- Dave Webb
Back to top Print this page E-mail this page