Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Friday, September 29, 2006

Utah.com Begins Website Improvements

If you are familiar with Utah.com, you’ll notice it has a completely different look today.

We have changed the design and structure of pages to accomplish these goals:
1. Easier to navigate and find key pages
2. Fresh, interesting look
3. Support the Utah Office of Tourism branding
4. Incorporate more multimedia content

We believe Internet multimedia will become more and more important during the next few years and we plan to stay ahead of the curve. We’ve been watching user stats to determine patterns, so we can balance file sizes against connection speeds. We want to make the core of utah.com available to all viewers, regardless of connection speed, and also offer a robust multimedia section that will work best at high speeds.

Over the next few months we’ll add more new photos, more photo tours, more Flash presentations and more video clips.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Raptor Watch: See Eagles, Other Birds

(Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources provided this news release.)

View Migrating Birds of Prey

Orem -- You can view and learn more about eagles, hawks and other
migrating birds of prey on Sept. 30, during Utah's annual Raptor Watch
Day.

Viewing on Sept. 30 will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Orem
Overlook along Squaw Peak Road, east of Orem. Squaw Peak Road can be
reached from the Provo Canyon Road. To reach the Provo Canyon Road,
exit I-15 at Exit 275 and travel eastbound on 800 N. in Orem.

Raptor Watch Day is hosted annually by the Division of Wildlife
Resources
.

"Fall colors will flirt with the eye, the temperature at our high
elevation watch site should be crisp and, with any luck, clear skies
will offer up-close glimpses of harriers, vultures, eagles, hawks and
falcons as they continue their annual fall migration to the south,"
says Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR.

"Experts will be available to help people identify passing birds of
prey and to answer any questions they might have about raptor
migration," Walters says. "This year's Raptor Watch Day should be
one of the best opportunities of the year to spend some time relaxing
and watching raptors."

For more information, call Walters at (801) 538-4771.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Grand Staircase Yields More New Dinosaurs

A dig in Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument has produced fossils from two here-to unknown dinosaurs. The Salt Lake Tribune has this extensive article about the find. Here are a few quotes:

"It's been a dream summer for paleontologists," said Alan Titus, paleontologist for the 1.9 million-acre monument in southern Utah.

“A 6-foot-long skull of one of the creatures, found intact, belongs to a beast similar to members of the ceratoid family, but has some distinctly unique features.”

“About a week before that discovery, the same group found the full skeleton of another ceratop-like dinosaur, including a partial skull, that also defies known species.”

“Fossilized skin impressions also were found, which can help tell about the anatomy of an animal more than bones alone.”

This is the National Monument’s 10-year anniversary. It was the subject of controversy when created, but has evolved into an important science laboratory and tourist playground.

New West takes this detailed look at the monument and its evolution.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Deer Valley Is #2, Park City #5

Ski Magazine has released the results of its latest reader survey, which ranks Deer Valley the number 2 ski resort in North America. The magazine describes the best features of each resort, shows photos, and includes these comments:

“Deer Valley is built on the singular concept of service: You get yourself to Utah, and Deer Valley will take care of the rest.”

Park City ranks number 5.

“Bring your airline boarding pass to the ticket window for free arrival-day skiing. Kids under 6 always ski free.”

Read the entire article.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Kokanee Salmon and the Strawberry Festival

The annual Strawberry Festival will be held this Friday and Saturday at the Forest Service visitors’ center near Strawberry Reservoir. A similar event, Kokanee Salmon Day, will be held on Saturday at Sheep Creek, a tributary of Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Spawning kokanee salmon are the key attraction at both events. The landlocked salmon turn a bright red and migrate up streams where they spawn and then die. The fish are highly visible in streams and it is fascinating to watch them go through this annual ritual.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) biologists will be on site at both locations to answer questions and help people view the fish. Participants may also be able to see deer, elk and other wildlife in that area.

At Strawberry, the DWR and U.S. Forest Service have built a viewing area along the Strawberry River. There are interpretive signs and a boardwalk along the river to view spawning pairs of fish. Other activities will also be offered at the visitors’ center.

Besides watching the kokanee at Sheep Creek, viewers usually see bighorn sheep from the viewing site. Visitors often report seeing elk, moose, mule deer and bald eagles in the area. DWR has this report about the Sheep Creek Event.

Deseret News has this detailed article about kokanee, and about the Strawberry Festival. DWR also has this report.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Challenge the Corn Maze at Hee Haw Farms

Hee Haw Farms’ unique Fall/Halloween activities kick off on Sept 22, and run until Oct 31. The farm, located in Pleasant Grove, offers:

-- Large corn maze
-- Haunted barnyard with interesting animals
-- Hay rides
-- Food
-- Lots of other activities

Chalise Smith provided this description:

"Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch, Haunted Hayride and lot of farmin’ fun activities at Hee Haw Farms.

"Come on down to Hee Haw Farms for the 6th year of wacky fun in the farmyard enjoying countrified activities and puzzling challenges. There’s nothing run-of-the-mill about this farm where goats climb towers and tractors make ice-cream. This year’s corn maze features Leroy the Pig with huge, corny twists and turns.

"Hair-raising at Hee Haw Farms begins on Sept 29 through Oct 31, with a Haunted Hayride and Corn Evil Corridor. Haunting will occur on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Visit www.heehawfarms.com for group sales, coupons and ticket information."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Snow on the Mountains

The first snow of the season hit northern Utah last weekend. I know that for a fact because I was camping with a bunch of Boy Scouts, up near the top of Hobble Creek Canyon east of Springville.

It rained hard most of the night, but we were warm and dry in tents. Sometime during the night the rain changed to snow and there was a skiff on the ground when we awoke.

The ski resorts picked up more. Ski Utah reports 6 inches at the base at Snowbird, and 12 inches on Hidden Peak.

Ski Utah shows snow on the mountains in a nice slide show on their home page. First Tracks has this report about the snow event.

It will all melt quickly. Even the snow on Hidden Peak will probably melt, as mild fall temperatures return to the area.

But that didn’t stop snowboard enthusiasts from carrying boards to the top of hills and riding down. It was a great early-season bonus that excited skiers and snowboarders. The season is coming... quickly.

Now’s the time to book your Utah ski trips. Resort lodging is already filling up for holiday weekends. Better act now.

- Dave Webb

Friday, September 15, 2006

Zions Subway & Video Clips

Zions SubwayA group from utah.com hiked the famous Subway in Zion Park over Labor Day. It was a great adventure hike, one of my all-time favorites.

This video clip shows the adventure.

You’ve got to swim several long pools of cold water as you make your way through the Subway. The water is cold, even on the hottest summer day. Temperatures in the Zion/St George area are still warm enough for wet hikes, but that season will end draw to a close within a few weeks. Then we will turn our attention to the dry, desert hikes which are more pleasant during cooler weather.

I think my latest clip is significantly better than my early work. I’ve found ways to increase the quality of the video while keeping file sizes relatively small. And I made my brother-in-law do the voice over, so it sounds better.

Now that I have better tools, I’ll go back and redo some of my clips, like these:
  • Zions Narrows
  • Zions Angels Landing
  • Arches Delicate Arch
  • Arches Devils Garden
  • Lake Powell Houseboat
  • Spooky Gulch
  • The Wave of Coyote Buttes

    My goal is to have clips showing many of Utah’s best destinations and adventures. It’s a fun hobby. During the next few months I hope to do more clips, including these:
  • Monument Valley
  • Hovenweep
  • Highway 12
  • Goblin Valley
  • Grand Gulch
  • Temple Square

    Over time, I’ll do a bunch more.

    I appreciate feedback. Tell me if you know ways I can make them better, or if there are spots/activities you’d like to see.

    - Dave Webb
  • Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Weatherman Says Snow!

    A storm now moving over Utah is expected to drop snow in high mountain areas this weekend. Park City could get a dusting, but snow is not expected to accumulate there. A little may stick on the ground in the Uintas and other extremely high locations. Rain will probably fall in many valleys.

    Heavy rain, high wind and lightning could affect travel in isolated spots.

    Our website features specific weather reports for many Utah destinations. Go to this page and then click anywhere on the map. You can also get current reports by clicking the weather link on our destinations pages.

    We are probably a couple months away from significant snow at the ski resorts. Still, it will be exciting to see the first flakes of the new season flutter down.

    Forecasters say an El Nino flow has developed in the tropical Pacific. ABC News has this report. In past years such a flow has resulted in heavy winter snowfall over Utah’s mountains, with relatively mild temperatures.

    This could be another great ski season.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Crossroads of the West Gun Show

    The Crossroads of the West Gun Show will be held Sept 16 & 17 (this Saturday and Sunday) in Sandy at the South Towne Expo Center.

    This is a large consumer show featuring guns, bows, knives and other kinds of weaponry. It attracts collectors, target shooters, hunters, self-defense advocates and many others, from all around the Western US.

    This is a chance to learn about, see, handle and buy many types of products related to weaponry and self defense.

    Exhibited guns not allowed to be loaded at the show. All purchases must be in compliance with federal, state and local laws.

    Crossroads of the West GunShows, a Utah company, has expanded and now offers similar shows in Reno, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco and many other cities.

    More information.

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Fall Colors Along Nebo Loop

    Trees are starting to color up in the high country of northern Utah.

    Nebo Loop Fall ColorsI drove the Nebo Loop National Scenic Byway this morning, taking the long way home from a business meeting, and enjoyed seeing the early stages of the annual extravaganza of color that occurs every fall.

    Here and there an aspen branch glowed sunny yellow, even while all the other leaves on the same tree were deep green. A few trees and shrubs were almost completely red, standing out against their still-green siblings, and against the never-changing pine trees.

    It looks like the colors will peak in northern Utah mountain areas about the first week of October. Northern Utah valleys and the southern Utah high country will follow a couple weeks later. November will be the key month for show colors at lower elevations in southern Utah.

    Devil's Kitchen along Nebo LoopUtah’s scenic byways and backways are excellent routes for people who want to auto tour to see the colors. This special page describes our best fall drives.

    I stopped for a few minutes at the Devil’s Kitchen Geologic Interest area, near the top of the Nebo Loop (at an elevation of about 9,000 feet). It’s a very impressive site, with formations that are somewhat similar to those at Bryce Canyon, only on a smaller scale.

    I think I’ll go back in a couple weeks, when the colors are peaking, and time my drive to catch the late afternoon light. The area will be incredibly photogenic at that time.

    - Dave Webb

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    Why Smart Skiers Are Racing to Utah

    Vicky Lowry describes Salt Lake and Park City area ski resorts in this article on MSN Travel.

    Vicky’s by-line indicates her forte is food & wine, and she spends much of the article describing great places to lodge and dine near the resorts.

    She says the restaurant scene “has been thriving since the 2002 Winter Olympics.”

    MSN teases the article with this nugget: “Salt Lake City is a direct flight from almost every big US city—and the skiing nearby is phenomenal.”

    Read the complete article.

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    MSN Features Bryce, Arches, North Rim

    See Bryce on Horseback

    Bryce Canyon is a park that's perfectly suited to horseback tours. Let the horses do all the hard work, while you take in the scenic views.”

    So says Beth J. Harpaz in a new article on MSN Travel.

    “Our lead guide, J.B. Kessler, cracked jokes in between pointing out landmarks and describing the history of the place. ‘I'll be sending each and every one of you home with a souvenir,’ he announced cheerfully at one point. ‘Every time you sit down, you'll remember this trip.’"

    (We have a short video clip showing a horseback ride in the Bryce area.)

    Read the complete article.

    Crowd-Free National Parks

    MSN Travel also has an article describing 10 favorite crowd-free national parks.

    Arches National Park tops the list: “Arches National Park, one of a quintet of stunning Utah national parks, may not attract the same number of visitors as the state's more-accessible Zion or Bryce Canyon parks, but its surreal terrain of towering sandstone arches makes this Southern Utah wilderness wonderland one sensory experience not to be missed.”

    Grand Canyon North Rim is listed at number 7: “Those who do go the extra mile (or 215 in this case) will be rewarded with serenity, a complete absence of McDonald's and bowling alleys, and an unblocked view of one of Mother Nature's most stupendous creations.”

    Capitol Reef National Park should be on the list, in our opinion. It is never crowded. It is located off the beaten path, and it includes a large backcountry area where it is easy to wander in solitude. A visit is well worth the required time and travel.

    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    State Fair Runs Through Sept 17

    The Utah State Fair opens tomorrow at 3 pm at the Fairpark in Salt Lake City. Opening opening day admission is only $2. After tomorrow, admission will be $8 for adults; $6 for seniors 62 and over and young people ages 6-12. Children 5 and under get in free.

    This is a traditional fair with all kinds of displays ranging from farm animals to quilts to marmalade. There will be bronze sculptures and oil paintings and photographic portraits, along with places to see and buy new products, get consumer information and learn about emergency preparedness.

    Of course there will be entertainment. The carnival will be open daily and there will also be a rodeo, dancers and a full slate of musical events (including some big-name national performers).

    See the fair’s website for detailed information.


    This Deseret Morning News article gives a “fair overview.”

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    Moab Music Festival Is Underway

    “Each year musicians and music lovers alike, from across the country and around the world, travel to the Moab Music Festival to perform and to listen to musical masterpieces, old and new, set among some of nature's most spectacular landscape masterpieces... the red rock canyonlands.”

    That quote is from the festival website, where you can get detailed information about this popular series of events, which continue through Sept 16.

    “Known for its distinctive programming, the award-winning Moab Music Festival offers concerts of classical chamber music, traditional music, vocal music, works of living composers and jazz performed by acclaimed artists from around the country. Performances take place in indoor and outdoor venues ranging from historic Star Hall in Moab to the banks of the Colorado River.”
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