Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summertime At Utah's Mountain Resorts

Summer is a great time to visit Utah's mountain resorts, where temperatures are cool and off-season prices are low. This Deseret Morning News article describes summer activities at each of the resorts. Here are excerpts:

"The alpine slides at Park City and Snowbird allow drivers, often with smaller family members onboard, to negotiate the winding track at their own pace.

"The new Alpine Coaster at Park City, one of only three in the United States, not only allows riders complete control but a roller-coaster-type experience.

"Hiking and biking, of course, remain the most popular of the summer opportunities. Lift-served biking and hiking take a lot of the work out trying to negotiate the slopes. Once at the top of the lift, everything is downhill from there."

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Canyoneering Heaven At Zion National Park

Wall Street Journal correspondent Michael J. Ybarra describes the sport of canyoneering in this news article. He explains that about 60% of Zion National Park is inaccessible to most people - just too rough to get through.

"Unless you're a canyoneer, that is -- in which case you're in heaven, what with 50 remote and technical slots feeding into Zion Canyon, making the national park the epicenter of the young sport. Canyoneering combines rappelling, rock climbing, swimming and hiking and is popular enough that the park requires a permit for groups wanting to journey through Zion's numerous gullies, limiting most to a dozen people a day."

"I should be nervous. After all, I've never been canyoneering before and it's been two months since I broke my ankle in a climbing accident; once I drop down the rope, the only way out is to follow the snaking, debris-filled canyon to its terminus. But the truth is that I can't wait to descend into the abyss. I've wanted to explore the deep recesses of Zion ever since I briefly set foot in the park in high school, 20 years ago. I'll worry about the ankle later."

"Another rap and we're in Orderville Canyon, walking in a streambed most of the time, water squishing out of my running shoes whenever we briefly cross dry land. Life and light disappear once more, the walls rear up again. At times I can touch both sides of the canyon by raising my hands no higher than my hips. Sun and warmth are only memories. The downclimbing and rappelling are easy enough for me; the walking not so."

Read the complete article.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Utah Colleges Provide Exceptional Opportunities for Outdoor Activities

This interesting new article from HealthNewsDigest.com focuses on the advantages of attending college in an area where you can enjoy quality outdoor recreation. It describes some of the programs offered by Utah colleges. Below are excerpts:

One often overlooked way to deal with the pressures of a stressful environment is to head outdoors. As one of the outdoor adventure capitals of the country, Utah has both public and private colleges and universities that provide a plethora of opportunities for outdoor stress relief. With most schools located within hours (often minutes) of world-class ski resorts and water bodies, as well as national parks like Moab, Zion and Bryce Canyon, Utah is positioned to offer far more stress-busting outdoor recreation activities than most U.S. schools.

At Westminster College in Salt Lake City, a brand new outdoor recreation program was created in 2007 to capitalize on all of the outside activities. This fall, the college will host backpacking trips to the Uintas, peak ascents in the Wasatch, fly fishing in the Provo River, and mountain biking and kayaking trips, to name a few. In the winter season, the college will also host their fifth annual “Winter at Westminster” program, a study-abroad alternative where students from all over the U.S. will spend a semester there to ski and snowboard, study full-time, and take advantage of the proximity to world-class ski resorts, visit Olympic training centers, learn avalanche training, and have opportunities to meet with outdoor recreation industry leaders.

Read the entire article.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wall Street Journal Profiles Salt Lake City

Under this interesting column heading, 'Off the Beaten Path,' Wall Street Journal Reporter Sarah McBride tells what to do, where to eat and where to stay in Utah's capital. Below is a snippet:

Most people just pass through Salt Lake City on their way to the nearby ski slopes, but they're missing out on a walkable, attractive city with plenty to do. The city is ringed by mountains, making it easy to embark on scenic hikes just minutes from the center of town. With a few hours, head to Neff's Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains; the trailhead and parking lot is on White Way in the Olympus Cove neighborhood. This 3.5-mile trail winds up through woods and alongside (sometimes through) a creek until it reaches a meadow and then a ridge with outstanding views over the city. With less time, just walk up State Street and into Memory Grove Park by the Capitol, which leads to several hillside hiking trails.

She also recommends
- Touring the Mormon Church's Family History Library
- Visiting the Main Salt Lake Public Library
- Eating at Ruth's Diner
- Eating at the Bayou
- Staying at Little America
- Staying at Inn on the Hill

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Park City Artstravaganza

Art takes center stage in Park City during August, with everything from world-renowned art and music festivals to Sundance Institute film screenings, plays at the Egyptian Theatre and outdoor symphony concerts.

Bridge construction on I-80 between Salt Lake and Park City will slow traffic on Aug 10 and Aug 17. Travelers will be directed to easy detours around the work zones. Here's info about the projects.

The Park City Chamber website has details about the month-long arts celebration. Below we give highlights.

Deer Valley Music Festival - August 1 – 16

Park City Kimball Arts Festival - August 2 – 3

Summit County Fair And Art Show - August 2 – 9

Frontier Bank Local Summer Concert Series Presented ByMountain Town Stages - August 13, 20 And 27 (6 to 8 pm)

St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Outdoor Concert Series - August 17, 19, 26 and 30

Park City Jazz Festival 2008 - August 22 – 24

Arts And Eats Gallery Stroll - August 29 (6 To 9 pm)

Egyptian Summer Theatre - Wednesdays-Saturdays Through August 23

Farmers’ Market - Wednesdays Throughout August (12 Noon To 7 pm)

Sundance Institute Outdoor Film Festival - Fridays In August At Sunset (Around 9 pm)

Saturday Summer Concerts At The Canyons - Saturdays Throughout August 23 (6 To 8:30 pm)

Park Silly Sunday Market - Sundays Throughout August, Except August 3 (10 am To 4 pm)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Utah Celebrates Pioneer Day

Pioneer Day is a major holiday in Utah, celebrated every year on July 24th - the day Brigham Young led a group of pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley.

Many businesses and government offices will be closed Thursday because of the holiday. Communities throughout the state will hold parades and festivities.

The Days of '47 KSL 5 Parade in Salt Lake City is one of the largest such events in America. Held on the morning of July 24th, the parade route starts at South Temple and State Street, goes east to 200 East, south to 900 South, then east to Liberty Park at 600 East.

Early on the 24th, a large number of people will participate in the Days of '47 and Deseret Morning News/KJZZ TV Marathon/10K/5K Fitness Walk. The marathon starts at 5:30 am at the top of Big Mountain above Emigration Canyon and ends along the parade route at Liberty Park.

The Days of '47 website has a complete list of activities in the Salt Lake area.

Travelers need to be aware that traffic will be disrupted by the parade and marathon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bridge Work Will Slow I-80 Traffic Between Salt Lake and Park City

Utah is in the middle of one of the most ambitious freeway bridge replacement projects ever undertaken, replacing 12 bridges in a 2-month period. Much of the work is along I-80 between State Street and 1300 East in Salt Lake City.

During August, the Mountain Dell and Lamb's Canyon interchanges on I-80 in Parley's Canyon will be replaced. The Utah Department of Transportation is going to great lengths to minimize inconvenience to travelers. Using new technology, bridges are being built off-site and then moved to their final locations. This approach greatly reduces the need for road closures and detours.

Plans call for westbound lanes on I-80 in Parleys Canyon to be closed from 4 pm on Saturday, Aug 9, until 4 pm on Sunday, Aug 10.

And eastbound lanes will be closed from 7 pm on Saturday, Aug 16th until 7 pm on Sunday, Aug 17th.

Park City Chamber of Commerce has created this web page to provide information about the construction and closures.

Utah Department of Transportation has these video clips about the project.

The UDOT website has this summation of the project:

"ABC (Accelerated Bridge Construction), which will reduce delays from months to days saving motorists millions of dollars in lost work hours and wasted gasoline, will be used to replace 12 bridges along the I-80 corridor in a two-month period from late June through early August 2008. This currently is the largest and most ambitious bridge building project of its kind in the world."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Llama Fest Celebrates Andean Culture

Llama Fest XIII will take place Saturday, July 19, beginning at 4 pm, at KHQN Radio, South Main, Spanish Fork, Utah.

The event features llamas and showcases culture and art from the Andean region.

Llamas are popular in Utah for backpacking and as guard animals for sheep herds. The event started as an effort to get llama enthusiasts together but has grown to be a cultural celebration.

About 75 llamas will be shown. There will be an obstacle course, races, food, wool demonstrations, live entertainment, dancing and other cultural activities.

This event is family friendly. Admission is $3.00 per person or $1.00/ children. For more information call 801-798-3559 or 801-787-1510.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hailstones at Upheaval Dome

On Saturday I hiked to Upheaval Dome, a strange geologic feature in Canyonlands National Park. It was a fun hike, very enjoyable.

Fun even though it rained, actually poured for a little while, and then hailed. The storm provided a nice break from the intense heat of the desert. I took refuge under a pine tree and watched as other hikers scrambled up and down the trail, getting soaked to the bone.

One couple from France was prepared and donned lightweight plastic ponchos, which they had in their day packs.

More thunderstorms are expected this week in Utah's southern desert. They will be most common during afternoons and can be very heavy for brief periods.

Monsoon Season in Utah's Desert
This is the beginning of Utah's "monsoon" season. From now through the end of August we can expect thunderstorms to pop up, and they can cause significant flooding. They can be dangerous if you are hiking in one of our slot canyons, where water is channeled into a small space and there is no way to get above it.

Such storms can hit anywhere, at any time. They are an anomaly in our otherwise dry desert. The typical pattern has days starting with clear skies or puffy clouds, and then thunderstorms boiling up in isolated areas during the afternoons.

I was hiking in open desert country and so rain and hail posed no real threat. Had I been in a slot canyon, the storm that hit me could have been deadly. Never enter a slot canyon without assessing the weather. Listen to the forecasts. Check at the nearest visitor center or ranger station. Then, just before you hike into the canyon, take a final look at the sky and judge whether a storm is building.

Thunderstorms can hit quickly and they usually end quickly. Mine lingered. The intense rain and hail lasted only a few minutes but then light rain continued for some time.

In many parts of southern Utah, the terrain is almost solid rock. There's no dirt to absorb water. Rain runs off the barren sandstone, channeling into ravines and flowing down canyons. A dry canyon can be inundated very quickly.

Unfortunately, people die in canyon floods. There are fatalities almost ever summer. If you take care and watch the weather, you can enjoy recreation in our canyons while minimizing risk.

Upheaval Dome
Here's the official National Park Service page on Upheaval Dome. Below is an excerpt.

"Upheaval Dome is quite a different story. In an area approximately three miles (5km) across, rock layers are dramatically deformed. In the center, the rocks are pushed up into a circular structure called a dome, or an anticline. Surrounding this dome is a downwarp in the rock layers called a syncline. What caused these folds at Upheaval Dome? Geologists do not know for sure, but there are two main theories, which are hotly debated."

Recent evidence suggests the structure is the eroded remains of a collapsed salt dome.

A more romantic theory holds that a large meteorite hit there and the dome is the eroded remains of the impact crater.

Either way, it is a great little adventure. In my opinion, it is the premier hike in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands. See our Canyonlands hiking page for details.

- Dave Webb

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hikers Glimpse Heaven On Earth

The Miami Herald has three great articles about hiking our red rock country. Below are headlines and excerpts.

Zion National Park offers hikers a glimpse of heaven

''It's gorgeous. It's spectacular,'' Dave (Ford) said. ``I used to be a tour bus driver herding people through the Canadian Rockies. We used to show off things (we described) as spectacular, and they were nothing like this. These sandstone cliffs are spectacular.''

Zion is one of the nation's most-visited parks -- 2.6 million people arrived in 2006 -- but on the trails it feels much less crowded. Hit the snack shop at Zion Lodge in midafternoon and the line stretches out the door. But on the winding trail that climbs past Weeping Rock you may find yourself looking for company.

Isolation a welcome companion at Capitol Reef National Park

The payoff at the top of Chimney's 600-foot climb is sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding honey-gold, rust-brushed, varnish-dripping cliffs, domes and other rock formations that stretch for Capitol Reef's official 75 miles along Utah's Waterpocket Fold. The Fold is a monocline (a step-like fold in rock) that looks for all the world like a gigantic, gorgeous mistake, a crack with a dip and an upthrust of angry earth.

But without the Waterpocket Fold, there would be no Capitol Reef, which sits 220 miles southeast of Salt Lake City and 150 miles east of St. George. The park's name came from two unrelated visuals: The domes and cliffs made of chalky-white Navajo sandstone that line parts of the fold are reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol, and the park's impermeable ridges running perpendicular to the roads reminded early visitors of ocean reefs.

Hiking the Grand Canyon: No walk in the park

As we neared the Colorado River, the distance between us lengthened, with my wife taking up the rear 15 yards behind me. ''Save yourself,'' Janet wheezed. ''Somebody will find me later.'' A group of 20-somethings who'd sauntered smugly by hours earlier at Indian Garden, an oasis of cottonwood trees, picnic tables, running water and toilets, passed us on their way BACK to the South Rim. They looked absolutely miserable.

We were just sort of miserable, knowing full well that in a matter of minutes we'd be at Phantom Ranch, where we could pry off our hiking shoes for two days and relax. Sleep. Drink beer. Mingle with other hikers. Splash in Bright Angel Creek. Exult in our triumph and plot our trek to the North Rim.

Although more than 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon annually, fewer than 1 percent see the canyon from the ground up. Even fewer make it rim to rim, and it's easy to see why.

It's hard.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Utah Campgrounds on 'Best Of' Lists

ReserveAmerica.com books many National Park, Forest Service and state park campgrounds and other facilities around the country. Every year the company compiles statistics showing the most popular facilities for various activities. Utah parks and campgrounds rank well in this year's listings, as shown below.

See all the lists here

"The Top 100 Family Campgrounds were selected based on testimonials, campground ratings and feedback provided by park rangers, regional park management and campers throughout the year Nearly 4,000 parks were reviewed and the final 100 campgrounds were determined based on specific family- friendly criteria ranging from educational programs and visitor centers to camping amenities and overall beauty and scenery."

Top 100 Family Campgrounds
Bear Lake State Park-Garden City, UT
Fremont Indian State Park & Museum-Sevier, UT
Goblin Valley State Park-Green River, UT
Red Fleet State Park-Vernal, UT

Top 25 Amazing Spots
Dead Horse Point State Park-Moab, UT
Goblin Valley State Park-Green River, UT

Top 25 Biking Trails
Deer Creek State Park-Midway, UT
Jordanelle Rock Cliff State Park-Heber City, UT
Steinaker State Park-Vernal, UT
Wasatch Mountain State Park-Midway, UT

Top 25 Bird-Watching Spots
Dead Horse Point State Park-Moab, UT
Escalante State Park-Escalante, UT
Otter Creek State Park-Antimony, UT

Top 25 Canoeing Spots
Green River State Park-Green River, UT

Top 25 Educational & Historical Facilities
Anasazi State Park Museum-Boulder, UT
Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum-Fairfield, UT

Top 50 Fishing Spots
Bear Lake State Park-Garden City, UT
Cedar Springs-Ashley National Forest-Dutch John, UT
Deer Run Campground-Ashley National Forest-Manila, UT
Hyrum Lake State Park-Hyrum, UT
Otter Creek State Park-Antimony, UT
Quail Creek State Park-St.George, UT
Yuba Lake State Park-Levan, UT

Top 50 Hiking Trails
Antelope Island State Park-Syracuse, UT
Cannonville/Bryce Valley KOA-Cannonville, UT
Deer Creek State Park-Midway, UT
Escalante State Park-Escalante, UT
Fremont Indian State Park and Museum-Sevier, UT
Jordanelle Rock Cliff State Park-Heber City, UT
Kodachrome Basin State Park-Cannonville, UT
Jordanelle Rock Cliff State Park-Heber City, UT
Red Fleet State Park-Vernal, UT
Rockport State Park-Peoa, UT
Wasatch Mountain State Park-Midway, UT

Top 25 Picnic Areas
Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum-Fairfield, UT

Top 25 Romantic Spots
Rockport State Park-Peoa, UT

Top 50 Scenic Views
Dead Horse Point State Park-Moab, UT
Goblin Valley State Park-Green River, UT
Goosenecks State Park-Mexican Hat, UT
Kodachrome Basin State Park-Cannonville, UT

Top 25 Tours & Events
Antelope Island State Park Annual Bison Roundup-Syracuse, UT
Green River State Park-Green River, UT

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Outside Magazine Lauds Ogden City As Adventure Sports Center

Outside magazine recognizes Ogden City as a great place to live, work and play. The magazine ranks the community at #3 on its new list of the top 20 revitalized towns in America, behind Washington DC and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Deseret Morning News has this article on the ranking.

Outside magazine, a men's magazine aimed at promoting adventure travel, an active lifestyle, healthy living and enjoying the great outdoors, has listed Ogden as one of the best reinvented cities in the United States.

The August issue of the magazine hits racks today, and inside, readers will find a glowing tribute to Ogden and its metamorphosis into an adventure-sports capital.

Ogden to Host Outdoor Recreation Industry Innovation Contest

The information below is from this news release:

Ogden City announced today the "Concept to Company" contest, which aims to attract new product ideas and new companies to Ogden's burgeoning outdoor recreation business environment.

With the support of primary sponsors Zions Bank, Grow Utah Ventures and USTAR, Concept to Company may be the first competition in the nation to focus on spurring innovation in the outdoor recreation products industry.

The winners will be announced on September 27th as part of the City of Ogden’s "Mountain to Metro" festival. The contest is open to any Utah-based inventor or small business with a product or service idea that applies to outdoor recreation. Ideas should focus on skiing, snowboarding, cycling, climbing, hiking, paddling, and other non-motorized, non-fishing or non-hunting sports. The idea or invention must not yet be introduced into the market and must have no sales revenue.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Restrictions Imposed on Fires, Fireworks

The July 4th weekend is a time for fireworks, recreation and travel. Officials are trying to make those activities safer by imposing restrictions on fireworks and campfires.

Wildfires are already a concern in Utah. Monitor this website for current information on fires and how they impact travel and recreation. Here is information about restrictions on fires and fireworks in various places around Utah.

Washington County (including St George and Zion Park) has imposed strict restrictions. See the complete text; below are highlights.

The following acts will be prohibited until further notice.

1. Setting, building, maintaining, attending or using open fire of any kind, except campfires and charcoal fires within approved fire pits and grills in developed recreation sites and picnic areas and permanently improved places of habitation that meet certain specifications or except as otherwise authorized. Devices fueled by petroleum or LPG products are allowed in all locations. Zion National Park does not allow any campfires, but will allow propane or gas stoves and charcoal fires.

2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, camp trailer, building, developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared to mineral soil.

3. Discharging, or using any kind of fireworks, tracer ammunition or other incendiary devices in any location on federal, state and unincorporated private lands. (Note that these acts are always prohibited on state and federal lands)

The Deseret Morning News has this article on fire and fireworks safety. Below are excerpts.

Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Scott Duncan said troopers will be out prior to July 4 and July 24, Utah's Pioneer Day, looking for people slipping in and out of Wyoming with illegal fireworks. "We encourage our citizens not to do that and to buy fireworks in our state," he said.

Fireworks are illegal in Utah if they shoot in the air higher than 15 feet or travel on the ground farther than a 10-foot circumference.

"By this time last year we had a number of fires statewide," Buehler said. A wet winter and moist spring have helped conditions, along with what he said is a more safety-conscious public...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Keeping The Grand Canyon Humming

National Public Radio is doing a great series on America's National Parks. This one features the Grand Canyon, with insights on how that popular park meets visitor needs. It also contains great information to help travelers enjoy the park.

You can listen to this audio version of the report.

And they offer this narrated slide show.

They offer an effective use of multi-media technology to present information.
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