Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Colors Are Peaking in Northern Utah

If you can, get out and drive into Utah's mountains. Colors are peaking right now in northern Utah areas.

On Saturday I drove Hwy 31 between the towns of Fairview and Huntington, through the mountains in central Utah, and was totally awed by the beauty. I stopped at many of the numerous pullouts to take photos. Aspen trees are aglow, radiating hues of gold and amber, flanked by scarlet oaks and yellow river birch.

Hwy 31 is paved and well maintained, and is suitable for family automobiles. It is steep and windy in spots as it climbs to a peak elevation of about 9,800 feet. It is part of Utah's Energy Loop scenic byway, which goes through Huntington and Eccles Canyons. It is a great drive in any season, and is particularly beautiful right now.

Hwy 31 provides access to the Skyline Drive, a series of rugged dirt roads that follow along the crest of the Wasatch Plateau, from Hwy 6 on the north to I-70 on the south. The Skyline is ablaze with color right now - it is one of the most impressive drives you can ever make.

When conditions are dry you can drive the Skyline in a high clearance vehicle. But take care because when it is wet you'll have trouble getting through even in a powerful four-wheel-drive.

Several other routes also provide great views of the fall colors. In northern Utah I recommend these:
Alpine Loop
Flaming Gorge - Uintas
Mirror Lake
Nebo Loop
Logan Canyon

The color spectacular is moving south and colors will soon peak in southern Utah mountain areas. Down south I recommend these drives:
Brian Head-Panguitch Lake
Highway 12 All American Road
Kanab to Mt Carmel and Long

- Dave Webb

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ogden Lauded for Creating a Sports Mecca

The Baltimore Sun has this new article focusing on Ogden City and its rebirth as a major center for adventure sports. Below are excerpts.

With a 125,000-square-foot recreation center acting as an anchor, Ogden has reclaimed a huge swath of its crumbling center, filling it with restaurants, galleries and shops. The city has embraced projects that include a water park and mountain bike trails.

"We want to build our work force and our tax base and be known as the mecca for outdoors sports," (Mayor Matthew) Godfrey said.

"The growth in the outdoors industry is coming from start-ups," Godfrey said. "We want to be a part of that, and that requires a commitment to recruit, develop and retain them."

Grow Utah Ventures hopes to improve the odds by supplying a healthy helping of expertise. Ogden has set aside office space near established outdoors companies. Zions Bank is providing $40,000 in seed money. Experts at the University of Utah, Utah State and Weber State will advise the fledgling businesses. Venture capitalist Alan Hall will help devise marketing and sales plans.

Read the entire article.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Utah Ski Resorts Win Accolades

"Utah's ski industry is basking in the results of the latest annual ski magazine reader surveys."

That's the lead in this new article in the Salt Lake Tribune. It summarizes results from surveys done by Ski magazine, which has an older, upscale readership, and by Skiing magazine, whose readers are younger and more adventurous.

Below are excerpts.

"For the second year in a row - and fourth time in eight years - Deer Valley Resort was deemed the best in North America by the older, more well-heeled readers of Ski magazine. Its readers also listed Park City Mountain Resort at No. 5 and had seven Utah resorts in the Top 30.

"For instance, Ski's readers not only had Alta and Snowbird at the top in snow quality, but also rated Powder Mountain third, Brighton fifth, Solitude sixth and Deer Valley ninth.

"Access is one of Utah's strongest selling points, one that hit home with Ski readers. Seven of the top eight spots went to Utah resorts, led by Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. After Loveland, Colo., Utah's hold, which continued with The Canyons, Solitude, Alta, Brighton and Snowbird, in that order. "

"And, considering the social stereotypes Utah resorts must overcome to be viewed in the same league as the Vails and Tahoes of the world, Skiing's recognition of Harry O's in Park City as being the "Best Meat Market" and having the "Best Music Scene" is good advertising as well."

Read the complete article.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cedar City Listed Among Great Places To Retire

US News and World Report lists Cedar City as a great place to retire if you enjoy outdoor recreation.

Below are excerpts from the report.

"Cedar City offers unparalleled opportunities for recreation and theater."

"The Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival attracts visitors from across the nation."

"Cedar City is the gateway to Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Cedar Breaks, among others."

See the full report.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Visit, Volunteer at Parks on National Public Lands Day

Saturday, September 27, is National Public Lands Day. Utah's national parks, monuments and most other public lands will not charge entrance fees on that day.

Fees will still be levied for camping, boating and other activities.

On that day volunteers will participate in work projects to improve many public areas. See the National Public Lands Day website for information. To get involved, contact land managers in your area to learn about volunteer opportunities.

The Spectrum has this news article about the observation. Below are excerpts.

On that day, the National Park Service will join the other Department of the Interior Bureaus, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Utah State Parks to waive entrance fees, including commercial tour entrance fees and transportation entrance fees.

In addition to the Fee Free Day on Saturday, Zion National Park and other Department of the Interior Bureaus will offer an additional Fee Free Day on Sunday for newly naturalized citizens to the United States. This Fee Free Day will not include the Department of Agriculture or Utah State Parks. On July 4, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne issued a press release welcoming newly naturalized citizens to national parks.

"We would like to invite all of our neighbors to take advantage of these two days to reacquaint themselves with their local national park," said superintendent Jock Whitworth.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Heber's Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Top Western entertainers will be in Heber for the community's annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair, which runs Nov 4-9.

The event's mission is to "promote the cowboy way of life through music, poetry and art."

The event also includes a "Horse Show Extravaganza," top performing acts in Western entertainment; real East Texas BBQ, Western vendors & craftsman, horse clinics and the popular Cowboy Express train ride.

Entertainment includes: Country Concert with CW Star Collin Raye, Bar J Wranglers, Red Steagall, Ian Tyson, Michael Martin Murphey, Tom Russell, Wylie and the Wild West, Juni Fisher, Curly Musgrave, Belinda Gale, Doris Daley, Prickly Pair, Rich and Valerie O'Brien, The Quebe Sisters Band, Sourdough Slim and many more.

See the event website for more information.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Prime Time For Fall Colors

Today is the first official day of fall. Trees and brush in northern Utah are responding right on schedule, putting on their multi-hued coats as they start tumbling to the ground.

People enjoy driving Utah's canyons at this time of year, taking in the awe-inspiring displays of color and light. The next few weeks will be prime time to enjoy this stunning annual extravaganza.

Colors in northern Utah will probably peak during the first or second weeks of October. The display will move south and reach lower elevations as fall progresses. Zion Park area vegetation will wear fall colors in late October and early November.

See our Fall Color Tours page for information about scenic drives.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this new article recommending fall drives, hikes and bike rides, mostly in northern Utah.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Deer Valley Named Top Resort in North America - Again

Readers of Ski magazine rank Deer Valley as the #1 ski resort in North America. Nearby Park City came in at #5.

Deer Valley has this news release about the honor. Below are excerpts.

“We’re ecstatic, actually,” says Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley Resort president and general manager. “To receive this prestigious honor two years in a row is simply amazing. Everyone around here is all smiles. The fact that SKI magazine readers, who are avid skiers, travelers, and lifestyle enthusiasts, continue to give us the ‘thumbs up’ makes us very grateful and humbled to have received this award. Deer Valley Resort has been built around a commitment to excellence in service and to have achieved #1 among with other top world class resort destinations is truly an honor. As always, this award reflects the efforts of our many Deer Valley employees who give it their all every day to be the best, and to make Deer Valley the best.”

More than 20,000 SKI readers are surveyed for its “Top 60 Resort Guide” by an independent research firm. SKI readers ski an average of 23 days a year. The ski resort survey is the most comprehensive and longest-running in the winter sports industry. Some of the personal comments about Deer Valley in this year’s surveys include: “These people know how to care for their clients and their snow”; “It’s hard to go to any other resort after you have been pampered at Deer Valley”; “Deer Valley is great for families – we love just about everything about it”; “Nice terrain variety – love the lack of snowboarders”; “Deer Valley continues to improve a platinum product year after year”; and “Deer Valley has it all – a skier’s paradise.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Film Industry Brings $138 Million to Utah

Utah's unique scenery finds its way into many major Hollywood movies, and government officials are working to encourage that business. To that end, a study commissioned by the Governors Office of Economic Development found that that film industry contributed some $138 million to our economy last year.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this new article about the study. Below are excerpts.

"The governor's staff told lawmakers Wednesday that while filmmakers only spent $54 million in the state last year, the economic ripple effect of that spending was 2'5 times greater.

"It was the first time an economic analysis has been done on Utah's film industry.
"The state is increasingly trying to lure films to Utah, but state officials say Utah needs greater economic incentives to land them."

The Tribune also has this article about current films with Utah connections. Here's a key quote:

"It shows that we've been making movies in the state, that's for sure, and regularly and consistently," said Marshall Moore, director of the Utah Film Commission. "We've got a deep, rich indigenous film industry going on."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Explore Southern Utah's Alien Landscape

"Kathy and Craig Copeland have this interesting article in the Calgary Herald, where they describe southern Utah's canyon country as alien landscape. Below are excerpts.

"Suddenly nothing in sight jives with your conception of Earth. Your mental wheels spin furiously: no traction whatsoever. And that's the appeal of this exotic realm.

"Exploring Utah canyon country is as close to vacationing on a distant planet as we earthlings will probably ever manage. It's as otherworldly as it gets without requiring a spacesuit to step out of your vehicle.

"The first hint you've arrived on alien soil is the region's colour palette. It's as appetizing as it is arresting. Honey, mustard, salmon, tangerine, pumpkin, peach, coffee, and chocolate appear in distinct strata representing 300 million years of geologic history.

"Next comes the antigravity sensation of walking on sandstone. Known as "slickrock," it's frequently underfoot and rapturously liberating. The rock's gritty surface ("slick" is a misnomer) grants extraordinary traction, enabling you to negotiate steep pitches with Spider-Man confidence. And it's rock, so there's no vegetation to shunt you this way or that. You can follow your bliss.

"Why shoulder a pack and plod beyond? For the same reason Neil Armstrong didn't just peer out the window of his Apollo 11 lunar module once he'd landed on the moon. He came to experience, not just sightsee. So he went for a walk. You should too."

The writers go on to suggest hikes and lodging options.

Read the complete article.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Utah Shakespearean Festival Kicks Off Fall Season

The Tony Award winning Utah Shakespearean Festival kicks off its 2008 Fall Season this week by presenting Julius Caesar on Friday and Gaslight on Saturday.

The fall season runs September 19 – October 25

Besides Julius Caesar and Gaslight, the season also includes performances of Moonlight and Magnolias.

The Festival was named the recipient of the coveted Tony Award for America’s Outstanding Regional Theatre in May, 2000, and it has won many other awards.

See the festival website for more information.

utah.com has just added a video clip about the festival to our web page: www.utah.com/arts/shakespeareanfestival.htm).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Legacy Parkway Is Now Open

The parkway, long-delayed by controversy because it skirts the edge of fragile wetlands along the Great Salt Lake, is expected to significantly improve travel between Salt Lake City and points north (Bountiful, Farmington, Layton, Ogden...)

Innovation and compromise allowed the project to move forward.

The Deseret Morning News has this article about the opening. Below are excerpts.

The Legacy Parkway — state Route 67 — is the first parkway in Utah to be given the scenic byway designation before construction was finished. It will be a far different driving experience than I-15.

The road purposely curves frequently to enhance its scenic qualities.

Being farther west than I-15, its views of the Wasatch Mountains are extraordinary.

Semitrailers are not allowed on the highway, with the exception of during accidents or problems on I-15.

The Salt Lake Tribune previews the opening in this news article and this editorial. Below are excerpts.

Legacy Parkway will roar to life Saturday afternoon when Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and other officials lead state troopers in a motorcycle motorcade opening the new $685 million, four-lane highway in Davis County.

Preceding the opening will be a bicycle and foot race that morning along the highway to benefit a cancer charity.
The $685 million price tag for Utah's first parkway is high in terms of construction. But the scenic four-lane roadway running through south Davis County - given its transit through multi-government involvement, potential environmental disaster, political recriminations and the court system - has turned out to be worth every penny.

Fast forward to Saturday's opening of the Legacy Parkway, a very different roadway (than originally proposed) along a less-destructive route that skirts a massive nature preserve, has parallel bike and hiking trails, a 55-mph speed limit that reduces noise and fuel consumption, disallows heavy trucks and is, for a road, a thing of beauty.

Best of all, a heavy-rail mass transit option, the increasingly popular FrontRunner, is already up and running.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Utah Symphony Opening Gala - 'Ode to Joy'

The Utah Symphony opens its season with an all Beethoven program. Keith Lockhart will conduct, ushering in his final season as Music Director. The program includes Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto as well as his Ninth Symphony.

Friday, September 12, 2008 5:00 pm
The Symphony hosts a pre-performance black tie dinner and then moves to its opening night performance featuring Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," followed by a post-performance celebration.

To begin his final season, Lockhart returns with two of his favorite music icons. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson will perform Beethoven’s most admirable and artistically complex piano concerto. Then the Utah Symphony Chorus will join the orchestra for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

The Symphony will also present the all Beethoven program on Saturday, September 13.

Additional September and October performances include:
- A Waterbird Talk, September 24-25
- Judy Garland in Concert with the Utah Symphony, Sept 26-27
- Salute to Youth, September 30
- Land of the Midnight Music, October 10-11
- Marvin Hamlisch with the Utah Symphony, October 17-18
- Halloween High-Jinks, October 25
- Bruckner’s 4th – A Big Brass Show, Oct 31-Nov 1

The season runs through May.

See the Symphony's website or call 801-355-ARTS for additional information.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Provo, Salt Lake Lead US In Job Creation

The Provo-Orem community ranks number 1 in the US for recent job creation, according to a new study by the Milken Institute and Greenstreet Real Estate Partners.

Forbes has this article about the rankings. Below are excerpts.

"If you're looking for work, your best shot may be in Provo-Orem, Utah, the city with the best record of recent job creation.

"Raleigh-Cary, N.C. ranked second and Salt Lake City, Utah came in third. Washington state also had two cities in the top 10, Tacoma and Olympia.

"Texas cities have benefited from the large run-up in oil and gas prices in recent months, the report said, while cities in Utah and Washington saw job creation spurred by technology companies that have rebounded from the tech bubble earlier this decade."

The Provo Herald has this article about the rankings.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Utah Cultural Festivals

Two popular cultural festivals will be held this weekend, offering food, entertainment and plenty of fun. The public is welcome to participate in these activities.

Fiesta Mexicana
Sep 13 - Sep 13
Fiesta Mexicana is a 100% family oriented festival. Over 10,000 attendees enjoy the celebration every year with the best mexican food, international performances, cultural activities and great music.

This year, Fiesta Mexicana will celebrate the 198th anniversary of the Mexican Independence with the State of Chiapas Ballet Magisterial along with the magnificent sound of the traditional Chiapas Marimba, their colorful arts and crafts and other local entertainment.

A solemn civic ceremony “El Grito de Independencia” will be held by the Consul of Mexico and distinguished guests from the local community and abroad.
Fiesta Mexicana celebration is open to the general public with NO COSTS FOR ADMISSION.

Contact: Alfonso Ayala
Phone: 801 3475729
Admission: Free
Location: Washington Square
Address: 350 S 200 East, Salt Lake City
Web Site: www.fiestamexicanaslc.org
Accessible to those with disabilities

22nd Annual Festival of India
Sep 13 - Sep 13, Spanish Fork
Utah Valley’s Krishna Temple, located on South Main St. in Spanish Fork, will host the 22th Annual Festival of India on Saturday, September 13th from 4 pm.

After 21 increasingly successful editions of the India Fest, few people in Utah County are ignorant of the fact that, once a year, you can go to India without spending a lot of money. You can have India right in the middle, of all places, ... Spanish Fork!

Over 4,000 people attended last year’s celebration, and India Fest 2008 could be the biggest one yet, thanks to the enthusiastic increase of promotional efforts on the part of the organizers, the majestic, overlooking presence of the Krishna temple at the festival site, and a natural amphitheater which can accommodate thousands. Set around the Rajastani style, multi domed temple, the eight acre festival site will feature world class entertainment, cuisine, a gift shop, art, photography, cultural exhibits on India, a gala pageant of the epic Ramayana, the burning of a 20’ high ten-headed demon named Ravana, and spectacular fireworks.

Contact: Caru Das
Phone: 801 787-1510
Admission: Adults $ 3.00, children $ 1.00
Location: Krishna Temple
Address: 8628 S. State Road, Spanish Fork
Web Site: www.utahkrishnas.com
Accessible to those with disabilities

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Busy Fall at Utah's State Parks

Utah's state parks have scheduled a full range of activities for the fall season, everything from Junior Ranger Programs to guided hikes and biology lessons.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this new article listing activities at the parks. Check it out, there is something for everyone.

The Trib also has a good article about Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area: Flaming Gorge: Beauty and variety

Friday, September 05, 2008

Cedar City Sky Fest

Hot air balloonists will take to the skies over Cedar City Sept 12-14, as the community hosts its annual Sky Fest.

Balloons launch at 7 am. In addition, there will be radio control airplane aerobatics and static displays all three days, along with kite flying and other activities.

On Saturday the Lions Club will host a breakfast beginning at 7 am. At noon Saturday a remote controlled plane will drop candy to kids.

"The Saturday Night Glow" is a popular evening activity, with balloons and candles glowing at about 9:15 pm. There will also be live music by Two Much Fun Band.

See the event website for more information.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Salt Lake City Greek Festival

Salt Lake's annual Greek Festival runs Sept 4-7. It offers authentic food, dance, music and other cultural activities.

The lively event often attracts up to 50,000 attendees and also features art displays and both 5K and 10K runs.

Admission: Adult $3, Child (under 5) Free
Hours: Thu 9/ 4, Fri 9/5, Sat 9/6, Sun 9/7
Phone: 801.328.9681
Venue: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Location: 279 S 300 West, Salt Lake City
Web Address: www.saltlakegreekfestival.com

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Parunuweap vs the Zion Narrows

Everyone has heard of the famous Narrows hike in Zion - it is one of the most popular destinations in the national park. But few people have ever heard of its twin, a canyon called Parunuweap, which is just as beautiful and enjoyable,

The North Fork of the Virgin River flows through The Narrows and Zion Canyon. The East Fork of the Virgin flows through Parunuweap.

Few people know about Parunuweap because it is located in some of the most rugged country on earth. You can ride the park shuttle to the bottom of The Narrows, or drive a private car to the top, and then jump into the water and start hiking. But you can't get anywhere close to Parunuweap by automobile. You've got to hike to see this stunning area.

(The section of Parunuweap inside Zion National Park is closed to hiking. However, you can hike several miles of canyon on the east edge of the park, on land controlled by the BLM.)

I chose to explore Parunuweap over Labor Day weekend, looking for a great canyon without crowds of people. While hundreds waded up the Narrows, we had Parunuweap all to ourselves. We never saw another person during our entire trip.

The hike is very much like The Narrows, as you can see from my photos. The river flows through a narrow canyon, sometimes covering the entire canyon floor. The river is your path - you just follow it up or downstream. But Parunuweap is better, in my opinion. When you hike The Narrows you're in the water about 60% of the time. In Parunuweap it is more like 70%. And Parunuweap has more obstacles - including a couple challenging waterfalls.

Parunuweap is deeper, darker, more beautiful and more challenging - and there aren't any other people around. It's my kind of canyon.

I've now been in Parunuweap three times and I can't wait to go back. I'd love to do a week-long trek there.

I know of three ways to get into the BLM part of the canyon:

1 - Hike downstream from the Mt Carmel Junction area, following the river or a tributary. If you want to see the best of Parunuweap, and you come in from this direction, plan on a multi-day backpack trip.

2 - Hike along the ridge above Misery Gulch, into the center of what I consider to be the best of Parunuweap. You can also follow a technical canyoneering route through Misery, if you are up to multiple rappels and strenuous obstacles. You need good route finding skills to come in from this direction - there are no trails.

3 - Come in from Elephant Butte, on the south side of the canyon. From this trailhead it is a steep, rocky one-mile hike into the canyon. However, getting to the trailhead requires a serious four-wheel-drive trip through deep sand. Just finding this trailhead is an adventure requiring good route finding skills.

I'm not going to give more details. If you are interested, you'll have to hunt down the specifics. Just beware! This is the kind of adventure where people die if they are not prepared. If you get into the wrong drainage it may be impossible to get out. If it rains while you are in Parunuweap, or any of its side canyons, you'll be in serious trouble. In many spots you won't be able to escape flash flooding.

In Parunuweap you are on your own. There are no rangers to rescue you. No other people around.

Parunuweap is a spectacular destination, if you are up to serious adventure.
- Dave Webb
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