Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Stay and Ski Deals Provide Great Savings

The Washington Post and other newspapers are touting new "stay and ski" deals at some Utah resorts. The lead for this Washington Post article described 2 deals at Brian Head Resort. The article headline and excerpts are giving below.

What's the Deal? This week's best travel bargains around the globe.

Two ski lodges in Brian Head, Utah, are offering ski-and-stay deals. The Grand Lodge at Brian Head, which opened in December, has an Apres Ski Package starting at $189 per night (plus $23 taxes) for Sunday-Thursday stays through April 11. The package includes lodging, two adult lift tickets per day and two appetizers per day at the Lift Lounge & Patio. Booked separately, the package would cost about $276 a night. Info: 435-677-9000.

Cedar Breaks Lodge and Spa (888-282-3327) has a three-night package for $340 (plus $35 tax) for Sunday-Tuesday arrivals through April 6. Deal includes lodging and four lift tickets. Room-only price typically starts at $120 a night, plus tax.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Ride the Wind - Utah Gains Reputation for Kite Sports

In this article, the Salt Lake Tribune say Utah is gaining an international reputation for kite sports. Below are excerpts.

Coming to Utah » Sustained winds, rolling hills and higher elevations combine to make parts of the state a drawing card for kite-propelled fun.

"I'm kiting in the Bay area on water and wanted to try snowkiting," said Muzik. "This is one of the best places in the States. It has high elevation, more good winds, nice rolling hills and no trees. It's well-known in the sport.

The annual U.S. Open Snowkite Masters event, scheduled for Feb. 25-28 in Fairview Canyon, draws about 70 competitors and another 100 or so spectators including folks from Norway, France and Germany. First prize is about $300. Participants race over a 3-mile course.

Read the entire article.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Spring in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Nationalparkstraveler.com has this interesting article about visiting Arches and Canyonlands national parks during spring. Below are excerpts.

Arches and Canyonlands national parks are colorful siblings that are great to visit any time of year, but to spare yourself the high heat of summer one of the best seasons to visit is Spring.

Spring in the parks? Odds are great that the weather will be warm -- typical daytime highs in the parks are in the low 80s, nighttime lows in the 50s -- and sunny, so you'll definitely want shorts, T-shirts, a broad-brimmed hat, and sunscreen. Beyond that, hiking gear from boots to daypacks, water bottles or hydration systems and hiking sticks, perhaps some nice casual outfits for dining in Moab, and a shell jacket to deal with any rain or cool days that might arise.

These parks are almost like Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to negotiating them in a vehicle. Arches is small, not quite 80,000 acres, with one main paved road winding through it past most of the major geologic attractions. Canyonlands, by contrast, is a sprawling 337,598-acre park cleaved into three districts -- Island in the Sky, Needles, and the Maze, (four if you consider the Green and Colorado river corridors) -- that are somewhat far-flung and require a bit of windshield time to visit if you're traveling from one to another. None of this windshield time is boring, though, as the landscape you drive through is almost as stunning as that that lies within the parks' borders.

Spring-time activities run the gamut in these two parks. Certainly, hiking is the main attraction with endless miles of trails between the two. Some of the more popular hikes in Arches lead to Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, Park Avenue, and the Windows Section. In Canyonlands, exploring the Island in the Sky with its trails to Whale Rock and ancient granaries on Aztec Butte can fill up half a day, while longer treks in the Needles District can fill several days and more. Traveling to the Maze District is more involved, as noted above, but if you have the time a hike down to the Great Gallery is certainly worth the effort.

Read the complete article.

Note: The Great Gallery is not located in the Maze District, but is an isolated canyon not off contiguous to any other part of the park. It is well worth the visit.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Zion Park Sets Record For Visitors in 2009

(Note: The info below is from a press release provided by Zion National Park.)

Zion National Park Received Record Visitation in 2009

Zion National Park received a record number of visitors in 2009. Recorded visitation was 2,735,401, representing a 1.7 percent increase over 2008, the previous record year.

A portion of the increase in visitation may be attributed to the park’s Centennial celebration in 2009. Numerous Centennial events and programs brought visitors to the park throughout the year. In addition, the park’s backcountry continues to draw more visitors. In 2009, the number of backcountry users increased by 17.3 percent over 2008.

Visitation through the South and Kolob Canyons Entrances increased while visitation decreased through the East Entrance and in the Kolob Terrace section of the park. Compared to 2008, there was a 29 percent decrease in the number of visitors arriving by tour bus.

The park has set new visitation records four times since 2002. Since 1919, when the park was renamed Zion National Park, 88,904,937 visitors have entered the park. Visitation has exceeded 2 million per year since 1990. In the last decade alone, over 25 million people have visited Zion. The visitation records reveal that whether in good or challenging economic times, Zion National Park remains a very popular tourism destination.

Additional visitation information is available online at www.nature.nps.gov/stats.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Ski Utah With Travelocity Roaming Gnome

Utah edged out Tahoe in a Travelocity promotion to decide where it's Roaming Gnome would go to combat cabin fever.

People voters on the Gnome's Facebook page to decide the winner. And the results: 50.01% voted for Utah, 49.98% for Tahoe. Close, but Utah takes the prize.

More details about the contest will probably be released later today.

Ski conditions are wonderful right now at Utah resorts, and there are great deals to be had. Hotels and lodges near the resorts often sell out for President's Day weekend, but this year there is still plenty of availability.

Some very nice properties are offering specials right now. See our Ski Packages for details.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bryce Canyon Winter Festival

The popular Bryce Canyon Winter Festival will be held over Presidents' Day weekend - February 13-15, 2010.

Held at Bryce Canyon and nearby Ruby's Inn, the festival includes many popular winter sports and activities. Some of the more popular activities are listed below.

Snowshoe hikes
Astronomy workshops
Arts and crafts
Photography workshops
Archery biathlon
Cross country ski races
Kids snowboot races
Valentines dance

See the complete schedule. There is always food, music and fun.

Monday, February 01, 2010

See Bald Eagles on Feb 6 and Feb 13

Bald Eagle Day activities will be held in Utah on two consecutive Saturdays - Feb 6 and Feb 13. They provide great opportunity to observe bald eagles at fairly close range.

A large number of bald eagles winter in Utah - only a few stay in our state year round. So this is the best time to see the majestic birds.

Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources provided the info below:

Two chances to see bald eagles

On Feb. 6, eagle viewing will take place at sites in central and southwestern Utah. On the following Saturday, Feb. 13, Utah Bald Eagle Day will be celebrated at three sites—two in northern Utah and one in northeastern Utah.

There is no cost to attend Bald Eagle Day. Viewing times are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. except at the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area site, where viewing will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Feb. 13, viewing will take place at the following locations:

Fountain Green State Fish Hatchery, located east of Nephi. If coming from the north, take I-15 and exit the freeway at the second Nephi exit (Exit 225). After exiting the freeway, turn east on SR-132 and travel about 10 miles. About 1 mile before the city of Fountain Green, a Bald Eagle Day sign will point you to an access road that leads to the hatchery.

Once you reach the hatchery, you'll be given a driving map of the Sanpete Valley that highlights the best areas in the valley to view eagles. Literature, displays and bathroom facilities will also be available at the hatchery. If eagles are near the hatchery, Division of Wildlife Resources staff will set up spotting scopes so you can view them. Spotting scopes will also be set-up at a viewing location about one mile from the hatchery.

Rush Lake Ranch, located on the Minersville highway (SR-130) about 12 miles north of Cedar City.

On Feb. 13, viewing will take place at the following locations:

Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area (Compton's Knoll), located about 10 miles northwest of Corinne. To reach the WMA, take Exit 365 off of I 15 and travel west on SR-83 through Corinne. Stay on SR-83 until you get to 6800 W. (Iowa String). Travel north to 6800 N. Travel west on 6800 N. until you reach the Salt Creek WMA/Compton's Knoll Watchable Wildlife site.

Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, located on the west side of Farmington at 1325 W. Glover Lane (925 South).

In addition to seeing eagles at the WMA, you can also participate in activities that will be held at the Great Salt Lake Nature Center at the north end of the WMA. The activities include a bake sale and fun, hands-on activities for children. The activities—each centered around a bald eagle theme—will begin at 9 a.m. and run through most of the day. You can also see live birds of prey and watch a slideshow presented by HawkWatch International.

In addition to participating in the activities, you can learn more about becoming a volunteer at the WMA. Volunteers lead birding tours and help with other projects.

If you're traveling north on I-15, coming from Salt Lake City and other areas south of Farmington:

To reach the WMA, travel north on I-15, and exit the freeway at Exit 325. Turn left on Park Lane and travel west. The road will angle to the south, and you'll come to Clark Lane at the first traffic light. Turn right. Travel west to the first stop sign, which is at 1525 West, and turn left. Travel south to Glover Lane, and turn right. Travel west on Glover Lane for about two blocks until you come to 1700 W. Turn left on 1700 W. and travel south to the Great Salt Lake Nature Center. You can park in the parking lot.

If you're traveling south on I-15, coming from Ogden and other areas north of Farmington:

To reach the WMA, travel south on I-15 and exit the freeway at Exit 325. Go to the stoplight and turn right on Park Lane. Travel south to the next light, which is at Clark Lane, and turn right. Travel west to the first stop sign, which is at 1525 West, and turn left. Travel south to Glover Lane, and turn right. Travel west on Glover Lane for about two blocks until you come to 1700 W. Turn left on 1700 W. and travel south to the Great Salt Lake Nature Center. You can park in the parking lot.

Split Mountain/Green River, located north of Jensen and below the Dinosaur Quarry in Dinosaur National Monument (DNM). To reach the site, drive north from Highway 40 in Jensen on the road (SR 149) to the Dinosaur Quarry.

Your first stop should be at the staging area located just inside the DNM boundary. Displays and spotting scopes will be available at the staging area, and you might be able to see bald eagles and other raptors in the distance.

You can also see live birds close up! At least one live bird of prey—and maybe even as many as three—will be on display at the staging area.

From the staging area, biologists will direct you to other sites where you may have better views of eagles and other wildlife of interest. In past years, visitors have seen bald and golden eagles hunting and feeding, as well as prairie falcons, hawks, mule deer, river otters, pheasants, turkeys, sandhill cranes, porcupines, mergansers, Canada geese and other wildlife.

During your trip, you may also want to stop and visit the Dinosaur National Monument. The monument's dinosaur quarry is closed, but you can see a few dinosaur bones at a temporary visitor center near the quarry. The visitor center also includes a small bookstore.

Get a close look
"We'll set spotting scopes up at each viewing site so you can get a good look at the eagles," says Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR. "Biologists and volunteers will also be on hand to help you spot the eagles and to answer any questions you have."

Information about bald eagles, and wildlife watching and birding opportunities in Utah, will be available at each location. The materials will be available for free, or for a small cost.

The best time to attend
The best time to see eagles on Feb. 6 and Feb. 13 depends on two things.

If you want to attend during the warmest time of the day, attend late in the morning or early in the afternoon. "The warmer temperatures are especially important if you bring young children with you," Walters says.

Late morning and early afternoon also provide the clearest times of the day to see the eagles.

If you want to see the greatest number of eagles, attend between 2 and 4 p.m. "In mid-afternoon, the eagles start flying to trees to roost for the night," Walters says. "If you want to see the greatest number of eagles, mid to late afternoon is usually the best time to attend."

Items to bring
If you attend Bald Eagle Day, dress in warm clothes and bring waterproof boots. Also, if you want to get pictures of the eagles, bring a telephoto lens.

"The eagles will be some distance from the viewing areas," Walters says. "In the past, we've had photographers try and get close to the eagles. They ended up scaring the eagles away."

Utah's most popular viewing event
Walters started Bald Eagle Day in 1990 as a way to introduce people to Utah's wildlife. "Bald Eagle Day was started to arouse people's interest, whet their appetite and make them aware of the wildlife around them," Walters says.

Since it began, Bald Eagle Day has become Utah's most well attended, and one of its most enjoyed, wildlife-viewing events.

For more information about Bald Eagle Day, call Walters at 801-538- 4771, or Division of Wildlife Resources offices in Ogden, Springville, Vernal or Cedar City.
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