This week’s article has been written in collaboration with one of our readers, Kristen. She is a Utah resident and shared with me her top 5 outdoors must-sees in her state, from natural hot springs to hidden canyon – there is so much to see in Utah.
With summer just around the corner, these the have to be on your bucket list. Utah is the place to be when it comes to mountain biking, hiking and stargazing. If you want to wait until next winter, the snow is also fantastic but we'll come back to that at a more appropriate time. For now, let's dig into what you can do right now and throughout the summer.
A one-of-a-kind earthwork sculpture created in 1970 by the artist Robert Smithson. It is a 460m long and 5m wide spiral curling in the Great Salt Lake from Rozel Point made of 6,000 tons of black basalt rock and sand. Smithson wanted to showcase the interaction and unity of water and earth, having the lake water infiltrate the channels of the spiral. This hidden gem is located 2.5 hours out of Salt Lake City and because it has been built in the shallows of the lake, it can be submerged depending on the level of the lake. The Spiral Jetty was actually submerged for 3 decades after its creation and reappeared only in 2004. Some say it is bound to disappear again soon so hurry before it’s too late !
This is probably Utah’s best kept secret, only it isn’t so secret anymore. This absolutely stunning canyon hike is located next to the small town of Kanarraville with a population of about 400. A 6.5 km hike mostly through water of up to a foot where 2 waterfalls need to be climbed with the help of handmade wooden ladders and ropes bolted to the canyon. The town, who manages this hiking area, had to establish a hiking permit system allowing for only 150 lucky hikers to explore the canyon daily for a total of $12 per person. This helps to not overcrowd the hike but mostly to preserve and maintain this little piece of heaven. You can purchase your permit in advance or at the trailhead, but only if the daily limit hasn’t been reached.
The State’s first National Park is beautifully defined by its massive colourful sandstone cliffs, lush forested areas, gurgling rivers and striking desert offering a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts including hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, climbing, river trips and horse riding. This national park is as busy as it gets in the summer so get there early to avoid crowds and line ups. Here the early bird will get the worm. The most popular hikes are Angels Landing and The Narrows but I would recommend to go beyond that, there is so much more to explore. With a $5 wilderness permit you can go off the beaten paths on overnight camping trips and canyoneering trips. There is a daily limit here also and considering the crowds this park draws, you better reserve you permit ahead of time !
This 175-acre retreat is a true oasis in the desert that will make you feel welcome and at home, thanks to owner Mike and staff. The natural hot spring mineral rich water is flowing on the property at a consistent 75 Celsius, but don’t worry it has had time to cool down a little by the time you are soaking. The Mystic is rustic, eclectic and enchanting with vintage bathtubs, two pools for soaking, cabins from the 1800s and old buses available for rent if you want to spend the night. The resort is also a bustling spot for music lovers with its unique natural acoustique concert venue where no amplification is needed. Whenever you plan on visiting remember that it is BYOT – Bring your own towel ! For a truly restful experience, alcohol is prohibited on site so leave your Pocket Cocktails at home for this one.
Mount Olympus is the most recognizable mountain viewable from most areas in the Salt Lake Valley with its twin peaks and connecting ridge line. It offers jaw dropping views of Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountains at 2,750m. It is a steep hike up to the summit gaining 1,250m in elevation over only 5km. After a start in a green tree covered path, you cross the tree line and some scrambling is needed to get to the federally protected wilderness area at the summit. This is an absolute hiker’s dream where the top offers a stunning reward after a challenging hike. Pack up you Pocket Cocktails, it is now time to soak in the views.
Just when Utah there wasn’t much to do in that State. (See what I did there ?) It's the host of true natural wonders, which ones are on your bucket list ?
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