Arizona Getaway!

Over President’s Day Weekend on of my close friends got married in Phoenix, so my college friends and I made a girls trip and flew down for the weekend to celebrate! I arrived on Thursday and got to spend that night and Friday with my brother who recently moved there. It was so fun to catch up with Blake and his girlfriend! I hadn’t seen them since my wedding last May, so it was awesome to see their new home.


Blake took my friend Rachael and I to South Mountain Hike near his home in Tempe, and it was gorgeous! The weather was 65 and sunny and we had a blast exploring the desert. It was a really nice change of pace from the cold and snow in Utah.

For lunch we met up with my cousin and his family downtown Phoenix, and it was so good to see them and meet his baby girl Willow! I hadn’t seen them in a few years, so it was so nice to catch up with them and be with family in Arizona.


We met up with my other girlfriends who were in town and went to our friend Kelly’s wedding that evening. The weather and scenery were gorgeous! It was a venue out in the country next to the mountains, and it had a vintage/rustic feel. Everything was outdoors, including the reception and dance and that was something I had never experienced before. It was an amazing atmosphere and I had a blast catching up with my girlfriends and the bride and groom!





In the morning we went to OHSO brewery in Scottsdale and it was so cute! The back patio is huge and faces Camelback mountain. Every meal comes with a mimosa or beer which was so fun! Since we were so close to Camelback, we decided to do the hike afterwords! It was a gorgeous day and we had a blast hiking together and soaking in the sunshine. It was more challenging and steep than I anticipated, but it felt so good to do a hike again after only skiing for the past couple of months! The views from the top were also incredible!

The bride and groom hosted a cookout at their home in Phoenix that evening after the wedding, and it was a great chance to see them again and socialize with everyone at the wedding who stayed in town! They have the cutest back yard with a fire pit and it felt like a summer BBQ.


On Sunday my friend Haley and I had brunch at the cutest crepe restaurant in Tempe, and it was nice to have the morning to relax before our flight home. I left that afternoon and came home to a blizzard and freezing rain, so I missed the warmth immediately. I’m so excited to have friends and family down in Arizona so I can go back and visit often!


Escalante Road Trip!

I surprised Matt with a trip to Southern Utah this past weekend for our first Utah getaway! Our friends had been to Escalante and recommended a few hikes and camping in the Yurts (aka Glamping) 🙂 I booked one night in the Yurt, so we roadtripped early Saturday morning and came back Sunday afternoon! We had time to fit in two beautiful hikes and had a blast camping! I would highly recommend this trip for couples and groups of friends. The drive is only about 5 hours south of Salt Lake City.


This hike was the most unique and mentally challenging hikes we’ve done. It is 3 miles and 500 ft of elevation, but the challenge comes in fitting through the slot canyon. The trail is only marked with Cairns (rocks stacked to mark where the trail leads), and you do not get cell service; I would recommend downloading the map beforehand. We were lucky to meet someone who had done this hike many times before, so he guided us to the trail loop and through the slot canyons. We started going up Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon and that was a little bit wider throughout the canyon. I could fit with my  backpack on most of the way through. The most challenging part was scaling up the rocks at the beginning. Next, we went down Spooky Slot Canyon; it was a lot smaller so we almost got stuck a few times and had to turn around. I ended up carrying my day backpack most of the way and both Matt and I had to squeeze through some spots. You have to climb down some boulders about 10ft high, but there are ropes to guide you. It is definitely not for people who are claustrophobic, but we felt so accomplished after! We visited one wider slot canyon after and headed back to the car. The trail is about an hour each way on a bumpy dirt road, so we were glad we took the SUV with a higher clearance.


We stayed at the Escalante Yurts, and it was an amazing experience! The owners are fantastic, and we loved the size and amenities of our Yurt. We rented the smallest size, it had a King bed and a Queen pull out couch. They have yurts that fit up to 10 people. It had everything that a hotel room has like a bathroom, fridge, microwave, grill, heat & A/C, but it was located at a camp site. We were so happy we stayed here after a long day of traveling and hiking!


This hike is 5.5 miles and 500 ft of elevation. It follows the bottom of a canyon in Escalante National Monument along a river. The trailhead is located at a campground and easy to get to from the main highway that we took to get home. The the views were beautiful along the whole hike and the elevation was a lot of up and down. The waterfall at the end was amazing and it was probably the biggest I’ve ever seen. It was definitely worth the stop to hike on our way home!







Zion National Park

This past weekend my friend Maggie and I road tripped to Southern Utah to visit Zion National Park. It’s my first trip to a National Park in Utah, and it was an amazing experience. We left early Saturday morning and drove back Sunday evening. It was the perfect amount of time to fit in 3 hikes, camp, and explore the park and surrounding areas. I am so excited to share our favorite hikes and activities!


We left Salt Lake City at 6:30am Saturday morning and arrived at Zion around 11am. Parking is limited in the National Park, so we parked on the street in Springdale, UT and took the free shuttle to the park entrance. There is another free shuttle once you get into the park that takes you to 9 different stops with hikes at each one. That whole process took about an hour due to Saturday afternoon crowds. Angel’s Landing was at the top of our Zion bucket list, so we decided to spend our Saturday afternoon hiking to the top. It’s a 5.5 mile round trip hike with about 1500ft of elevation change. The first 2.5 miles are a series of switchbacks; the part of the hike with chains and a steep incline is about .5 miles long at the top. There are plenty of beautiful lookouts throughout the hike that you can stop at, especially for those who are not going to do the last part of the hike. The incline is scary looking at it from the bottom, but there are chains to hold onto almost the whole way up. Some parts are too narrow for people to go both directions, so we had to wait for groups to pass a couple of times. The views from the top were absolutely worth the climb, but I would not recommend for anyone who is truly afraid of heights or if the weather is rainy or snowy. The steep drop offs on each side are pretty intense. The way down was a lot easier and faster than the way up and the rocks are almost carved out into steps. Everyone on the hike is going at a different pace, so patience is key! I made sure to wear my Green Bay Packers shirt, and I met a lot of Wisconsinites and Packer fans along the way!

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On the way back from Angels landing, we decided to hike to the Lower Emerald Pools. It’s a 1 mile hike with less than 100 ft of elevation change. It is perfect for families and people of all hiking abilities. The waterfall was almost dried up from the summer, but it was still beautiful. It was a great way to end our Saturday in the park!




After our hikes we had dinner and a beer at the Zion Canyon Brewery, located near the Visitors Center at the edge of the park. It was a perfect day to eat on the patio and enjoy the views of Zion! After dinner we drove to Sheep Ridge Rd about 25 min outside the park where there is public BLM land to camp at for free. We set up our tent near a few other families with RV’s, but the wind picked up and it was constantly rattling our tent. We decided it wasn’t worth fighting the wind and not getting good sleep, so we ended up car camping and slept great! The next morning we woke up to the most beautiful sunrise over the park and then the storms kicked in. We knew that there was a chance of thunderstorms all morning, but we headed into the park again to take advantage of our last day. Although we planned on making camp food with our stove all weekend, we decided to grab coffee and breakfast at a local coffee shop in Springdale to avoid the rain and fuel up for our long hike.



After breakfast, we arrived at the park around 9am. Due to the storms, there was plenty of parking inside the park and no crowds. We took the shuttle up to our trailhead and started hiking to Observation Point. It’s an 8 mile round trip hike with 2100 ft of elevation change. It was a gradual incline the entire way up, so it was perfect for conversation and soaking in the views! Maggie and I met our new friend Claire on our Angel’s Landing hike the day before, and we had dinner together Saturday night. Claire was traveling alone, so all 3 of us went on this hike together! The rain, hail, and thunderstorms were on and off the entire way up, so we were glad we came prepared with rain gear and warm layers. It was a total 180 from the weather on Saturday, but it made the hike fun and less crowded. At the top, we were so close to the thunder and lightning, but it was pretty cool to see the storm roll in over the entire Zion Canyon. The views were incredible despite the weather, and the storms cleared up as we made our descent. The landscape of the hike changed so much throughout the 4 miles, and there were parts that looked similar to The Narrows hike. We couldn’t do The Narrows hike due to risk of flash floods on Sunday, but it’s definitely on my list for next time we visit Zion!


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Overall it was an amazing first trip to Southern Utah, and I can’t wait to visit the rest of the National Parks in this upcoming year!

Salt Lake City Girls Weekend

This past weekend was my first time hosting friends from the Midwest. It was so fun to show them around my new city and take them up into the Wasatch Mountains! It’s in between seasons here, where the temps in the city are fall temperatures, but the mountains are starting to get snow. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it was a blast hiking in the snow while the trees are still changing colors!


We started out with a short walk to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon that is about 1 mile round trip with no elevation change. It was beautiful with all of the fall colors and would be a great place for families and walking dogs! The snow hadn’t hit yet and it was the perfect temps for Mid October.

Stewart Falls is near Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon. The hike is 3.5 miles round trip and 650 ft of elevation. There was a little snow around the trail but it was melted and somewhat muddy on the trail. The fall colors were beautiful the entire way. The waterfall was very small at the end but still gorgeous! The views of Sundance Resort with snow in the distance were amazing as well.


This trail is about 3 miles round trip and 850 ft of elevation. When we got to this trail we weren’t expecting to see 14 inches of snow on the ground, but it was so beautiful! The snow wasn’t too packed down, so it was easy enough to climb without spikes or snowshoes. We saw a few backcountry skiers and snowboarders as well. The snow added a little time and challenge to the hike, but the views at the top were incredible. I’ve been on this hike 4 times now, and this was by far my favorite.


Lake Blanche is 7 miles round trip and 2700 ft of elevation. I’m glad we saved this hike for last because it was exhausting! The mountains got about 6 inches of fresh snow overnight and so it was snowy or muddy the entire way up. We were engulfed in clouds on the way up but they broke and the sun came out once we got to the top. The lake and peaks behind the lake were so beautiful. We stopped for lunch at the top and started making our descent as soon as the clouds took over again. The way down was extremely slippery and packed down, I would recommend spikes for anyone trying to do this hike with snow. We giggled the entire way down as we were trying to stabilize but slipped multiple times 🙂  It actually took us longer to get down than up because we were being so cautious. However, it was for sure my favorite hike of the weekend!


On our last night we decided to try the new bird electric scooters in Salt Lake and it was so fun! We took them from my neighborhood to local breweries and we had a blast touring town from the scooters! It was a little cold once the sun went down, but I can’t wait to use them again next summer!

Overall it was an amazing weekend, and I can’t wait for our next visitors in Salt Lake City!

Utah Fall Favorites

I’m sharing all of my fall favorites in hopes that you can take advantage of the beauty in Utah in September and October!


My friend Marisa and I did the Clayton Peak/Blood Lake loop in the middle of September. It was a steep, but beautiful hike as all of the Aspen trees are starting to change colors! I’m used to the leaves changing colors in October back home, so it was a sweet surprise to see it in September in Utah! This hike is at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon about 45 min from Salt Lake, and it was a beautiful drive up the Canyon road with leaves changing all different colors. This hike is about 3 miles round trip and 1500 ft of elevation; it’s steep both up and down, so wear good hiking shoes! Unlike the rest of Big Cottonwood, dogs are also allowed on this trail too! The views at the top show Park City Canyon on one side and Solitude and Brighton Ski Resorts on the other. I would recommend this hike for anyone trying to see the changing colors!


Matt and I hiked to White Pine Lake in mid-September. The fall colors are beautiful all of the way up and I would definitely recommend this for a fall hike. Although, the lake is partly drained this time of year, so the spring and fall would be beautiful as well. lists this hike at 9.5 miles, however it is closer to 12 miles round trip when you factor in the first part of the trail before it splits to Red Pine Lake. The elevation is 2700 ft, so it’s a gradual incline for most of the way up and steeper towards the end. This hike took us about 3.5 hours on the way up with plenty of breaks, we took an hour rest at the top for lunch, and it was about 2.5 hours of hiking on the way down. I would recommend starting earlier so that you can have shade most of the way up; we started around 8am and got home around 3pm. It’s definitely a full day hike, but worth it for the amazing views!


This trail is 2.2 miles and 700 ft of elevation, located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. We did this hike the last weekend in September, and the Aspens and fall colors were beautiful! There were two moose at the top near the reservoir, so we hung out for a while to watch them and take pictures. Once they got a little too close for comfort, we decided to head down and came across the most beautiful sunset! I’ve done this hike 2 times before, but this  time was definitely my favorite!


This hike is 4.7 miles and 1500 ft of elevation, located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. We also did this hike the last weekend of Sept. and I fell in love with the fall colors! I have hiked this trail once before back in 2017 with my college besties, and it was so much fun to do it again! The colors were beautiful from the beginning, and there was always something to look at the whole way up!


I’ve done this hike a few times in the Summer, but it was so beautiful in the fall! We did this hike the first weekend in October, and the leaves are changing every single color! It’s towards the end of the fall season in Mill Creek, but we still saw so many beautiful trees and the leaves on the ground were pretty as well. This hike is in Mill Creek Canyon, its 3.3 miles and 815 ft of elevation. The steepest part is at the beginning, but once you reach the pipeline trail, its flat to the lookout. We did the hike around sunset and it was gorgeous!

Labor Day Weekend Hikes

My sister-in-law Sarah came to visit us for labor day weekend, and we filled the weekend with so many hikes and activities close to the city! We managed to find 4 hikes out of 5 that we hadn’t done already, and they are now some of my favorites! Also, we learned to fly fish from my husband Matt! I’m going to outline all of the hikes on this post so you can try them too!


This hike is 3.4 miles round trip and 616 ft of elevation. It’s located between emigration canyon and I-80, so it’s a perfect week night hike after work! We loved the views of the canyon and reservoir below. It’s starting to turn fall colors already there too which reminds me of home 🙂


This hike is 3 mile roundtrip hike with 900 ft of elevation located at Brighton Resort. We did this hike Friday night just before sunset and it was so beautiful looking down the canyon! I’ve done this hike a few times before but never at sunset and I’m so excited to being skiing here in a few months!


This trail is 4.3 miles and 1800 ft of elevation located near Alta resort. We went on this hike Saturday with a group of friends, and the views were amazing at the top! Lots of elevation climb, but it was worth it to see the entire Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons from the highest point. I would definitely recommend this hike for a weekend, however it gets very sunny mid-day, so try to stick to a earlier hike.


After our hike we went straight to Oktoberfest at Snowbird Ski Resort, just down the road from Alta. My family and friends from back home celebrate Oktoberfest every year, so it was fun to be back celebrating in a new place! The live music, polka dancing, brats, and beer reminded me so much of home. It’s set right at the base of the mountain, which gives you great views! We had food, drinks, played cards, and listened to music for the afternoon. Definitely a new Utah tradition that we will enjoy every fall!



This hike is 7 miles and 2700 ft of elevation, and is rated as hard. This hike took up about half of our day Sunday, but it was worth it! The views the whole way up are beautiful and its a gradual increase the whole way. We took lots of breaks and finally made it to the top after about 2.5 hours. The lake is so pretty set into the mountains and there are so many lookout points and places to relax at the top. We spent over an hour at the top relaxing in our hammocks and enjoying lunch before descending. I’m planning to do this hike again in the fall and hopefully there will be snow on the mountain tops!


Matt taught Sarah and I how to fly fish this weekend. Fly fishing is something my Dad has done regularly when we were growing up, and I finally tried it! We went to the lower Provo river near Heber City, UT, about 45 min away from the city. It was a beautiful location and it’s perfect for trout fishing. It was fun to learn the technique and I even got a bite on my first try (but didn’t actually catch the fish 🙂 ). Overall it was a fun experience!


This trail is a 2.7 mile round trip hike with 528 ft of elevation. It was perfect to do after fly fishing in the morning and on our way home from Heber City, UT. It’s right along I-80 at the top of a neighboorhood, so it offers great views without a lot of effort. It’s popular for mountain bikers and allows dogs, so be careful if they come fast around corners.

Overall we had an amazing Labor Day Weekend and I can’t wait to share more hikes that we love near Salt Lake City!

Favorite Summer Hikes

Hi Everyone! Matt and I went on so many hikes this summer and we wanted to share our favorites! We hope that people who want to explore the Wasatch Mountains, but aren’t sure what hikes to go on can use our list 🙂


This is the first hike I went on after moving to Utah! Its 3 miles round trip and 700 ft of elevation, so it’s perfect for a beginner. There’s a reservoir at the top, and there are plenty of spots for camping, hammocks, and campfires! I would recommend this hike for a day trip BBQ or overnight camping!


This hike is 4.5 miles round trip and 1500 ft of elevation. It’s located on the outside of the canyon, so it’s easy to get to! There’s a large reservoir about a mile up that is perfect for taking a break. The last part of the hike is the steepest but it’s worth it for the city and waterfall views at the top! We have seen snakes on this hike, so be cautious!


This hike is 2.4 miles roundtrip and 1300 ft of elevation. It’s short but steep! The whole hike is in direct sunlight but gives a great view of the city and Wasatch front. I would recommend doing this hike earlier in the summer so you can beat the heat!



This hike is 3.3 miles round trip and 800 ft of elevation located in Mill Creek Canyon. The initial incline is where most of the elevation is, but then it connects to the Pipeline Trail and its mostly flat until you reach the city overlook. It’s great for a weeknight or early morning hike, and its sunny once you get on the Pipeline.


This hike is located at Alta Ski Resort, and it’s 4.8 miles round trip with 1200 ft of elevation. The first part of the hike is on the ski runs, but you can bypass this part by taking the service road to the top of the chairlift if you want an easier hike. The wildflowers and views are beautiful the entire way up and so is the lake at the top! It’s a perfect summer or fall weekend hike.


This hike is 7 miles and 2000 ft of elevation, located in Little Cottonwood Canyon. It’s a beautiful hike the whole way up and worth the steep climb for the lake at the top! Some of our friends were ambitious and hiked to the summit past the lake! I went on this hike with friends for my birthday weekend and it was a perfect hike to celebrate! 🙂


This hike is 6 miles and 2000 ft of elevation and is rated as hard. I did this hike on a week night after work, and would not recommend unless you’re taking it at a very fast pace! Next time I do this hike, it will be on a weekend with plenty of time to rest throughout the hike :). However, this hike was a great challenge and I saw a beautiful sunset from the top and even a mountain goat on the way down! I went with a hiking group and it was fun to meet so many new people!


This hike is 4.4 miles and 1250 ft of elevation. It starts from the bottom of Brighton Resort at the same trail head as sunset peak, but you can stop and Lake Mary or keep hiking past to Lake Catherine. The wildflowers are beautiful at Lake Catherine, so I would recommend to go all of the way if you have time! It’s one of my favorite hikes at sunset and to do on a week night.


This hike is 6.5 miles and 1000 ft of elevation. It’s biker and dog friendly, and has a good amount of shade in the morning and a gradual incline. It’s located 20 min north of the city in Bountiful, so it was a good change of scenery from the Cottonwood Canyons! You have to climb the rock at the top to see the views but it’s worth it!


This hike is 3.7 miles round trip and 1500 ft of elevation located off of I-80 E on the way to Park City. I did this hike with friends after work and it was the perfect distance. It’s a gradual incline the whole way, so it’s a great workout and mostly shaded. The views on the way up and down are beautiful, and I bet the fall colors will be too!


This trail starts in Mill Creek Canyon and is 4 miles round trip with 1300 ft of elevation. It was a perfect after work hike with my coworkers! It’s not too steep, so you can carry a conversation the whole way up 🙂 The sunset and views at the top are great!


This hike is located in the foothills behind the Avenues neighborhood and is 3.5 miles round trip with 1000 ft of elevation. There’s no shade, so I would recommend doing this hike in the morning or on a cooler day. The sunrise and sunset views are incredible from this hike!


This hike is 2.3 miles and 500 ft of elevation. It’s about 30 min south of the city, but it’s a great hike to go with families or dogs! I’ve never been on a suspension bridge in the mountains, so I though that was the coolest part of this hike. There are multiple trails/loops from the Orson Smith Park Trailhead, so you can extend your hike for longer if you want to!

We hope this list was helpful for people who live in Utah or who want to visit! 🙂

Summer 2018 Backpacking Trips

I wanted to share some of our favorite camping spots from our first summer in Utah! Our camping trips have included traveling to American Fork Canyon and the Uinta Mountains in Utah. American Fork Canyon is near Lehi, UT, about an hour south of the city in the Wasatch Mountain Range. The Uinta Mountain Range is about an hour and a half east from Salt Lake City (could be longer depending on where you hike), so it’s a great distance away for a one or two night camping trip! It’s far enough outside the city, so it isn’t as crowded as the Wasatch Mountain Range. It’s also higher elevation in the Uinta’s, so it’s a great way to escape the city heat in the summer! There is no cell service in either of these spots, so it’s a perfect way to be off the grid 🙂


Our first backpacking trip was with my husband Matt and my friend Kristin in American Fork Canyon in the middle of June. The trail head parking lot is located up at Silver Lake Reservoir, a beautiful place to swim!! I’ll share the details of our trip to the reservoir in a later post. However, the road to the trail head is a narrow, curvy, dirt road so be cautious! It was a beautiful, steady hike to the first lake, Silver Lake, and it was perfect for our first time with 30lb packs on our back! The last mile to Silver Glance Lake was less traveled and a lot steeper. But it’s definitely worth it for the quiet and views at the top 🙂 We spent one night there, and Matt was able to try out his new fly fishing rod at the top lake. You could say Matt is obsessed with his new hobby out in Utah!


The first time we went to the Uinta’s was in late June with a group of people from our college town of La Crosse, WI. Surprisingly, there are so many people from the Midwest that have moved to Utah and we have been connecting with as many people as possible! We started with an easier hike called Wall Lake, it’s low elevation and only 2 miles round trip. It’s pretty heavily trafficked, dog friendly, and you can swim and cliff jump at the lake! Warning, the water is super cold in the beginning of summer and there are lots of bugs!  Some of our group only stayed for the day, so it was perfect for them to hike in and out before sunset. We set up camp at the top of the cliff on the far side of the lake so no one was around us. We spent the day playing spike ball, cliff jumping, playing games, and having a bonfire! It was a blast, and we can’t wait to go back next summer!


In the middle of August I took a girls only backpacking trip with my friends Kristin and Lauren back to the Uintas! It was so much fun to have some girl time before Kristin moved back to the Midwest. We left on a Sunday and came back Monday, and we saw barely any people the whole route! This lake is closer to 7 miles round trip and has more elevation, so it was a good challenge. The trail head parking lot is the same is wall lake, but its farther past that lake and over Notch Peak. The views on this hike are incredible, and we passed about 6 lakes on our way to Ibantik (and you can swim in all of them). We camped a little before Ibantik because we saw the prettiest view overlooking 3 lakes and a big flat surface for our tent. The weather was much warmer overnight in August, I would recommend doing this hike later in the summer! And no bugs 🙂 The trail was very well marked, and we even saw some firefighters checking on a controlled forest fire farther back in the mountain.

Special thanks to Kristin who showed us the ropes on  backpacking and how to pack for a trip! We are also so thankful for our wedding guests who helped us purchase our camping and hiking gear on our registry! It is definitely getting put to good use 🙂

Some of the gear we started off with and would recommend to anyone living in Utah or out west includes (we found most items on Amazon or REI Garage Sales for cheaper):

Backpacking: 50-70L backpack, tent, insulated sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camp stove with propane, durable bowls/sporks, water filter, lighter, down jacket/hiking pants, 3L water bladder, Nalgene water bottle, bear spray.

Hiking: supportive hiking boots, trail shoes (for shorter day hikes), day backpack, water bladder

Next on our hiking and camping bucket lists are the National Parks in Utah! We hope to visit Zion, Bryce Canyon, Moab, and Canyonlands in the fall and winter season, and I’ll be sure to post our highlights from those road trips!