Arches National Park!

My friend Brianne from my hometown came to visit Utah this past weekend. We filled the weekend with some hikes around the city and made a spontaneous trip to Arches National Park in Moab! It’s about a 3.5 hour drive each way, and we had time for an 8 mile hike and a couple of lookouts to see the arches along the main road. It’s a beautiful park full of red rock and arches, but very touristy! We are glad we went and checked it off our Utah bucket list.

We decided to do Devil’s Garden Primitive loop trail to make the most of our day in Moab. It’s an 8 mile hike with 1000 ft of elevation change and is very gradual. We were able to see 7 arches along the way, each unique and a different size. It was an 80 degree and sunny day, perfect weather for down south! Later in the season it gets over 100 degrees, so we’re glad we fit in a trip before summer.

We fit in a couple of other hikes while Brianne was visiting, including Bell’s Canyon Reservoir, Avenues Twin Peaks, and Grandeur Peak, each a different view and landscape from southern Utah!

Bell’s Canyon is a 2.5 mile hike with 500 ft of elevation. It’s an easy after work hike and the views are great this time of year! We went Friday right after Brianne got into town.

Avenues Twin Peaks is a 4-5 mile hike with 1000 ft of elevation. There are a few different ways to get to the top, but we took the longer route and the temps and views were perfect this time of year! There were lots of wildflowers blooming as well.

Grandeur Peak is a 7 mile hike with 2800 ft of elevation in Mill Creek Canyon. This time of year was perfect, because almost all of the snow is melted and the temps aren’t too hot. The views of the snow capped mountains at the top were my favorite part. It was worth the tough elevation climb! I would like to try this one again in the early fall to see the trees changing. It was the perfect hike to end our weekend!

Spring in Utah!

Spring in Utah has been amazing so far! It’s warm enough to hike near the city and sit on a patio, but cold enough in the mountains to still ski. We finished up our ski season last weekend and while we had so much fun exploring the ski resorts, I am ready for warmth and hiking on the weekends! There is truly no off season in Utah, but we are excited to take a few weekends to rest before the craziness of summer starts. We have found some beautiful places in the city and mountains to enjoy the fresh air and blooms. It is beautiful here year round and we are soaking it in!

SPRING IN THE CITY

The Cherry Blossoms at Capitol Hill are one of my favorite places to visit this spring! My friend Katie and I went to see the blossoms the other weekend and they were gorgeous! We walked all along the outside of the capitol to see the blooms and beautiful views of the city from above. I would highly recommend checking this out soon if you are in Utah!

 

Matt had some college friends Tyler and Mel visit and we took them to the capitol and on a sunset “hike” in the Avenues neighborhood. It was so fun to show them our new city and go on a few hikes as well!

SPRING HIKES

My friends McKenzie, Katie, and I hiked Gobblers Knob the other weekend. It was a gorgeous but snowy hike halfway up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The views were incredible with all of the spring snow we got, but we weren’t prepared with snow shoes. We went up about 1.5 miles before sinking to our hips in the snow every step and turned around. It was a great workout, but we are definitely going to wait until more snow melts before hiking in that high of elevation again! Afterwords we treated ourselves to brunch at Silver Fork Lodge about a mile up the canyon from the trail head. I highly recommend this restaurant; they also have the cutest patio for summertime!

 

As a part of a hiking group we joined, Wasatch Wednesday, our first hike of the season was Mount Van Cott. We joined our friends Katie and Sam on this 3 mile round trip hike in the foothills with 1300 feet of elevation. It was challenging but had lots of switchbacks to help ease the elevation gain. We would recommend this hike in the spring since all of the snow has melted! It was beautiful at sunset as well.

 

Some other Wasatch Wednesday Hikes we’ve done are Heughs Canyon, Mt. Wire, and Rattlesnake Gulch. Heughs Canyon is a 3.5 mile hike with 1900 ft of elevation. Some parts of the trail were steep but overall it was shaded and a great week night hike. The trail head starts in a neighborhood but turns into a wooded trail alongside a creek and leads to a waterfall at the top. To get to the waterfall, you have to cross a wall of boulders but the views at the end were worth it.

Mt. Wire is a 5 mile trail with 2000 ft of elevation change. It is located in the foothills and has a great view of the Wasatch and city at the top. It is a steep climb and took us about 2.5 hours to do. It was muddy and slippery when we went after a rain storm, but worth the climb.

 

Rattlesnake Gulch is a 3.5 mile trail in Mill Creek Canyon with 800 ft of elevation change. The first half of the hike has all of the elevation, then it meets up with the pipeline trail to the city lookout point. This is a great sunset and week night hike!

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Adams Canyon is a 3.5 mile hike with 1400 ft of elevation located north of Salt Lake in Layton. It’s exposed and sunny at the bottom, but becomes shaded and follows the creek to a waterfall at the top. The water was too high for us to access the waterfall without scaling up part of the mountain, so we decided to not hike to it. Our friends did and said it was beautiful, so we will definitely be back in the fall!

Diamond Fork Hot Springs is located in Spanish Folk Canyon about 1 hour south of Salt Lake. It’s 4.5 miles and 600 ft of elevation, a gradual hike with a waterfall and 3 hot springs located at the top. We spent about an hour at the hot springs and they were incredible. The temps were perfect and we got there after a large crowd of people left. Due to limited parking and crowds, I would go early in the morning or at sunset on a weekend.

EASTER

We spent our first Easter as a married couple in Salt Lake, and while it was hard to be away from family in the Midwest, we had a great time celebrating! We had brunch in the morning with our friends Lauren and Derek, and went to our church in the afternoon. They rented a special venue downtown for Easter service, and it was beautiful and uplifting!

 

Escalante Spring Camping Trip

Our friends Katie & Sam planned a camping trip to Southern Utah the last weekend in March. We made the 5 hour road trip from Friday evening and drove back on Sunday afternoon. It was fun to experience Escalante with friends and camp this time instead of staying in the Yurts. We even got to celebrate two of our friends getting engaged! While the camping weather wasn’t ideal (25 degrees overnight), we embraced it and soaked in the sun on our hikes during the day!

Saturday

After getting to camp around 11:30pm and sleeping in below freezing temperatures, we were all trying to warm up and drink all the coffee on Saturday morning. After breakfast we made the short drive to Spooky and Peek-a-boo slot canyons. We hiked the 3 mile loop with our group of 12 and it was a blast! The sun made the hike so warm and I had a great experience hiking these slot canyons for the second time. It came with challenges like climbing down boulders and sneaking through the narrow parts of the canyon.

After eating a quick lunch we kept making our way down the dirt road to Coyote Gulch trailhead. We hiking on the opposite side of the road and made our own path to sunset arch. There was no one around, so it was the perfect time and place for our friends Emma and Davis to get engaged. He proposed on top of the arch (amazing!) and we got to celebrate them with champagne right after. We made our way back to camp after some pictures and had a campfire, dinner, and drinks to celebrate the engagement!

SUNDAY

After a long day of hiking and a 10 degree temperature difference overnight (YAY 35 degrees!) we all slept amazing and were refreshed for our last day. The next morning we packed up camp and headed to our next hike, Lower Calf Creek Falls. It’s a 5 mile hike with little elevation change that leads to a beautiful waterfall! The canyons and views along the trail are incredible as well. We took some pictures and made our way back to the car for a lunch and the long drive home. Overall it was an amazing trip with friends and I can’t wait for more this summer and fall! Next time I’ll be more prepared with layers and warm blankets for overnight. The foot and hand warmers were definitely needed! Thanks to our friends Sam and Katie for planning the whole thing!

Finding Joy from the Outdoors

As a part of the Gratitude and Happiness Committee at work, I was asked to write a blog post on how I’ve connected to nature and how it’s benefited me mentally and physically. I thought I’d share this article on my personal blog too!

This time of year has me feeling grateful for all of the outdoor activities in Utah. How lucky am I to live in a place where it’s possible to explore the mountains any day of the week? The spring is especially my favorite, because I can choose to ski, hike, or road trip to the national parks down south when it comes time for the weekend.

I feel lucky that job opportunities brought my husband and I from the Midwest to Utah. Living close to the mountains and national parks was always a dream of mine, and now it is finally happening. My mental and physical health always improves from being outside, and I love that there is no “off season” in Utah where you’re stuck inside hibernating and waiting for Spring to come. The Wasatch Mountains, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon are among some of the most beautiful places in the world and they are right in our backyard.

In my ten months of living in Utah so far, I’ve been able to see Bryce Canyon, Zion, Escalante, and hike or ski almost every weekend in the Wasatch. I went to Bryce Canyon this past weekend, and it was amazing to see it snow covered and experience what the park has to offer in different seasons. Escalante is a national monument full of slot canyons to explore and waterfalls to see; we went there last fall and stayed in the Yurts and they were so beautiful. I went to Zion in the fall and we did Angel’s Landing and Observation Point hikes. I can’t wait to head back to this park and explore more and see the rest of the national parks in Utah.

My favorite time to hike in the Wasatch has been the fall. The leaves start to change, the crisp feeling in the air, warm layers and the sun shining makes it the perfect escape from the city. Fall is one of my favorite times of year, you can see and feel so much of nature changing around you. Some of my favorite hikes are tucked away in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons and the hiking scenery and weather is perfect during September and October. Utah has such an amazing variety of places where you can check out all the changing colors and different trees as well. Some of my favorite hikes so far are Lake Blanche, Red and White Pine Lake, Lake Mary at Brighton, and Cecret Lake at Alta. I love hiking after work, and for those hikes I tend to stick to the foothills or behind the Avenues neighborhood so that I can fit in a quick hike before dinner and sunset. I also joined a hiking group this year that will take group hikes once a week after work in the Spring through Fall; it’s a great way to meet new people and explore new parts of the Wasatch!

No matter how short or long I hike, just getting outside makes life so much happier! I feel so much joy from exercising and being outside, and Utah makes it so easy to do those things. I felt especially joyful during the winter this year, which has not always been the case living in the Midwest. I was able to ski every weekend with my Brighton ski pass and some weekdays with the Clearlink ski passes. My favorite resorts have been Alta, Deer Valley, Park City/Canyons, and Snowbasin. Something else I do to get fresh air during the work day all year long is take a walk outside at lunch. Just a 15 min break and fresh air can make a big difference with my energy levels in the afternoon!

There are so many beautiful places to explore near Salt Lake and in Utah, and I am so thankful to live here and be able to share it with friends and family. The mountains truly make me feel grateful and happy. With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, I hope you’re able to get outside and appreciate this beautiful place we live in. 

Bryce Canyon National Park

This past weekend Matt and I took a road trip with our friends Kate and Jeremy to Bryce Canyon National Park, 4 hours south of Salt Lake. We left Friday morning and got back to Salt Lake on Sunday afternoon, and we were able to fit in 4 different hikes! It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and the fresh snow made the red rock and hoodoos even more breathtaking. While it was more like winter weather when we got there, it was fun to explore new trails inside and outside of the National Park!

FRIDAY

When we got to the National Park on Friday afternoon, we saw that hiking options were very limited due to heavy snow amounts and avalanche warnings. We opted to hike the rim trail that day since it was the only hike open in the park. The views were incredible after the snowstorm they had earlier that week, and we had a blast exploring the amphitheater section of the park and going to the different lookouts.

SATURDAY

Since we covered most of what was open in the park on Friday, we decided to explore Red Canyon on Saturday. This canyon is on the way into the Park, so it’s only a 15 min drive from where we were staying. We did a hike called Golden Wall Trail, it was a 4.5 mile hike that took us back into the canyon and had incredible views of the hoodoo’s and red rock. When the snow got too deep to trek through, we went off trail and hiked up to the top. The 360 degree views were incredible and we ate lunch up there before making our way back. Our friend Jeremy sled down part of the back side of the mountain, and he had so much fun we all decided to join and sled down the mountain instead of going back on the trail. It was so much fun! After it became too flat to sled, we made our way through the deep snow until we got back to the trail head. It was an adventure to say the least! We decided to cross the highway and do a few shorter hikes before heading back to our hotel. We spent the afternoon hiking Pink Ledges and Bird’s eye trails and the snow was completely melted on this side of the canyon. The views and hoodoos were amazing here too!

SUNDAY

We started the morning early by catching the sunrise at Sunrise Point in the National Park. The views were amazing and we got there early enough to watch the whole sunrise. The pictures don’t do this place justice 🙂 After the sunrise, we did one more hike before heading back to Salt Lake. At dinner on Saturday we had a hike recommended to us that is part of the National Park and was the only other hike open to the public. It has a cave and waterfall, and we went of the trail and did some exploring on our own. We found a beautiful hole in the red rock with the light pouring in and walked along the river up to the top.

 

Over all we had an amazing trip and are so glad we went, despite the weather. We can’t wait to explore the rest of the National Parks in Utah and come back here in the fall when the temps are a bit warmer 🙂

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.

FRIDAY

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.

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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!

 

 

 

SATURDAY

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.

SUNDAY

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.

PEEK-A-BOO & SPOOKY SLOT CANYONS

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.

YURT CAMPING

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!

LOWER CALF CREEK FALLS

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!

ANGELS LANDING

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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LOWER EMERALD POOLS

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!

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BLM LAND CAMPING/RESTAURANTS

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.

 

OBSERVATION POINT

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!

BRIDAL VEIL FALLS & STEWART FALLS

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.

LAKE MARY AT BRIGHTON

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

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!

BIRD SCOOTERS

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!

GUARDSMANS PASS

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!

WHITE PINE LAKE

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. Alltrails.com 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!

WILLOW HEIGHTS

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!

DOG LAKE VIA MILL D NORTH TRAILHEAD

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!

RATTLESNAKE GULCH TO PIPELINE TRAIL

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!