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!
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!
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!
Jackson Hole, WY was one of the places my family and I visited before I went off to college. We did an entire west coast road trip, and this was one of my favorite spots! Since I moved to Salt Lake City, I couldn’t wait to go back. Two of my friends from work wanted to visit as well, so we road tripped for the weekend and it was so fun to be back!
Jackson Hole is a 5 hour drive from Salt Lake, so we started driving around 6am Saturday Morning. It was worth the early wake up call to get there by noon and check into our hotel before adventuring at the ski resort! We stayed at the Snow King Lodge in Jackson Hole, a beautiful hotel right up against the mountains.
We drove to the ski resort about 20 miles out of town, and we took the big ski gondola up to the top of the mountain. We were at around 10,000 ft of elevation at the top, and you could definitely feel the thin air. We were happy we decided to ride to the top and hike down instead of the other way around 🙂 The views from the top were so beautiful! You were surrounded by mountains and you could see Grand Teton National Park from there. We rode a smaller gondola down after our hike and had lunch at the bottom of the mountain. It was fun to revisit the same spots my family had been just 6 years earlier!
Next we visited Grand Teton National Park. We didn’t have time for a full hike, but we swam in Jenny Lake, one of the most popular lakes in the Park! The views were spectacular and the water felt so fresh and clean. We came close to a bear on the hiking trail to the lake, but thank goodness someone warned us before and we quickly turned around.
When we got back to town we had dinner and drinks at Melvin Brewery. We made sure to pick up some Utah beer to bring back to our Husbands!
We explored downtown Jackson on Sunday and grabbed brunch at the Genevieve Cafe, it was so cute! The downtown has a western feel and is touristy. We did some shopping before checking out of our hotel and heading to our white water rafting adventure. We went rafting on the snake river with Dave Hansen Rafting Company and it was a blast! We got to meet so many people from all over the country who were vacationing in Jackson and the experience was so fun. After a few hours on the water, we made the trip back to Salt Lake on Sunday evening.
I can’t wait to go back to Wyoming and spend more time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks next summer!
My husband Matt and I road tripped to South Lake Tahoe, NV for our friends wedding in September! It was a beautiful destination for a wedding, and we are so happy we could be there to celebrate with the new Mr. & Mrs. Orr! Tahoe is about an 8 hour drive from Salt Lake City, but we made a couple of stops along the way to break the trip up.
On Friday we road tripped to Reno, NV and stayed with some friends from Wisconsin. Saturday bright and early we went to the largest Air Balloon Festival in the country! People from all over the world come to race their air balloons around different parts of the city. It was amazing to be up close to see them inflate take off the ground. We got to see the sunrise as all of the air balloons were taking off, and it was one of the coolest experiences!
After the air balloon festival, we drove about an hour to Lake Tahoe where we had a beach day! The beach is hard to come by in Utah, so it was something we missed from back home in the Midwest and wanted to do while we were here. We parked at the Chimney beach trail head at the east end of Lake Tahoe and made the short hike down to the beach. It was a beautiful, quiet beach and we were some of the first people there that morning. The water was so blue, calm, and clear, something we had never seen before in a lake! The temperature was perfect for swimming and felt so refreshing. We hung out, swam, had a picnic, took a nap, and rode the waves in our inflatable tubes as the water picked up in the afternoon. It felt like we were at a wave pool back home in the WI Dells! It was definitely worth the trip.
After the beach, we drove about a half hour to South Lake Tahoe, were the wedding would take place. We got ready at our hotel and walked to the Edgewood Tahoe venue. It was a beautiful venue right on the water, and it had the prettiest views! We attended the wedding and got to meet so many new friends! It was a perfect night to celebrate and the sunset was amazing!
The next morning we checked out and went on a short hike overlooking the lake on our way out of town. It was a perfect 1 mile hike to stretch our legs before the long drive home! We definitely made the most of our 24 hours in Lake Tahoe, and we can’t wait to make this a yearly trip! Next time we’ll make it a long weekend and do some more hiking! 🙂
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 🙂
DOG LAKE-LAKE MARY LOOP
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.
OKTOBERFEST AT SNOWBIRD
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!
SHORT STACK TRAIL
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!
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!
BELLS CANYON TRAIL TO LOWER FALLS
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.
CECRET LAKE FROM ALBION BASIN
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.
RED PINE LAKE
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! 🙂
SUNSET PEAK VIA BRIGHTON LAKES
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!
LAKE CATHERINE/MARY VIA BRIGHTON LAKES
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.
BIG ROCK VIA ELEPHANT ROCK TRAIL
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!
DESOLATION TRAIL TO SALT LAKE OVERLOOK
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!
DRAPER SUSPENSION BRIDGE LOOP
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! 🙂
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 🙂
SILVER GLANCE LAKE
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!
On May 27, 2018 I married my husband Matthew Krier, my college sweetheart and man of my dreams! We chose to get married in my hometown and our alma mater, La Crosse, WI. I’m so excited to share the details of our Wedding Day and photos by the lovely Jennifer Jane Photography! It was the perfect day surrounded by our families and closest friends that we will remember forever.
The girls spent the morning getting hair and makeup done at About Face Salon in Onalaska. Our makeup artist Kathleen did airbrush makeup, and we were so happy with how natural and beautiful everyone’s makeup turned out! It was 97 degrees and 90% humidity for our wedding day, and it lasted all day. We had four hair stylists and our up-do’s turned out great! After the salon we went to The Charmont Hotel, a beautiful boutique hotel in La Crosse. We took pictures in our robes and got our dresses on. I also did a first look with my mom and the bridesmaids, and it was so fun! I found my dress at Annika Bridal Boutique in Edina, MN and I ordered the girls dresses from JCrew Factory. The matching robes were from Amazon, the girls necklaces were from Etsy, and the shoes were from Target. I wanted to go with a simple, classic look and find dresses that the girls could wear again! 🙂 The guys got ready at the Courtyard Marriott hotel in La Crosse. Their suits were from Knights Menswear in Rochester, MN.
THE WEDDING PARTY
Our wedding party was so special to us, and they made our wedding day so much fun!! I had two Maids of Honor, Kristin and Jess, and my bridesmaids included my college friends Haley, Niki, and Lauren, my childhood friends, Sarah and Gabby, and my sister-in-law Sarah. Matt’s Best Man was his brother Jon, and groomsmen included his childhood friend Spencer, college friends Mitch, Nick, Jerod, Eric, and Jake, and my brother Blake. My Personal Attendant Emily and our Usher Andrew helped keep us organized and they did so much to help with our wedding day!
THE FIRST LOOK
The first look was so special to Matt and I. Our ceremony was right before the reception, so we decided to take all of our pictures beforehand and have a quiet moment to ourselves before the wedding. One of our favorite spots in La Crosse is at Riverside Park down by the water, so we decided that was the best place for our first look. The pictures speak for themselves, but Matt’s reaction to seeing me in my wedding dress was priceless. I will cherish this moment forever!
Our venue had the most beautiful outdoor ceremony space overlooking the Mississippi River and the iconic blue bridge. Despite the heat, we managed to have our outdoor ceremony. Our friends Gabby and Jake sang “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran as the wedding party walked down the isle and “Marry Me” by Train as I walked down with my Dad. We are so happy they agreed to sing for us and it made our ceremony that much more special. Our officiant Ray was my youth pastor growing up and he did a wonderful job capturing our love story and centering our ceremony around Christ. We braided the Chord of Three Strands during our ceremony, which symbolizes God, Matt, and I becoming one and how we need to rely on God to strengthen our marriage and keep Him at the center. Our Maid of Honor Kristin read Colossians 3:14-19 and our Best Man Jon read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. The best part of the ceremony was dancing down the aisle to “You Make my Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates after our first kiss!
It was so special to have our immediate and extended families there to celebrate our day with us! We can not thank our parents enough for the love and support they showed us throughout our planning and wedding day! I am so lucky to have married into the Krier Family and Matt into the Reynolds family. Being far away from our families in Utah is not easy, but looking back at these pictures gives me so much joy! There was no better way to send us off out West than our Wedding Day, surrounded by the people we love most!
For a while now, I had dreamed of getting married at The Cargill Room downtown La Crosse, a beautiful venue right next to the Mississippi River. We booked the venue almost a year in advance and luckily they had one date left in the summer of 2018! We wanted an outdoor ceremony and our venue allowed us to have the ceremony and reception all in the same place! They also take care of so many things for you, including a wedding coordinator, the food, drinks, setup and tear down, the table settings, and some of the decorations! It made the planning so much easier and our coordinator Jessica helped us stay organized throughout the whole planning process and day of. We are so thankful for the entire team at The Cargill Room for making our venue dreams come true!
We wanted to keep our decorations classic and simple because our Venue was already so beautiful! Monet Floral created our bridal party bouquets, boutonnieres, floral arch for the ceremony, and eucalyptus table runners for the reception. They made my vision come to life! Our entry way decorations were mostly made up of letter boards, engagement pictures, our guest book, table assignments, and wooden signs made by Coco & Spice Crafts. Our centerpieces included cylinder vases with floating candles surrounded by eucalyptus or floral bouquets re-used from our bridal party (an excellent way to save money on flowers). We also had twinkly lights hanging behind the head table that popped at sunset!
The speeches at our wedding were so special to us! First was the Maids of Honor speech from Jess and Kristin. They went back and forth with their favorite memories of us as college roommates and getting to know Matt when we first started dating (they interviewed him in my college kitchen to make sure he was a good fit 🙂 ). Next was the Best Man speech from Jon. He knew how to make the audience laugh with his jokes from growing up with Matt as his big brother. Next was the Father of the Groom Speech from Matt’s dad Jim. And finally was the Father of the Bride speech from my Dad, Jon. He decided to dress up as “The Town Krier” and he wrote a poem for us on a scroll. It was so hilarious and sentimental at the same time! He would shout Willy Willy! when he wanted us to cheers and it stuck for the entire night.
Our photographer Jennifer suggested that we sneak away from the reception for some pictures at sunset and we’re so glad we did! Matt proposed to me right outside of our wedding venue almost exactly a year before our wedding, so we took our pictures in that same area right by the water. They are some of my favorite pictures of the day!
Our dance was one of my favorite parts of the night, there was so much energy and we got almost everyone out there to dance! We started with our first dance, “I’ll name the Dogs” by Blake Shelton; we loved the lyrics and it was a perfect song to swing dance to. Next was the father daughter dance, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, and the mother son dance, “Then They Do” by Trace Atkins. Our DJ was so flexible and let us choose all of the songs for the night and the order they were in. He also threw in a few karaoke songs for those that wanted to! We chose mostly upbeat 90’s and pop songs to keep our dance floor packed all night long! I asked Matt his favorite part of the day (besides marrying me of course 🙂 ) and he said when the college favorite song “SOB” by Nathaniel Radcliffe came on and the whole dance floor joined in together. It was a song to remember!
A huge thank you to all of the vendors that made our day so special! We are so thankful for the love and support we received on our Wedding Day from Family and Friends. It was truly the best day and we are so happy!
Venue: The Cargill Room at the Waterfront Restaurant
Photography: Jennifer Simonton (Jennifer Jane Photography)