For Thanksgiving break I flew to San Francisco to visit friends from my hometown in Wisconsin! It was different not being home with family in Wisconsin, but we had so much fun exploring the Bay Area. Our hosts Gabby and Kyle planned out three packed days for us to see different parts of the city. They hosted the perfect weekend trip, and I can’t wait to go visit again, hopefully with my Husband next time!
DAY 1 – PACIFIC COAST
On Thanksgiving day we drove Hwy 1 and visited all of the small towns along the coast. It was my first time seeing the Pacific coast on the US side and it was beautiful! We started with the Santa Cruz pier to watch the surfers and sea lions and made our way north to Davenport, where we stopped for lunch. Next we went to the Pigeon Point Light House, and then drove to Half Moon Bay where we had a sunset picnic and went to Thanksgiving Dinner at the Moss Beach Distillery. The food, drinks, and company was amazing!
DAY 2 – SILICON VALLEY
On Friday we went to Palo Alto to visit Stanford University’s campus, downtown, and a few tech company headquarters. Stanford’s campus was incredible! We walked around the main quad, visited the bookstore, and pretended we went there 🙂 Next we visited downtown Palo Alto and grabbed brunch at Local Union and coffee at The Blue Coffee shop. Their downtown restaurant and shopping area was adorable and packed with black Friday shoppers! We visited Google’s campus and rode the bikes around, then saw Instagram and Facebook. Their campuses were pretty incredible! Our last stop before heading back home was for a Winery tasting and Thomas Fogarty Winery in the mountains. It was pouring rain and foggy at that point, so we didn’t get to see the incredible views of the bay but the wine was delicious! We went to a local favorite Mexican restaurant in Redwood City for dinner and had some drinks downtown!
DAY 3 – SAN FRANCISCO
On our last day we drove into downtown San Francisco to visit Gabby and Kyle’s favorite spots. We had just enough time to see the highlights of the city before I left for the airport. Our first stop was driving down Lombard Street. It was pretty cool to see in person! Next we get to the top of Coit Tower to see 360 degree views of the city. It was the first clear day in a while with no fog, so the views of the bridges and downtown were amazing! Next we drove to see the Golden Gate Bridge and took lots of pictures. We drove across the bridge to have lunch at Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito, CA. The restaurant had great views of the Bay and the downtown area was very cute! We went to a spot north of the Golden Gate Bridge to take in views of the city from up above before heading back to downtown. We drove past the piers where there were tons of tourists, through the Little Italy and Chinatown neighborhoods, and stopped at the Painted Ladies houses from Full House before leaving for the airport. There were so many fun spots in the city and I can’t wait to come back so I can explore them more! Overall it was a great Friendsgiving trip to the Bay Area!
I wanted to share the details of our wedding planning on the blog in hopes it would help other brides and grooms with their future plans! Matt and I planned almost the entire wedding ourselves, with the help of our venue coordinator, so we wanted to share what we did and learned. We also planned the wedding from 3 hours away, so there were some added challenges with traveling and doing things virtually. We kept things simple and affordable, and it turned out to be the perfect day celebrating with our family and closest friends.
We started calling venues a week after getting engaged, because we had heard how fast they fill up. We confirmed it’s true; venue’s were booked a year to a year and a half in advance. We booked our venue two weeks after the engagement in early June. We wanted to get married in La Crosse, WI since I grew up in the area; we also went to college and started our dating relationship there. We toured four venues in La Crosse, and ultimately decided on The Waterfront Venue. I had always thought I would get married there, so when they told us they had one weekend opening left for the summer season, we jumped on it! We loved the location in downtown La Crosse, there is a beautiful outdoor ceremony spot and reception hall, incredible staff, wedding coordinator, and we could make it affordable to fit our budget. It also happened to be the location that Matt said I love you and proposed to me, so you could say it was our favorite place!
I met with a few different photographers in the Minneapolis area about a month after getting engaged. Their schedules fill up almost as fast as venues, so I wanted to review styles, packages, and pricing before while our date was still far enough out. I had met our photographer Jennifer when she photographed my friends wedding, and I loved her photo editing style, candid pictures, and wedding package. We met in person for a consultation, and we booked with Jennifer in July for both engagement and wedding pictures. You can see more of her style on my previous wedding blog post and at her website, jenniferjanephoto.com.
We took our engagement photos in late October, about 6 months before our wedding. It was perfect timing for sending our invites out, printing photos for the Holiday’s, and it landed in our favorite season of fall. Since we planned a spring wedding, we didn’t want to miss out on taking pictures when the leaves were changing. We scheduled our photos a couple of months in advance on a Sunday, so we could get on our photographers busy fall schedule. The weather was incredible, and we met during golden hour just before sunset. You can view more details of our engagement photos in my previous blog post!
We did our food tasting with the venue in early December, 5 months before the wedding. We tried all of the meals we were considering for the wedding, and narrowed it down to 3 that were around the same price per person. We decided on 2 meals with meat and veggies, 1 vegetarian option and a side salad for everyone. We brought both of our parents along, so they could help us decide and tour the venue. It was such a fun day with all 6 of us together!
We got our Marriage license from the County Clerk’s office in the county we got married in about 3 weeks before the wedding. There are different rules for every state, but there are a lot of requirements for paperwork and timing. Make sure to visit your state or county’s marriage license website to see the requirements. We made sure to get ours within the month of our wedding, but more than a week in advance because it took 6 business days to process. It was difficult because Matt already moved to UT, but he flew back for his Bachelor Party so we fit it in that Friday before! There is a process before the wedding, on the wedding day with witnesses, and after the wedding when they mail you the actual document so you can change your name, etc.
We chose our Florist, Monet Floral, about 3 months into wedding planning, and met with them a few times before the wedding day. We had heard great reviews from other brides and wanted a local florist that was able to deliver on a Sunday. We were able to do a lot over phone and email since we didn’t live in La Crosse, but meeting with them in person was also very helpful. We gave them our vision for the wedding party, head table, and ceremony arch, and our vision came to life perfectly the day of. We were so happy with our choice and we even stayed within budget!
Staying organized was very important to me from the start of our engagement, and I am not a procrastinator when it comes to planning. I started our Google excel doc the week after we got engaged and started brainstorming ideas and our guest list. It was the perfect way to keep Matt and I and our parents on the same page about our wedding plans. The To-Do list tab had a list of things to plan, the cost, and the details once it was completed. This kept our budget in check from the beginning. The guest list tab had all of our names, addresses, table numbers, meal choices, and Yes/No responses. The venue tab had the number of meals, drinks, timeline, add-ons, and total cost for the venue. We had a timeline tab, listing the details of the entire weekend, location for each event, and time of day that we could share with our wedding party. We had a registry tab, photography tab, DJ tab with songs for each dance and our playlist, Ceremony tab with details of bible verses, order of events, songs, etc., and flower details. It was so helpful to stay organized and I was able to capture the total cost of the wedding day. Planning the main events and details in advance made the month leading up to the wedding a lot less stressful!
DRESS & SUIT SHOPPING
Dress shopping was so much fun for both myself and my bridesmaids! I went to Annika Bridal Boutique in Edina, MN to try on dresses for the first time to see what styles I would like. They happened to be having an inventory sale, so dresses off the rack were 50-75% off. I scheduled an appointment at the last minute and invited my roommate and best friend in Minneapolis to join me. We had a blast drinking champagne and trying on absolutely every dress that was in my size off the rack. I didn’t want to limit myself to any style before I knew what they would look like on. I ended up loving styles that I didn’t originally pick myself wearing, like a illusion neckline and short sleeves! Luckily for me, my size is the typical stock size so a lot of the dresses fit really well. However, I fell in love with 2 right away and my favorite dress was the last one. I loved it so much and it fit like a glove to the point that it wouldn’t need any alterations(besides length). The girls and I had the same reaction that it was THE ONE, so I bought my dream dress that day and all under my budget!
For the girls, I knew I wanted our wedding dress color to be perriwinkle (a mix between light blue and lavender). I also wanted the dresses to lay just above the knee and come from a women’s clothing store so that they could try them on and wear them for another occasion. The dress color is hard to come by, so I started looking at places like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and JCrew. I bought a simple classic maroon dress from JCrew Factory that happened to come in a perriwinkle color as well. There was a 50% off sale on their website that day, so I bought all of the girls their dresses for $30 and they were able to try them on after I ordered them. They worked out great for the wedding day since it was almost 100 degrees, and I even bought an extra one for myself!
We found the groomsmen’s suits in Rochester, MN at Knight’s Menswear. They had custom fit suits that you could buy for cheaper than renting at most places, so we went with Navy suits from there. We were also able to find matching ties to the girls dresses.
We wanted to get our bridesmaids and groomsmen simple gifts that they could use again! I ordered the girls necklaces from Etsy that they could wear with their bridesmaid dress and other occasions. I paired it with a card designed by a friend who does calligraphy! For the wedding day, I got them all matching floral robes to wear while we got ready. Matt ordered his groomsmen stainless steel coozies that they used at the bachelor party and can use for other occasions! For the wedding day, he bought their ties that matched the girls dresses.
I created our wedding website on theknot.com a couple months after getting engaged. It was so helpful to have all of our wedding info in one place to stay organized. We posted our wedding day details, wedding party, and love story on the home page for guests to read. On the next page, we added hotel and parking accommodations and things to do in La Crosse, WI. Next, we added Proposal and Engagement photos. After that, we had our electronic RSVP for guests to reply and pick their meal without having to mail anything back. Finally, we linked our Amazon and Target registries for guest to purchase gifts for the shower and wedding. It is a user friendly website for all ages and easy to set up. I would recommend this site to anyone planning an event!
We decided to combine a traditional save the date postcard with a traditional wedding invite into one card. We had a picture on the front announcing our wedding, and the details of our day listed on the back. Since our RSVP’s and details were on our website, we sent our invite out about 5 months in advance for our guests. It saved us a lot of time and money and we were so happy with how they turned out with Vistaprint!
We wanted to keep our decorations simple since our venue was a beautiful space. Our florist handled the ceremony alter/arch with floral arrangements, decorated the head table and half of the guest tables with eucalyptus rings, and we re-used the bridal party bouquets as centerpieces for the other half. Matt’s cousin lent us her glass cylinder vases from her wedding, and we used them for the head table and the guest tables without bouquets. I ordered floating candles from Amazon to float in the vases for the reception. Our entry way was full of engagement pictures, wooden signs made with leftover barn wood and decorated by my coworker, date night ideas on popsicle sticks, and letter boards from Amazon. Our guest book was a shadow box picture frame with our invite in the middle. We saved a lot of money by keeping the decorations simple, and it turned out to be the perfect addition to our venue.
This weekend I went skiing for the first time in Utah, and it was a blast! I’ve been skiing my whole life in WI and once in CO, but I’m so excited to have a season pass to a mountain ski resort right in my back yard 🙂 My friend Maggie and I went Sunday morning right away to pick up our season passes and hop on the chairlifts that were open! They were making snow with the machines, but Brighton already had a good base of snow from the past month. They were able to open before any of the other Utah ski resorts! There were 3 chairlifts and about 8 runs open, ranging from Green (easy) to Blue (moderate) difficulty. The trails were perfectly groomed in the morning and got a bit icey in the afternoon, so it was worth it to start early and beat the afternoon crowds! We went on about 15 runs and left around 2pm. We met up with some other friends and coworkers as well, and we all grabbed a beer in the Chalet at the end of our day. I can’t wait to go all season long and when all of the lifts and ski runs are open 🙂 Praying for lots of snow this Thanksgiving weekend!
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.
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!
Matt and I were able to visit a local pumpkin patch just before Halloween this year! We went to Kuwahara Farms in Draper, UT, just south of Salt Lake City. It’s a popular destination for families in the Salt Lake Valley and has beautiful views of the mountains! Even though we went late in the season, we were able to find plenty of small pumpkins of all colors to decorate our apartment. They had the cutest pumpkin wall that was the perfect place to take family pictures! I can’t wait to make this an annual tradition 🙂
Four years ago today my husband Matt and I started dating. It’s crazy that we have a new wedding anniversary to celebrate, but I still love celebrating November 6th 🙂 We were juniors in college when we met through mutual friends, but our first date was at the beginning of senior year of college. He asked me to be his girlfriend about a month after going on dates. I love looking back at our dating years and can’t wait to share our favorite memories!
IT STARTED WITH CRIBBAGE
The first night Matt and I met, we played the game kemps with some friends and ended up being partners. Almost a year later when we started dating, he taught me how to play cribbage and it became a special part of our relationship. He asked me to be his girlfriend by dealing me a hand with the question in a game of cribbage. It was the first of many romantic gestures in our relationship 🙂 PS this engraved cribbage board is a wedding gift we got and it meant so much to us!!
One of our first dates was to Ferguson’s apple orchard near our college town in WI, and we had a blast getting to know each other. It was the first picture we ever took together! Ever since then, we have gone on apple orchard dates each fall to celebrate our relationship. We will definitely have to find somewhere to go in Utah!
BADGER & PACKER FOOTBALL GAMES
Since Matt had his own football season each fall growing up, he didn’t have a chance to go to Camp Randall or Lambeau Field for a football game. We got tickets to both so he could experience the tailgating, crowd, and energy at the games! The Badger game was during a beautiful fall day in October, and the Packer game was in the middle of January on a zero degree day. I have never bundled up more in my life, but it was so fun!
GRANDAD HALF MARATHON
After my college swim season was done in March, I loved switching up my workout routine and started training for the half marathon in our college town in early May! I had split the marathon in half with a friend the previous year and did 6.5 miles to complete a half marathon relay. I convinced Matt that running was fun 🙂 so we trained together and ended up doing 2 half marathon relays together while we were in college! It was such a fun challenge to do together and although we don’t run much anymore, I hope we can do it again in Utah!
The first time our families met was college graduation weekend! Our majors lined up to be at the same ceremony, so it was fun to see each other cross the stage 🙂 Since my parents are close by, we had a family lunch after the ceremony and he had a party that night at his college house! It was so fun for everyone to get to know each other. That was almost exactly a year before we got engaged which is crazy!
Our first trip together was our post graduation trip with two of our friends to Nashville! We went memorial day weekend since I had a few weeks off before starting my full time job, so we road tripped from WI and spent the long weekend there! We got to experience the downtown, live music, hall of fame museum, food, and everything Nashville has to offer! We definitely want to go back soon!
About a month before getting engaged, we flew to Chicago for a weekend getaway and got to visit with friends while we were there! Matt had never been to Chicago, so it was fun to show him my favorite tourist spots like Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Michigan Ave, the riverwalk, and some of my favorite bars and restaurants! It was a trip we will never forget, despite the cold and rainy weather we had in late March 🙂
Looking back at all of these memories makes me smile so big! Happy 4 years Matthew 🙂
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
It’s been a year since our fall engagement pictures so I wanted to share my favorites on the blog! Jennifer Simonton (Jennifer Jane Photography) took our engagement pictures and our wedding pictures, and it was so nice to have the same photographer for both! We were able to spend a few hours with Jennifer getting to know her and practice for our wedding day. Since we decided to get married in La Crosse, we wanted Matt’s hometown of Hudson, WI to be the spot for our engagement photos. We both love fall and the colors change perfectly in October in WI. So, we decided to meet on Sunday Oct 22 just before golden hour!
Matt asked me to be his girlfriend while playing cribbage and it was our favorite date night in college. We’re so happy Jennifer captured one of our best memories 🙂
THE FRONT YARD
Matt’s parents have a beautiful yard full of trees that were changing colors and we decided to start there. We love how these pictures turned out with the red leaves in the background!
WILLOW RIVER STATE PARK
One of Matt’s favorite spots to go hiking growing up is Willow River State Park near his parent’s home. We had been there a couple times and I loved the hike to the bridge and waterfall. It was the perfect spot to take pictures at sunset!
THE WATERFALL & BRIDGE
It’s so fun to look back on our first professional photos taken together! We loved our experience with Jennifer as our photographer and would recommend her to anyone in the MN/WI area 🙂
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 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!
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!