Step Outside - Utah WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Utah 144 144 Wed, 22 May 2024 07:17:25 -0500 5 Energizing Hikes in Utah Utah is a world-class hiking destination. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely hike, a scenic hike, or the chance to break a sweat, Utah is the place to be. These five Utah hikes will undoubtedly leave you feeling invigorated and excited to take on the rest of your day (depending on if you have any time left over!). 

Spanning 15.8 miles in total, this trail gives you premier views of the area as well as a great workout. Of course, you don’t have to hike the entirety of the trail to feel energized (or exhausted). The first half of the hike is almost entirely uphill, and though it isn’t too steep, it will definitely get your heart rate pumping. All in all, this hike will give you a bit of everything: wildlife, impressive foliage, toned legs, and serene views of Pineview Reservoir. 

If energizing equates adventure, this 16-mile out-and-back trail in Snow Canyon State Park is a beautiful way to get your steps in. Just as with the Skyline Trail, it is completely unnecessary to complete the full length. Even if you decide to hike half the distance, you’ll still find surreal views (even by Southern Utah’s standards), beautiful wild flowers, and the chance to experience something more remote than your average, well-traveled hiking trail. For those who really like to feel they’re in the great wide somewhere, this is the perfect hike. 

A shorter hike with a decidedly funky name, Lackawaxen Lake Trail is only 1.6 miles-long and leads to a beautiful fresh water lake. Seeing that beauty does tend to attract crowds (and that this trail is easily accessed from the popular Big Cottonwood Canyon), this trail gets a decent amount of traffic on the weekends. While this hike is neither as long nor as strenuous as the Skyline or Red Mountain Trails, it is—for many—the perfect amount of physical activity. You will not finish exhausted, but you will finish refreshed. Although the best time to hike this trail (in terms of weather) is late spring to late summer, the hike has some incredible foliage come fall. 

Bald Mountain is one of Utah’s best-kept secrets and the summit is easily one of its best hikes. Standing at 11,943 feet in elevation, Bald Mountain is technically located in the Uinta Mountain Range. On this hike, you will be hiking above the tree line, meaning there will be magnificent views but not a lot of shade. In other words, sunscreen (and water, of course) are absolutely imperative on this hike. And despite what might seem a daunting altitude, this out-and-back trail is only four miles long. When you get to the top of the mountain, you can see Mirror Lake to the east, as well as a plethora of other lakes nestled between other Uinta peaks located to the west. And if you’re feeling extra energetic after that, maybe you’ll do the hike twice. 

Southern Utah is famous for scorching desert temperatures during the summer months. If the heat wears you out but you still want to hike in the red rock, the Spectra Point and Ramparts Overlook Trail is a moderately difficult climb that leads to an amazing view of Cedar Breaks National Monument. With an elevation of 10,500 feet, the heat is typically lower than other Southern Utah locations. At times, the trail is fairly steep, but it never gets too difficult. If you want to stop during the four-mile out-and-back hike, you can—this trail is not nearly as crowded as trails in Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon but is equally—if not more—stunning than Utah’s better-known locations. This hike is a nice mix of effort, beauty, and satisfaction at the end of an uphill haul to a once-in-a-lifetime view. 

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5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Utah When it comes to hiking, it’s nearly impossible to beat the American West. And for many Utah residents, the state’s scenery and outdoor activities are the main reason they love living in the state. With so many hikes to choose from in Utah, it’s up for debate which are the state’s most wonderfully scenic, but here are our favorites. 

To anyone living in Utah Valley, Mount Timpanogos is the hike of all hikes. The majestic peak towers over Utah County and reigns supreme as one of Utah’s most stunning landmarks. The hike is a journey of beautiful views, colorful wildflowers, and unexpected wildlife. Mount Timpanogos stands at 11,752 feet, making it the second tallest peak in Utah. With that in mind, you’re probably thinking this hike sounds long—and it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s solely reserved for experienced mountaineers. It is, however, not for the faint of heart, so if 15 miles of strenuous hiking doesn’t sound like it’s up your alley, this may not be the hike for you. Of course, any hiker should be well-aware of the weather conditions the day of their hike. And if you are a relatively inexperienced hiker, make sure you try this one with a more experienced group of outdoor enthusiasts. 

Located on the backside of Mount Timpanogos, Stewart Falls is a quaint but beautiful waterfall not far from Robert Redford’s Sundance Mountain Resort. But unlike hiking to the top of Mount Timpanogos, hiking to Stewart Falls is much easier. With a well-marked and leveled trail, the hike feels remote without requiring much preparation. In fact, you can usually park a good two miles from the waterfall and take your time exploring and enjoying your hike in. The waterfall is particularly exciting for children, who can play in the shallow water and feel the waterfall’s mist in their face. And while summer Is a wonderful time for this hike, the scenery is unbelievable come mid-September, when all the quaking aspens change colors. 

With its trailhead five minutes from downtown Provo, Rock Canyon is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Utah. But just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean the hike isn’t beautiful. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The hike is a workout, but not too hard of a workout, unless you keep going for longer than the standard four-mile roundtrip hike. Hiking Rock Canyon is a customizable experience, making it perfect for both young families who don’t want to go too far and more adventurous hikers who want to continue on the trail all the way to Squaw Peak. It would be difficult to find someone who doesn’t like Rock Canyon—it really is one of Utah’s most versatile gems. 

Utah’s Arches National Park may be the most famous for its collection of incredible geological feats of nature, but Canyonlands National Park is also home to some of Utah’s most iconic arches, including Mesa Arch, which attracts hundreds of millions of visitors every year. Hiking to Mesa Arch is easy, and doesn’t constitute much of a “real” hike. That said, it would be a shame to miss out on such an inconceivable view. If you go, make sure to bring your camera. Behind Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Mesa Arch is probably the second most photographed place in Utah. 

Hiking in Horseshoe Canyon is like stepping into a time machine. With sweet spring wild flowers, a soft stream at the bottom of the canyon, and high sandstone walls, the area’s highlight is the Great Gallery: a series of well-preserved, life-size petroglyphs created by a nomadic group of hunter-gatherers that predate both the Fremont and Ancestral Puebloans. The hike to the Great Gallery is about 11 miles, usually requiring five hours or more of hiking. But as most southern Utah enthusiasts would confirm, both the destination and the journey are worth any daunting distance.  

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5 Exhilarating Jet Skiing Spots in Utah Jet skiing: is there a better way to zoom around on your favorite body of water? According to most jet skiers, no. Jet skiing is the one and only—the water motor vehicle of all water motor vehicles. Utah boasts some impressive spots to get your adrenaline rush. Now grab your life jacket and check out these five great jet skiing spots in the state!  

Bear Lake is one of Utah’s most popular vacation destinations. With 109 square-miles of turquoise water situated on the Utah-Idaho border, the lake is often called the “Caribbean of the Rockies.” As you can probably imagine, this makes for some epic jet skiing. With a warm and dry climate during the summer months, Bear Lake attracts a sizable number of loyal summer vacationers, many of whom spend a large portion of their time on the lake jet skiing. While the lake does have campsites, there are also plenty of bed and breakfasts, motels, and vacation rentals in the area. If visiting Bear Lake, make sure to pack some sunscreen. Otherwise, you could leave a little too toasted. 

Located just east of Ogden, Pineview Reservoir is a smaller (and less crowded) version of Bear Lake. The water is refreshingly blue, the surroundings effortlessly green, and the periphery is made of golden sand. The reservoir is perfect for swimming, boating, and, of course, jet skiing. Similar to Bear Lake, there are plenty of nearby vacation rentals and lodging options. The reservoir’s waters are usually calm and the area’s wind is minimal, making it ideal for jet skiing and other water activities. 

Yuba Lake is one of Utah’s hidden gems. Tucked away in the oft-forgotten land of Central Utah, the lake boasts the same clear, blue water as many of Utah’s jet skiing destinations. With its sandy beaches, mountain backdrop, and remote location, the lake almost feels like an alternate universe. Nearby camping is available, and the lake isn’t too far from civilization. Jet skiing here is inordinately relaxing and a nice break from the more crowded bodies of water in Utah. 

Lake Powell is the lake of all Utah lakes. Technically shared with Arizona, the lake is a favorite of Utahans from across the state. A man-made lake, Lake Powell is astoundingly scenic and neighbors an impressive number of Southern Utah sites. Jet skiing on Lake Powell is a dream in and of itself. Glide through unbelievable red-rock canyons with the sun in your face and the wind in your hair. One visit to Lake Powell and you’ll understand why the location has been a favorite for so many years. Pretty soon, you’ll be a regular too. 

Utah Lake is one of the most accessible in the state. Massive in size, the lake borders most cities in Utah Valley, making it a casual jet skiing hot spot that doesn’t require much preparation in advance. This isn’t necessarily a vacation destination, but a place to wind down after a long day, or just an exciting way to spend your day off. The water is calm, the weather is nice, and the jet skiing is always top notch. If you live in Utah and haven’t been to Utah Lake, you’re missing out on the state’s largest fresh water lake and a bunch of well-deserved fun in the sun. 

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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Utah Utah is premier off-roading country. With miles upon miles of trails that span over different types of nearly untouched terrain, Utah’s natural glory makes it impossible for you to not have a spectacular time riding your ATV with friends and family. The following five Utah ATV trails are some great places to start! 

Bordered by both Moab Valley and the Colorado River, Poison Spider is accessed via Scenic Byway 279, and climbs to the rim of a cliff north of Moab proper. With stunning red-orange landscapes and geological features that do not exist anywhere but in the American Southwest, the trail is a necessary experience for those who typically ATV in forested areas. The trail is challenging, but not too challenging, making it exciting without threatening the status of your vehicle. If you don’t have much experience using an ATV, this probably isn’t the best place to start, given that most of the trail is made up of a slick rock path, though it also features some sand trails. The trail spans for approximately 37 miles. 

Awesome ride this weekend in #Moab with the #chokecherrycrawlers 100 miles to @impactfuel #impactfuel

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Located in Northern Utah, the Outlaw ATV Trail spans for 40 miles, and gradually increases from an elevation of 8,000 to 9,500 feet. Located near the beautiful Flaming Gorge, the trail is fairly easy in comparison to other trails in Utah, though there are spots that necessitate more ATV experience. It isn’t rare to see animals along the trail, such as elk, deer, eagles, and hawks, so the trail is perfect for wildlife viewing. The trail is a loop that consists of graded roads, two-track ATV trails, and four-wheel drive roads. You can start on the trail at its main trailhead on Highway 191, but there are also multiple other entrances, in addition to a number of nearby campgrounds. 

If you’re not looking for anything extreme on your ATV, the Paiute Trail near Torrey, Utah, is relaxing exploration suited for families and off-roading novices. Nevertheless, experienced riders will also enjoy this trail, which ventures into the densely-wooded Fishlake National Forest and features impressive panoramic views. The main loop of the trail stretches for miles, and would take a whopping 25 hours to complete on an ATV. In addition, there are thousands of miles of side-roads and trails to explore. Because most parts of the trail system aren’t frequented very often, it isn’t uncommon to spot herds of elk and deer. If you want to take your time on the trail, make sure to schedule at least a few days in the area so you can go the entire distance. If you can, visit this trail system in early fall, as the trees transform into magnificent yellows, reds, and oranges. Trust me, you won’t regret it.  

Markagunt Plateau Trail is the best of both worlds. Showcasing Utah’s alpine terrain in addition to its red-rock majesty, the trail’s scenery is incredibly diverse. Lasting for 52 miles, the loop has minimal elevation change, but does remain at a high elevation throughout. “Markagunt” means “highland of trees” in Paiute, which makes sense, because the area is exactly that: a combination of forest, aspen groves, and sandstone. Fortunately, the trail is also close to Cedar City, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Brian Head Ski Resort, which means you can stay at a hotel or camp, depending on your preference. This also means you are close to a range of other interesting outdoor activities. Some areas of the trail are even accessible by car, which means if you aren’t in the mood to explore the entire trail on your ATV, you can do so in a covered vehicle as well. 

An extensive array of trails that circulate through and around the charming towns of Fairview, Ephraim, and Manti, the Arapeen OHV Trail Map is similar to the Paiute Trail System, but isn’t quite as big. This system of trails is especially great for groups of off-roaders with different capabilities and preferences. If you want a challenging adventure, you can find it here. If you want to wind down and enjoy the scenery, you can do that also. With over 350 miles of trails, you can imagine that anyone could find exactly what they are looking for here. Sanpete County isn’t too far from larger Utah metropolitan areas, so if you want to escape for a day without going too far, the Arapeen OHV Trail System is ideal. 

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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5 Best Dirt Motorcycle Trails in Utah If tearing up the trails on a dirt bike is your idea of fun, Utah is your paradise. From sand dunes sprawling across thousands of acres to twisting and turning paths, nothing quite compares to what Utah has to offer. Here are five awesome trails to explore on a dirt bike in the state. 

Utah is home to a range of awe-inspiring landscapes, though most people wouldn’t expect to find Sahara-like sand dunes in the middle of the Rocky Mountain State. At the Little Sahara Sand Dunes, you can do pretty much anything that involves running around in the sand, but dirt biking is hands down, one of the area’s top activities. And although the Little Sahara Sand Dunes don’t technically count as a singular dirt biking trail, the possibilities at the dunes are nearly infinite. Not only can you increase your speed, but you can try jumps off small hills without feeling as scared about your landing. Of course, you should still take all possible safety precautions. This area is so diverse that you could probably spend a full week exploring it. It is, after all, 60,000 acres of large, free-moving sand dunes with miles of changing dirt motorcycle trails. 

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Suitable for all types of biking, Slickrock Trail is truly a biker’s paradise. Established in 1969, the trail is one of Utah’s oldest. In fact, dirt bikers travel far to try this trail, which is arguably unlike any other trail on earth. Where else can you find a red-rock trail with unbelievable traction and scenery? Not far from the famous Southern Utah Moab town, the trail is a 10.6-mile loop on Navajo sandstone (slick rock) that gives riders wondrous views of the Colorado River. The trail is definitely a challenging one. 

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A playground for dirt bikers and other off-roading enthusiast alike, the Jordan River OHV State Recreation Area is a must-visit. In the area, riders will find that all of the tracks are marked with signs to guide you along, and there are tracks available for all skill levels. The East and West tracks are designated for experienced riders, the Vet track is for intermediate-level riders, and there is a Beginner track for entry-level only riders. You can purchase passes in bulk or year-long passes so you can come back again and again. 

Situated on 20 acres, this St. George motocross track has something for every dirt biker. Riders will find over a mile of elevation changes, rhythm sections, whoops, and tabletops, according to their official website. The track is suitable for all levels of skill, with opportunity for beginners but still some challenges for those intermediate and professional-level riders. There’s even a concession stand on site, Café MX, for when you’ve worked up an appetite and want to grab a bite! 

Serving as a pillar of the dirt biking community in Utah for over 25 years, Bunker Hill Motocross Park is cherished among all levels of riders. Dirt bikers will find an elevation of over 4,500 feet, regularly-scheduled races, and plenty of practice opportunity. Whether you’re there to tear up the dirt yourself or you just want to check out a local race, Bunker Hill is a great place to escape for the day. 

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5 Great Hiking Trails in Utah Utah would hardly be Utah without hiking. From a young age, most Utahans are exposed to some sort of outdoor adventuring, and a love for traversing the mountain trails is a near requisite for residency in the Beehive State. If you’re new to Utah or visiting, the following five trails are great for beginners and families. Quick, scenic, and adaptable, they’ll immerse you in the beauty of a place that thousands of hiking enthusiasts call home. 

Nearly any parent knows that getting out on a hike with the family can be difficult. Usually, it takes preparation, a pack of snacks, the right apparel, good weather, and a positive attitude. Once everyone is on the trail, however, the joy of adventuring as a family begins to materialize. Luckily, hiking Battle Creek Falls eliminates half the battle. Why? With the trailhead located just up the hill from Pleasant Grove High School, there’s no off-roading or lengthy preparation required. What’s more, the hike makes you feel like you’ve left the city behind without really having to leave the city behind at all. Only 1.2 miles roundtrip, the hike takes you to a small waterfall that entertains kids but isn’t too threatening. It’s the perfect summer cool-down that can become more of a workout if you want to keep following the trail beyond the falls. 

Jumped off a waterfall today...

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Hiking to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is arguably the most quintessential Utah hike. Tourists travel from across the globe to see this towering landmark in its full glory, which makes sense, because pictures simply do not do it justice. Luckily, the hike isn’t too difficult, which makes it a good fit for family members of different fitness levels and ages. Nevertheless, because some parts of the trail do level off onto precipitous slopes and the area’s summer temperatures can be high, it is important to keep your children with you at all times. If the idea of that makes you uncomfortable, the hike may be better suited for when your children are a little older. If anything, make sure you bring a camera because you’re going to want this iconic family photo. 

Stewart Falls is so classic, you wonder if you can live in Utah Valley not having relished in its splendor. Located near Robert Redford’s Sundance Mountain Resort, the trail leads you to a two-tier waterfall that is over 200 feet-tall. Spots of vibrant yellow snapdragons coupled with the waterfall’s calming mist give this hike an unmistakable sense of magic. Children can play in the fresh streams, families can picnic to the side, and nature can do what it does best: instill a sense of peace in our hearts. The best time for this hike is summer into early fall—come mid-September, the area’s quaking aspens will turn a shocking yellow that will take your breath away. If you want more time to appreciate the area’s beauty, there are also various extensions of the shorter trail. 

Just outside of Zion National Park, Kanarra Creek Canyon is an easy slot canyon hike that leads to another scenic waterfall. Utah is famous for its slot canyons, but most of them are less than ideal for families. And although this hike does have some difficult spots if you continue beyond the falls, the initial loop is just 3.5 miles in total and does not require any special equipment. Because southern Utah is hotter than the northern Utah mountains, remaining snow piles typically won’t inhibit hiking this trail as early as March or April. If you do choose to do this hike in the summer, soaring temperatures are tempered by walking through ankle-deep water at certain parts of the canyon. That said, outdoor sandals and water-shoes are necessary for this hike, unless you want to be lugging around soggy hiking boots. 

Although the name would make you think this hike is a secret, it happens to be one of Utah’s most popular. But Cecret Lake’s real secret? This hike always delivers a wow factor, no matter how many times you’ve done it. An easy 1.5 miles roundtrip, this hike is perfect for children, not just because it’s short, but because it is a hot spot for wildlife. It’s not rare that morning hikers spot a moose near the lake, and you can bet you’ll at least see some deer or squirrels. The freshwater lake is also surrounded by brightly colored wildflowers that make for a truly alpine experience. And even though swimming is not permitted in the lake, the hike is quick enough that you can get back to the valley in time to adequately quench your post-hike craving for ice water or a jump in the pool. 

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ATV Off-Roading Adventure in Moab Utah is the wild west: sprawling, beautiful landscapes that make you feel infinitesimal in comparison with Mother Nature. It would take a lifetime to explore Utah properly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Off-roading is not only a great way to explore more in less time, but an exciting activity that brings an entirely new element to your explorations. If you’re looking for a place to start, Moab is one of Utah’s premier centers for outdoor activity. In proximity to myriad national and state parks, the town gives you access to a seemingly infinite number of off-roading locations. Here’s how to have the ultimate off-roading adventure in Moab. 

The Moab Diner is an awesome spot to fuel up for the day. It has everything you would expect from a traditional diner and more, including a fun 50s inspired interior, awesome omelets, delicious French toast, and even pie, but that’s beside the point. Opened in the early 1960s, Moab Diner didn’t always call Southern Utah home. But when the restaurant owners moved to Moab, they decided it was about time Moab had a traditional American diner. And they were right.  

Fortunately, Moab’s most popular off-roading trails are very close to each other. Although they definitely aren’t the only trails worth exploring, Fins & Things, Poison Spider Mesa, Steel Bender, and Hell’s Revenge are easily some of the area’s best. The four trails differ in difficulty, scenery, and overall experience. If geology interests you, these trails are especially suited for your taste because each puts Southern Utah’s famous red rock on display. And if you’re worried about safety, make sure you 1) know what you are doing 2) have the right equipment and 3) enjoy the ride. 

After an exhilarating yet exhausting day of off-roading, it’s likely you’ll finish with a big appetite. At that point, you’ll probably be inclined to order a very hearty meal. Miguel’s Baja Grill is a Mexican restaurant in Moab that wants you to feel satisfied. Specializing in seafood, Miguel’s feels like an unlikely restaurant in the middle of the Utah desert, but all of the food is remarkably fresh. Many are drawn to the restaurant’s fish tacos and salads, but Miguel’s is best known for what it calls the “M.O.A.B,” or in other words, “The Mother of All Burritos.” An extra-large flour tortilla stuffed with the fillings of your choice, the M.O.A.B is huge and undeniably tempting. 

Unsurprisingly, Moab is filled with nice hotels to accommodate large amounts of tourists. But rather than stay at a hotel you could find anywhere in the world, you should see a Moab off-roading trip not only as a time to explore, but as a time to treat yourself. That’s where Cali Cochitta Bed & Breakfast comes in. With a cozy cottage vibe and a range of rooms to choose from, the bed and breakfast makes you feel like you’re actually a part of the Moab community. It will also give you the chance to truly unwind following sweaty afternoons under the hot desert sun. In true Moab fashion, Cali Cochitta is all about being eco-friendly, making Moab a home away from home, and helping you to make the most of your time in the area. And with most rooms at about $150 a night, you’ll get luxury without feeling like you’re breaking the bank. 

The next morning, if you find yourself craving some green space, it’d be a good idea to head over to Moab’s Old City Park. Located just south of town in what is called the “Spanish Valley,” Old City Park features 21 acres of land that include an 18-hole disc golf course, a duck pond, pavilions, picnic areas, picnic tables, a playground, a stage, horseshoe pits, grills, volleyball, water, and restrooms. If you’re with a big group and need space to sprawl, play sports, or put together a barbecue, this is your place. 

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5 State Park Campsites in the West When looking for a campsite in the western United States, it is easy to default to campgrounds in the national parks or national forests—especially if you’re not from the state that you’re planning to visit. But the better-known campgrounds get a much higher volume of visitors, which means you may not get a reservation or, perhaps worse, get stuck in bad site in a packed-to-the-gills campground. One way to avoid such issues is to do some research about state parks in the area. Many are quite close to better-known national parks but don’t attract nearly the same number of visitors. From California's redwood forests to Utah's sweeping canyons, here are just a few of our favorite state park campsites in the West.  

Located midway between Capital Reef and Canyonlands National Parks, Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park offers much of the same type of desert-hoodoo landscape formations, as well as incredible canyoning opportunities, as its neighbors. The campground is not particularly secluded or tree-lined, but it is an excellent gateway to all that the park has to offer. 

Campsite 12 is a tent-only site that is set back a little away from RVs and other campers. The site includes your own shaded picnic table and a brilliant, uninterrupted view of the rock formations that Goblin Valley is known for. Not feeling like setting up and taking down your own shelter? Grab one of the yurts available for rent in the park.

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If you’ve ever been to Hawaii—or planned a trip to Hawaii—you know lodging is not cheap. A great way to avoid exorbitant lodging costs in the Aloha State is to camp. Many of the state’s parks offer excellent camping options and facilities. Those visiting the Garden Isle of Kauai will appreciate the picturesque beauty of Koke’e State Park.

Perched 4,000 feet above the lush vegetation of the Kalalau Valley, with sweeping views out to the Pacific, Koke’e offers several tent camping opportunities in campsites that have been minimally developed. In addition, several cabins are available for rental in the park if you’re hoping for a break from tent camping.

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Lake Cascade State Park in west-central Idaho comprises 86 miles of shoreline along the edge of the eponymous lake. The park is tucked into the region’s wooded mountains near the Payette National Forest. Popular with anglers, Lake Cascade is known as a prime spot for trout and salmon fishing. The surrounding area offers miles of trails for hiking, cycling and birding. The park’s 41 square miles of surface water are ideal for paddling or boating.

Dispersed primitive camping is available at several locations throughout the park. But if you’d like a few more amenities (restrooms, for example), the Blue Heron Campground is tent-only and located on a peninsula that juts out into the lack. Site G is a lakefront site that is set back an away from the other sites, so you have your own little slice of heaven.

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Big Basin Redwoods State Park is just west of—and a world away from—the Bay Area megalopolis in California. It is the state’s first and oldest state park. The park’s main feature, as the name implies, is the ancient, coast redwood trees marching up and down the slopes. Blooms Creek Campground in the park affords the opportunity to sleep among these beautiful giants, which are up to 1,800 years old.

Site 153 is a hike-in site that is away from the main campground but close to a water source. It connects to the Blooms Creek Trail, which in turn, connects to many of the other trails in the park.

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Oregon’s Ainsworth State Park lies within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and encompasses spectacular natural features like Horsetail Falls and 620-ft. Multnomah Falls. There are many hiking trails in the park, itself, that take advantage of the fantastic beauty of the Gorge. The park also connects to several trails that lead to other points of interest like the majestic St. Peter’s Dome, which rises 2,000 feet over the river.

The campground at Ainsworth offers six walk-in tent sites that are set back and away from the main campground and connect to trails that allow you to avoid walking through the main part of the camping area. Any one of the sites puts you in the midst of all that the park has to offer but provides the illusion of a secluded site away from civilization.

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5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Utah Birdwatching is kind of like treasure-hunting: the search is rewarding and gives you access to special moments you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. Birdwatchers note that in the process, you become more aware of the beauty in the world and more in tune with nature. Utah is home to a wide variety of birds that make birdwatching especially wonderful. If you’re looking to bird watch, these five hikes provide the perfect opportunity.  

Big Springs Trail feels like a hidden oasis far removed from civilization. And even though it is easy to get there, it is far removed. The scenic alpine trail doesn’t receive a ton of traffic, which means that it’s a great spot for birdwatching. Hikers report seeing northern pygmy owls, great horned owls, common ravens, song sparrows, wild turkeys, mountain bluebirds, and many other types of birds. The trail’s variety is nice, and you’ll enjoy several miles of serenity along the way. Below the trail, there are a number of parks that make for nice picnic or barbecue spot if you’re interested in making the hike into a group day activity.


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You don’t necessarily expect to get great birdwatching on top of a 9,712-foot-high mountain. But with so much ground to cover (15.2 miles out and back, to be specific) there’s no doubt you’ll run into some spectacular birdwatching along the way. That said, hiking Ben Lomond Peak is not for beginners of any sort. It is the highest peak overlooking the Ogden Valley. You should be in good shape before doing this hike, otherwise you probably won’t have enough energy to sufficiently enjoy the birdwatching. If you’re not interested in taking the time to hike to the very top of the peak, you can always cut the hike short and make it less of a strenuous experience and more of a relaxing one that allows you to get in touch with nature without exhausting yourself or your time. 

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Antelope Island isn’t necessarily your average paradise. It’s a rugged landscape with amazing views of the lake and a ton of bugs. That said, the wildlife on this island is worth the copious amounts of bug spray. Birdwatchers are in for a treat here, because the island is home to plenty of interesting birds, including various types of water birds as well as Golden eagles and bald eagles during anytime of the year. And although the island is home to a seemingly endless amount of trails, the Lakeside Trail is particularly close to the water, giving you better views of water birds. In addition, the hike isn’t very difficult, but its length gives you quite a bit of distance to see a multiplicity of different birds. 

Prepare for a birdwatching experience unlike any other. Birders from all over will flock to Bear River to catch sight of everything from white-faced ibis to American white pelicans to snowy plovers. It all depends on the time of year that you visit. Encompassing nearly 80,000 acres, there will be plenty to discover and explore at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. 

Situated around 100 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, the incredibly remote Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuse will treat birdwatchers to something special. Of the area’s 17,992 acres, 10,000 are wetlands. This creates an ecosystem that is flourishing with a wide range of incredible bird species. At Fish Springs, birdwatchers will be able to see trumpeter and tundra swans, American white pelicans, sandhill cranes, ospreys, bald eagles, rough-legged hawks, and much more.  

#desert #utah #igutah #cwcommunity #nature #wildlife

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5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Utah There are few activities as exhilarating as kayaking. And the best news? The activity is accessible for all. You don’t have to be an expert, and you don’t even have to be a self-titled “adventurer” to feel relaxed out on the water. In Utah, there are plenty of locations for all levels of kayaking. If you still need to learn the basics, take a few lessons before heading out. The following spots are especially pertinent to those with little to no experience who want to give kayaking a try. 

Bear Lake is a statewide summer vacation destination. Located near the Utah-Idaho border, the lake is sometimes referred to as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” because of its bright blue water. Although the lake is probably too big for extensive amounts of exciting kayaking, it’s perfect for beginners for that same reason. You can stay close to the shore, enjoy some sun, kayak along the lake’s edge, or explore further into the center of the lake if you feel up to it. And if you get tired of kayaking, Bear Lake and the surrounding valley are full of different recreational activities. Kayaking at Bear Lake is less of an adventure as it is a laid-back activity that the entire family can enjoy, which makes it appealing to those who are looking to try new things without making a huge commitment. 

A favorite spot for Utahans, the Provo River is a beautiful current that descends the majesty of one of Utah’s most important and popular canyons. At different parts of the river, the water moves at different speeds, lending itself to a variety of activities such as fishing, tubing, and kayaking. In fact, professional kayaking and tubing expeditions and services dot the side of the river so that if you want to kayak or tube, you don’t have to worry about equipment or know-how. If you’re interested in using your own kayaks, or some that you rented, however, you are still free to use Provo River. And although there are some more intense spots along the river, a majority of the river is mellow and manageable. 

Another classic Utah vacation spot, Lake Powell’s glowing reputation is far from chance. In fact, a large number of Utah families swear by the man-made lake’s calming magic. Adored by visitors from early spring until early fall, the lake nestles stunning red-rock alcoves and is part of the famed Colorado River. Technically located on the Utah-Arizona border, most Lake Powell guests stay on houseboats to enjoy the location’s wonders for weeks at a time. With such a beautiful, warm ambience, the lake is a great spot for recreational kayakers, who want to get closer to the water and geology than a traditional houseboat permits. And if kayaking makes you nervous, you’ll always be close to a nearby boat or shore, where you can quickly find your way back to hard ground. 

An iconic Utah river, Green River is not only home to delicious melons (yes, you read right), but also makes for breezy kayaking. Typically considered a great spot for rafting (and a hotspot for guided rafting tours), Green River is perhaps a bit more advanced than “beginner,” but depending on where you are on the river, there is water for every level of kayaker. If you’re looking for a quintessential Southern Utah red-rock experience, kayaking on Green River is pretty hard to beat, and if you try it once, you’ll inevitably return over the years so you can continue to feel the mist in your face and the sun on your back. And as your kayaking skills advance, you can explore different parts of the river with every visit. 

Both located up the serene American Fork Canyon, Tibble Fork Reservoir and Silver Lake are stunning freshwater lakes surprisingly close to civilization. While Silver Lake is more remote, Tibble Fork Reservoir (a man-made body of water) is only a 15-minute drive up the canyon, and closely resembles what you’d imagine at the base of the Swiss Alps. The size and accessibility of this particular lake makes it perfect for casual, beginner kayaking. And although the reservoir can be a bit crowded on a sunny day, there’s something unrivaled about kayaking in the morning hours on a large body of fresh, reflective water.  

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Utah Utah is a fisherman’s dream. Featuring plenty of freshwater lakes, reservoirs, streams, and rivers, in addition to the famous Great Salt Lake, Utah is an international fishing destination. A large selection of bait and tackle shops makes the fishing even better. With the help of one of these 10 shops, prepare to have a successful fishing experience.  

Perfect for expert fly fishers as well as for those who have never tried fly fishing, Eddie Robinson’s Fly Fishing will help you navigate the basics or take your fly fishing to the next level. The store’s helpful staff will recommend reliable gear depending on your experience and needs. The next step? Putting that gear into use in the ever-so-close Rocky Mountains. 

Located just south of Salt Lake City proper, Fish Tech Outfitters gets a great amount of traffic given its relatively low-key location. That’s because people know the shop is trustworthy in all senses of the word. Staff will help you find exactly what you need from a great selection of well-priced products. 

Located a half mile north of the enormous Park City Mountain Ski Area, Trout Bum 2 Fly Shop is a bait and tackle shop with personality, as its name suggests. Here, not only can you buy your fishing supplies—you can schedule time with a fishing guide to take you on the Provo, Green, or Weber Rivers. Fly fishing has never been easier, or more fun. 

With the slogan, “The best way to a fisherman’s heart is through his fly,” Anglers Den—and its employees’ 75 years of combined fishing experience—will help you prepare for a great day of fishing. Selling fly rods, tackle, reels, and other fishing accessories, the shop prides itself on an ability to not only sell you the right gear, but to help you make the most of the gear you buy. 

Another Park City bait and tackle shop, the aptly named Park City Fly Shop wants to help you take advantage of the great fishing Utah has to offer by helping you find the right gear and fishing guides. While the fly shop is well known for its guide service, it does sell a considerable amount of gear that will be of great use to you during your fishing adventure! 

One of the best fly fishing outfitters in Salt Lake County, Fishwest will get you excited for what lies ahead: awesome fly fishing with the help of their employees’ expertise and shop’s impressive (and well-organized!) apparel and gear selection. You can also purchase gear from its online shop. But if you visit the store more than once, it’s a guarantee that the employees will remember you. They’re that good.  

The tiny town of Circleville has a population of 500 people, but you’d be surprised to learn that it is the most populous town in Utah’s Piute County. Welcome to Southern Utah, where the living is simple, the landscape is uniquely stunning, and the fishing is world-class. Circle Valley Anglers is the only full line fly shop in Southern Utah, and its guides have been fishing the area’s rivers for decades. If you find yourself in a fishing rut in the middle of the desert, you can get help here. 

Supplying Utah fly fishers since 1986, Western Rivers Flyfisher welcomes all kinds: the novice fly fisher, the expert fly fisher, the nonchalant fly fisher, etc. Here, you can expect all the best brands both in store and online (think Simms Fishing, Dr. Slick and Hardy). The employees at Western Rivers Flyfisher know the area like the back of their hand and will be able to adapt their service to any of your needs.

A full-service fly shop on Heber City’s charming main street, Fish Heads is only 15 minutes from Park City and mere minutes from one of Utah’s best fishing spots: the gorgeous Provo River. At Fish Heads you can rent gear, book a guide, or purchase all kinds of equipment and apparel. This shop is always adapting to new fishing trends, but still manages to maintain a strong sense of tradition. 

Gotta stay fly

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Gitzit Inc. is a small shop, but given that it is one of the only fishing shops in Southern Utah, it remains very important to the fishing public. Gitzit Inc. sells its own products, which will definitely interest the locally-minded fisherman! Come out and support this small-town shop. 

A few of our injection molded Gitzit colors. #gitzitbaits #gitzit #gitzitlures #gitzittubes

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5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Utah Craving a nature-induced nirvana? Immerse yourself in the unbelievable beauty of Utah by taking a backpacking trip. It may sound daunting, but a single trip will probably have you hooked for life. Here are our favorite spots for backpack camping in the state. 

When people think of backpacking in Utah, Coyote Gulch likely comes to mind. For many, it is the quintessential Southern Utah backpacking trip. Located in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, it is a backpacking trip of average length (three days, two nights—the hike spans 10 to 25 miles, depending on how long you want to hike). There are plenty of camping spots along the trail, so depending on how much you want to hike in one day, the campsites you choose will likely vary. The hike is known for its arches, a natural bridge, a series of waterfalls, Fremont Indian pictographs, and smooth sandstone canyon walls. If you choose to complete this trip, make sure you also explore the trail’s side canyons and ledges. The hike itself is only moderate in difficulty, so depending on your fitness level, you may even have some energy for extra exploration. 

Utahans thank their lucky stars for the beautiful mountains just 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. So, while many think of backpacking as something that takes loads of planning and requires a hefty drive to the desired backpacking location, that doesn’t always have to be the case in Utah. Backpacking to White Pine Lake is a great example of a quick backpacking trip that is close to Utah’s major cities. Showcasing a very different landscape than that of Coyote Gulch (think alpine forests, wildflowers, and Rocky Mountain goodness) the 10-mile roundtrip trail starts out wide and easy, but increases in incline as the trail continues. White Pine Lake itself is the trail’s final destination and a beautiful place to camp in preparation for your descent the next day.  

Also located near Escalante, Neon Canyon and Golden Cathedral are technically a part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Here, you’ll witness the clearest night sky and experience the area’s compelling magnetism. Even if you lived in Escalante your entire life, it’s likely you wouldn’t have the chance to explore all of the area’s natural wonders. Neon Canyon and Golden Cathedral are two different locations separated by less than a mile. Getting to Neon Canyon and Golden Cathedral is a bit trickier than you’d expect, so it’s important that you come with someone who is experienced and that you have at least some technical know-how (as well as the necessary gear). Depending on the time of year, you could need ropes for rappelling or dry suits. The trail itself is about 9.2 miles-long, and there are various spots suitable for camping along the way. Why are they named Neon Canyon and Golden Cathedral? A few pictures and you’ll probably be able to figure it out on your own. 

Jardine Juniper Trail is famous not only because it’s gorgeous, but because it leads to an ancient, living juniper tree which is estimated to be about 3,000 years-old. The tree itself looks like it is indeed 3,000 years-old, though it still manages to produce greenery each year. The Jardine Juniper Trail is accessible through Logan Canyon, and is also known for its exquisite fall foliage, lovely meadows, and inspiring vistas. You could hike this trail in one day (it’s 8.8 miles out and back), but the trail is popular with light backpackers because the hike is strenuous (you may not want to complete the entire trail in one day) and deserves to be savored. 

For some, West Rim Trail’s 18 miles can be completed in a single day. For most, however, the hike is better spent as a two-day backpacking trip. Almost undoubtedly, any experienced Utah backpacker (and likely backpackers from other states) will have hiked this trail once, if not multiple times. It is remarkably well-known, and its location inside Zion National Park only adds to its prestige. The hike is strenuous but gorgeous, and can be completed in late spring, summer, or early fall. The trail includes nine campsites as well as three water sources, and will take you on a journey through otherworldly landscapes that typically feature most of the colors of the rainbow.  

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SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Goblin Valley State Park With 45 state parks in Utah, there’s no question why the state is one of the most popular for camping and outdoor-related tourism. From the state’s beautiful geologic structures to its snow-capped mountains, there is much to explore. Goblin Valley State Park is among the most unique. With its fascinating sandstone formations, wide-open desert spaces, and exciting nearby activities, the opportunities at Goblin Valley are endless. Here are the best things to do in and around the park!  

One of Utah’s most popular state parks, Goblin Valley State Park, is unlike anything else in Southern Utah, let alone the world. Featuring thousands of what are called “hoodoo rocks” (which locals refer to as “goblins”), the park feels more like the scene of an alien invasion than the red rock canyons you’d expect in the region. You can explore these mushroom-shaped sandstone formations as if they make up an interesting geological maze. Goblin Valley really is the ultimate, out-of-this-world playground. 

Goblin Valley State Park isn’t known for long, established trails suited for traditional hiking. In fact, the best hiking in Goblin Valley takes place almost haphazardly. To get the most out of Goblin Valley, ditch your campsite and head to the park’s main event: the “Valley of Goblins.” There is no official trail here, but that’s part of what makes it fun. You can spend at least half the day hiking about this valley of strange rock formations and it’s unlikely you’ll experience an ounce of boredom. Keep in mind that during the winter months, it is rather cold here, so be sure to bundle up! 

If you want a great view of the Valley of Goblins, the Valley of Goblins Observation Point is probably your best bet. Even though it can be crowded depending on the season, it is undoubtedly the best view of the park, as well as the starting point for your descent into the valley. 

The cutest slugs I ever did see.

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Goblin Valley State Park has its very own campsite consisting of 25 individual sites and two yurts. Among the sites, there are 10 walk-in tent pads, 14 RV spaces, and one group site that can accommodate up to 35 people. Although the campsite isn’t technically located within the state park, it is directly adjacent to the park and features the same kind of geography that makes Goblin Valley famous. The nightly camping charge is $25, which includes the park’s $13 entry fee. As a part of this fee, not only do you get a campsite, but access to pay showers, free flush toilets, and a communal water and dump station. The park is open year-round, but an RV or yurt campsite would be the better move during the colder months. Head to the Reserve America website to get your campsite! 

A short 13 miles from Goblin Valley State Park, Stan’s Burger Shak is a popular burger joint in Hanksville, Utah. After a long day outdoors, there really is nothing better than crispy onion rings, a burger, and a sweet drink. Here you can experience the delicacy that is Utah’s specialty “fry sauce” with all the love from a family-owned restaurant! 

Why not explore a little local history while you’re here in Green River? The John Wesley Powell River History Museum is “the premier location for river runners and river history.” The museum digs deep into local history, illustrating the significance of the Green and Colorado rivers, and their impact on the history and culture of southeastern Utah. 

Recently designated as an “International Dark Sky Park,” Goblin Valley is one of the world’s premier locations for stargazing. The park has grown increasingly popular for stargazing over the past few years, given that it is free from any significant sources of light pollution. At Goblin Valley, you will witness one of the clearest and darkest night skies on the planet. Every month, the park holds a variety of ranger-led events such as telescope tours and moonlit hikes.

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5 Best Fishing Spots in Utah From massive reservoirs stretching across more than 150,000 acres to glittering streams tucked away in the mountains, Utah is an angler’s paradise. Whether you’re looking to hook brook trout and catfish or salmon and striped bass, there’s something for everyone. Here are the five best fishing spots in the state.

Provo River is a classic Utah fishing spot, and for good reason. The river stretches for miles and is full of brown and rainbow trout, many of which are 18 inches long or longer. And although it is a popular place to fish that is also close to prominent Utah Valley cities, the middle and upper areas of the river still feel remote and the entire river proves pristine. Especially noted for fly fishing, the river also has fluctuating water levels due to two reservoirs that it feeds. If you need to grab some fly fishing gear before you head out, stop in at the trusted Fish Heads Fly Shop in Heber City. They’ll supply you with what you’ll need and also offer guide services! Near the lower end of the river, fishermen have to be prepared for lots of people floating the river, but that doesn’t mean the fishing quality diminishes at the river’s lower end. If you want help fishing the Provo River, you can choose from a variety of fishing companies to ensure you come away with a catch. 

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As if its name doesn’t already connote great fishing, Fish Lake is one of Utah’s premier fishing locations. Five miles-long and a half mile-wide, the lake is home to high numbers of lake trout, splake, rainbow trout, and yellow perch swimming about its depth. Located in a forested area, the lake is incredibly serene and sits at an elevation of 8,800 feet. The lake has spots for shore fishing, but is also great for boat fishing. If you want to stay and fish a few days (or just explore the neighboring Fish Lake National Forest) there are excellent lodging and camping facilities at the lake. And although it could be considered southern Utah, the area’s temperatures are rarely unbearable. That is, unless you decide you want to ice fish at the lake, which is a popular winter activity.

Located much further up Provo Canyon than most non-fishers from the valley are willing to go, Strawberry Reservoir is close to Heber Valley and is also relatively close to Park City. The reservoir is known as one of Utah’s (and the American West’s) best trout fisheries, and is especially famous for its large rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and kokanee salmon. In fact, the state’s largest cutthroat trout ever recorded was caught here in 1930, weighing in at a whopping 27 pounds. If fishing doesn’t interest all of your family members, the reservoir is also a fantastic spot for boating and relaxing in general. But if you are fishing, it is best to fish at Strawberry Reservoir from a boat or float tube. Shore fishing is typically less successful, and the reservoir’s best fishing takes place in spring and fall. And just as with any fishing location, make sure you’re familiar with the reservoir’s rules before attempting to catch too many fish. 

Green River is one of Utah’s most beloved water sources, mostly because of how gorgeous its surroundings are. Especially below Flaming Gorge Dam, the river takes on a surreal beauty and large populations of trout. On Green River, you can only fish with artificial flies or lures, though a variety of fishing methods are allowed. The best way to fish the river is to float down it in a raft. This is also very enjoyable, though if you don’t want to fish the river while it’s crowded, it’s best to avoid summer weekends, when the river is most crowded with recreational rafters. There are also many camping locations along the river, and like with other popular fishing destinations in Utah, there are plenty of expert river and fishing guides you can hire to enhance your experience. Give Spinner Fall Guide Services a call. This fishing guide service has been around since 1986 and have long been trusted with “Utah fly fishing vacation dreams.” 

One of Utah’s more untouched areas, the Uinta National Forest is also one of Utah’s prettiest. It feels more wild than other locations—a fact compounded by the fact that it isn’t very close to Utah’s major cities. There’s plenty of room for exploration within the forest, which features some of Utah’s highest elevations. And although there are plenty of lesser-known fishing spots in and near the Uinta Mountains, Mill Hollow Reservoir is easy to access, making it a good place to start. Technically a part of the Provo River’s drainage, the reservoir is man-made but the water itself is never used for anything but recreational purposes. With brook trout, rainbow trout, and tiger trout, odds are you won’t come home from this peaceful spot empty-handed. 

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Start Your Trek: 7 Best Hiking Retailers in Utah Sometimes, the best views come from the hardest climbs, but that doesn’t mean the hardest climbs have to be uncomfortable. With the right gear, the right energy sources, and the right attitude, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. And it’s no secret Utah is a state for hikers. Not only is there an infinite amount of hiking trails in Utah, but there is an impressive selection of trusted hiking retailers where you can prepare to conquer your hikes. The following seven are some of the state’s best. 

For a unique outdoor retailer experience, check out Willow Canyon. This store goes far beyond just a store, too. You will find excellent brands in footwear, backpacks, and other apparel, including Chaco, Outdoor Research, and Patagonia, but you will also find a coffee shop. Hang out a while after you’ve picked up your gear to read a good book and sip on some espresso. What’s better than that? 

Lay-burr day sale! 50%-20% off! #kanab #willowcanyonoutdoor

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The Salt Lake City suburb of Cottonwood Heights is the gateway to some of the state’s finest alpine adventures. You’ll be amazed at the deals you find at Sierra Trading Post on awesome hiking boots, backpacks, and apparel. Nothing quite beats this store’s prices and selection. 

Gear Express specializes in rock climbing, but the store also has a great selection of hiking gear. Why shop from these guys? The company is top in customer service. Bond over your love for the outdoors. The staff will treat you like family. As you benefit from good prices and solid know-how, you’ll also feel right at home. 

Stepping into Big 5 Sporting Goods in Orem feels like a blast from the past. Not because of the store’s massive range of sporting equipment, but because of the store’s building. But that’s all part of the fun. Hiking and other outdoor activities will never go out of style. And Big 5 knows how to make your hiking adventures possible on a low budget. Odds are you’ll leave the store with more than you expected to. 

Gear:30 is your Northern Utah spot for what they term “Mountain Gear.” But really, at GEAR:30, you’ll find top-notch hiking gear for men, women, and children, suitable for every season. This includes base layers, mid layers, and outer layers, as well as easy-to-pack swimsuits for the unexpected lake jump at the end of a long, summer hike. GEAR:30 also prioritizes your safety on the trail—the store’s supply of appropriate nutrition and emergency items really shows that these people know what they’re talking about. 

There’s nothing as inviting as a store called Desert Rat. Hiking in the alpine regions of Utah is markedly different than hiking in the state’s southern regions, and Desert Rat will help you get on your way in the red rock desert with confidence. Started in 2008 by a group of self-proclaimed “desert rats,” the store boasts local, chill vibes. 

Picking out packs with Mom! #futurebackpacker #futurecanyoneer #myliladventurer

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Outdoors Unlimited is a favorite of Provo residents, probably because shopping at Outdoors Unlimited also means they are supporting their city’s university. The store was opened in 1982 with the goal of helping Utah Valley’s large student community get involved in the great outdoors. Were they successful? Yes. And the non-student public also benefited from this decision. At Outdoors Unlimited, you can rent or buy outdoor gear with the help of passionate, hiking-savvy 20-somethings. Sometimes, this is an adventure in and of itself. 

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