Thursday, March 21, 2019

9 Tips To Make Sure Guests Return To Your Bed And Breakfast


After continuous and successful marketing of your B&B, now comes the most difficult part: retaining your customers. With the stiff competition involved, you are likely to lose your guests once they get the slightest hint of unappreciation.

These 9 tips will earn you loyal guests that will always return to your bed and breakfast each and every time they are in the locale.


1. The First Impression Matters

When reviewing a B&B, one thing customers often comment about is their first experience when they arrived. Before their first meal and nap, how did you welcome them?

In most cases, it is your staff that makes the first contact with your guests. Make sure that they are aware of the importance of a good first impression. How you treat your guests, and how much help you will be to them the moment they set foot to your B&B matters a lot.

Also, what about the look and feel? It doesn’t necessarily need to be that complex, but you can try modifying the interior and exterior features to give the best possible look. Let your guests feel home whenever they set foot in your B&B.


2. Know Your Competitors

Know what your other competitors are doing and know what you are missing out on. How much are their charges? How comparable are yours with the services they offer to their guests?

The secret is offering your guests a deal that is better than those of your competitors. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to lower your prices, but you can try offering your services in the most satisfactory way.

Once you are comparable with your competitors' services, you will know where to make adjustments in your B&B. Also, it wouldn’t hurt going that extra mile to provide better services than those of your competitors.



3. Get To Know Your Guests On A Personal Level

Interacting with your guests on a personal level is not only entertaining to your guests but also shows that you actually care about them. The fun that comes with it will likely attract them in the future as it gives them a homey feeling.

It can be as simple as inviting your guests for a glass of wine or a cup of tea in the evening. In your conversations, show genuine interest and contribute by asking questions and giving suggestions and tips.



4. Exceed Your Guests’ Expectations

Always strive to offer above-average, and you will be surprised as to how fast things can shift in your favor. Exceed your guests’ expectations by offering them excellent service, and comfy accommodations.

Be part of their lives during their short stay with you and make sure they have an exceptionally good time. Surprise them with small gifts and a delicious breakfast. At the end of the day, it is the little extra things that you do to make your guests smile that matter most.



5. Understand Your Guests’ Needs

Before you are able to meet your guests’ needs, you must be well informed of what they are. Needs may fluctuate depending on the type of guest, but you can always pick up a thing or two by just interacting with them.

Avail yourself in your B&B, make personal contact, and listen to what your guests have to say. In most cases, you will be met by suggestions as to how you can tweak your operations to exceed your guests’ needs.

A better understanding of your guests’ needs means that you have a better chance of meeting their expectations. If done well, your guests will always find their way back to your B&B during their next trip to the area.


6. Train Your Staff

One way to guarantee a smooth experience for your guests is by ensuring that your staff has the level of experience needed. Give your staff appropriate training and provide them with tools and a favorable system that will help them meet your guests’ expectations.

If there’s one thing that is likely to cost you your guests, it is a poor customer service experience. The best way to curb this and shift odds in your favor is by ensuring that your staff training is great and up-to-date.


7. Give Your Loyal Guests VIP Treatment

Even while concentrating on getting new guests, don’t forget to cement your relationship with your loyal guests. Your guests will always find their way back to you, provided they are aware that their presence is appreciated.

Surprise them with VIP treatment on their next trip to your B&B and let them understand that you care about them. It can be as simple as a discount on their next stay, or an exquisite meal not offered on your menu.

If there’s one thing people love, it's being given special treatment, and your guests are no exception.


8. Make A Good Last Impression

As much as it might not be realized, the last impression your guests get on their way out influences their decision to return later. Perhaps, it has to do with the fact that it is the freshest memory of their stay at your B&B – and if done well, results are a guarantee.

What most people don’t realize is that it is never enough until you’ve earned yourself a long-term guest. Even after earning their trust, you should go ahead to make their current experience better than their previous one.

A simple ‘Thank You’ can do – it is even better when specially written and given to them before their departure. Depending on the location of your B&B, you can gift your guests with a gift bag with necessities that might come in handy on their way back.



9. Remember To Keep In Touch

Even after their departure, make it a habit to always maintain contact with your guests. Contact them periodically, probably after a month or so, to remind them of your B&B and the offers or discounts you have lined up.

Make sure to blend in a friendly tone in your messages to give them the intended weight and warmth. With your B&B in their mind, there is always a good chance that they will come back, or refer somebody to you.



Even while interacting with your guests, it is important that you keep in mind that none will be alike. While some are quite interactive and easy going, others prefer their personal space. Regardless of their persona, always strive to provide them with an experience they are not likely to find anywhere else.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The 9 Best Snowmobiling Spots in Utah Valley

It is no secret that Utah is home to the greatest snow on earth. In addition, it also happens to have perfectly groomed trails, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a memorable snowmobiling adventure.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner, an intermediate, or a pro, there are plenty of trails groomed to suit your riding experience. Even while not riding, there are thousands of acres of land to explore while enjoying the epic view of the mountains.

If you are a winter sports fan, make sure to check out the 9 best snowmobiling spots in Utah Valley:



1. Thousand Peaks

With over 60,000 acres of authentic background, Thousand Peaks is no doubt the largest mountain ranch in Utah. You get to enjoy exclusive access to more private terrain than all the other snowmobile companies combined!

Just a few minutes drive from Park City and you will get to explore some of the highest peaks, largest bowls, and the breathtaking views of the mountain tops. Its proximity to Park City also means that you have access to even more recreational activities.

Some of the snowmobile tours you can choose to explore from this spot include Rock Mountain Escape, Alpine Adventure, and the Epic Trip.



2. Cedar Mountain

Cedar Mountain provides snowmobilers with extensive well-marked trails with some of the most stunning scenery in Utah. Explore the more than 160 miles of groomed trails buzzing through pines and aspens while kicking piles of the fluffy snow in your wake.

This snowmobile complex has some of its trails leading to the breathtaking scenic view of Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Some of the trails open for snowmobile use include the High Mountain, Brian Head, Cedar Breaks, Duck Creek, Sage Valley, Lars Fork, Strawberry Point, and the Navajo Lake trails.



3. Skyline Snowmobile Complex

The complex provides access to the Wasatch plateau which makes it a perfect spot to bring a family along. Its trails provide you with access to open riding opportunities rising above 10,000 feet.

Its location in Central Utah also means that you can enjoy generally uncrowded riding conditions with your loved ones.

You can choose to follow the groomed trail or glide through the open fields with plenty of fresh powder, and endless other opportunities.

Skyline Snowmobile Complex has its trails interconnecting with those in the Skyline South Complex and the Scofield Snowmobile Complex to the north.



4. Fish Lake Snowmobile Complex

With elevations close to 11,500 feet, the Fish Lake Snowmobile Complex provides trails with breathtaking winter scenery and access to more enjoyable play areas.

Fish Lake, a natural lake located at an elevation of 8,800 feet, has a maximum depth of 120 feet, and a surface area of approximately 2,600 acres. I would, however, advise you to take with you some extra food and fuel while exploring this spot as the services along its trails are limited.

You can access the complex by using either the Monroe Mountain, Sanledges/Mt. Terrill, or the Gooseberry/Fish lake Trails.



5. Mill Hollow Snowmobile Complex

This snowmobile complex interconnects with the popular Mirror Lake which is only about an hour drive from Salt Lake City. With the two combined, you will have access to more than 150 miles of groomed trails in the Uinta Mountains. Most of its trails have access to plenty of scenery and play areas to enjoy.

However, some of these trails can prove to be very treacherous and it is advisable you stay on the groomed trail or ride with an experienced guide, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.

Some of the common trails include the Co-op Creek, Nobletts, Wolf Creek, Soapstone, Daniels Loop, and the Strawberry River trails.



6. Logan Canyon Snowmobile Complex

The Logan Canyon Complex has 180 miles of well-groomed trails winding through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest allowing plenty of snowmobiling opportunities to its riders.

You also get to enjoy the plenty of services, scenic views, and plenty of riding opportunities the area has to offer. It is advisable you stick to your designated trails since this is a critical wintering area for wildlife.

The specific trails to this complex include the Temple Canyon, Sinks, Garden City, Amazon, Beaver Creek, Franklin Basin, and the Tony Grove trails.



7. Monte Cristo Snowmobiling

Located just a few miles east of Huntsville, a ride in Monte Cristo will take you through a breathtaking scenic area with views of the Curtis Creek, Ant Flats, and Hardware Ranch.

I would suggest the Curtis Creek/Ant Flat trail as it is flat, well groomed, and with tremendous views of Cache Valley. You will also find several areas along the trail lined up with trees that open up to spacious playing areas. Other popular trails to this complex include the Sinks and the Millie Springs trails.

Snowmobilers are advised to stick on the trails to avoid trespassing onto private properties.



8. Daniel Summit Lounge

These mountains provide a perfect environment – both for guided and unguided rides. The Daniel Summit lounge grooms more than 200 miles of trails ranging from easy family-friendly rides to challenging steep climbs rising close to 10,000 feet.

While at its summit, you get to enjoy a clear view of the valley below before descending back to the trailhead. You can rent your snowmobile from the Lounge’s large fleet of rental machines.



9. Wasatch Mountain Snowmobile Complex

In addition to the 70 miles of well-groomed snowmobile trails, the complex, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service also offers parking, restrooms, and play areas to its snowmobilers.

It also has a golf course that is closed to snowmobiling, but open to other recreational activities such as country skiing and snowshoeing.

Some of the popular trails to these complex include the Midway Reservoir, Snake Creek, Cummings Parkway, Mill Flat-Tibble Fork, Cascade Springs, and the Mutual Dell/Sundance trails.



Before embarking on any ride, make sure that you check with the local U.S. Forest Service offices for trail guides and travel maps for the areas you seek to explore. If you are unfamiliar with the terrain, you might also consider using a guide to help you.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

20 Fun Facts About Utah County

If you are a Utah County resident, there’s definitely plenty to be proud of. Not that the rest of Utah is boring, but there are fun and interesting things that make Utah County especially unique.

Here are 20 fun facts you should know about Utah County:


1. Utah County is the second most populous county in the State

As per the 2010 census, there were 140,602 households, 114,350 families, and 516,654 people residing in Utah. These statistics rank the county as the second most populous in the State.


2. Utah County is the 16th largest in area in the State

The U.S. Census Bureau revealed that the county has an area of 2,144 square miles (5,550 square km) placing Utah County as the 16th largest county statewide. Of the total square miles, 2,003 square miles (5,190 square km) are land while the remaining 141 square miles (370 square km) are water.


3. The county’s name originates from the Native American ‘Ute’ tribe

The State of Utah was created in 1850 and named after the Spanish name ‘Yuta’ from the Ute tribe which simply translates to ‘people of the mountains’ in English. The county is among the seven counties in the US to have the same name as their state. The other 6 include Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, and New York. 


4. Provo, Utah is the County Seat

Located 43 miles (69 km) south of Salt Lake City, Provo is the third-largest city in Utah and the largest city in Utah County. This city also happens to be the County Seat (administrative center).


5. Utah County is home to approximately 20% of Utah’s population

Utah County holds 19.6% of Utah’s total residents. When merged with the Salt Lake County (with 36.7% of Utah’s population), the two counties make 56% of the total population of Utah.


6. Utah County is the fourth fastest-growing county in the country

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah County has grown by 17.4% since the 2010 census –ranking it fourth in terms of growth rate in the entire county. The other three fastest-growing counties include Wasatch, Morgan, and Washington counties.


7. Utah County is the youngest median age county in the State

The county has an average age of 24.4 making the county youngest in the entire state. It is followed by Cache County with an average age of 25. Utah County is also the sixth youngest county in the country, right behind the Chattahoochee County in Georgia.


8. The county has new population estimates of 606,425

According to new population data estimates released on July 1st, 2017, Utah County came in at 606,425. That is a 17.4% increase from the 2010 census data which recorded 516,654 total residents.


9. The first large manufacturing plant in Utah was based in Utah County

According to the Utah State Historical Society, Provo Woolen Mill was the first large manufacturing plant in Utah. Lehi in Utah county also happens to be home of the first large-scale sugar factory built in 1890.


10. The county has the 8th–highest median income in the state

Utah County has a median household income of $64,321 – ranking it eighth as the county with the highest median income in the state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Summit County recorded the highest median household income of $91,470. Piute County registered the lowest median household income at $37,112.


11. Utah County records the lowest percentage of Veterans compared to other counties in the State

With 15, 285 veterans in Utah County, it equals to only 2.5% of the county’s total population – which is the lowest percentage in the entire state. The Cache and Wasatch counties follow with 3% and 3.1%, respectively.

Piute County recorded the highest percentage of veterans at 11.3%.


12. The county’s residents are more educated than the National average

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 87% of the nation’s adults over the age of 25 have graduated from high school. Utah County happens to record a higher national average at 93.6%. Statistics also reveal that 38.1% of Utah County residents have at least a Bachelor’s degree – compared to the 30.3% across the entire country, and 31.7% in the state.


13. 10.1% of Utah County’s residents are non-religious

Of the total population in Utah County, 88.1% are Churchgoers and 1.8% belong to other religions. The remaining 10.1% are non-religious.


14. Utah County is among the three most generous counties in philanthropic donations

Researches and reports on the charitable giving in the United States named Utah County as one of the most generous counties in philanthropic donations –alongside Madison, San Juan, and Idaho Counties.


15. The first JB's Big Boy was opened in Provo, Utah

Before you take your next trip to the Big Boy's Burger and Shakes for a hamburger, is it worth knowing that their first food restaurant was opened in Provo? Well, thanks to Provo and its residents.


16. Utah County is referred to as the most Republican County in the United States

Reports reveal that Utah County has only supported a Democrat for president nine times since Statehood. It has never supported a Democrat for president since the year 1964. All the six Senators of the county, as well as all the other 12 representatives, are all Republicans.


17. The county has three School Districts

Utah has three school districts namely Provo, Alpine, and Nebo. To overview its tertiary institutions, the county has two universities: Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University. It also has one technical college: the Mountainland Technical College.


18. The Hispanic or Latino Race accounts for the second largest population in Utah County

The Hispanic or Latino race accounts for 10.8% of the population in Utah County. The Caucasian race tops with 89.4%. The remaining population constitutes of 0.6% American or Alaska Native, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.8% Native Hawaiian, and 4.6% of other races.


19. A Boxing Match was once held at the bottom of Utah Lake

Of course, Utah Lake is now filled with water. But in 1935, there was a boxing match that was staged at the bottom of the dried up lake.


20. Springville City was initially called Hobble Creek

The early settlers used to call the now Springville City ‘Hobble Creek’ as horses would be hobbled and left by a nearby stream. ‘Hobbling’ simply means tying up with some mobility.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

10 Best Places to Canoe and Kayak in Utah County


Utah County is home to endless outdoor activities which can be well explained by the numerous State Parks, camping locations, and lakes. The first step to an eventful trip is planning beforehand – and that includes familiarizing yourself with some of the best spots to spend time with your loved ones.
Below are the 10 best places you can canoe and kayak during your next trip to Utah.


Mirror Lake

Located high in the Uinta Mountains, Mirror Lake is best known for its scenic beauty and abundant recreational activities. The lake’s name originates from the almost perfect reflection of the surrounding mountains and trees often seen from the shore.

Among the recreational activities they offer are canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. There are a big parking lot and a campground consisting of several single and double campsites. If you are looking forward to camp these sites, you might consider choosing one with a view of the lake.

There’s also an amphitheater in the campground that offers live music and other activities throughout the weekend. Although the access fee is $8, the experience is definitely worth your money.



Lower Provo River

The Lower Provo River is a scenic 17.5 miles of whitewater starting below a dam and ending at Utah Lake. It is a short distance starting outside Provo and ending in the outskirts of the city. Even so, it is the short distance that makes its recreational experience great, most especially for paddlers. The run takes you through the Uinta National forest giving you a spectacular view of the beautiful surroundings along its river bank.

The run is quite convenient because it ends close to the City of Provo which brings easy access to services such as restaurants, motels, stores, and other things that might be essential to a paddler at the end of the trip.


Strawberry Reservoir

Enjoy recreational activities such as kayaking, canoeing, skiing, sailing, and fishing while enjoying the epic view of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains surrounding the lake. It is specifically recognized from its fishing activities dating from 1930 when the state’s record trout was caught weighing 26.5 pounds.

If you are looking for some fun fishing with your loved ones, this is definitely the place for you.


Utah Lake

Utah Lake is a 148 sq. miles shallow freshwater lake lying in Utah Valley. Besides fishing and swimming, Utah Lake is also an excellent spot for canoeing and kayaking. Its waters have an average temperature of 75 degrees – making it an excellent spot for swimming. The lake is most favored by its proximity to easy access points. There’s an entrance fee at both the Lindon Marina and the Utah Lake State Park entrances.

If you want to avoid the rental fees, you can bring along your kayak and enjoy the ultimate freedom in the water.


Silver Lake Flat Reservoir

Silver Lake Flat Reservoir is located up the American Fork Canyon, past Tibble Fork Reservoir. Its crystal clear water is so tempting that you'll want to take an immediate plunge. There are fewer crowds here, so you can freely enjoy yourselves.

There’s, however, no camping allowed within a 1/2 mile radius around the lake – not unless you want a ticket from the forest service officials. The lake is also only accessible via a dirt road so be prepared to get some dirt on your car. Nonetheless, it is still a beautiful and rather peaceful place to kayak and canoe.



Lake Powell

Being the second largest man-made lake in America, Lake Powell is one of the most visited spots in Utah, especially during summer. Be prepared to show up and leave early to avoid traffic and congestion.

Lake Powell is extremely popular with boaters – including kayaking and canoeing. Paddle through while enjoying the surrounding landscape with weathered red and yellow rock sculpted into caves and arches. Furthermore, what could be more interesting than paddling your way below towering high canyon walls?

The most recommended launching spots are the Lone Rock, Stanton Creek, and the Glen Canyon Beach camping area.



The Green River

The Green River flows from the Wyoming Wind River Mountains, heads south into Utah, east to Dinosaur Monument in Colorado, before heading back south to Utah where it finally joins the Colorado River.

As the name suggests, a trip along these waters will take you through miles of great scenery and wildlife. I would suggest you bring a camera with you to capture the many geological wonders as the river cuts deeper into the canyons.

The river is most crowded after April 15th when the water levels are high. I would discourage you from taking a trip during the July/August summer heat, as there is little to no shade.



Tibble Fork Reservoir

Located approximately seven miles up the American Fork Canyon, Tibble Fork Reservoir is best known for its scenic views and blue waters. It is considered to be a beginner level because of its small size and calm winds. So, if you are a newbie planning to start out on some kayaking and canoeing, this is definitely your place.

Also, be prepared for the $6 three-day pass charged either at the American Fork Canyon entrance or near the opposite end of Alpine Loop.


Deer Creek Reservoir

If you are looking for a spot with a great mountain view and a preferably lesser crowd, Deer Creek Reservoir should be your place. It is located in Heber Valley, a short drive from Park City. It is a scenic spot and it offers various recreational activities including kayaking, water skiing, and much more.

It is highly recommended that you set off early in the morning to beat the lake winds in the afternoons. There’s also a $10 day-use fee since it is a State Park. Beside kayaking and canoeing, you can also sign up for one of the many camping and ziplining activities.



Red Fleet State Park

Red Fleet State Park has a 750-acre reservoir which makes it a perfect spot to paddle through while enjoying the rather ancient environment. The park is famous for the numerous dinosaur tracks in the area. Because who would want to miss a chance of viewing 200-million-year-old dinosaur tracks?

Should you choose to explore the tracks, be prepared for the 1.5-mile hike that can prove to be somewhat strenuous because of the uphill and downhill sections involved. You are also advised to hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon since the tracks are hard to see in direct sunlight.



Before engaging in any activities, it is essential that you observe safety procedures first. Check out with the boat rentals, a marina, or visitor center for current weather forecasts. You can check with your guides or visitor centers for a map with specific details of where you are going. Also, don’t forget to carry the recommended safety equipment with you.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

13 Easy Waterfall Hikes in Utah County


Even with its rather harsh and dry environment, Utah still has some of the most beautiful waterfalls around. The hikes to these spots vary in length with some being quite long and others relatively short.

We have compiled a list of 13 easy waterfall hikes in this region that have a relatively short roundtrip and thus perfect for a family outing.


1. Battle Creek Falls

Battle Creek Falls is located in Pleasant Grove – on the same trailhead as the ‘G’ hike. It is a popular waterfall because its trail is wide and has a slow, steady climb leading to the Falls. You can walk alongside the river while enjoying the scenery around including a small cave along the Battle Creek trail.

The little stream below the Falls is a perfect spot for fun activities such as wading. The trail leading to the Battlecreek falls is 1.5 miles roundtrip.


2. Provo River Falls

It will cost you $6 to drive to these Falls which are located on the Mirror Lake Highway. The waterfall is quite simple and it has a few stairs leading to a beautiful view. Its trail along the river will lead you to several spots where you can comfortably enjoy the surrounding scenery – and wet your feet while throwing pebbles into the water.

The trails to the Falls vary in length depending on how far you walk down the river. Even so, you will walk for approximately 1/4 miles total.


3. Donut Falls

The water from these Falls pours into a donut-shaped rock and thus its name. Its surroundings are quite beautiful which explains why it is a very popular hiking trail. During summer, the parking lot for this trail fills up very quickly and you may have to take a longer hike should you decide to park further down the road.

You might, therefore, consider heading there early in the morning, especially if your planned hike is during the summer. The round trip to the Donut Falls is 1.5 miles in length.


4. Hidden Falls

It is probably less than 5 minutes walk to these Falls located on the S-curve in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Visitors, most especially kids, love standing by the waterfall and feeling the water spray on their faces. If interested, you can also join other rock climbers climbing the steep rock wall. The trail is flat thus easy for a hike. It is also relatively short - less than a quarter mile roundtrip.


5. Ghost Falls

The Ghost Falls are situated behind the LDS Draper Temple in Corner Canyon. You can access it from two trails: one about three miles long and completely flat, or a hike from the other side with a 1.8-mile round trip – and a little steeper than the first.


6. Adams Canyon Lower Falls

These Falls are located on the lower side of the Adams Canyon and it's about 1.5 miles roundtrip. The trail is relatively kid-friendly, thus a great place for a family outing. It starts with a steep climb, but after 10 switchbacks, the trail eventually evens out. A little climb down will take you straight to the waterfalls.


7. Grotto Falls

The trail to these Falls is not only beautiful but also flat and quite easy – thus a perfect spot for a family outing. Its hike takes you through the shaded trees and crosses the stream a few times. After about 1/4 miles, you will reach the waterfall which has curved its own grotto.

There’s a shallow pool at the waterfall that is a popular spot for fun activities such as wading. The roundtrip of this trail is 0.5 miles.


8. Cascade Falls

This is a small waterfall (more of a trickle, actually) with a trail located east of Cedar City near Duck Creek. I would suggest you take this hike during the spring when the Falls will be larger. The beautiful thing about this spot is that the Cascade Falls come directly out of the rock giving an amazing view. The 1-mile round-trip is quite fun, and it is not a surprise that people actually enjoy the hike more than they do the Falls.

Also, you might consider setting off early to avoid the heat of the day since there are no shades around.


9. Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil is among the most known waterfalls in Utah. Once at the waterfall, you will find another paved trail leading to a small pool below. Here, you can walk in the shallow waters while enjoying the beauty of Provo Canyon.

There’s also a fish pond nearby where you can feed the fish if you want to. The hike to the falls is relatively easy since it consists of a 1/4 mile round-trip.


10. Upper Falls

These falls are also located in Provo Canyon, just a mile north from the Bridal Veil Falls. The trail is a steep climb, with only 0.6 miles roundtrip – but once on top, you will enjoy the epic view of the 40-foot waterfall crashing down.


11. Rocky Mouth Falls

You will walk up some stairs, through a neighborhood in Sandy, and right onto the Rocky Mouth Falls Trail. Its trail is relatively short with a little bit of a climb to the waterfall. You can also choose to explore the several caves along the trail.

The best part is that you can visit this spot in the spring, summer, or fall, and still have an amazing experience.


12.  Dripping Rock Trail

It is not exactly a waterfall but it is still one highly recommended family spot for cooling off, especially in the summer. One big advantage of this spot is that its trails are paved – making it easy to push a stroller or wheelchair.

As you walk along this trail, you will hear water dripping from the river banks. There’s a steep walk down to the river’s edge that takes you to the largest area of Dripping Rocks – which is a perfect spot for wading. The roundtrip for this hike is 1 mile.


13. Lisa Falls

Located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Lisa Falls is home to lots of beautiful hikes and scenery. The best thing about this waterfall is that it is unique and the trail leading to it is super short. However, the 0.3-mile hike is filled with lots of big rocks scattered along the way. Though it is a relatively short distance, it is essential that you look out for your little ones.



Utah County is no doubt a popular tourist destination mainly because of its numerous natural features. Because of this, you will find that it always receives visitors all year round. It is essential to plan your trip early so as to avoid the many hassles that come with the last minute rush.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Outdoor Activities in American Fork Canyon


American Fork Canyon, situated in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, is named after the American Fork River which runs through the bottom of the Canyon. To most, it is a well-known destination because of its popular Timpanogos Cave National Monument.

The Canyon is home to a good number of hiking, biking, camping, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing adventures. Its proximity to Salt Lake makes it the perfect place to be for a full day of vigorous workouts and adventures.

For those who love rock climbing, there’s a spot for everyone regardless of your skill level. Visitors can choose from a variety of routes and enjoy a little bouldering and top-roping.

The little lakes and waterfalls in the American Fork Canyon are sights you should not miss. In the winter, the Canyon becomes a little paradise for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country, and back-country skiing enthusiasts.

During the warmer seasons, it is a favorite attraction for cyclists and four-wheel drivers. The Canyon is quite dog-friendly so you can bring your furry friend along for a hike!


Directions to American Fork Canyon

You can access the area by State Route 92, through the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. Follow the route for about 7.7 miles and it will lead you to the fee station at the mouth of the Canyon.

When accessing the Canyon from the west, the SR-92 will take you past the Alpine Loop Summit, Sundance Ski Resort and then out into the Provo Canyon in the south.

There’s, however, a small affordable fee paid at the entrance to facilitate and maintain visitor services, recreational facilities, and to protect wildlife & natural resources in the area.

The fees for vehicles are as low as $6 for 3 days, $12 for 7 days, and $45 for an annual gate pass.

American Folk Canyon is generally cooler in the warm seasons. You might, therefore, consider carrying a light jacket in the summer, and more layers during the spring and fall seasons.


5 Places to visit within the American Fork Canyon


1. Silver Lake

If you are looking forward to a short, satisfactory, and relatively easy hike, Silver Lake is the perfect place for you. You can hike the 3-4 mile Silver Lake Trail right into the Lone Peak Wilderness area.

A hike to Silver Lake will take you through groves of quaking aspens, meadows, and over clear mountain streams – perfect for nature fanatics.

The last mile heading towards the lake consists of a trail that continues to climb steadily. The last third of the mile is the steepest part, and probably the most strenuous.

In order to get to Siler Lake Trail, take I-15 to the Alpine exit and head up American Fork Canyon until you get to the fork in the road. Take the left fork and head towards Tibble Fork Reservoir. Once there, you will find a paved road heading north.

The paved road winds up the canyon, and if you follow it, will lead you to Silver Lake.


2. Cascade Springs

The Cascade Springs, which are fed by precipitation from the mountains should definitely be a place of interest during a trip to American Fork Canyon.

At least 7 million gallons of water reaches the impermeable rock daily before flowing out to feed the streams. The combination of paths in the area allows visitors to explore beautiful waterfalls and ponds within.

Cascade Springs is accessible through lower and upper trails. The lower trails are quite friendly and can be accessed by wheelchair. The upper ones might be a bit steep and may require you to climb some stairs.

In order to get to the Cascade Springs, you should take the Alpine Scene Loop up the American Fork Canyon. Once on the summit, you will come across a turn off marked Cascade Springs.


3. Stewart Falls Trail

Stewart Falls has two tiers and is over 200 feet tall making it one of the most scenic and photogenic waterfalls in northern Utah. It can be enjoyed by family members of all ages, regardless of their hiking abilities.

You can access the falls from two different locations; via Aspen Grove or through the Sundance Resort. Their parking lot is big and can accommodate many vehicles. Parking problems aside, you also don’t have to worry about where you will spend your night since they offer restrooms.

On your hike to the falls, you will come across a rocky overlook that has a very steep cliff on one side. This spot gives you a perfect view of the surroundings and it is also a great place to take pictures.

Heading down is a steep trail that leads you to the base of the falls. It allows you to get close enough to enjoy the sprays coming off the falls.


4. Pittsburg Lake Trail

The Pittsburg Lake Trail is regarded as one of the best hikes in the area, mainly because of its beautiful mountain surroundings. The area around the Lake offers a perfect campsite with a great view of the mountains.

Access to the trail can be a bit tedious, but once you get to the Lake, you will find that your efforts were worth it. The trail itself is an old mining road about 1-1.5 miles long.

Once on the Lake, you can enjoy the view of the waterfalls on the west and north side coming from the melting snow above.


5. Mount Timpanogos

To most residents of Utah County, hiking to the peak of Mt. Timpanogos is a rite of passage. Getting on top of the second highest peak in Wasatch is an achievement most locals aim to achieve at least once in their lifetime.

You can begin your hike from the Timpooneke Trail at the Timpooneke Campground in American Fork Canyon. Alternatively, you can use the Aspen Grove Trail past Sundance.

The Timpooneke Trail is 14.5 miles long and takes anywhere between 6-8 hours for an average hiker. You might, therefore, consider packing plenty of water and some warm clothes on your hike up.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Plan An Adventure At Mount Nebo


At 11,928 feet, Mount Nebo has the highest peak of the Wasatch Mountain Range, followed by Mount Timpanogos' peak which stands 179 feet lower.

Mountain Nebo’s peaks are close enough to the Wasatch for a day’s trip, and yet far enough off the beaten path so as not to feel so crowded. The stunning views it offers, both from the hike and the summit have made it one of the most favorite attractions in the area.

In the fall, the turning and falling leaves along the Nebo Loop can only be described as epic. For a moment, you might think you are in a magical world! The trail leads to a wilderness area, from which the visitors are encouraged to absorb and enjoy nature.

Well, that explains why Mount Nebo has always been recognized as a ‘source of life’ since the early settlers’ days.

With over 3000 feet gain, it is considered a strenuous hike and it would be better if you were well prepared for it. The first 8-9 miles are not that harsh and most visitors cover it without much of a hassle. Beyond that point, an elevation gain comes all at once in two short sections – making it a complete thigh-buster.

Be prepared to carry your own water pack since there are no natural water sources along the trail. Also, make sure that you keep an eye out for the storms that sometimes hit the summit. They can be quite harsh – and there have been some funny incidents in which they were reported to chase visitors off the summit. You can best avoid them by starting your hike early in the morning.

Along the trail, it is highly likely that you will come across wildlife, bighorn sheep and deer – which are a frequent sighting in the area. You better keep an eye out for them too.


Mount Nebo Trailhead 

Take the exit 250 for UT-115 toward Payson and head south on Main Street for 0.8 miles, then turn left on 100 North. Follow 100 North for approximately 0.5 miles and turn right on the 600 East.

Once on the Nebo Loop road, drive for about 24 miles until you reach the Nebo Bench/Monument Trail on the right. But instead of pulling into the Monument Trail, turn left and follow the Mona Pole Road for 0.4 miles. You will come across a trailhead and a decent camping spot right across the road.

You can start hiking from there, or you can follow the fence-line for another 3 miles to a second parking area – slightly closer to your destination.


Nebo Summit

From the trailhead, follow the signed trail 089 up the mountain. It is hard to miss since it follows the fence line. The North Peak should be the first objective and you should be able to see it to the west.

As you follow the trail, it meanders up losing a little elevation, before beginning to gain elevation once more and leaving the fence. The trail leads south along the North Peak ridge briefly and then contours off the west to Wolf Pass.

At Wolf Pass, you can enjoy stunning views toward Ephraim and also catch your breath before the final trek.

The final trail climbs steeply on the ridge and leads to a false summit – from where the ridge transverse begins. The trail is rocky steep and can be quite treacherous. It is not a surprise that most visitors hiking the trail tend to turn back at this point. Nonetheless, it is worth it continuing to the actual summit – especially if it’s your very first time.


Other scenic attractions along the Nebo Loop

For 37 miles, the Nebo Loop climbs up through narrow forested canyons, open land of ridges, plateaus, and trails – including an overview of the Nebo Creek in the East and Utah Valley/Lake in the Northwest.

Other highlights that are hard to miss along the Nebo Loop scenic way include, the Devil's Kitchen and the Payson Lakes. Many visitors heading to Mount Nebo often extend their vacation by heading to these two locations.


Devil's Kitchen

The Nebo Loop road heads due north along the valley, past several farm buildings and into the Uinta National Forest where all development stops. From there, you will pass the Jenkins Flat Interpretive Site and a junction with a side road heading to the southern Mount Nebo Trailhead.

The elevation increases at the head of the valley as the road becomes narrow and winding. Just a little bit further, you will first overlook the Salt Creek Valley and the San Pitch Mountains, before reaching the parking area of the Devil's Kitchen geologic area.

The access trail is just a quarter mile long and leads to a railed viewpoint on the edge of an eroded ravine containing a collection of pointed conglomerate formations. Devil's Kitchen has been called ‘overwhelming’ because the rocks are quite a sight – which are made even more colorful when they contrast with the dark greens of the enclosing trees.


Payson Lakes

Even before you start the tedious hike towards Mount Nebo, you can still enjoy the view of the dramatic peak while you drive along the northern side of the uneven terrain. Nebo Bench Trail off the summit is located a little further along the drive.

Along the northern side of the road, you will come across more viewpoints such as the 10,913 foot Bald Mountain, Utah Valley, and Beaver Dam. Further up, you will come across the three Payson Lakes – which is the only sighting that requires a day use fee. You can, however, save your cash by parking along the Highway and walking a short distance west.

Beyond that, the road begins its descent a few miles north of the lake and drops steeply down into Payson Canyon. After a short, level stretch along the valley floor, you will eventually emerge at the South-east edge of Payson.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

What To Do at Cascade Springs in American Fork


Cascade Springs is a gorgeous open space of trail systems located in the Uinta National Forest, east of American Fork Canyon and west of Wasatch Mountain State Park. Cascade Springs is not far from the city of Provo, Utah.

A series of loops take you through cascading waterfalls, small pools of fresh water, lush vegetation, and opportunities to see wildlife. It is a fantastic place to spend an hour or two with the family, friends, or a loved one. The beautiful and peaceful area serves as a great spot to get romantic with a significant other, observe nature, reflect on life and do activities like read or take scenic photographs where seven million gallons of water a day cascade down this wonderful landscape.


Hiking Trails

Lower Pools Loop at Cascade Springs

The lower loop introduces visitors to the open space and is the most easily accessible. The Lower Pools Loop is also the most popular among the guided paths in the Cascade Springs loop system. The paved trail walks visitors through a series of maze-like configurations where guests are treated to crystal clear pools and photogenic waterfalls. An impressive number of trees and plants species call Cascade Springs their home. The Lower Loop is also handicap accessible.

Middle Cascade Springs Loop

The middle portion of the trail is slightly steeper than the Lower Loop but still very accessible. A combination of paved and wood boardwalks take guests deeper into the Cascade Springs wilderness. Trail markers will lead you to the Middle Loop which begins at a wooden bridge situated by a waterfall. It’s a great place to take a short break as the rushing streams run through this section for most of the year. From there you can progress up the hill to the left or right (it's the same loop so you will return to the same location regardless).

Upper Cascade Springs Loop

The Upper Loop, like the name implies, is the most difficult yet not all too strenuous. The trail does require climbing up some wooden steps but the slope is gradual and not too intense. Here, travelers can witness the origins of where the springs start to trickle down the slope and feed the plants and wildlife below. The Upper Loop is a terrific spot to witness new plant growth. Visitors can also see the remains of a 2003 wildfire that got close to the area from this vantage point.


Wildlife

There are countless opportunities to watch and photograph wildlife around Cascade Springs. The crystal clear pools provide amazing opportunities for kids to watch brown trout and native cutthroat swim among its shallow depths.* The native fish are believed to have originated from the Provo River, located nearby.

A variety of other mammals call Cascade Springs their home. They are less frequent yet it's still possible to spot beavers, otters, deer, moose or elk in the area, especially near dawn or dusk. These animals tend to be more shy of people, so the best chances to see them are in a secluded, quiet areas.

As you would expect with an area so richly dense with trees and plants, a number of birds and insects also get on about with their day. Hawks can be spotted from above while wild turkeys may roam the grounds. Several different types of hummingbirds also greet guests with their beautiful sounds.

*Please note, while it’s okay to watch the trout no fishing is allowed within the grounds of the open space.


Geology

The geology of Cascade Springs goes back impressively to 30,000 to 10,000 years ago when coarse-grained glacial sediment was first deposited from glaciers that covered higher elevations on the Wasatch Mountain Range. The sentiment deposits contribute to the abundance of water that flows through Cascade Springs to this day, where mountain runoff along with water that seeps out from the ground contribute to the remarkably lush and fertile soil where plant life thrives.


How to Plan

Like any place you visit outdoors, it is always recommended to pack plenty of water and bring extra clothing. Even in the middle of the summer, temperatures can vary in the wilderness and because Cascade Springs is not only at higher elevations, but also densely wooded, a jacket and pants is a very good idea.

All three of the loops take approximately 15 minutes each to complete. So, if you intended to walk all three plan for at least 45 minutes to complete, with an hour or two being more highly recommended since you will want to watch the native trout in the ponds, take photos of the waterfalls, and hopefully see wildlife.


Directions

If traveling from the Utah Valley on I-15, take the Highland/Alpine Exit, number 284. Travel east for about eight miles on State Route 92 before reaching the entrance station of the National Forest. Please note there is a small charge for National Forest access. 

From there, follow the Alpine Scenic Loop up American Fork Canyon. At the summit of the Alpine Scenic Loop, which is approximately 17 miles from the entrance station, take the Cascade Springs turnoff. Cascade Scenic Drive winds another six miles before reaching a parking area by the trailhead.

Cascade Springs can also be accessed from the east through Wasatch Mountain State Park. Follow the directions posted in the town of Midway to reach Cascade Springs Drive. Continue about eight miles until you reach the lower parking lot.

It’s important to note that the Alpine Scenic Loop road is extremely narrow. The road is not recommended for vehicles longer than 30 feet or vehicles with trailers, as the switchbacks are tight and can lead to trouble. The area is also occasionally closed in the winter due to weather.



Cascade Springs is not often reported in traditional tourist guides, but is definitely worth a visit. The incredible landscape is a great place to cool down and relax for a couple of hours. The waterfalls make for a great photo op, while the wooded terrain features moderate temperatures even in the heart of the summer. You can cool down further by soaking your feet in the natural water pools while fish swim by.

Since you will likely already be traveling up the Alpine Scenic Loop in the Uinta National Forest, why not take a pit stop at this hidden gem?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Utah Culture & History: Native American Tribes


Utah is home to some of the Americas' original Native American tribes and cultures. There are five major tribes that have all maintained their strong legacies. They include the; Dine (Navajo), Goshute, Paiute, Ute, and Shoshone. Since the ancient days, Utah was well known for its sacred places, dwelling sites, and fascinating rock art messages.

Utah’s tribes still actively live bound by their ancient cultures. They usually invite visitors from other cultures to view them as they come together during the tribal and other gatherings.

If you are looking forward to viewing some free exhibits of their traditional crafts displays such as beadwork, baskets, and carvings, you can get them on display at the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts.


Preserved remains of Ancient cultures – Rock Art & Remains

Utah is well known by American culture lovers as a home of intriguing Native American rock art. It comprises two types; the pictographs – painted on stone, and which even after thousands of years still remain colorful, and the petroglyphs – which were incised into stone walls and boulders.

Because the exact meanings of the rock arts are still unknown, they have often been assigned to different time frames and cultures based on elements of artistic style. The Native American rock art varies widely, from themes depicting successful hunts, to mythic figures which are considered to represent deities and ceremonial practices.

The rock art is also seen to represent other scenes such as domestic life, common and fantastic animals, among other things.

The place where the ancient cultures made their homes and resided, often referred to as habitation sites can be quite obvious. For instance, there are granaries which are well preserved – mainly because of their weatherproof positions below the cliffs.

In southern Utah, you will find many sites where stone dwellings and places of worship have been well preserved, stabilized, and are interpreted to modern-day visitors.

But that is just a mere section of all of it. When you check the Utah Museums page, you will find several other collections and interpretive opportunities scattered in museums statewide. If you are looking forward to spending some quality time in Utah exploring the ancient culture, the local visitor information centers should give you the required head start on getting information related to any specific area of the state.

However, keep in mind that all the Native American relics are protected by the federal law, and touching or taking any of them is strictly prohibited.


Southeast Utah

You will find Wolf Ranch in Arches National park which has some of the finest rock art in the region. The Newspaper Rock is filled with a panel consisting of hundreds of figures and designs crafted onto the southwest-facing cliff.

The ‘bulletin’ stone board has over 350 distinct ancient petroglyphs dating to more than 800 years ago. A perfect example is the figures riding horses and shooting arrows – which are considered a portrayal of Ute Indians who obtained horses in the 1600s. There are also other more recent images attributed to the Ute culture which date from the 19th Century.


The BLM administered site is on State Route 211, and you can easily access it from US 191.
Another place of interest is the Edge Of The Cedars State Park and Museum in Blanding. It interprets the remnants of the ancient Puebloan village with its ceremonial kivas dating between 700 and 1220 A.D. The park strongly showcases the Indian civilization, its transition, and how it flourished in southeastern Utah. The museum houses a collection consisting of various ancient artifacts and pottery – which makes it the regional archaeological repository for southeast Utah.

More remnants of Pueblo culture dating between 300 A.D and 1300 A.D. may be seen on the Trail of the Ancients, which is a 100-mile loop route in the southwest of Blanding.

Grand Gulch Primitive area, accessible via south of the junction of state routes 261 and 95 is another sighting containing hundreds of cliff dwellings. The BLM, however, requires visitors to obtain a permit before being allowed into the rugged area. The area is only accessible on horseback and through hiking trails.


The Hovenweep National Monument near the Colorado border offers visitors solitude as they get to enjoy the sightings consisting of ancient fortress and tower ruins. There are five prehistoric rock art panels near the town of Bluff which are shown on the Bluff walking tour map.

Monument Valley was set aside as a Navajo Tribal Park in 1959. The park is a repository for Navajo archeology, Navajo arts, and crafts. A simple self-guided scenic drive will give you an overview of the park’s most famous formations. If you are looking forward to an in-depth exploration into the Tribal Park, you will require to hire a Navajo Guide at the visitor center.


Southwest Utah

A trip toward the southwestern side of Utah will lead you to Ansazi State Park and Museum – where you will get to see a preserved ancient village of one of the largest Ansazi communities.

Although the village remains largely unexcavated, there are many artifacts that have been uncovered and are on display in the museum.

There’s even a life-size, six room replica of an Answanzi dwelling which gives the visitors a perfect idea of how life was almost a thousand years back.

Also in southwest Utah, there are more petroglyph sites in BLM-administered Parowan Gap, 10 miles northwest of Parowan and Johnson Canyon, 9 miles east of Kanab. You can also find pictographs at Sand Springs, 20 miles northwest of Kanab.


Eastern Utah

There’s the Range Creek Canyon that shelters pristine Fremont Indian rock art and ruins in the rugged Book Cliffs. The federal government purchased the area in the year 2004, and it is now open to limited public visitation. Little is known about the Fremont people and archeologists are still actively studying the place in order to piece together the mystery of their culture.

At Dinosaur National Monument, there are more rock sites. Although some are quite obvious, there are others that require both maps and a willingness to hike.

Dry Fork Canyon is on the lower portion of the Red Cloud Loop north of Vernal and has some of America’s most impressive petroglyph panels.

If you decide to tour these sides, Nine Mile Canyon, a BLM national Scenic Backway is a place you should not miss. The Canyon walls are covered with petroglyphs and pictographs, and will no doubt leave you with one of the best experiences. You should, however, take time to pick up a copy of a detailed self-guide brochure before you embark on this trip.


Central Utah

There’s the Fremont Indian State Park and museum located at the Hw 89/I-70 junction which is 24 miles southwest of Richfield. It has a wide collection of Fremont Indian artifacts from nearby Five Fingers Hill. Follow the short, maintained trails and they will lead you past several impressive panels of rock art figures.

The interpretive center focuses on the evolution of Fremont Indian Cultures between 500 A.D and 1300 A.D.


Northern Utah

It's not much of a tour, but you will be impressed by the rock art created by members of Fremont Culture which was found on the Islands of the Great Salt Lake, and other areas of northwestern Utah’s Deserts.