Monday, October 28, 2019

9 Essential Hiking Tips

9 Essential Hiking Tips blog cover image

Hiking can be the most relaxing experience you will ever have. However, hiking can also be rigorous, demanding, and dangerous. With tall mountains, thick forests, and vast desert plains; there are many places to plan your hike. There are also different types of weather-permitting hikes such as the cold mountainous trails of the Uintas or in stark contrast, the hot desert surrounding the red rock in Moab, Utah. No matter what type of hike you are looking for, there are some essential tips you should note.

1.  Don’t Go Too Big

When deciding where to hike, you should account for your physical ability. Obviously, choosing to climb a 5,000 ft hill as a beginner would not be the most ideal situation. Research trails and decide how far you want to hike. There are apps such as All Trail that will reveal the intensity levels, and friendliness of trails. It will also show how long the trail is and what to watch out for. If you are on social media, ask for recommendations from your friends and other locals in hiking groups.

a hiker looking down at the green valley below

2. Check the Weather

Checking the weather prior to your hike will give you valuable information as to what to wear and if you need to bring certain accessories like a rain poncho. Some parks will have cameras on their trails available to the public. Check the website for the trail you are looking to hike, and if they have cameras you can use those to see real-time weather. Pay attention to the wind levels/chill as well; that can make or break a good day of hiking.

a backpacker with full gear, hiking at high altitude

3. Know the Trail

Before you head out on your trail, gather as much information as you can. Make sure you allow plenty of time and have reviewed the trail on a map. Also, heed caution to any previous wildlife reports. Asking your friends and locals will allow you to be aware of any dangerous aspects to the trail such as steep drop-offs, or if there are water spots you may need to look out for.

4. Tell Someone Where You Are Going

Always tell somebody where you are going. Emergency situations arise all the time even if you are going for just a quick 10-minute hike. When you let someone know where you are going, be sure to include an estimated time of how long it will take you to hike and what time they should expect you home. Arrange a time for them to call you if you have not checked in with them first.

a mother and daughter hiking with their puppy

5. Pack Essentials

As you plan for your hike, pack what you can carry depending on how long your hike is and how long you plan to be away. You will also need to factor in the weather and emergency supplies. There are about ten (10) emergency supplies you should plan to pack: first aid supplies; a lighter or other fire starter; extra water and food; emergency shelter; flashlights with extra batteries; sun protection; and a compass with a map. These essentials are light enough to carry in a pack and on any length of the trail.

hiking shoes, multitool, first aid kit, water bottle, and rope laid out

6. Use the Right Gear

Hiking does not generally use a lot of gear unless you're going rock climbing. If you are a beginning hiker all you will need is what you have on your back. Most hikers' first mistake is wearing clothes- such as jeans or other materials- that soak up moisture. This can irritate the skin if it gets wet. You should wear clothes that are made for strenuous activity, like dry fit. You should also wear appropriate shoes, hiking shoes are a good start but do not wear brand new shoes that have not been broken in and do not wear a very old pair of hiking shoes. Additionally, choose a pack that fits snug to your back and is not too loose or too tight. Following these steps for choosing the right gear will help you along your way.

a pair of geared-up hikers smiling while looking into the distance

7. Time Your Hike

It's best to go for a hike at the beginning of the day that way you can have extra time for scenery and other stops that you may need to take. If you are taking a long hike, time management is essential so that you can reach your milestones on time. It's also good to have that extra time just in case you make a wrong turn and need to retrace your steps, or in case an emergency arises.

a group of hikers crossing water on top of rocks

8. Hike in A Group

Hiking in a group has its benefits. It can help in protecting you and the other hikers by deterring wildlife. Hiking in a group is also beneficial because you have the option to switch gear or other hiking items. There may also be someone in the group more experienced with hiking, should an issue arise. As a bonus, other hikers can help you get that perfect photo!

a narrow, shaded trail through a lush forest

9. Leave no Trace

While you are taking a beautiful, scenic hike be sure to pick up after yourself. Do not leave trash or any other hiking accessories behind. Wildlife is prone to hanging around trails because of items in trash cans or left around trails. To avoid encountering wildlife in the future, you must pick up and take your trash with you to dispose of it properly.

From choosing the right trail; packing essentials; having an accountability buddy; and to ensuring you are not leaving trash behind, these 9 essential tips to hiking will ensure you have a wonderful stress-free hike. Knowing your trail is the most important because everything else will fall into place once you know the trail. If your trail is more accommodating to electronics it would also be wise to take a cell phone or satellite phone. Hiking can begin as a small hobby but grow into a weekly adventure for days at a time in more demanding environments. Enjoy the great outdoors!

Monday, October 21, 2019

7 Steps to Planning a Memorable Vacation

7 Steps to Planning a Memorable Vacation blog cover image

It is finally time for you to plan out that vacation you have been saving time and money for. No more hypothetical planning, this is the moment where you will plan and set it in stone. So, where do you start? You may have had a general idea of a vacation planned in your head, but you have not sat down to figure out the little details to start the process. This list will give you the foundation to build your vacation and make it memorable. With those words in mind, here are 7 Steps to Planning a Memorable Vacation.

a couple researching travel destinations with brochures and websites

1. Pick Your Destination

Whether you want to plan a large vacation to an exotic location or snuggle up next to your partner in the woods, having a solid destination is key. For example, instead of planning to visit the state of Utah, decide what city in Utah you would like to see. You can also choose your destination based on what activity you want to do or see. If you want to spend the length of your vacation exploring majestic red rock, then plan to stay in Moab, Utah. If you would rather spend days swimming in a lake, research Bear Lake, Utah where there is fun for the whole family. Once you find the perfect destination, the rest of your planning will be a breeze.

hands pointing to Rome on a map. with coffee, compass, and a toy airplane

2. Decide on the Length of Your Trip

This step is a necessity. It can determine the amount and time of your activities. Whether you want to take a long or short vacation, you will need to plan time for travel. If you are flying, you can plan 2 or 3 days for traveling to and from your destination. It can sometimes take a full day just to get in and out of an airport. Knowing your destination and the amount of time you will be away will help you plan out the cost and what you can really afford.

a paper map being covered by seashells, money, and a snorkel

3. Know Your Budget

You have spent countless months saving up for your vacation. Now is the time to spend it wisely. You need to decide how much money you want to set aside for lodging, food, gas, activities, and miscellaneous costs. Additionally, make sure you read through your airline's policies in case you have extra baggage or service fees. Once you have budgeted costs you will gain a better understanding of where your money is going.

a man on the computer with a toy airplane and a map

4. Book Flight & Accommodations

There are a couple of different ways to go about booking your flight and accommodations. There is the traditional route of looking up hotels, resorts, B&B’s, etc., and booking them individually. There is the route of using third party booking sites that often offer vacation bundles. There is also an option offered by some reward cards you may have. Some airlines and hotels offer complementary services based on various rewards. When you are looking for lodging, consider the amenities you might need such as pet-friendly, or maybe you want a room with a view. With any method you use to book, make sure it fits your schedule, budget, and family needs.

hikers with backpacks heading towards a zipline

5. Plan Activities

This is the fun part! Research everything you can about your destination. Read reviews and make a list. Depending on how long you plan to stay there, you can always narrow down your list. Leave some time for relaxation, the atmosphere, and enjoying the beauty of your surroundings. Check with your lodging and see if they offer shuttle services or discounts to activities. Save a large activity for the end of your trip, that way you can end your vacation in the best way.

a stack of suitcases in front of the beach

6. Pack

We have all been there. Packing a hundred pairs of socks for a 6-day trip to the beach. Keep it simple, the last thing you want to worry about is hauling a ton of luggage around. Depending on where you plan to go, you only need the essentials and one or two special outfits. Also, pack according to weather and conditions. Lastly, pay attention to your activities and what they recommend you wear. If you plan to go on an ATV trek through the forest, it is wise to pack boots and even a pair of gloves. You will also need to remember your passport, and I.D. if you are leaving the country. Be smart with packing and you will enjoy an effortless traveling experience.

parents getting their children excited about the trip

7. Take Care of Home Life

This is a given step, but sometimes we do not always plan and that can create chaos. If you have pets at home and do not plan on taking them, book a boarding house or pet sitter right away. Boarding homes can fill up fast, especially around the holidays and often require certain vaccines. If your pet does not have those vaccines, you will need to also book that appointment with the vet before boarding. If you are taking a vacation away from the kids, make sure you have a family or a babysitter in place and a backup babysitter in place of that one. Some other things to consider are telling your bank you are vacationing, taking out cash, finding someone to water your plants, and having the post office place a vacation hold on your mail.

hiking boots hanging out of the tent, overlooking a lake

This last section is going to also serve as Step 8, enjoy yourself! We work hard and often forget to take care of our needs. A vacation is a time to relax, release, and have fun. Planning the trip does not need to be stressful so it is important to plan and understand your full itinerary. Whether you want to see the red rocks of Utah, ATV in Hawaii’s thick forests, or enjoy a quiet weekend away in a cabin; these 7 steps of planning a memorable vacation will get you on your way!

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Top 10 UTV Riding Areas in Utah

The Top 10 UTV Riding Areas in Utah blog cover image

The large terrain of Utah has never been underestimated and holds countless hidden gems. With its spanning deserts and tall, majestic mountains, Utah has hide-a-way spots great for taking off-highway vehicles (OHV’s). Whether you are setting out for a bouncy ride, rocky ride, or you just want a serene view, Utah offers a variety of trailheads that will meet your expectations and more. This list brings you the most exciting and beautiful Top 10 UTV Riding Areas in Utah.

two ATV's riding a trail through lush green mountains

1. Arapeen OHV Trail

With over 350,000 acres to ride, the Arapeen OHV Trail System has gained a respected reputation. Located just two hours south of Salt Lake City on U.S. Highway 89 in Sanpete County, the Arapeen OHV Trail offers over 600 miles of trails to explore. With various types of terrain, you can enjoy the fresh air and beautiful mountain lakes during your scenic ride. The Arapeen OHV Trail has been featured on multiple outdoor television shows, so if you’re craving adventure this is the place to be!

two ATV's parked on the side of a dusty trail

2. Five Mile Pass OHV Area

This local hotspot is 14 miles west of Eagle Mountain, Utah and boasts year-round trails. The terrain is made of rocky trails that wind through the natural vegetation. The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of planning a developed campground with water resources and has already installed four new restrooms. Not only can you ride your ATV, but the trails are friendly enough for smaller motorized vehicles as well. With an abundance of flat land, there can be fun for the whole family.

a side x side rider coming down the face of a sand dune

3. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Located between Mount Carmel Junction and Kanab is the picturesque Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Known as the shifting sea of red sand, the whole family can participate in the fun. There is a park fee of $10 per vehicle for single-day use. Camping fees vary on how many sites and hookups you will need; be sure to check out their website for more information. The Coral Pink Sand Dunes are open seven days a week. Come prepared and don’t forget water!

a truck and trailer getting ready to unload ATV's in the desert

4. Knolls OHV Area

If you are visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats, then you must stop by and ride the Knolls OHV Area. With over 36,000 acres, this area boasts hills, sand dunes, and various terrain trails. You must have a whip flag and newer sand tires are recommended. The entrance fee for this year-round area is $6 per vehicle or you can get an annual pass for $40. The Park asks that you respect and stay within the boundary lines as there is a military bombing range nearby. This is the place to ride if you want all terrains in one stop.

ATV's lined up behind rippled sand dunes in the sunset

5. Little Sahara Sand Dunes

Just like the name suggests, this mini version of the Sahara Desert located in central Utah - 4 miles west of Jericho Junction and only 115 miles from Salt Lake City. The Little Sahara Sand Dunes offer 60,000 acres of exploring. If you want to camp out, there is an $18 fee per vehicle for one night. Whether you are looking for sand, hills, rocky terrain, or winding through bushes. The Little Sahara will keep you coming back for more.

6. Mill Canyon OHV Trails

This 43-mile trail in Mill Canyon is full of serene beauty including small waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife. Located in Wasatch County, the Mill Canyon Trail is open from 5/1-11/1. The State Park fee for this ride is $7 per day up to 8 people or $75 for an annual State Park pass. There is an additional National Forest Recreation fee of $6 for a 3-day pass or an annual pass of $45. Research the trailheads before your adventure and make sure someone back home knows where you are.

7. Pine Lake OHV Trail

If you are looking for a majestic trail, look no further. The Pine Lake OHV Trail is a 21-mile loop that is made of mostly dirt roads. The loop consists of Pine Lake, Powell Point Overlook, and Pole Canyon. You will be amazed by the scenic views during your ride that you will want to come enjoy this trail year-round. There are no entrance fees, but if you wish to camp, there is an $11 fee for both tent and RV. With calm terrain, this can be a great ride for the whole family.

8. Paiute ATV Trail System

The Paiute Trail starts with a climb for several miles as you ascend the mountain. Once you reach the trailhead, you will have access to over 900 miles of trails and country. Breathe the fresh air of the thick forests and enjoy the serenity of nature. Richfield is the most popular town to enter in from. Plan accordingly and you will have endless adventures with this large trail system.

9. American Fork Canyon

Located in American Fork Canyon, Utah this area offers endless trails of different terrain and levels of intensity. Most of the trails are labeled moderate and accommodate ATV’s, side-by-sides, and dirt bikes. Some of the places the trails will lead you are: Snake Creek Canyon, Mineral Basin, Soldier Hollow, and Silver Lake. The park asks that you caution steep drop-offs during your ride, other than that - enjoy yourself!

10. Moab

Moab is one of the most recognized places to visit in Utah. Vastly due to its red rock excursions and serene beauty. Besides rock climbing, river rafting, and mountain biking, Moab offers incredible adventures for OHV’s. There are a handful of different trails to ride on, but most riders stick to the top 4: Fins & Things, Poison Spider Mesa, Steel Bender, and Hell’s Revenge. Each one offers its own unique experience and intensity level. One thing is for sure, you won’t be disappointed coming to Moab.

These top 10 spots have provided you the information, now you must go out and experience these beautiful places for yourself. From the windy trails of Five-Mile Pass, to climbing different sand dunes, and to the majestic beauty of the Moab; Utah is sure to impress. Off-highway vehicles are fun and exciting but can be dangerous so be sure to wear helmets. The State of Utah also wants to remind riders to watch out for fellow riders and pedestrians during rides and to make sure you are well prepared for your ride. No matter the adventure you crave, you can find it in Utah.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The 8 Best Outlets and Malls in Utah

The 8 Best Outlets and Malls in Utah blog cover image

From serene deserts to strange rock formations, Utah is a wonderful and majestic place to explore. While you spend days planning activities add these 8 malls and outlets into your schedule. Some of them are modern, some take you back in time, but all are down-right impressive! Most of these options also include world-class dining and fun activities for the whole family. These are not in any special order but here are the 8 best shopping outlets and malls in Utah.

1. City Creek Center- Salt Lake City, Utah

This premier hot spot is located just off I-15 in the heart of Salt Lake City. With world-class shopping and dining options, City Creek should be at the top of your list. Some of the featured stores listed here are: Lululemon, Albion, Kendra Scott, Fabletics, and so many more. Bring the kids to City Creek and enjoy activities such as feeding the fish, and Minecon at the Microsoft store. Even if you are having a friend’s night out, your group can decorate cakes at Albion with The Blonde Who Bakes. The events at this mall are ever-growing and should not be missed!

large angled LED sign mounted on a building

2. University Place- Orem, Utah

With a tagline of, “Unlike Anything Else in Utah Valley”, this four-generation owned shopping destination is a landmark in Orem. Not only does this shopping center have entertainment accompanied by retailers and dining, but it also has a two-acre outdoor space - The Orchard - that is used for events all year. Bring the little ones to their Kid’s Place and let them roam around the playground or even play in the splash pad! When you are ready to relax, enjoy this center’s large water-fountain or enjoy a meal at one of their many dining options.

lights hanging across an open-air shopping center

3. The Shops at Riverwoods- Provo, Utah

After you spend the day going to Bridal Veil Falls at the south end of Provo Canyon, you will want to head to the Shops at Riverwoods to refresh. This center is equipped with unique stores and a handful of dining options. You can even hit the beach? Provo Beach is a 50,000 sq. ft. place where you can surf, eat, and play! You can also wind down in a float spa at True Rest Float Spa. From beautiful waterfalls to unique malls, Provo is a great place to spend the day and the Riverwoods is the icing on the cake!

stylish upscale men's wear hanging and folded

4. Outlets Park City- Park City, Utah

Formerly known as Tanger Outlets, this shopping center is home to over 65 brand name stores including Michael Kors, Nike, Fossil, JCrew, and many more. Families can stop in at the Children’s play area and take a rested break from shopping. If you want to engage in some physical activity, this outlet also offers bike-sharing. The electric bicycles are available for rent so you can explore the rest of what Park City has to offer.

a fountain shooting water high into the sky, lit purple

5. Station Park- Farmington, Utah

With first-class dining, shopping, and entertainment, this beautiful display of a shopping center is set to impress. Meet up with friends at Fountain Square which is strategically placed North of Cinemark theaters. From there, shop at one of the name brand or one-of-a-kind stores or enjoy a fun activity such as painting pottery. When you get tired from shopping, Station Park also boasts a Hyatt Hotel and gourmet eateries. Customers are especially excited to eat here now that P.F. Chang’s has opened. If you happen to visit this place in the winter, you can enjoy an outdoor skating rink! Station Park is a one-stop-shop and should be on the list of places to visit!

6. The Shoppes at Zion- Saint George, Utah

Nestled against a hill in the gorgeous southwest desert is The Shoppes at Zion, with over 30 premium shopping and dining options. You will find a store for every person in your family here and within budget! The Shoppes at Zion is a great place to stop by while you are out enjoying the beauty of Saint George and with this shopping center being close to Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and Zion National Park your options for entertainment are endless.

upscale menswear hanging below advertisements

7. The Shops at South Town- Sandy, Utah

This newly renovated shopping center prides itself on being a one-stop-shop. With over 100 options for dining, retail, and entertainment, there is something for everyone. The Shops at South Town have a blend of unique stores as well as known retailers like H&M, Macy’s, and HomeGoods. Take a break from shopping and enjoy the Dining Terrace or head to the Round 1 Bowling and Amusement for family fun. Make sure to check out their website for coupons before you go. On your way into this magnificent shopping center, look around and see the breathtaking view of the mountains, it is sure to impress!

8. Gardner Village- West Jordan, Utah

This one-of-a-kind shopping center is like taking a step back in time. Located in the Salt Lake Valley the Gardner Village reflects the early Utah pioneer mill industry. However, you will still find trendy clothing options at one of the many small shops. What is great about Gardner Village is you can bring family and friends here to create lasting memories doing fun-artistic activities like candy making, sewing, and furniture painting. You can also host an event in one of their four venues including the Gardner flour mill. The historic atmosphere of Gardner Village will leave you wanting to go back in time more often.

Red rocks and the Salt Lake are well-known in Utah but now so are these 8 best-shopping outlets and malls. Whether you want to stay close to central Utah or venture down towards the southwest corner of the State, you will be pleased with any of these shopping experiences. From the busy central life of City Creek, the Fountain Square at Station Park or time warp of Gardner Village, you can ensure you will make unforgettable memories while exploring the great land that is Utah.