Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The 9 Best Fishing Spots in Utah County

The 9 Best Fishing Spots in Utah County

Once the last of the snow has melted and the ponds, rivers, and lakes are no longer frozen over, it is officially fishing season in Utah County. Whether a novice or an expert, and no matter what you are hoping to catch, there is a fishing spot in the area that is sure to meet your needs. Check with each location regarding hours, rules, permits, and catch limits before your visit.

Mountain and Lights reflected in Utah Lake

Utah Lake

The water quality at this spot might not be as pristine as at some of the other spots on this list, making it less than ideal for swimming, but that does not mean it is not worth a visit. This lake is known for more hardy species of fish that can withstand the environment of the lake, so be on the lookout for plenty of catfish and bass. The lake has about 70 miles of shoreline, with most fishing spots easily accessible via a short walk or hike. There are also roughly half a dozen boat ramps located around the lake.

Fisherman wading into Provo River

Provo River

Located in Provo Canyon, the Provo River is widely considered to be one of the top fishing spots in Utah and is a must-visit when you are in the area. It is one of the most-fished rivers in the state. The river is split into two regions—upper and lower—and both are extremely popular, which may mean more crowds on weekends and warm-weather days. You are likely to find dense schools of large brown and rainbow trout here. Locals recommend checking this spot out in the spring, before the fish populations become too depleted or the crowds become overwhelming. Make sure you dress warm! The water is cold!

Creek with Foliage all around

American Fork Creek

Located within American Fork Canyon as part of the Tibble Fork Reservoir, American Fork Creek is a great spot to introduce your kids to stream fishing. This is a mild-flowing stream and is regularly stocked—rainbow and brown trout are common catches here. If you make a visit early in the spring when snow is still melting, use caution as the water levels may be higher than usual. If you are more interested in lake fishing or would just enjoy a change of scenery, you can explore fishing at other parts of Tibble Fork Reservoir while you are in the area.

Boy fishing from a pier

Diamond Fork River

Diamond Fork River, located in Spanish Fork Canyon is already a very popular camping destination, making it a logical visit for fishing enthusiasts as well. You are likely to find brown trout or cutthroat trout here, and it is a highly recommended spot for fly fishermen as well, so long as they proceed carefully. If you visit in early spring, the river and its surroundings may be too muddy and therefore slippery. Summertime is perfect for a weekend of camping and fishing in the river. It is located off of Diamond Fork Road just off of U.S. Highway 6.

Spring Lake Trout Farm

This hatchery and fish farm is perfect for someone who would prefer a more controlled fishing environment and a guaranteed catch at the end of the day—a great stop for families with kids looking to try fishing for the first time. Located in Payson, they have been in business since 1912. They offer fishing at $6 a pound, which includes the use of equipment, bait, and cleaning and filleting your catch. If you prefer catch and release, you can enjoy fishing for $5 per person per hour. No license is required and no catch limits are in place.

Highland Glen Park

This peaceful pond located in Highland allows for seasonal fishing, though your catch is limited to two fish per day. However, anglers are encouraged to release all largemouth bass. There is a small boat ramp available for use. You are most likely to find rainbow trout and channel catfish. The park also features a playground, a pavilion, a beach volleyball court, and a swimming area.

Manilla Creek Park Pond

Located in the suburban Pleasant Grove community, this park is a popular destination for visitors of all ages whether or not they are looking to fish. The pond is stocked regularly with rainbow trout, brown trout, and occasionally bluegill, and anglers are encouraged to release grass carp and all bass. The pond, like that of Highland Glen Park, has a daily catch limit of two fish per day. There is a fish cleaning station on site and a marked swimming area on the beach for use during the summer months. You will need a current fishing license in order to fish at this pond.

Salem Pond

A popular destination at Christmastime for the annual tree lighting, you can also visit the community fishery at Salem Pond in the spring and summer to fish for rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, walleye, or green sunfish. Any grass carp or bass caught must be released. Boating and swimming are available at the pond from May to October. While at the pond, you can also enjoy birdwatching, a playground, grassy picnic areas, and a walking path.

Canyon View Park Pond

This community park and fishery, located in the Spanish Fork, provides a great introduction to fishing for kids in a more controlled environment. The park has a fishing pier and only allows fishing in its pond for kids 13 and under. You are most likely to catch trout, and are encouraged to release all largemouth bass. You can also enjoy birdwatching, nature trails, walking paths, and a volleyball court.

Fishing is a great outdoor activity for the whole family when the weather is nice; it is peaceful and allows you to spend time in nature. It is a great opportunity to teach kids about wildlife as well as helping them develop a sense of patience. Utah County is full of wonderful fishing spots that are perfect for you and your friends and family.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Most Instagram-Worthy Destinations in Utah Valley

The most instagram-worthy destinations in Utah Valley

Your vacation or weekend getaway is not complete until you post a that perfect photo on Instagram to show off your adventures to your followers. Utah Valley has a great mix of stunning destinations, from city scenery to natural beauty. There are many hidden gems in the area that will make for eye-catching content and will have your friends asking, “where was that?” Here are the top 15 places in Utah Valley to snap your selfie.

Fancy home with turrets and towers

1. Wadley Farms: these 18 acres are full of vineyards, gardens, and orchards surrounded by quaint pastoral scenery. The farms are a popular destination for weddings, events, and parties with both indoor and outdoor areas available.

Disney murals on the street

2. Provo Wall Murals: there are over 30 hand-painted murals scattered around downtown Provo, and the fun is finding them all yourself! On the first Friday of each month, the community gathers for a self-guided stroll and a tour of the murals to discover new creations and artists.

mountain reflected in lake

3. Utah Lake State Park: open to the public since 1967, this park contains the 148-square mile freshwater Utah Lake, with recreational fishing access, swimming, boating, and paddle boarding. Within the park there are 31 RV campground sites. A special use permit may be required for professional photography.

4. Rugged Grounds Coffee Shop: Rugged Grounds has two locations, one in Provo and one in Salt Lake City. They serve locally-roasted, fair-trade, organic coffee and local teas, kombuchas, and light food items. The building was renovated entirely with reclaimed materials in 2017, making it the perfect backdrop for your next Instagram post.

waterfall among lush cliffs

5. Stewart Falls: this is a majestic and heavily photographed waterfall in Utah Valley. It is over 200 feet tall and can be accessed via a moderately strenuous, 3.5-mile hike. Locals recommend hiking in the summer, for the weather, or the fall, to take in the changing leaves. You can also snowshoe here during the winter months.

6. Sundance Ski Lift: skiers and non-skiers alike will enjoy this scenic lift ride to the top of Ray’s Summit, available only during the summer months. Take in the stunning views around Sundance Ski Resort, and either ride the lift back down or enjoy a hike.

7. Provo City Center Temple: this is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was built on the property upon which the historic Provo Tabernacle once stood. It has been fully restored and opened again in 2016, but is not open to the public, so your photos will have to be taken from the outside, on the beautifully planted temple grounds.

8. Kissing Point: if you are visiting the area with your significant other, this street sign is a must-see. Located on Center Street in Provo, this adorable spot is perfect for a PDA-filled social media post and is popular with engagement and wedding photographers.

9. BYU Bell Tower: you may have heard it's music, ringing out various melodies throught the day. The BYU Centennial Carillon, or bell tower, is located on the campus of Brigham Young University. It was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the school’s founding, and today stands as an iconic symbol of the university, easily identifiable in photos.

10. Ashton Gardens: located within Thanksgiving Point, Ashton Gardens features 55 acres of gardens, grand lawns, and the largest man-made waterfall in the western hemisphere. There are 15 themed gardens for you to wander through and explore, or you can rent a golf cart for a speedier tour. Open in the summer months only, the gardens’ bright colors are sure to add something eye-catching to your social media feed.

11. Roots of Knowledge: covering a wall of Utah Valley University’s Ira Fulton Library is the 80-pane Roots of Knowledge stained glass window. It is ten feet high and 200 feet in length, and incorporates over 60,000 pieces of glass in addition to naturally found materials like rock, fossils, coins, wood, and coral. It is accompanied by a fully interactive educational experience so you can learn more about each component of the window.

12. Pioneer Book: this is the largest bookshop of used and rare books in Utah County, making it a required destination for bibliophiles. The staff is well-trained with diverse educational backgrounds to provide a customized in-store experience. It has been in business since 1980 and is always changing its inventory. You are sure to find something that interests you here, or at least makes for a good photo #bookstagram.

13. Payson Lakes: the campgrounds of Payson Lakes are located 12 miles outside of Payson. The campgrounds provide plenty of fishing and canoeing opportunities as well as natural scenery without driving too far out of town. This area is very well-known for its wildflowers during the summer months. The shore of Big East Lake is a popular daytime trip, with a swimming beach, picnic areas, and a nature path.

14. Hike the Y: located just east of the BYU campus is the Y mountain trail within Slide Canyon. This steep, 1-mile hike leads up to the iconic block Y—the largest collegiate symbol in the United States—at the summit as well as panoramic views of the city of Provo and Utah Lake. Go at night to see stunning city lights. Just make sure to bring a light for your trip back down.

15. Petroliana Museum: car enthusiasts and vintage explorers will not want to pass up this spot located at AAA Lakeside Storage. The museum features kitschy items like antique porcelain signs, an antique gas station, and close to one hundred antique gas pumps going back to 1917. It also has antique cars and car memorabilia, paying homage to a time when good customer service was the key component of a gas station. Find your favorite sign and take lots of photos!

The best part of exploring a new destination is always sharing what you found, and that task often falls to social media these days. Whether you are a Provo local or a visitor, you are sure to find something unique to add to your Instagram feed and also provide indelible memories of your latest adventure. Enjoy your trip and do not forget to take plenty of photos along the way – even if they don't make it to your social media feed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Hiking the Highest Peaks in Utah Valley

Hiking the Highest Peaks in Utah Valley

Utah Valley is composed of thousands of square miles of wilderness, making it one of the best hiking destinations in the United States. Utah Valley features six mountain peaks that are over 10,000 feet tall and more than 300 miles of trails. Thrill seekers looking to get out of the house and into nature are sure to find adventure here! Make sure to check if the trail heads are open before heading out.

group of back-packers

Tips for Hiking in Utah Valley

The key guidelines for spending time in nature, no matter where you are and how long you are staying, are referred to as “Leave No Trace.” By not leaving a trace of your expedition, you are helping preserve the outdoor experience for those who come after you and care for the natural environment. There are seven principles to this philosophy:

  1. Plan ahead for your trip and make sure you are prepared in both terms of equipment and physical abilities.
  2. Travel and camp on intended surfaces, so you do not hurt yourself or damage the land. For example, stay on hiking trails and camp in marked areas.
  3. Dispose of litter properly, even if you have to carry it with you throughout your trip.
  4. Leave what you find; do not keep flowers, leaves, or other pieces of nature no matter how small.
  5. Minimize the impact of campfires by putting them out entirely and following the rules for fires posted in the area.
  6. Respect wildlife: do not feed, disturb, or come close to wild animals. This is their home!
  7. Be respectful of other visitors by not being too loud, giving uphill hikers and horseback riders the right of way, and keeping your pets leashed and under control.

Before setting out on your adventure, make sure to pack light by only bringing the essentials with you. Map out your hike, including potential stopping points like water sources, scenic areas, or campgrounds. Ensure that you are in good physical shape by taking frequent short hikes leading up to a bigger trip. Give your trip details to a friend or family member so they can help keep you safe. Consider hiking with a friend to help you stay safe, avoid getting lost, and help pass the time.

When on your Utah Valley hike, be prepared for high altitudes that may make your trip more strenuous. Wear layers to keep you warm in cooler months and prevent sunburn in warmer months—sunburn is more common at higher elevations. Finally, make sure you adhere to the Leave No Trace guidelines to protect the environment and keep it beautiful for future visitors.

timpanogos peak with snow

The Best Hikes in Utah Valley

These hikes are intended for those more experienced due to their high elevations, longer trips, and steep climbs. The best time of year to hike in this region is between June and September, due to the milder weather and lack of snowfall.

Mount Nebo Snow-capped

Mount Nebo: this is an 8.5-mile hike with an elevation of 11,928 feet and an elevation gain of 3,851 feet. This is the highest peak in the Wasatch Range, and is located along the Nebo Loop at the start of the North Peak Trailhead. The trail is often covered in snow all year, so be prepared by bringing snowshoes. Also be prepared with plenty of drinking water; there are no stops to refill along the route. This is a difficult hike, but the views at the summit are worth it.

Mount Timpanogos covered in snow

Mount Timpanogos: hikers have two options here, and both are very popular among locals. The longer hike starts in Aspen Grove and is 15.9 miles in length, with an elevation gain of 5,492 feet. The shorter hike relies on Timpooneke Trail and is 14.3 miles in length with an elevation gain of 4,566 feet. Both hikes have a final elevation of 11,749 feet, and are very scenic with mountain goats, wildflowers, and views of the valley along the way.

Provo Peak: this is an 11.4-mile hike with an elevation of 11,068 feet and an elevation gain of 7,119 feet. This mountain sits just behind the famous Y Mountain in Provo, and is not as popular. It is a steep and strenuous hike requiring some dirt road travel to reach the trail. Experts recommend camping along the way to break up the trip. You will be rewarded at the summit with panoramic mountain views.

Box Elder Peak: this is a 10.2-mile hike with an elevation of 11,101 feet and an elevation gain of 4,812 feet. The peak is located in the middle of the Alpine Loop. The easiest way to access it is from Alpine City to Dry Creek Trail, though there are other options as well. This hike is well known for its wildflowers and bird watching opportunities and offers beautiful views throughout.

Spanish Fork Peak: this is a 10.6-mile hike with an elevation of 10,192 feet and an elevation gain of 4,685 feet. It is a mainly uphill hike featuring a freshwater stream, a small lake, and plenty of wildlife. Hikers report having seen elk, deer, cows, and even bears here, so proceed with caution and do not disturb the wildlife. This hike is recommended to be taken with a friend as navigation gets more tricky the closer to the summit you get.

Experienced hikers from all over the country are drawn to the opportunities in the Utah Valley region. Though more strenuous than some other popular hikes, these hikes are great for spending longer periods of time in nature and taking in stunning mountain views. They may be challenging, but they are worth it when you reach the summit. Make sure your physical conditioning is up to par, you have the essential supplies, and you have picked a friend willing to take on this adventure with you.

After your hike, you are sure to walk away with stories, photos, and a strong sense of satisfaction for having made it to the summit. If you are in good physical shape, enjoy an adrenaline rush, and are looking for your next adventure, consider one of the hikes available in Utah Valley.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Best Family-Friendly Activities in Provo, Utah

The Best Family-Friendly Activities in Provo, Utah

Whether you are visiting Provo for the weekend or the week, there is plenty of activities to do with the entire family. Whether you're five or fifty, there are countless things to do. Best of all, these activities are all free (or close to it).

Empty BYU Football Stadium

Spend the Day at Brigham Young University

This scenic campus has something for everyone. It boasts five different museums and plenty of hiking trails, including the trail to the iconic mountainside Y. Visitors can take guided tours of campus to learn more about its history, or take in a sporting event if they visit during the school year. The campus also has its own creamery—perfect for a post-hike snack!

fence beside curving road

Drive Through Provo Canyon

No matter what time of year you visit, Provo Canyon features beautiful scenery. Bridal Veil Falls is the most famous waterfall in Provo and makes a great pit stop on your hike. There are several gorgeous spots to pause along the way for a picnic or a family photo.

autumn forest and mountains

Explore the Alpine Loop

For just $6, your family can drive from Sundance to Alpine and take in the mountain views. Stops along the way include Cascade Springs and Tibble Fork Reservoir, as well as plenty of waterfalls. If your kids are old enough, you can also summit Mount Timpanogos.

Discover Timpanogos Cave

This cave is a national monument located along the Alpine Loop. A one-mile hike brings you to the cave, and tickets to guided tours are available for purchase. These tickets often sell out, so plan ahead if this is a stop you want to make.

indoor swimming pool

Swim at the Provo Rec Center

The Provo Recreation Pool is fun for the entire family. Their indoor pools feature a lazy river, two water slides, and a climbing wall (positioned over a pool that you can drop into). They also have a playground. If you are visiting Provo during the warm summer months, there are two water slides and a kid-oriented play area, along with a wave pool. You can go to the indoor pool at any point if you need a break from the sun.

Cool Off at the Provo Splash Pad

This is one of the many splash pads located across Utah; this one is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This is a great pit stop to make if you and the family need to cool off. It features a playground, bathroom facilities, plenty of shade, and a pavilion.

Walk Through Paul Ream Wilderness Park

This park offers a peaceful walk along the Provo River and the opportunity to enjoy the wilderness without a long drive to get there. Your little ones will like feeding the ducks that live in the pond, and the entire family will enjoy exploring the shaded trails. It is conveniently located just off the 1-15.

Pioneer Village Sign

Visit the Provo Pioneer Village

This is one of the more educational stops on this list, and it is free to visit. The village is run by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers and features pioneer replica buildings plus period actors. Visitors can play the same games that the pioneers did, watch the blacksmith forge tools, and learn a little bit of Provo history in the process. It is in close proximity to the Provo Daughters of the Pioneers Museum if you want to learn even more.

Spend Time at Neptune Park

This park is fun for all ages—even if you do not have kids! There is a rope pyramid for climbing that attracts adults and children alike. There are plenty of grassy areas for playing, bathroom facilities, basketball courts with hoops of varying heights, and a pavilion.

Visit Thanksgiving Point

This stop is a highlight of Utah County. While not technically in Provo, it is a little over 20 minutes away and features four different venues, so the entire family is sure to find something they will enjoy. You can purchase a day pass to all four museums, or just pick one. Thanksgiving Point features

  • The Museum of Natural Curiosity—the best stop for the entire family
  • The Museum of Ancient Life—with dinosaurs
  • Farm Country—with a petting zoo
  • The Ashton Gardens if you are interested in a scenic stroll through thousands of plants.

Hike Battlecreek Falls

This easy 1.5-mile hike is perfect for all ages and experience levels. No matter the time of year you visit, you will be able to see the beautiful waterfalls. On hot summer days, nothing feels better than the cool mist coming off of the water.

See an Arch

About 20 minutes from downtown Provo, still in Utah County, you can find an arch within the Red Ledges Picnic Area. This is a fun area to explore, but due to its lack of shade may be less than ideal during the summer months.

a couple seen through a bookshelf

Buy a Book

On Provo Main Street, there is a book store called Pioneer Book that sells used books—everything from paperback fantasy to hardbound classics. The walls are covered, floor to ceiling, with the tales of the ages, and offers any book-lover a wonderful story to take home for bargain prices. Or just lose yourself in the bookstore if you're on a tight budget. The sections of the store are organized by genre, so be sure to ask the person at the front desk where they keep their ___fill in the blank____ (a. fantasy, b. sci-fi, c. romance, d. mystery, etc.) books. There are two levels, so be sure to check out the top floor as well as the ground floor. If you love books, you already know you're gonna love this visit.

Enjoy the All Together Playground

Located in Orem, this recently-opened playground was specifically designed to accommodate children of all abilities. It features smooth surfaces for safety purposes, lots of structures to climb and explore, two ziplines, and even a merry-go-round.

No matter how old your children are, or how adventurous you are feeling, you are sure to find something to do in Provo! It is a family-friendly destination that lets you explore and try new activities without breaking the bank, and a destination you are sure to find yourself returning to again and again.