Friday, April 13, 2018

Guest Post: 4 Tips to Make Hiking with Your Partner the BEST!

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Today's Guest Post is brought to you by HikrLife!
4 Tips to Make Hiking with Your Partner the BEST!
Hiking with your significant other, best friend, or just a last minute person can be so great. But it can also be a drag if you don't plan things right or if you don't know what the other person wants to do. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of enjoying your hike with your adventure partner!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Hiking Sulphur Creek, Capitol Reef National Park

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Hiking Sulphur Creek, Capitol Reef National Park
Sulphur Creek is located in Capitol Reef National Park and provides a beautiful water hike through a narrow canyon, with subway-like channels, cutting through layered, orange and red sandstone. It's considered the "Subway" or "Narrows" of CRNP, though really it lives up to it's own name. The water is rarely more than ankle deep and there are three waterfalls that you can easily bypass, one forces you to slide down it's 5 foot drop!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Hiking to Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park

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Hiking to Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park
Hickman Bridge is one of the most popular trails in Capitol Reef National Park, and the bridge itself is 130 ft across and 125 ft high. The NP provides a brochure, describing 18 numbered points of interest. The trail starts by following the Fremont River, goes up a hillside, which passes the trail split for Navajo Knobs, crosses an open area then drops down into a shallow, rocky canyon. Hickman Bridge has a very impressive setting, with amazing surrounding views. It was named after Joseph Hickman, a local school administrator and Utah legislator who was an early advocate for the CRNP area.
This hike is great for all ages, however dogs are not allowed on this trail.  Many people compare Hickman Bridge to the bridges/arches found at Natural Bridges National Monument.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

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Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Cassidy Arch is located in Capitol Reef National Park, in the heart of the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile monoclinal flexure (simply, a "buckle") in the earth's upper crust. It runs North to South, all the way down to Lake Powell. Along the Fold, rocks have been pushed up and erosion has cut through layers creating deep, narrow canyons and formations. Cassidy Arch, named after Butch Cassidy, 
 is roughly 40 ft across near the top of the arch and the trail provides amazing views of the Grand Wash/Capitol Reef area.

If you only want to hike to the arch, it's 3 miles RT. However, the best way to really get the most bang for your buck, er.. hike, is to hike the Frying Pan Trail past the arch, point-to-point, and connect over to the Hickman Bridge/HWY 24 trail head. Doing this requires a car drop, so you'll need two cars OR, you can try to hitch a ride back to your starting point. Point to point, including Cassidy Arch, is only 5.5 miles. This route provides some of the best views in Capitol Reef National Park. You get to walk along cliff edges, climb on top of rocky area, & see the famous orange, red, and white stripes that make up a large part of Southern Utah.

The trail is best in Spring or Fall, when the temperatures are much cooler. Summer would be miserably hot - there is also very little shade and no water along the way. Even in cooler temps, be prepared with at least 3 liters of water. Dogs are not allowed, of course since its a National Park, and older kids will also enjoy this route.

From the CRNP Visitor Center, drive south on Camp Ground Rd for 3.4 miles. Turn left at the Grand Wash TH sign. Follow this to the end of the road where the trail starts.

Here's a driving map.

Distance: 3 miles RT to Cassidy Arch
5.5 miles point-to-point from the Cassidy Arch TH to the HWY 24/Hickman Bridge TH
Elevation gain: 1,400 ft (point to point)
Time: 2-4 hours
Dog Friendly? No, dogs are not allowed on this trail
Kid Friendly? Yes, but only to Cassidy Arch
Fees/Permits: None

Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Ready to go! We didn't start hiking until noon or so, and it was already hot for Easter weekend.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Start by following Grand Wash.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Keep an eye out for the water and trail sign on the left side of the canyon. This is how you will reach Cassidy Arch, and connect back over to your car via the Frying Pan Trail to HWY 24.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
You'll immediately gain elevation and have amazing views of Grand Wash. 
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
I spy a white van....that's our car way down there!
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Looking back, and down to the TH - the trail was really packed.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Hiking along the ridge, with "Fern's Nipple" in the distance.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Cassidy Arch is right next to my head in the distance - you're halfway there!
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
You'll reach the trail split - Cassidy Arch is to the left and about another 10 min hike. Stop here first before coming back to this split and connecting to the Frying Pan Trail. You won't see a trail sign for HWY 24 or the Frying Pan Trail until the very end, but this is the right way.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
The trail to Cassidy Arch turns into slick rock. If you haven't noticed yet, there's zero shade on this hike. If you are hiking in hot temps, be sure to start early in the morning to beat the heat.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
We made it! Standing on top of the arch is not scary at all - it's about 20-25 feet wide so there's plenty of room to walk.Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Group selfie!
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
One more photo! This arch is really cool but also hard to get pictures since there's so many people. Thankfully we waited a few minutes and people cleared out.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Back at the trail split, stay right to connect over to HWY 24, if you are doing this as a point-to-point hike.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
You'll gain even more elevation, and have amazing views near the top at the highest point along the trail.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
All heads are down...it must mean were are all focused on the trail haha
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
The views from the high point are so pretty! 
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
The trail will then drop in elevation for awhile, before picking right back up.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Orange, red, and white for days!
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Cohab Canyon is now in view. You can exit this route, if you parked a car at that TH or keep going to the Hickman Bridge/HWY 24 TH. Both are about the same distance just opposite directions.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
You'll come to the next trail split. It's a little confusing here. The trail kind of splits in a "Y" - to get to HWY 24 make sure to take the trail up and right. Going down and left will take you into Cohab Canyon.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
You should hike past the electric poles heading East.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
You'll see the parking lot, and the trail will lead you down to the road.
Hiking to Cassidy Arch & the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park
Walk back to your car along the road. From here you would drive back to get the other car you parked at the Cassidy Arch TH, then drive back here to get the rest of your group. If you are in one car then you'll need to hitch a ride back.


Trail Map




Coming Soon!


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hike the Bayliss Fork Trail, Emigration Canyon

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Hike the Bayliss Fork Trail, Emigration Canyon
The Bayliss Fork Trail is located in Emigration Canyon, not quite a mile past Ruth's Diner. The trail follows one of the many drainages from the ridge line that connects Mt. Wire over to Lookout Peak. Eventually the trail turns into an old jeep road, and follows the ridge to reach the top. Don't forget to look back as you hike higher in elevation - the best views are when you turn around. On the main ridge/saddle, you can see down into Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area, and several other local peaks such as Grandview Peak

Friday, March 23, 2018

8 Skills Every Backpacker Needs

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8 Skills Every Backpacker Needs, Backpacking in Utah, Backpacking with Dogs
Are you ready to take the leap from car camping to backpacking?! Most people are intimidated to go on their first trip, not confident on their backcountry skills and maybe don't really know what they need to buy. Learning how to use the most important skills will make you a more efficient backpacker, make you feel more confident, and help make your adventure more streamlined.
I've put together 8 Skills that Every Backpacker Needs to help you get there!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross

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Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
The Spanish Fork Cross, as known by locals, is a very short yet rewarding hike that leads to a giant white cross on a hill that overlooks the town of Spanish Fork, Utah to the North, and has amazing views of the mountains and Spanish Fork Peak to the East and South. The Spanish Fork Cross trail is near the Spanish Fork Reservoir and Campground, and is perfect for kids and dogs. 

In Winter the trail is 3 miles RT from the first gate, and in Summer the trail is only 2 miles RT since you can drive further up. Dogs are allowed off leash once on the trail, however they do need to stay on leash in Summer as you walk through the campground and on roads. 

From SLC, head south on I-15 and take exit 257 towards Spanish Fork Canyon. Drive 4.1 miles and turn right on Powerhouse Rd (at the Chevron). Drive 0.9 miles and turn left on Spanish Oaks Dr (there's also a sign for the Spanish Fork Gun Club). Keep following this road until you reach the first gate, where there is another sign for the Gun Club. In Winter, you'll need to park here in front of the gate on the side of the road, then walk up the road. In Summer, you can keep driving past this gate and park in the main parking lot.

Here's a driving map.


Distance: 3 miles RT (from the first gate)
Elevation gain: 390 ft
Time: 1 hour
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash (once on the trail)
Kid friendly? Yes!
Fees/Permits? None

Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
The first gate may be closed as you drive up. If so, just park on the side of the road near the gate.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
As a hiker, you will always hike on roads at some point. Didn't matter to me - it was the first sunny, warm day in the area in months!
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
In summer, this is where you would normally park. Keep walking up the road. Just an FYI - dogs are NOT allowed at the actual reservoir so swim time will have to wait for the pups.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
Walk past a 3rd gate, and you will now be hiking through the campground. 
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
You'll pass this opening and a kid's playground on your left.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
This is where the official TH starts - in between the brown post and yellow sign. From here the trail is really easy to follow - follow the signs for "Escalante Cross".
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
At the first trail split, turn left and go down some stairs.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
At the bottom of the stars the trail turns right, and you are now technically in Snell Canyon.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
Once again, turn left.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
You will gain a little elevation as you make your way to the ridge. 
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
Looking down from where we just came from, and a great view of the reservoir.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
Keep following the ridge towards the large white cross.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
You will see the large white wind turbines on your right.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
Made it with all 3 dogs! I didn't see a single person on a Sunday afternoon on this trail, yay! It took us about 35 minutes from the first gate to reach the cross.
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
Plaque on the bottom of the cross.

This cross has three name: Spanish Fork Cross (known by locals), Escalante Cross (as marked by the trails), and Dominguez Hill (as marked by this plaque).
Hiking to the Spanish Fork Cross, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Kid friendly hikes in SLC
This was a great little hike!


Trail Map





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