Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada has been on my "hiking to do list" for almost two years, but I had never made it one of my travel priorities. Every year something else that seemed "better" came up, and I passed on the opportunity to visit here. This weekend I made it there, and realized how much I had been missing out on! The amazing vistas of colored rock, petroglyphs, arches, slot canyons, beautiful desert scenery, blue bird skies, and an awesome campground had me smiling all weekend. My friends and I picked the perfect weekend to go. It wasn't a holiday weekend so there were less people, plus the temperatures in February are perfect, with an average temperature of 62F. This past weekend it got up to 80F, which is the hottest I've felt since last summer! Temperatures in summer can reach 120F, so it's best to visit the park from December-March.
For Valentine's Day weekend, we wanted to escape the SLC inversion, and get into warm, clean air. Since it's February, and day time highs can be up to 50-55F, we knew most places would be a mud pit from all the snow melting. We also wanted to go somewhere Charlie could be off leash, and where hiking was available. I had been to Sand Flats about two years ago when a bunch of friends and I went jeeping for my birthday. I remembered thinking it would be a cool place to camp. We also knew we'd be arriving after dark, so we needed a place that would have designated campsites. Sand Flats ended up being perfect!
Slickrock Trail, the world famous mountain biking trail, is located in Moab, Utah. Most people bike this 10.5 mile loop, but we hiked it! Slickrock Trail is located at the Sand Flats Recreation Area, about 10 minutes outside of Moab, where we also camped for two nights. This trail is popular for its scenic, rugged expanse of Navajo Sandstone, the remnant of wind blown sand dunes. Slickrock Trail was established in 1969 for motorcycles, but the trail is now popular for both mountain bikes and motorcycles - it is closed to all four-wheeled vehicles.
Hidden Falls is a quick walk off the side of the road up Big Cottonwood Canyon - with only a .07 mile walk up the road, there's no good reason to pass it up! This is perfect in Spring when the waterfall is running full. On the 5 minute walk you will also pass by an old, closed off mine. This walk is perfect for those with little kids or family visiting that aren't big hikers but still want to see pretty scenery.
The Parrish Canyon Trail starts along the Wasatch Mountains in Centerville, Utah. Despite its name, the hike actually takes you up the face of the mountain, over a course of several switchbacks, gaining elevation steeply until you have beautiful views of Davis County. This is a nice hike to do in Winter to get out of the inversion and to get the dogs out. If you hike up the actual creek, about 1/2 mile up you will see the Parrish Creek Pictographs. In Winter they are not usually visible due to snow.