Mt. Pennell (11,371 ft) is the 3rd highest point in the Henry Mountains, coming in after Mount Ellen and Mt. Ellen Peak. The Henry Mountains are off the beaten path for most hikers, but the range itself is a peakbaggers dream! 5 of Utah's 81 prominence peaks are found in the Henry's: Mount Ellen (#3), Mt. Pennell (#26), Mt. Hilliers (#32), Mt. Ellsworth (#42), and Mt. Holmes (#64); the last two peaks are also known as the "Little Rockies." Take a few days to spend here, and you could knock out all five peaks.
Mount Ellen (11,522 ft) & Mt. Ellen Peak (11,506 ft) are in the Henry Mountains, about 45 minutes - 1 hour south of Hanksville, UT. The Henry Mountains are an island of sort, as they are surrounded by three of Utah's National Parks - Capital Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. Mount Ellen is a hulk of a mountain, composed of two distinct parts. The first is the North Ridge, which has the 3 highest summits in the Henry's.
Kodachrome Basin State Park is located only 1 hour from Bryce Canyon National Park to the East, is only 5 miles down the road from Willis Creek Slot Canyon, and 1 hour West from Escalante, Utah, yet hardly anyone visits this state park. With it's red rock formations and deep blue skies, the photography options are endless. Kodachrome Basin State Park opened in 1963, and the National Geographic had the honor of naming it. It is home to 70 monolithic spires, ranging from 6-170 ft tall.
Devil's Garden is apart of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and is home to Metate Arch as well as hoodoos. Not to be confused with The Devils Garden Loop Trail in Moab, this area is only 640 acres and is part of a Wilderness Study Area, for the purpose of possible wilderness designation; however, wilderness status was not recommended by the BLM back in 1991. One of the reasons state was that the existing roads, parking lot, picnic tables, and port-a-potty are all in close proximity to a natural area. The second reason was the likelihood of several groups of people coming to this area at the same time to the same formations (all of which are within a 2 minute walk from the trailhead). Both of those reasons diminish the wilderness experience of solitude.
GUEST POST by Katie Wanders Katie Wanders follows New England native, Katie, around the globe. Katie swapped her oceans for mountains and moved to Utah for two years to see what "Life Elevated" was all about. Katie Wanders follows trips around the American West, adventures along the coasts, trips abroad, and showcases her love of New England. Currently, you can find her in a 2016 Penske truck with her dog and cat, wandering around National Parks and making her way back to the Atlantic. You can follow all of her adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!
Bridal Veil Falls is located in Provo Canyon - you can't miss if you've ever driven through the canyon. You can clearly see Bridal Veil Falls from HWY 189, but to get a better sense of how big it is, there is a nice, small trail that takes you to the base of the falls. At the top of this 600 ft tiered waterfall, there used to be a restaurant, called the Eagle's Nest Lodge. The restaurant had a fire, and years later, after the cables and been dangling up there, an avalanche finally sealed the fate of it but forever removing all the loose cables. You can still see the loading station at the main parking lot. On weekends this is a very popular waterfall for families to stop and look at, so arrive early if you wish to get photos without other people in your pictures.
First Falls is the, well, the first waterfall along the Aspen Grove Trail, a popular route to the Mt. Timpanogos summit. After we hiked Stewart Falls, we headed over to this trail since it starts from the same parking lot. First Falls is only 1 mile up the Aspen Grove Trail, and is paved for half of it. The first half is rocky, from when the forest service reconstructed the trail due to a wash out from heavy snow melt. The second half is paved from when the trail first went in, in the early 1930s. First Falls is fun for the whole family, and those looking for a short, yet scenic destination.
While Backpacking the Bright Angel Trail and Ribbon Falls in Grand Canyon National Park, I was amazed at all the beautiful flowers appearing for Spring along the canyon. Bright pinks, purples, lavender, and yellow flowers appeared everywhere! I couldn't help but stop and take a photo of each type of flower I came across.
Horseshoe Bend is one of my favorite overlooks in the U.S. Horseshoe Bend is along the Colorado River, and is only 3 miles south of Page, Arizona along Highway 89, 5 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam, and requires a 3/4 mile walk to the overlook. The 1,000 ft drop to the bottom offers fantastic views, and if you have a wide angle lens or panorama option, you can capture the full horseshoe-shaped river and canyon.
Cathedral Gorge State Park in Panaca, NV is a hidden gem in the heart of the Great Basin Desert. The Great Basin Desert is the largest US desert, which covers an arid expanse of about 190,000 square miles and is bordered by the Sierra Nevada Range to the West, and Rocky Mountains to the East. At the South East corner of Nevada sits Cathedral Gorge State Park, which exposes erosion that has carved unique patterns in the soft bentonite clay.