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.
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.
Broads Fork Twin Peaks in Big Cottonwood Canyon via Robinson's Variation is not for the weak nor beginner hiker. It's a tough, long day. If you've done any research on this peak, you've seen several routes that will lead you to the top. My friend who lead us on this hike, had done it other the ways, but wanted to try this route out. I was up for anything! He had heard it was do-able, but steep. Robinson's Variation was also appealing to us because it could be done as a loop hike - up Robinson's, summit, then down the traditional Broad's Fork route.