Haystack Mountain (11,641 ft) is a prominent peak in the LaSal Mountain range just outside of Moab, UT. The LaSal Mountains are the 2nd highest mountain range in Utah, behind the Uinta Mountains. Haystack Mountain is accessible by a trail most of the way - the last 1.5 miles is off trail. The trail itself is mostly well-shaded, with plenty of water for dogs to drink from, from the creek that flows year-round. As you reach the saddle, you'll hike above tree line and will be fully exposed. Start hiking early in the morning to beat the afternoon thunderstorms that occur almost daily in this mountain range. The best time to summit is Summer and Fall (typically late June to the first snowfall in October).
Grandstaff Canyon (previously known at Negro Bill Canyon prior to 2016) follows a perennial stream, along tall Navajo Sandstone, through an oasis of cottonwood and willow trees. Most people say it's not about the destination, it's the journey getting there that is more rewarding. I beg to differ with this trail. The payoff at the end is the spectacular Morning Glory Arch, which spans 243ft, and is the 6th largest natural bridge in the U.S.! This is one trail the whole family will enjoy. In Summer, bring your water shoes as crossing in the stream will feel refreshing. In Winter, you may want to bring microspikes, since most of the trail is shaded by canyon walls. Beware of monsoon season, as you may just catch a waterfall at the right time (photos below).
Powell Point (10,188 ft) reveals the top-most layer at the Colorado Plateau's Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. This colored layer, known as the Pink Cliffs, is the same geologic layer that forms Bryce Canyon National Park. In 1872 the Powell Expedition, led by John Wesley Powell, took a team of two men and three horses to make the first summit of Powell Point, then called Table Mountain, and later Pink Point (as the locals still call it to this day) to make the first ascent via the Water Canyon route.
Bullion Falls is a 75 ft waterfall in Fishlake National Forest, just outside Marysvale, Utah. The waterfall is fed by year-round melting snowdrifts part of Bullion Canyon and the Tushar Mountains. The hike is only 1 mile from the trailhead, and is great for dogs and kids. Summer months are bustling with ATVs, so hiking during the week or off-season is best to avoid the noise and crowds.
Willis Creek Slot Canyon is located only 45 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park, yet tourists hardly ever make the drive to the trailhead. Willis Creek slot canyon offers not only marbled, narrow canyon walls, but it is also entirely flat, has a small waterfall, beautiful scenery in between the sections of the narrows, and it is suitable for any age or hiking ability.
The Deer Ridge Off Leash Area is a fun area for hikers & bikers to explore above Point of the Mountain with their dogs and kids. From the ridge you can see into Utah and Salt Lake County. Sections of this area are both on and off leash, so pay attention to the signs and don't forget a leash. Kids are also able to walk this area, as the elevation gain is very gradual. You can also choose the distance of your hike, as there are many trails and nice lookouts to stop at. Most people enjoy hiking to the "alien tower", which has one of the best views of both Mt.Timpanogos and Lone Peak! This trail has zero water and very little shade, so its great for a sunrise or sunset hike with the pups. Bring plenty of water.
Lookout Peak sits at an elevation of 8,954 ft up Killyons Canyon in Salt Lake County. The summit is not the most spectacular, but the ridge on the hike up offers amazing views of Parley's Canyon, Emigration Canyon, and City Creek Canyon. Although it is considerably lower in elevation compared to the more famous peaks of the Wasatch Front, Lookout Peak still rises over 4,000 ft above SLC. Though there is a well defined trail, Lookout Peak gets much less traffic compared to other peaks. Many people just do not know about it. This peak would not be good to hike in spring or after a big rain/snow, since it gets very muddy.
Thaynes Canyon Peak (8,656 ft) is a high point in Millcreek Canyon - not many people summit this peak, as it is not well known and fairly steep. The trail follows a south facing canyon the entire way, so it is very well shaded. Thaynes Canyon Peak is also lower in elevation compared to some of the surrounding peaks such as Mt. Raymond & Gobblers Knob, therefore it is typically not high on a Peak Baggers "to do" list. However, don't let these things stop you from hiking the trail - the solitude and views you'll get on this peak are still worth at least one trip to the summit.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is located in both Utah & Wyoming is home to 360 miles of shoreline, 43 campgrounds, 91 miles along the Green River, and endless trails to explore. The Flaming Gorge Dam was completed in 1964, and produces hydroelectric power. The most popular reason people visit the Flaming Gorge is for both rafting and fly fishing. Because it's a National Rec Area, dogs area allowed but must be leashed on all trails and at campgrounds. This area is very kid friendly - as many of the trails are out and back and you can choose your distance. For weekend trip we explore the Little Hole Trail, several overlooks, the Ute Fire Tower, and drove the Sheep Creek scenic loop drive. Read below to learn about each location!
Hiking to Hidden Haven Falls is a popular hike near Parowan, Utah. This short hike is perfect for kids and dogs to hike to, especially when it's hot outside. At only 2 miles round-trip, this hike is somewhat shaded and a perfect hike to do if you are visiting the Brian Head or Cedar Breaks area. The flat trail leads to a beautiful waterfall flowing from Benson Creek. Be sure to wear water shoes, as it is unavoidable to stay dry, especially in Spring when the falls are raging. During summer and fall it becomes a trickle, and is not as impressive, but you can stay dry. There are also several picnic tables 10 minutes from the falls, so plan to have lunch along the creek!