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Hiking to Ski Lake, Wyoming

Ski Lake is located in between Victor, Idaho and Jackson Hole, WY, and sits at an elevation of 8,650 ft. Locals says this is the easiest alpine lake to hike to in the area at only 4 miles RT! The trail is very mellow and great for all ages, including dogs off leash. Along the way you'll have amazing views of mountains to the South and East for the first mile, cross a stream, and end with an amazing lake with clear blue water. Be sure to start early though - not only does parking fill up quickly on weekends but this trail is all on the East side of the slope making it all in the sun. There are a few sections of shade, but even by 10am we were all sweating - and it was only 65F! Pack a snack, and let the dogs enjoy taking a swim at Ski Lake!

Hiking to the Darby Canyon Wind Caves, Wyoming

The Darby Canyon Wind Caves are located near Alta, WY, within the Jedediah Smith Wilderness ("the backside" of the Tetons). This is a very popular trail, so don't expect to have any solitude - you'll constantly be pulling over to let others pass, even horses, and the parking lot is full by 10am on weekends. But don't let that stop you from visiting at least once! The Wind Caves are a really cool, local geological feature called the "Darby Formation" - a thick layer of 350 year old dolomite. Don't forget that this is still bear territory - even though this is a heavily used trail, always carry bear spray. The best time to visit is when the snow is gone so you can actually hike up into the cave, typically late June through September. Dogs are also allowed off leash, and older kids will enjoy this gradual trail.

Hiking to White Pine Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon

White Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) sits at 10,200 ft, and is surrounded by several peaks. The trail follows an old mining road, so it is very wide and gradual. Even though you'll hike 5.5 miles one way, you'll only gain about 2,500 ft - not bad by Wasatch standards. The trail is only accessible in Summer months, typically from June until October. Dogs are not allowed on this trail due to it being within a watershed area (all of LCC is off limits to dogs). Start early to beat the crowds and heat. My friend Sarah and I parked at 5:30am on a Saturday, and 5 minutes later several more cars arrived completely filling up the parking lot. By the time we got back, cars lined the sides of the main road if they were able to find extra spots. As with any hike, be prepared to carry at least 2 liters of water, a snack, long sleeve shirt (even in summer it can be chilly at the lake), and sunblock.

Hiking The Fisher Towers, MoabThe Fisher Towers Trail is located 16 miles North East of Moab, Utah, and offers a 4 mile (RT) hike that winds through these fin-like structures. The Fisher Towers are composed of Moenkopi and Cutler sandstone, and have eroded into many shapes and sizes. These towers are one of the most outstanding scenic features of Utah's Colorado Riverway, as the rock pinnacles soar above a maze of red and pink hued canyon, and overlook the Colorado River, Onion Creek, and the famous rock "Priest & Nuns" to the south.

Hiking Mary Jane Slot Canyon, Moab

Mary Jane Slot Canyon is one of Moab's hidden gems - the "trail" is a creek the entire way, which leads to a 30 ft waterfall. This is a great trail to do when Moab is too hot, and you, the dogs, or kids need to cool off. The canyon walls get higher as you hike further into the canyon, and eventually will reach upwards of 100 ft! There are several side canyons that allow for exploring tighter slot canyons.

Hiking Upper Muley Twist, Capitol Reef National Park

Hiking Upper Muley Twist is located in Capitol Reef National Park (CRNP), and this route covers extremely varied terrain - from deep and narrow, to high and exposed, all within a relatively short distance. It begins in a canyon paralleling the spine of the Waterpocket Fold, a 100 mile long ridge that juts out from the upper crust of the landscape. This long "monocline" is one of the longest in the world! The bizarre landscape is made of brilliantly colored rocks, including at least 7 visible arches, natural bridges, slot canyons, fins, domes, and more. Hiking Upper Muley Twist gives you the grand tour of this area, so it's a must-do!