15 of the Best Day Hikes in Southern Utah

The view from Miner Overlook in Canyon Rims Recreation Area, Utah

The view from Miner Overlook in Canyon Rims Recreation Area

If I had to pick one desert state to say was my favorite, Utah would almost certainly win.  I love the rock formations, the arches, the canyons, the scrubby desert; it’s all lovely in a very rustic sort of way.  So it only seemed natural to list my favorite hikes in southern Utah.

Upper Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Upper Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante

How do I define southern?  Basically, anything south of I-70.  Some are in established parks, while others are a bit more out in the wilderness.  Always make sure you are prepared for a trek into the unknown before you attempt these hikes, and bring plenty of water!

 

 

Here are 15 of my favorite / the most spectacular hikes I’ve done in southern Utah, in no particular order.  Enjoy! …Read More

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Scenic Bike Ride: Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Trail + Erie Canal Path

Lock 30. To get from the Erie Canal Path to Macedon Canal Park, you have to walk across the lock gates - pretty cool! Macedon, New York.

Lock 30. To get from the Erie Canal Path to Macedon Canal Park, you have to walk across the lock gates – pretty cool!

Well, it’s that time of year again: time for the Big Birthday Bike Ride.  A few weekends ago, we loaded up all the bikes, drove down to the far southeast end of the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Trail (at Pannell Road).  This isn’t a very impressive starting point – it’s a tiny parking area (about big enough for two, possibly three, cars) next to a run-down farm market.  On the other hand, it’s also not too difficult to miss if you know what you’re looking for (see the picture).

 

 

The start of the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern trail at Pannell Road, Fairport, NY

The start of the trail at Pannell Road

The Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Trail is a Rails to Trails, so it’s fairly flat (though there is a steep grade or two (mostly downhill) that I would think would have been a bit steep for …Read More

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The Pass & Views above Upper Darby Canyon

Views of Housetop Mountain from the

Views of Housetop Mountain from the “trail” beyond the pass at the head of Upper Darby Canyon

A few months ago, I posted about finding fossils in Upper Darby Canyon on the west side of the Tetons.  Well, my goal that day wasn’t fossils; in fact, I didn’t even know they existed until they appeared in boulders all around me.  My intent was on the pass above Upper Darby Canyon, where I hoped to get over to the Teton Crest Trail and then to the Death Canyon Shelf (which turned out to be way to long for a day hike, but more on that later).  As it turned out, we got to the pass above Upper Darby Canyon, then along the slopes of Fossil Mountain to some views over the Teton Crest Trail.  I won’t say it was anywhere near as spectacular as Table Mountain, but it was certainly a nice view and a great adventure!

 

 

Views from the slopes of Fossil Mountain into Grand Teton National Park and the Teton Crest Trail, Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area, Wyoming

Views from the slopes of Fossil Mountain into Grand Teton National Park and the Teton Crest Trail

There are two ways to access Upper Darby Canyon.  First, you can follow the trail …Read More

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12 Epic Hikes in the Western US, Pt. 2

12 Epic Day Hikes in the Western United States, Part 2. This picture is from Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

12 Epic Day Hikes in the Western United States, Part 2. This picture is from Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

This is a guest post from one of my group members.  She’s young, fun-loving, and is apt to tell you that she spent her first 3 birthdays hiking the wildernesses of the US, so she’d be just as happy to spend the next three at home!  At any rate, enjoy her take on “epic hikes”!

Exploring The Den, Big Bend National Park, Texas

There’s the girl: Our guest today (on right, with red jacket around her waist) explores the wilds of The Den in Big Bend National Park. This was a few years ago, so she now tops the blog’s owner by more than an inch, much to her joy…

An ‘epic hike’, to me, is one with awe-inspiring, stunning, spectacular views, hopefully not longer than 10 miles RT :-) (but if the view is worth it, I’d go 18 miles RT!), ones in remote wilderness areas where the view could be described as ‘rugged’.  And if I can go through a peaceful meadow on the way to the view, it’ll probably make it to my ‘favorite’ list.  Rugged coastlines are my absolute favorite, however, and will almost every time make my ‘epic’ lists!

 

 

Here is a list of the most ‘epic’ hikes I’ve taken in the last few years, from …Read More

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Taking the Port Townsend Ferry – Fun Stuff

Views off the bow of the ferry

Views off the bow of the ferry “Kennewick” while crossing the Puget Sound

I have to admit, I like ferries.  I especially like ferries when they make the drive shorter, save gas money (even with the cost of riding the ferry), and / or are an event unto themselves (like taking the Staten Island Ferry into Manhattan).  The Port Townsend Ferry (between Coupeville on Whidbey Island and Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula) meets all this criteria.  We were trying to get between the North Cascades (Hidden Lake, to be exact) and Olympic National Park (specifically, Third Beach), so this ferry was very much on the way, shortening the trip by several hours and the fee was about the same or less than driving all the way through Seattle.  Plus, it was a highlight of the trip for many of my group members, and the weather was perfect.  What could be better?

 

 

Looking back at the Coupeville Dock and Fort Casey State Park just after embarking. Port Townsend Ferry across the Puget Sound, Washington

Looking back at the Coupeville Dock and Fort Casey State Park just after embarking

The stats: crossing the Puget Sound via the Port Townsend Ferry takes about 35 minutes (pity it, I think …Read More

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Atop Roaring Fork Mountain

A slightly cock-eyed picture of Wind River Peak from the slopes of Roaring Fork Mountain, Wind River Range, Wyoming

A slightly cock-eyed picture of Wind River Peak from the slopes of Roaring Fork Mountain

Roaring Fork Mountain in the southern Wind River Range of Wyoming absolutely deserves its name: the ginormous mountain has many arms (or “forks”) and the wind roars over the top at speeds enough to nearly blow me off my feet.  Still, the view makes the hike (and wind) worthwhile: Wind River Peak stands clear and tall above the others, while numerous other smaller peaks and cliffs ring the edges of the Stough Creek Basin.  At nearly 11 miles RT, it’s a long trek, but it’s nowhere near as hard as many other 11 miles hikes in Wyoming, so I’ll highly recommend it.  And did I mention before that the views are spectacular?

 

 

Views to the east from the top of Roaring Fork Mountain, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Views to the east from the top of the mountain

The first 4.6 miles of the hike follow the Stough Creek Basin Trail to Stough Creek Pass.  The view from the pass really is awesome.  But …Read More

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Day Hiking Stough Creek Pass

Wind River Peak from Stough Creek Pass, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Wind River Peak from Stough Creek Pass

Stough Creek Pass, in the far south of the Wind River Range of Wyoming, is only known because it’s en route to the more famous Stough Creek Lake Basin.  But the pass is certainly beautiful enough to be a destination unto its own: From this high point of the trail, Wind River Peak takes center stage, rising majestically over the peaceful basin below.  It also happens to be (what I’d consider) one of the easier trails to dayhike in the Wind Rivers, and you can always scramble up Roaring Fork Mountain if you want to extend the trail a bit (and improve the view).  As it is, it’s 9.1 miles RT to the pass with reasonable elevation gain and rewarding views.  Need I say more?

 

 

Views through the trees at the western end of Stough Creek Pass, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Views through the trees at the western end of the pass

We made the mistake of following our GPS to the trailhead – Louis Lake Road just west of South Pass City …Read More

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Announcing: A View Junkie’s Guide to Dayhiking Washington

Front Cover to A View Junkie's Guide to Dayhiking Washington by Anne Whiting

Front Cover to A View Junkie’s Guide to Dayhiking Washington by Anne Whiting

It’s official!  I’ve published another travel book – “A View Junkie’s Guide to Dayhiking Washington” by Anne Whiting!  This one takes day hikers to Washington, where (per the back cover) they can experience some of the best scenery Washington has to offer… “from the towering cone of Mt. Baker to the grassy Summer Blossom ridgeline… from the beaches and sea stacks of Olympic National Park to the meadows of Mt. Rainier National Park… and from the craggy canyons and lakes of North Cascades National Park to the rugged, nearly unknown Teanaway Peaks.”

 

Map of the hikes in "A View Junkie's Guide to Dayhiking Washington" by Anne Whiting

Map of the hikes in the book

Sound a bit idyllic?  Perhaps it is.  But honestly, Washington is one of …Read More

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A Snowy Hike to Horsethief Falls

Horsethief Falls in the snow. I gather in the spring and early summer there is more water going over the falls. Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

Horsethief Falls in the snow. I gather in the spring and early summer there is more water going over the falls.

While we’re on the topic of waterfalls, I thought I’d post about another little waterfall, this one in central Colorado.  Although Horsethief Falls isn’t the most spectacular falls in the country, it’s a great little hike (2.6 miles RT) if you’re in the area visiting Florissant Fossil Beds, Raspberry Mountain, or the Manitau Railroad Grade.

 

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The stream below Horsethief Falls, Pike National Forest near Divide, Colorado

The stream below the falls

I got to hike the trail in the snow after a September storm debilitated Rocky Mountain National Park, and forced me further south.  I don’t necessarily recommend it in the snow (y’know, slipping and sliding …Read More

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Dayhiking Wyoming’s Dundee Falls

Dundee Falls, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming

Dundee Falls. Not the best time of day to view the falls, but still very nice.

I guess we’re not very good at doing short hikes.  We get to the end, and it’s like, “What?  We’re here already?  Let’s explore a bit further…” and so off we go on an adventure.  Such was what happened while hiking to Bonneville Pass last summer.  We got to the end of the pass at 2.7 miles, but the path kept going, so we did, too.

 

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Exiting Bonneville Pass. That's Dundee Creek to our right. Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming

Exiting Bonneville Pass. That’s Dundee Creek to our right.

We started regretting our decision …Read More

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