Utah is defined by its vast expanses of desert and the Wasatch Mountain Range. Salt Lake City, the capital, is centered around Temple Square, headquarters of the Mormon Church. Southern Utah is known as the land of “The Mighty 5” – Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands and Capital Reef National Parks. Utah is also well known for its winter sports, places like Park City. If you are looking for an adventure, visit Utah!
After covering a few thousand miles over a two-week period, making stops in Boise, Denver, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, we needed some down time. We decided to stay in Salt Lake City for about a week. We needed to update our blog, get new tires put on Al, take the girls to the vet and relax. We found an RV Park near the city, Pony Express RV Resort; the park was ideal, allowing us to basically chill out for a week. The park also had access to a paved trail that went on for miles, good for Tim’s daily runs and for walking the girls. Because we spent a week in one place and spent most of our time hanging out in the park, we were able to make a new friend. Our neighbor, Dave, is a fulltime RVer who has spent a lot of time in Utah. It was great spending some time with Dave and his dog Bacchus; Dave was full of information about the area.
We decided to check out Oktoberfest at Snowbird. Voted one of America's 10 Best Oktoberfests by Men's Journal Magazine. Snowbird's Annual Oktoberfest attracts over 60,000 visitors and has grown to become one of the largest festivals in Utah.
We enjoyed the drive up to Snowbird, but the Oktoberfest was not our thing because the entertainment was not what we expected, it was traditional polka music. We much prefer Folk, Bluegrass and Americana. Still we had fun and took a few photos.
Dave gave us two solid recommendations, Takashi, an amazing sushi joint in the city and Garage on Beck, a cool “dive” bar that has good food, craft beer, a great music line-up and lots of TVs. Lets just say that Renee was in Heaven, check out the pics!
After a week in Salt Lake City, we were ready to head to Southern Utah to visit two of the National Parks – Bryce Canyon and Zion. Southern Utah is arguably the most incredible natural spot in the United States. This area is absolutely unique and stunningly beautiful. It is hard to describe what a visit to this area does to your soul.
Our first stop was Bryce Canyon. We stayed two nights in the National Forest in Red Canyon Campground - another first come, first served campground, We loved the campground; dry camping only but at $15/night it was a deal. We got a tip from a blog we follow, WheelingIT, most National Parks do not allow dogs on hiking trails but National Forests do and often you will find a National Forest campground right by a National Park. So we took the girls on a few hikes, check out the slideshow below.
We loved Bryce Canyon, especially the hiking. You can drive the scenic road through the park and get out of your car along the way to take some pictures, but you are missing the true experience if you do not go hiking in Bryce. We hiked the combination loop hike that included the Navajo Loop Trail and the Queen's Garden Trail - it was incredible. We also went to a ranger led star gazing program one night, the stars are amazing in Bryce. Check out the movie we made from our time in Bryce.
After a few days in Bryce, we headed back toward Zion. Zion was one the parks we had high on our list before we left St. Petersburg, and boy we were not disappointed. Zion is truly an amazing place, while you can take in the breathtaking beauty from your car, you have to go hiking in Zion to see the best of the park. We stayed in the park at South Campground, another favorite of ours. We loved the vibe in the campground and you could walk to Springdale, a delightful town full of local art work, restaurants and locally owned shops. We met so many people and really had a great time just hanging out in the campground when we were not hiking.
The highlight of our stay was hiking The Narrows, a one of a kind experience. The Narrows is a world renowned hike up a slot canyon, mostly in and alongside the Virgin River. Check out the movie we made of our hike in The Narrows. As you will see in the movie, we rented some gear and we highly recommend renting the gear. Tim was hesitant to spend the money but we were happy we did. It cost about $23 per person to rent a pair of boots and neoprene socks. The socks keep your feet warm and the boots grip the hundreds of slippery rocks you will be hiking on while walking through the river. We went in the water the day before without the gear and our feet were numb in five minutes.
We also loved the Hidden Canyon trail and the drive heading out of the East entrance –was jaw dropping WOW! Check out the two videos below.
We wanted to hike Angels Landing but it was closed during the week and when it reopened the park was a zoo; so we did not get a chance to hike it – it is on our bucket list for sure. Both Angels Landing and Hidden Canyon have sections with 500-1,000 ft drop offs along ridges with chains bolted to the rock to hold onto as you hike - pretty crazy! Check out the slideshow from our stay in Zion.
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