Mossy Cave Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Arriving at Bryce Canyon mid-afternoon, Dave and I headed for the short Mossy Cave Trail to get our feet wet among the majestic hoodoos. This trail actually begins outside the park at the far northern reaches, then enters the park boundary on foot. The trail is a streamside walk up to a mossy overhang and small waterfall. Mossy Cave isn’t a cavern, but is a grotto,...

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7 summer hikes near Salt Lake City you won’t want to miss

There’s something about summer that inspires people to head outdoors. And when you’re surrounded by tons of gorgeous mountains, hiking seems like the natural choice. The amount of local hikes to choose from, however, can get overwhelming. Enter the second edition of “Best Hikes Salt Lake City” by Lori J. Lee. Not only does it contain a comprehensive list of great hikes,...

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National Park Service warned lease sale could harm national monument in Utah

The Bureau of Land Management disregarded a request by the National Park Service that it hold off leasing 17,000 acres of public land in Utah because of concerns that drilling there could harm Hovenweep National Monument’s views and air, groundwater and sound quality. All 13 parcels were sold online as part of a broader sale, with the lease prices ranging from $3 to...

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At The Wave, competition for hiking permits is fierce

Ranger Ron Kay glanced at an anxious crowd crammed into a U.S. Bureau of Land Management office in Kanab, Utah. “All these hopeful faces,” he murmured as the minutes counted down to a drawing for permits to hike to The Wave, an iconic basin of striated orange sandstone just south of the Utah-Arizona state line. More than 80 applications were stacked in front of Kay on...

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Arches National Park Hikes and Travel Guide

Arches National Park is 4 miles outside the small town of Moab, Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches and offers a variety of things to see, do and photograph. With walks, hikes and drives ranging from 30 mins to a few hours, there is something to suit everybody. The main scenic drive is a total of 43 miles and includes all spurs. Plan 2 to 3 hours to...

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A Guide to Exploring Utah’s Incredible Slot Canyons

There is something magical and sobering about exploring slot canyons in Southern Utah. Hiking, swimming and sometimes squeezing through high sandstone walls carved by the elements over thousands of hundreds of thousands of years makes you keenly aware of how powerful the natural world around us is. Don’t worry though, if the thought of squeezing through a 10-inch...

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Utah Parks Set Attendance Records Once Again

With a month to spare, Zion National Park has set a new record for visitation this year, heightening concerns about overcrowding just as park managers consider a controversial fee hike and requiring visitors to go through an online reservation system. The park had counted 4,365,946 visitors through the end of November, representing nearly a 5 percent increase over last...

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Pilfered artifacts, three suicides and the struggle over federal land in Utah

For decades, the empty desert region at the junction of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico — known as the Four Corners — was a free-for-all for treasure hunters looking to pick the region clean of Native American artifacts. Then on the morning of June 10, 2009, federal agents arrived in force in Blanding, Utah. Just as the morning light was creeping in on the tiny...

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15 Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures in Southern Utah

The desert of Southern Utah offers some of America’s most iconic scenery for adventurers in the west. The five national parks provide many choices and locations for people to enjoy this fascinating landscape. Over the years their popularity has skyrocketed, and that has made it tough to find the peace and solitude many of us seek while enjoying nature. Fortunately...

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When is a natural wonder too secret to write about?

By Erin Alberty of The Salt Lake Tribune Leprechaun Canyon was a quiet place the first few times I visited. The whispers of my friends and family echoed off the towering orange walls. No one else was there. There was no official parking or trail marker; our group met at a mile marker on State Road 95 north of Lake Powell. Word was this was a “secret” canyon. I kept it...

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Congressman Introduces Legislation To Extensively Rewrite Antiquities Act

  A Utah congressman long unhappy with the authority given presidents under The Antiquities Act to establish national monuments has introduced legislation that would extensively rewrite the century-old act. If enacted, the rewrite would limit the purposes for which monuments could be created, require environmental review of proposed designations, and allow...

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Featured Recreational Trail: Fisher Towers National Recreation Trail, Utah

The Fisher Towers Trail allows visitors to the Moab and Arches National Park area to hike among the world-renowned towers of the Colorado Plateau. Improvements to the trail have been funded with Recreational Trails Program dollars. The Fisher Towers are among the most outstanding scenic features of Utah’s Colorado Riverway. These rock pinnacles soar above a maze of...

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Kanarraville Falls: Best kept secret becomes nightmare

For years, Kanarraville Falls was one of Southern Utah’s best-kept secrets. The hidden hike leading to a slot canyon waterfall was seemingly reserved for residents of the small town of Kanarraville. Over the span of a few years, the natural wonder turned into a big problem for the locals. They first noticed the increase during the Fourth of July weekend in 2004. Town...

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The Ultimate Guide to Monument Valley

With sandstone buttes, colossal mesas, and panoramic vistas, Monument Valley is one of the USA’s iconic landscapes. Sure, it’s possible to drive right through the Valley, visiting the main sites in just two or three hours, but if you really want to explore it, consider spending at least a day here. There are even quick excursions and scenic drives in the nearby area, if...

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Outdoor Retailer convention leaving Utah

After an unproductive meeting between Gov. Gary Herbert and outdoor recreation business representatives, industry leaders say they hope to find a new location for the Outdoor Retailer shows “as soon as possible.” “Unfortunately, what we heard from Governor Herbert was more of the same,” according to a written statement by the Outdoor Industry...

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Patagonia to Withdraw from Outdoor Retailer in Response to Utah Gov. Herbert’s Decision to Rescind Bears Ears Protection

Last month, Patagonia’s founder and CEO, Yvon Chouinard stated, “If [Utah] Gov. Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home. Gov. Herbert should direct his Attorney General to halt their plans to sue and support the historic Bears Ears National Monument. He should stop his efforts to transfer public lands to the state, which would spell disaster for...

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Time for Outdoor Retailers to leave Utah and its anti-recreation politics

Op-ed by Peter Metcalf, CEO and Founder, Black Diamond Inc. Over the past several months Utah’s political leadership has unleashed an all-out assault against Utah’s protected public lands and Utah’s newest national monument, Bear’s Ears. It’s time for Outdoor Retailer to leave the state in disgust. Over 20 years ago, I successfully led the...

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Utah’s Zion National Park so popular that even ‘offseason’ has gridlock

Even by Utah standards, few things are as beautiful as snow on redrock, especially in Zion Canyon where visitors can take in this lovely sight this week in the stillness of winter — if they can get there. It may be the middle of the “offseason,” but the canyon, the centerpiece of Zion National Park, has been so packed since Christmas that park officials have...

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Restoring the trampled land of Utah’s national parks

“What is it about the desert?” “For me, it’s always been the wide open spaces. You know, you’re very small, and so therefore any problems that you might have also feel really small. And so it’s really a place to put things in perspective,” park ranger Liz Ballenger said. “It’s restorative.” But there are times when even the desert needs to be restored. The arches and...

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Arches, narrows and waterfalls: Canyoneering and extreme hiking in Moab

Moab, Utah, surrounded by Arches National Park to the north, Canyonlands National Park to the southwest and the La Sal Mountains to the east, is a hub for desert adventures from rafting to mountain biking and so much more. For some visitors, the act of squeezing through narrow canyons, rappelling into open pools and clawing through loose dirt and bushes — canyoneering —...

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Monumental decision: All eyes look to Interior Secretary Jewell on divisive Bears Ears issue

This is big, raw countryside with tumbling landscapes of jutting Navajo sandstone cliffs bleached by grueling heat and sprawling bluffs that rise proud and angry from a sagebrush floor. There is nothing diminutive in this bold and unforgiving land that is so overwhelmingly expansive and complex one can lose a sense of time and being — wrapped in serene beauty that can...

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Congressman Proposes Massive Giveaway of Taxpayer-Owned Energy Resources to the State of Utah

A controversial legislative proposal released July 14, 2016 by Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) would transfer all federally-owned energy and mineral resources in southern Utah to state control, paving the way for massive new uranium, coal, and oil extraction across the area’s national forests, redrock canyons, and other public lands. The bill, known as the Public Lands...

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A Primer on Exploring Southern Utah’s Best Slot Canyons

You may love hiking, but you’ve never fully experienced adventure hiking until you’ve explored some slot canyons. Slot canyon hiking is a mellower cousin of technical canyoneering, but it’s far more involved and exciting than your standard saunter through the desert. Indeed, slot canyoning is an exercise in human Slinky-ness: You shimmy, scramble, wade, scoot, slog,...

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Volunteer opportunities available in Southern Utah national parks, forests

As part of the National Park Service centennial, the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors program, established in 2015, will be expanding to over 100 ambassadors during the 2016-17 season in an effort to connect people of all ages to their national parks and public lands. Multiple volunteer opportunities are available at national parks, national recreation areas and national...

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The High Life: Hiking Utah’s Uinta Highline Trail

Only a half mile from the trailhead near Hacking Lake you can ogle a herd of mountain goats. Minutes later, a weasel darts upon your track with a mouse hanging in its mouth. Another half mile, and you stumble upon two spotted elk calves lounging near timberline. Then, two more goat herds on the five-mile climb to 11,700-foot Gabbro Pass, from which you flush 100 elk on...

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Hiking Southern Utah: Tuacahn Split

Tuacahn Split is a fun but strenuous hike located near Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Ivins, Utah. It takes you through a maze of sandstone that leads up above Snow Canyon State Park. Throughout the hike you will see the breathtaking views of red sandstone and black lava rock that are so familiar to everyone in the St. George surrounding area. The trail is about three...

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“Bears Ears” region of Utah needs protection from drilling, mining and vandalism

A stretch of starkly beautiful wildlands in Southeast Utah is at risk due to energy development, looting and vandalism, but a movement led by Native American tribes could lead to its permanent protection as a national monument. Nestled immediately to the south and east of Canyonlands National Park, the region known as “Bears Ears”—named for two sandstone-fringed buttes...

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Can drilling and recreation coexist in Moab, Utah?

Neal Clark has been watching his feet a lot this fall day. The young environmental lawyer chose flipflops for this tour of the Utah desert with the blithe self-assurance of someone comfortable outdoors. Remarkably, he’s stumbled into thorns only once. Now, he cautiously threads a gap between banks of cryptobiotic crust. The castle-like colonies of microorganisms anchor...

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Tribes outline proposal for national monument in Utah

Tribal leaders in the Southwest have outlined a proposal to designate a section of southeastern Utah as a national monument, seeking to become partners with the federal government in managing their ancestral homeland. The proposed Bears Ears National Monument is named for twin buttes that overlook Cedar Mesa. The 1.9 million-acre area would be bordered to the south by...

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Anatomy of a flash flood

Last week 20 people died in a wave of flash floods in southern Utah, eerily similar to a summer in Arizona 18 years ago. Of those who died, seven were in a narrow canyon in Zion National Park and another 13 were lost when their cars were swept away from around the town of Hilldale. The seven in Zion were geared up with helmets and ropes, not the most trained group, but...

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Enjoy solitude by hiking to high-elevation Marjorie Lake

The hike to beautiful Marjorie Lake includes a network of lakes and trails all within a mile or two of each other that all start from one trailhead next to Washington Lake in Utah. The Lakes Country Trail is located at an elevation of 9,680 feet. The trailhead can be located from the parking lot near Washington Lake and its campground facility. The rolling, rocky, easy...

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Red Rock Country: What Locals Wished You Knew

“There are two easy ways to die in the desert: thirst or drowning. This place is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person’s mind is too much water.” The Red Rock Country of...

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