As one of the most iconic geologic formations in the world, a very popular hike in Utah, and the state license plate, I couldn't believe I hadn't been to Delicate Arch after living in Utah for a year and a half. My dad and brother were in Utah visiting, so on our Moab trip we chose Delicate Arch as our Arches NP hike.
At 3 miles round trip, this hike shouldn't be underestimated. The elevation gain is only 480 ft, but you pretty much climb this all at once. If you come from somewhere like Tennessee where the height above sea level is 740 ft, you're going to struggle. Luckily I've acclimated to much higher elevations that Moab, so it wasn't an issue for me. Take a break when you need it and BRING WATER. We went on a day that started rainy, cloudy and in the 70s and ended at 99 and sunny. The heat can kill you. Delicate Arch is a popular place for ranger rescues due to hikers underestimating the difficulty and dehydration. If you're physically fit though, this hike should be a breeze.
Follow the "trail" signage until you reach a narrow pathway. Delicate Arch is just a around the corner! (I took most of the photos on the way back down, so imagine coming up this instead!)
There isn't a shortage of people at the arch. If you are patient, you'll be able to catch a photo without 50 people in it. You can also walk down under the arch, but we opted to just sit and enjoy. We hung out on some rocks and took it all in for about an hour before heading back down.
The views you are rewarded with are amazing!
There are vault toilets, trash, and recycling at the parking lot. We went on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, and the parking lot was pretty full. Try to avoid weekends and arrive early on weekdays. Also, Arches is closing the park every weeknight at 7pm for road construction. Keep that in mind before starting any late afternoon hikes.
If you are looking for the best wildflower display in Utah, head up to the Albion Meadows Trail (3.7 miles out and back). Located at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon in the ski area of Alta, you will be rewarded with wildflowers by the millions usually the last two weeks of July. They even hold a free wildflower festival with guided walks, but we chose to go a week early to beat the crowds.... sort of.
Cecret Lake is a very popular hike that also starts in Alta. The parking for Cecret Lake fills up fast, so some people choose to take the shuttle and others choose to take the Albion Meadows trail until it connects with the Cecret Lake trail. There are a lot of people that say parking is impossible due to the popularity of Cecret Lake on weekends, however we had no problem finding a spot midday Saturday.
The hike pretty much starts from the parking lot. You can't miss it. After about a quarter mile you will have a choice between a wide gravel type path and single track. Take the single track as it is easier and in my opinion has better views.
You will eventually reach Alf's restaurant. Here you can continue on straight to the Cecret Lake trail behind some construction, turn left to make the Albion Meadows Loop, or turn right to head up Germaine Pass. We chose Germaine Pass and were so glad that we did! We met a man that showed us a pink Columbine, apparently the rarest flower that we would see there. Unfortunately it was in a spot that we couldn't grab a photo. We told him that we had seen a blue Columbine the day before on the Wasatch Crest Trail in Big Cottonwood. He confirmed that it was just as rare! (Photo below)
We also ran into this cute little guy! He was totally posing for us.
We turned around about .5 mile into Germaine Pass. On the way back past Alf's, Karl spotted a moose! This was our first moose sighting while hiking. We sat and watched him forever.
Albion Meadows Trail is the perfect way to wander around Little Cottonwood Canyon. There are so many other trails to explore along the way that I guarantee you won't stay on the Albion Meadows trail the whole time.
Disclosure: This post contains sponsored links from Rad Dog, however all opinions are my own.
I recently was lucky enough to test out the coolest leash/collar combo from Rad Dog, a Washington based, Colorado conceived company. Hand sewn in the USA with 100% American materials, Rad Dog has made a unique product with outstanding quality.
The concept behind the Release N Run is a dog owner's dream. Perfect for hiking & trail running in off leash areas, the 4ft leash actually retracts into the collar! You never have to carry a leash with you again!
After receiving my Release N Run, I was SO impressed with the quality. Everything felt sturdy and well sewn: especially important if you have a large strong dog like I do. I ordered the size Large for my German Shepherd, Buddy, & it fit perfectly. The snap closure felt secure, and Buddy didn't even seem to notice it on (he never wears a collar when he is inside). Since I put a collar on him, he was super excited so we went for a test run!
I'll admit, Buddy is a puller. He isn't great on a leash and tends to pull me down the stairs on the way to the car. I was worried at first about how the thinner leash cord would be able to withstand his strong forward lunges, but Rad Dog uses the strongest materials available:
"Made with climbers webbing, Cordura® and Spectra® cord, the RNR is strong enough for dogs weighing up to 110lbs. Spectra, made by Honeywell® is one of the world’s strongest and lightest fibers. The internal retracting mechanism, originally designed for extended use in salt water by scuba divers and for the tethering of tools and weapons for the police and military, has been designed for maximum strength and durability. "
Plus the 4ft length actually gave me more control over him than I could have imagined. I don't think I could ever go back to a 6ft lead.
Once we were at the trail, I opened Buddy's door and grabbed ahold of the leash's grasp. Easy peasy. No making him wait to get the leash & put it on. We hiked a little bit up the trail before starting our run when I finally released him. The leash retracted perfectly back into the collar, and we were off!
Whenever I would see other people or dogs on the trail, I could easily grab the leash! Some people are afraid of large dogs, and I think it's common courtesy (personally) to not have my dog barreling down the trail unleashed, even on an off leash trail. I don't mind seeing other dogs off leash since I am totally a dog person, but I would also never want to frighten someone with a 100lb German Shepherd (even though he is the biggest sweetest baby ever). I loved how simple it was to call him back, grab the leash, and have total physical control over him.
Aside from Buddy's squeaky toy, "Mr. Pig", this is probably the best piece of "dog equipment" we have. Rad Dog's Release N Run comes in an assortment of colors and 4 different sizes. You can check out the product page by clicking here!
BONUS: The Release N Run turns your dog into an instant model! I may be biased, but Buddy sure did look handsome modeling his new collar for me!
If you're looking for great, clean campsites away from RVs & cars altogether, Jordanelle Resevoir's Keetly hike-in campground is for you. Located just north of Heber City (think Park City area) the Jordanelle State Park is perfect for boaters, SUP, kayaking, beaching, and just relaxing by the water. The beauty of the Keetly campground was the privacy, unlike hanging out at the beach area which can be very crowded.
We chose campsites 171 with easy access to the water but no shade. Everything you bring must be hiked in .5 mile to 1 mile depending on your campsite and the foot path you choose. Once you park, there is a spot for wagons that were donated to the state park for campers to haul their gear to the sites. Even though the sign clearly said to not leave the wagons at your site and to hike it back the parking lot after unloading, we saw many campers with the wagons at their site all night. We were not lucky enough to grab a wagon on the hike in - but we did see two girls with a wagon each hauling nothing but one backpack in each wagon. Talk about annoying. Moral of the story - don't bring more than you can carry in or else you may be making multiple trips.
The campsites are equipped with concrete pads with picnic tables, large firepits with primitive grills, and tent spaces. Pretty similar to most car camping set ups.
Our campsite was located on a cove - perfect for floating, kayaking, and SUP. A few campers did "park?" their boats along the bank in the cove and hiked up to their campsites. The water was pretty still and free from wake in the area.
We cooked our dinner of veggie brats and squash on our BioLite grill (favorite outdoor equipment purchase ever!) & watched the sun set. After dark, a heat lightening storm started, but we weren't lucky enough to catch a good photo.
If you're looking for a nice quiet weekend on the lake or a family fun filled trip, Jordanelle State Park Keelty Campground is for you!