All posts by Julio Price

Bells Canyon Trail to Lower Falls

If you’re ready to see some waterfalls and enjoy the great outdoors, Bells Canyon Trail is the hike for you. This hike will take you along a scenic reservoir, all the way up to a gorgeous waterfall. You will also be able to enjoy the beautiful views of the Salt Lake Valley and the Wasatch Mountains.

(Images provided by Wikipedia)

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This hike is a total of 4.6 miles out and back trail near Sandy, Utah. With an elevation gain of 1,453 feet, making it suitable for all ages and abilities. The best time of the year to enjoy all the hike has to offer is June through October. Whether you enjoy hiking, running or snowshoeing, this trail is perfect for you. One important thing to mention is it can get pretty busy during peak season, because this trail can be hiked by beginners – advanced hikers. Be prepared to see plenty of other hikers along the way. Because this trail lies within a protected watershed, dogs and swimming are not allowed in the area.

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The parking lot for this trail is right off of 9600 South Highway, with plenty of room for all visitors. The first waterfall is 2.5 miles from the parking lot. There are signs all along the parking lot directing you to the many trailheads. Many people will bring fishing rods, but it’s important to remember that it is a catch-and-release only area. It’s important to note you will see a lot of wildlife along the trail so please be sure to pick up after yourself if you bring water bottles, snacks, etc.

Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing is one of the most popular hikes found within Zion National Park in Utah. The hike is specifically located within Springdale, and most hikers choose to undergo the hike from February to October. Be prepared to see many other hikers on your journey, and take the time that you need to be successful.

(Images provided by Wikipedia)

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Angel’s Landing is a five-mile hike when considering the totality of going in and out. Section of the five miles is very steep and narrows, but you will begin at The Grotto Trailhead. The most difficult part of the hike is the last half mile.

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Angel’s Landing is rated as hard. It may be best for professional or experienced hikers rather than beginners or young children. It is important that you do not hike this trail when there are dangerous weather conditions due to the steep inclines and the difficult terrains.

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Try to park as close as possible to The Grotto Trailhead. The parking lot is small and does get very busy, so there may be a wait to get in. You do also have to pay a fee to get in, which is $35 per vehicle or $20 if you are walking.

What to Expect

This hike is full of inclines, bridges, and more for you to experience. You will cross the Virgin River and will receive a cool breeze from the water while on the first couple of miles. At the observation point at 1,500 feet, you can observe Zion Canyon and the many beautiful birds that fly through.

Wearable Tech Checklist for Staying Safe in the Outdoors

If you’re looking forward to getting outside for the hiking season, safety precautions should be on your mind. Feeling safe while being outside, either by yourself or with family, starts with the gear you choose to bring. The right wearable technology is the key to a positive experience. Even if hiking is a hobby you’ve picked up during your retirement, you will still want to carry the proper equipment – just in case you’re covered if things do not go to plan. The below tech checklist is a non-extensive packing guide all hikers should consider before heading out to explore.

Fitness and GPS Tracker Smart Watch 

These days, watches can do a lot more than tell time. A quality hiking watch can help with every aspect of your hiking adventure. They can be, among many other functions, a GPS, a heart-rate monitor, and a weather radar all in one device. The best hiking watches have a strong battery life, are waterproof, and have all the features you need.   

While you might be used to a low-tech watch in your day-to-day life, we recommend scoping out a smart watch for hiking. This can be an important tool for tracking your location and helping ensure you don’t physically exhaust yourself. We should note: You might need to spend some time learning all the functions of the watch and getting used to a touch screen. But, after you’re all set up, you can better enjoy your time off with nature. 

Medical Alert Device

You should not let your age hold you back from hobbies like hiking. That said, keeping your health in mind as you prepare for your outing is important. A reliable medical alert device goes where you go and provides access to help with the push of a button. Active seniors should opt for a device that keeps them connected to assistance even when venturing out for a hike. 

Some alert devices even have GPS capabilities to make it easier for people to find you in case you need help. These devices should not hinder your ability to go hiking. Instead, they should make you feel more confident tackling the parks of Utah. 

Cell Phones  

Phones are another type of wearable tech that are great for capturing pictures of your hikes and staying in touch with family throughout the trip. Smartphones allow users to download a variety of useful hiking apps. Some allow users to keep track of their hikes and share locations with family or friends. A basic way to use your phone, though, is to tell someone your hiking plans so that someone knows where you are going. 

This Winter has Been a Good One for Skiers—and Everybody

Photo from Alta Ski Resort

After what was already a semi-steady line of snow squalls over the first half of winter, the beginning of February brought in a huge system that dumped a ton of snow in the mountains (more than 5 feet in some areas) as well as many areas of the Salt Lake Valley (more than 18 inches in some areas). The upcoming forecast include additional snow squalls that should help keep a fresh layer of powder on top of what is now a solid snowpack. And while they don’t have the same eye-popping numbers or media coverage of their weather, parts of southern Utah have seen even more snow than normal, as a percentage, than the Wasatch Front.

Last we checked in the middle of February, the Wasatch Front and major population centers where at 133 percent of normal for their snowpack. Notably, all 16 areas in Utah defined by the National Water and Climate Center as having established snowpack levels were above normal. Southwestern Utah was at 159% with some areas reaching as high as 172% of normal.

Not a Return to Normal—Not Yet

Most Utahns are well aware that we’ve been below average for our snowpack for a number of years as part of a larger debate among climatologists as to what constitutes a drought and what constitutes a new normal. This time last year, some areas in Utah were recording their lowest snowpack levels in 30 years.

With this in mind, a heavier than normal year for snowfall does not in itself reverse the effects of a sustained “drought.” Experts suggest we need something more along the lines of five straight years of a snowpack that’s above 125% of normal to get our ecosystem back to what used to be considered normal. Now, this is a decent down payment, and it’s unclear how climate change stands to impact our annual snowfall and precipitation.

Looking to Take Advantage of this Year’s Snow Fall?

It’s not our thing, but we know a lot of people in Utah and around the country love the state and the Wasatch Front especially for its accessible ski areas and multiple resort options. If you’re looking for upscale accommodations and a secluded vibe, we recommend Deer Valley. If you’re looking for something with a little more friendly and welcoming, we recommend Solitude or Alta. We asked around. If you don’t already have a local connection for cheap tickets and lodging, here’s a user-friendly website to research lift ticket and lodging prices for Utah ski discounts.

Late Hiking is Beautiful Hiking

If these snowstorms keep up through the rest of winter and the snowpack holds put or expands even further, then we can count on late access for full highway and trail openings in the Uintas as well as higher elevations along the Wasatch Front. This may not be ideal news for the most hard-core trail runners…who aren’t also ski fans. For everybody else, once you get past the headaches of digging out your car and driving in the snow, it’s pretty good news. And a late, sloshy start to the hiking season usually yields an abundance of colorful, summertime wild flowers that are truly a sight to behold along with many of the other more famous attractions in Utah.

Bryce Canyon: Navajo/Queens Garden Loop

Known colloquially as the most beautiful 3-mile hike in the world, the Navajo/Queens Garden Loop is the go-to hike for people who are only passing through Bryce for the day as part of a longer road trip through the American southwest. Ideally, you’ll have set aside enough time to do all the amazing hiking available in this stretch of south central Utah.

We learned that timing matters. There’s a slight difference here between “summer” and off-season months. This last time we visited was in October, the beginning of the off-season. Thus, we were allowed to hike this loop counter-clockwise and by starting the descent down the steep, if breath-taking, set of switchbacks known as “Wall Street.” We greatly preferred this way, which is not an option in the summer during which the trail is shared with horses and mules. The backside of this loop was still steep but not nearly as bad.


With a short half-mile connection between Sunrise and Sunset Point, you’ll also have two different fairly large parking lots to aim for as landing spots. Try one. If you can’t find a spot there, head over to the other point.


Bryce Canyon: Fairyland Loop Trail

This is our favorite hike in Bryce. Aside from Tower Bridge, it doesn’t have the same famous postcard spots, but it’s also 8.5 miles of quintessential Bryce Canyon. The parking lot is modestly sized, but a lot of people are only there for the scenic viewpoint. We were able to wait on a parking spot to open up after only a few minutes. Good thing, too. We were told after the fact that the shuttle wasn’t running to this trailhead.

This is another hike in which we recommend going counter-clockwise. There is a huge steep stretch a few miles long right in the middle of this trail. By going counter-clockwise, you can go uphill for half the distance at both the beginning and end of the trail, rather than enduring it all at once in the middle of the day.


The Fairyland Loop can be something of a money hack for those traveling on a shoestring budget. While the trail itself is inside the National Park, the turnoff for the trailhead is outside the Visitor Center and ranger station where they collect vehicle fees. The assumption is that, if you came to Bryce to hike Fairyland Loop Trail, you probably want to see the rest of the canyon as well. And they’re right. Pay the entrance fee and see the park in its entirety.

Bryce Canyon: Peek a Boo Loop

This 5.5 mile loop is the second most popular hike in the park. It’s not for non-stop views around every corner as you play “peek a boo” with many of Bryce’s finest specimen of hoodoos. If you’re looking for the perfect combination of hoodoos and rock tunnel paths, this is a can’t-miss hiking destination.

We did this loop counter-clockwise and didn’t regret it. The loop is only part of the trail; it’s more of a lasso. And the steepest part of the trail feels like the initial out-and-back before getting to the loop. As with all the loop hikes in Bryce, if you get tired, take the opportunity to look around. The same geological feature can look quite different from either side.

This trailhead is, arguably, the most troublesome for finding parking. It’s a single, moderately sized parking lot. And while it’s nowhere near the full 16-mile drive out to Riggs Point, it’s some distance into the park. The good news is that the shuttle does reliably run to Peek a Boo Loop trailhead. If you’re going into the park on multiple days, a reasonable plan would be to drive into the park one day and use the shuttle on another day to access Peek a Boo Loop.

Northern Utah Hiking

From Ogden and the Weber County area to Logan and the Cache Valley County, these areas get our votes for the most underrated or “hidden gems” of Utah hiking. Mount Ogden (via Snowbasin Gondola), Malans Peak (via Taylor Canyon), and Waterfall Canyon are the highlights for manageable day hikes around Ogden.

Further north, some of the best hiking opportunities can be found in and around Bear Lake Valley including Limber Pine Trail, Sink Hollow, and Laketown Canyon Trail. Hike Steam Mill Hollow in Logan Canyon is a great choice for those people looking for a more demanding hiking experience.


Antelope Island and Davis County

Find some of the best views of the Great Salt Lake and Wasatch Front on Antelope Island. Just know when to go. From mid spring to early fall, a number of insects emerge, but the most fearsome of the bunch is undoubtedly the no-seeums, or biting gnats. Heavy use of bug spray can keep irritation to a minimum when hiking the trails. Here’s a handy FAQ list to prepare for a visit to the island. The island is bigger than you might think, spanning 20 miles long and a few miles wide, and you can easily spend 2 full days exploring the island’s trails and visiting the Fielding Garr Ranch.


On the mountainside, along the Wasatch Front, Adams Canyon, Farmington Creek Trail, and Kenny Creek Trail each offer a short day hike that is both beautiful and accessible to for Davis County residents.

Moab and SE Utah

Moab—and Arches and Canyonlands especially—is nothing short of an international destination for nature-seeking tourism. Reliably, you can hear a handful of different accents from around the world on the tours that run throughout the year. The key is to avoid the extreme heat of the mid-summer, or at least know what you’re getting yourself into. Further to the south, Mexican Hat is also just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Monuments Valley and tribal lands of northern Arizona.

Altogether, this stretch of land in Utah is well-known visually—at least subliminally—to most of the country and the world as the background and filming locations for many of the most famous movies ever made. Moab is also home to the locally famous microbrew of the same name.