Utah Adventures for the Adrenaline Seeker
PHOTO: Rainbow Bridge, Utah. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
For those looking for an adrenaline rush, look no further then Utah’s stunning and diverse landscapes. From naturally formed arches that are hard to believe to remote backcountry hikes perfect for overnights, Utah has the answers to the calls of adventure travel. No matter if you are totally hardcore or just looking for a weekend thrill, the state has an adventure for every level and every age of adrenaline junkie.
The Adventurer’s Ultimate Zion Itinerary
This hardcore itinerary is not for the faint of heart and perfect for the weekend warrior. Utah.com has the ideal three-day itinerary for the uber-adventurer headed to Zion National Park – and it encourages families to bring their teens and show them how cool nature can be. Visitors can be as rugged as they like, with suggestions for stays that run the gamete, from luxury hotels such as the Desert Pearl Inn to primitive campgrounds such as the Smithsonian Butte Campground.
The journey includes canyoneering in Mystery Canyon – a five- to eight-hour undertaking from the East Mesa Trail or the Weeping Rock Trailhead. Guides and outfitters are available for those who would like assistance and create a learning experience. And there are several alternate choices, including Orderville Canyon, Hidden Canyon, The Subway and The Narrows.
Day Two’s suggestion is to climb Moonlight Buttress – one of Zion’s most classic climbing destinations just past Angel’s Landing on the left side of Zion Canyon.
Day three starts on two wheels with a mountain bike ride at Gooseberry Mesa, a good way to finish up a weekend of adventure.
Amazing Overnight Backpacking Trips
Utah.com also has some suggestions for some of the state’s best overnight backpacking trips, such as White Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon, just outside of the Greater Salt Lake area. It’s a five-mile, somewhat strenuous hike to White Pine Lake, or you can opt to head to Red Pine Lake to mix it up.
Ibantik Lake is a moderate hike in the Uinta Mountains. It is a little farther from Salt Lake City, but the hike is less crowded and a bit easier. The elevation gain is 590 feet and the trailhead is located just off of Mirror Lake Highway. A good suggestion would be to take your time and enjoy all the passing lakes and smaller ponds on your way.
In the Utah Valley, visitors will find Mount Timpanogos – a great spot to pitch a tent for the evening. However, it’s going to be a strenuous climb to the top. The hike between 7.5 and eight miles long, depending on the trailhead and the elevation gain is 4,580 feet.
Zion’s West Rim Trail is a 12.2-mile romp, perfect if you are getting an early start. The elevation gain is 2,510 feet but you’ll be so busy admiring the gorgeous scenery that you will barely even notice your breath.
READ MORE: Grand Canyon’s North Rim to Open May 15
Utah.com’s top overnight backpacking journey is Neon Canyon & Golden Cathedral in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument – one of the nation’s most remote and interesting landscapes. This is a very technical hike, and requires ropes for rappelling, the possible use of dry suits and more. It’s definitely for the more experienced backpacker.
Must-Do Adventures in Arches National Park
It would take forever to explore all of the wonders of Arches National Park, but Utah.com offers up five to start with.
Rafting the Colorado at Fisher Towers is calm enough for the kids, but offers up enough excitement and paddling to keep up the interest. It takes approximately half a day but can be extended to an overnight for the adventurous.
Hiking to Delicate Arch – one of the park’s most unique – three-mile hike roundtrip and is definitely worth a look, if just to understand the hype.
Mountain bike enthusiasts can head to Slickrock, a ride that is good for beginners and experts. Novices, beware: the rock isn’t slick but grippy sandstone and will be an adventure in technical riding.
Utah.com also recommends checking out Fiery Furnace, a garden of fins, buttes and canyons and suggests taking an easy walk to Devil’s Garden.
Weekend Backpacking in the Uintas
Looking to pitch your tent in the great outdoors for more than just a night? Head to the Uintas and follow this three-day, two-night suggestions that covers six trails.
Begins by following the 9.4-mile Fish Lake/Dry Fork Trailhead. The next trail is the Island Lake/Crystal Lake Trailhead, a moderate hike at high elevation filled with glaciated rocks and a lot of lakes and ponds. Bench Lake/Bald Mountain Trailhead is a 5.6-mile jaunt where you will find a lot of fishing in the lakes along the way.
You’ll need four-wheel-drive to get to the North Erickson Lake/Big Elk Lake Trailhead but is worth it for fishing and is an ideal overnight camping spot.
Four-wheel-drive is also recommended for the next stop: Swasey Lake/Center Park Trailhead. And then finish up at the Reader Lake/Chepeta Lake Trailhead, 8.4 miles roundtrip.
More by Janeen Christoff
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