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Archive for utah

Pioneering in Utah

By Linda Tancs

Utah is gearing up for Pioneer Day, a state holiday celebrated on July 24 to commemorate the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in 1847 to escape religious persecution. Their trek now forms the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, a route spanning five states where 70,000 Mormons traveled from 1846 to 1869. The Pioneer Company of 1846-1847 established the first route from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, covering about 1,300 miles.

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Countless Canyons

By Linda Tancs

It’s four times the size of Arches National Park, yet Canyonlands  attracts half the visitors. It’s easy to think of them as arch rivals (pardon the pun), considering that they’re located on opposite sides of U.S. 191 outside Moab, Utah, and just 10 miles away from each other. But these two national parks are hardly duking it out, each boasting its own distinct advantages. Canyonlands is less developed, a haven for hikers with a yen for accessibility (like Arches) coupled with a mix of backcountry and hardcore hiking. It offers a wilderness of countless canyons and buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into districts, the most accessible being Island in the Sky and the most remote, the Maze. The Maze district offers guided hikes in Horseshoe Canyon most weekends during spring and fall.

Utah’s First National Park

By Linda Tancs

Located on State Route 9 in southwest Utah, Zion National Park is Utah’s first national park. The 229-square-mile park is rife with history dating back 10,000 years, a land occupied by peoples ranging from prehistoric hunter-gatherers and ancestral tribes to Mormon pioneers. The best way to see an area this vast is to take a classic hike, like the eight mile climb to Observation Point. At 6,508 feet above sea level, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views that may very well include the California Condor. Released in Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona, in the late 1990s, they are increasingly being sighted in the park. Parking is limited inside Zion, and parking lots at the visitor center commonly fill before noon. To avoid parking hassles, park in the town of Springdale and ride the free town shuttle to the park.

Racing on the Flats

By Linda Tancs

The Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah is a flat expanse of white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin, measuring 46 square miles.  Named for area explorer and Army officer Benjamin Bonneville, the area is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks because of its contribution to speed racing.  Welcoming trucks, cars and motorcycles, the World of Speed annual racing event takes place from 7 to 10 September.

Peeling the Layers

By Linda Tancs

The folks in Payson, Utah want you to experience the many layers of their fair city.  That includes peeling the layers at the annual Golden Onion Days event.  Taking place from 30 August to 2 September, the annual ode to allium will feature the usual cooking contest, parade, food court and boutiques.

The Grand Staircase

By Linda Tancs

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has the distinction of being the first monument overseen by the Bureau of Land Management rather than the National Park Service.  Holding court in southern Utah at an expansive 1.7 million acres (slightly larger in area than the State of Delaware), this world class geologic and paleontological site comprises not only the Grand Staircase but also the Kaiparowits Plateau and the Canyons of the Escalante.  A staircase of cliffs and terraces, the Grand Staircase’s multi-hued formations represent 200 million years of Earth’s history, featuring fossils of fish and early dinosaurs from the Triassic Period (the vermilion cliffs) as well as Jurassic sand dunes (the white cliffs).  An ancient freshwater lake deposited the siltstone comprising the pink cliffs at the top of the Grand Staircase.  Nearly one thousand miles of roads provide access to what may arguably be one of the greatest shows on Earth.

Tunnel Vision

By Linda Tancs

In 1930, the mile-long Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel was the longest of its type in the United States, created to provide direct access to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon from Utah’s Zion National Park.  The sandstone tunnel is one of the busiest areas of Zion National Park, the first national park in the state.  In fact, vehicles exceeding 7 feet 10 inches (2.4 meters) in width and/or 11 feet 4 inches (3.4 meters) in height require a tunnel permit to pass through.  RVs and campers, take note.

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