Broads Fork Twin Peaks in Big Cottonwood Canyon via Robinson's Variation is not for the weak nor beginner hiker. It's a tough, long day. If you've done any research on this peak, you've seen several routes that will lead you to the top. My friend who lead us on this hike, had done it other the ways, but wanted to try this route out. I was up for anything! He had heard it was do-able, but steep. Robinson's Variation was also appealing to us because it could be done as a loop hike - up Robinson's, summit, then down the traditional Broad's Fork route.
Lisa Falls is another super easy waterfall to reach, and is great for kids.
The famous "House on Fire" ruins lie Mule Canyon, in between Natural Bridges National Monument and Blanding, Utah. Southeast Utah is home to the most numerous and varied collection of ruins, spread over a remote area of about 30 X 25 miles. Besides hundreds of ruins, mostly cliff dwellings, the Cedar Mesa area contains many petroglyphs and pictographs, all between 800 - 2000 years old from the Anasazi and Pueblo Indians. Most are found in canyons, where water was easily accessible and conditions were cooler in summer months. All land is public, managed by the BLM, and as of 2016 is protected under the Bears Ears National Monument.
Natural Bridges National Monument covers a small area of SE Utah, and is therefore very remote and not close to any of "Utah's Mighty Five" National parks.
Our first full day in Southeastern Utah, we drove to Arizona to visit Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. From our base camp at Goosenecks State Park, it was only a 45 minute drive. When we were planning our trip here, we initially thought we would take a guided tour. Monument Valley & Tribal rules state that you are not allowed to get out of your car on the scenic drive to hike around the famous Mittens or other rock structures, unless you are with a Navajo Guide and/or have a permit. The tours were a little expensive for our budget, so we researched other options in the park and found that there is ONE trail open to the public - The Wildcat Trail.
After our visit to Mystic Hot Springs, we drove west down I-70 for another 20 minutes until we reached Fremont Indian State Park. Thousands of years ago this area was home to the largest population of Fremont Indians. Many petroglyphs (engraved rock with symbols) still exists, and the park offers a small trail system to view them. Inside the museum are artifacts, a film, petroglyph tours, hands-on activities for kids, and exhibits that reveal the lives of the Fremont. The park also offers RV and tent camping, you can rent out a Tipi, and there's also access the famous Paiute ATV Trail.
The Wind Caves Trail is located in Logan Canyon about 1.5 hours northeast of SLC. Our plan was to make a day trip of it, and hike this trail and one across the road called The Crimson Trail, which gets you above the China Wall.
Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest Nevada State Park, which was dedicated in 1935. It covers approximately 35,000 acres, and was named appropriately for the magnificent red sandstone formations that resemble a realm of flames. These formations resulted from the shifting sand dunes more than 150 million years ago in the Mesozoic Era. Surrounding rock includes limestone, shale, and conglomerates.
Slickrock Trail, the world famous mountain biking trail, is located in Moab, Utah. Most people bike this 10.5 mile loop, but we hiked it! Slickrock Trail is located at the Sand Flats Recreation Area, about 10 minutes outside of Moab, where we also camped for two nights. This trail is popular for its scenic, rugged expanse of Navajo Sandstone, the remnant of wind blown sand dunes. Slickrock Trail was established in 1969 for motorcycles, but the trail is now popular for both mountain bikes and motorcycles - it is closed to all four-wheeled vehicles.
Hidden Falls is a quick walk off the side of the road up Big Cottonwood Canyon - with only a .07 mile walk up the road, there's no good reason to pass it up! This is perfect in Spring when the waterfall is running full. On the 5 minute walk you will also pass by an old, closed off mine. This walk is perfect for those with little kids or family visiting that aren't big hikers but still want to see pretty scenery.