Antelope Island State Park

The only way to reach Antelope Island by car is by driving across seven miles of a two-lane causeway. On either side is a smelly bay, with fields of salt close to the road.

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Now that you’ve reached the island, you can roll down the windows and enjoy the breeze. Keep an eye out for bison as you drive up to the visitor center.

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

When the friendly park ranger recommends a couple of easy hikes, keep in mind that her definition of “easy” may not be the same as yours. Go on the hikes anyway! Start with the Buffalo Point Trail, which is short but also quite steep.

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Buffalo Point Trail, Antelope Island State Park

On your walk you will see some very cool rocks, a few wildflowers, and lots of tiny lizards. The lizards will scamper out of your way so quickly that you don’t even have a chance to be scared of them.

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Now you can rest for a bit as you drive to the other side of the island. Watch the fields for bison and antelope. You may even see more bison here than at Custer!

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

It’s time to start the Frary Peak Trail that takes you to Dooley Knob. Carry water and snacks. Ignore the fact that the entire trail is uphill.

Frary Peak & Dooley Knob Trail, Antelope Island State Park

Frary Peak & Dooley Knob Trail, Antelope Island State Park

You can’t ignore that the entire trail is uphill. Stop often to catch your breath, er, look out over the wondrous landscape.

Antelope Island State Park

You made it to the top! Oh, wait, nope. You’ve made it to the beginning of the Dooley Knob Spur. Onward!

Frary Peak & Dooley Knob Trail, Antelope Island State Park

Frary Peak & Dooley Knob Trail, Antelope Island State Park

Now you’ve made it to the top! Hooray! You’re at 5200 feet! See how tiny your car looks from up here. Even Salt Lake City looks small in the distance.

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Frary Peak & Dooley Knob Trail, Antelope Island State Park

Frary Peak & Dooley Knob Trail, Antelope Island State Park

Head back downhill to explore more of the island. Give yourself a high five for being outdoorsy!

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Drive down the east side of the island for more bison and pronghorn spotting.

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Turn around at the horse barns and head back towards the causeway. Watch out for bison crossing the road!

Antelope Island State Park

End your visit to the island by spotting a small group of mule deer on the hillside.

Antelope Island State Park

 

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A butte-iful hike

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum has more than 100 acres of botanical gardens, and miles of hiking trails in the surround foothills. There’s a fragrance garden, an herb garden, a rose garden, a magical children’s garden, etc, etc, — it’s a beautiful place to spend the afternoon.

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Beyond the landscaped paths and gardens, hiking trails wind through Red Butte Canyon. Although it was overcast, we had great views of Salt Lake City from the canyon overlook, at an elevation of about 5400′. What started as a dry and rocky hike became green and woodsy as we came down along the creek. I loved the oak tunnel we walked through at the end of the hike.

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

 

 

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Going for the Gold

…the gold medal in sightseeing! Bazinga! This weekend, the Utah Olympic Oval, headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team, hosted the 2016 Long Track Desert Classic. So we got to watch some super fast speedskaters have a go on the “Fastest Ice on Earth.” The world record for the men’s 1000 meter was set on this track in 2009 — 1:06.42. (That’s just over one minute!) We watched Saturday’s winner, an athlete from Korea, finish with a time of 1:11.90!

Utah Olympic Oval

Utah Olympic Oval

Long Track Desert Classic at the Utah Olympic Oval

For our next trick, we visited Park City, home of the US Ski Team and the Sundance Film Festival. (No Robert Redford sightings!) This weekend was the Park Silly Sunday Market, so a huge portion of Main Street was closed off to traffic and packed with food and craft booths.

Park City, Utah

And for our grand finale, a trip to the Utah Olympic Park. There’s an interesting ski museum with exhibits about the history of skiing in Utah, ski fashion (the 80s jumpsuits were totally rad!), and the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games.

Ski museum fun at the Utah Olympic Park

Olympic Park is pretty awesome. They’ve added a couple of ropes courses, zip lines, tubing on the ski jumps, and you can even go bobsledding!

Utah Olympic Park

Bobsled track, Utah Olympic Park

The best thing there is definitely the Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show. Past Olympians and current US team members ski down jumps, do crazy tricks, and land in a swimming pool! This is how they practice when there’s no snow! The show also featured two climbing champions who raced up the 50-foot wall…and then jumped into the pool from the top!

Utah Olympic Park

Utah Olympic Park

Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show

Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show

Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show

Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show

 


Temple Square

I knew there would be a large temple in Temple Square, but I was surprised to discover the square is part of a larger campus for the Mormon Church. The free visitor’s center provided a nice overview of the temple’s architecture and construction, and a brief introduction to the religion. While the other buildings nearby are pretty, the towering Salt Lake Temple really commands your attention. Stopping in front of the reflecting pool, surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of flowers, it’s easy to forget that office buildings and city traffic are just a block away. (Seriously, so many flowers.)

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

 

 

 

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