Manti-LaSal National Forest

Stop 48: Northern Utah Experiences

After leaving Wyoming, we camped at several places in northern and central Utah, starting with Bear Lake, continuing on to the Salt Lake City area in Draper, and ending in Mt. Pleasant. During this stop, we got our first taste of fall, both in terms of the temperatures and the trees!

Geese on Roadway SignIn Bear Lake, we enjoyed one of our favorite activities — visiting a national wildlife refuge. We love these parks because we are often the only visitors — besides the animals, of course! Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge was no exception — and we enjoyed seeing the waterfowl, as well as our first muskrat. We also had a wonderful picnic at Bear Lake State Park. We then took a (way too long) drive up to Bloomington Lake along a narrow and poorly maintained gravel road. The (glacial) lake itself is beautiful and the hike quite short, but the road and the crowd turned us off… but perhaps our most fun activity were two hikes along the quiet and peaceful Limber Pine Trail in the Cache National Forest, a beautiful 1.3-mile loop trail through the forest.

In Draper, we were overwhelmed by civilization — and caught up on supplies at Costco and Whole Foods. (We also made a quick trip to the emergency room for Jenny’s ongoing digestive health issues; we are still searching for an answer.)

Manti-LaSal NF collageWhile in Draper, we also got outside, of course, and hiked up the Rocky Mouth Trail and part of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (which roughly follows the bench of the ancient Lake Bonneville that covered the whole Salt Lake valley).

But it was our visit in Mt. Pleasant that was truly amazing. The sunsets were beautiful and we drove and hiked along the Skyline Drive (elevation 9,300 to 10,000 feet), along the plateau atop of the Wasatch Mountains. Be forewarned that the main part of this drive is gravel — and the rest unmaintained dirt roads more suitable for ATVs; the cool part is that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) had a hand in developing the roads that became Skyline Drive. We took Canyon Road east from Fairview, which turns into Hwy 31 (Energy Loop Byway); turn south from there onto Skyline Drive. This drive is a must-do when in this area.

We also just happened to be in the same town as a long-time friend of Jen’s, and we got to reconnect with her — a true joy.

Next up we do a quick side-trip into Nevada to visit the Great Basin National Park — which we had hoped to see in February, but got snowed out — before hitting all the national parks in southern Utah.



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