People who aren’t from or haven’t lived in Utah often wonder why people who have love it so much. They know it has mountains and snow and some national parks. But what people don’t realize is how accessible the cities are to the outdoors and rural nature. While certainly not the biggest city in the country, the Salt Lake City metro area boasts a lot of big city amenities. But what makes it unique is the ability to put city life on the back burner like an on/off switch.
Utah:Nature at Your Doorstep
Literally within minutes, you can transpose yourself from being in the heart of a big city to being in nature with little or no sign of humanity. The Wasatch Mountains are a playground which give even the biggest trail junkies more than enough to explore and still have more left over. Whether you are into hiking, climbing, skiing, snow-shoeing, fishing, cycling or mountain biking, boating or rafting, paragliding or hangliding…you name it, you have a big back yard to do it in. Many locals find it easy to be doing something in the mountains every day, whether its after work or school, or on the weekend. The accessibility and ease of being able to get away from it all in the quiet environment really does wonders for people and makes Utah a place to love and stay put. I am a living example of that.
Since summer is here, I will be taking more opportunities to get out and explore nearby places in Utah (nearby to me anyway) and share some photos and tips.
I will start off with one of my favorite places and honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Covering this area in its entirety (or at least a large portion of it) would take some time, so I will have to just give a brief overview here and expand on my favorite spots in future posts.
The Alpine Loop area is located in northern Utah County and is a 45 minute drive from Salt Lake City. It is accessible from American Fork Canyon to the north or Provo Canyon to the south. Through it runs highway U-92, a narrow 27 mile road which winds through the mountainous scenery. It is widely considered one of Utah’s and America’s most scenic byways. If you come from Provo Canyon, you should feel obligated (or should I say privileged?) to make a stop at Bridal Veil Falls. It is right of the highway making it simple to view from the parking lot at the base. In previous decades, a tram allowed visitors to ride to a ledge near the top of the falls, but it has since been dismantled.
Seeing as you can drive through this area, one does not need to necessarily be physically fit to see beautiful spots. There are plenty of vistas right along the roadways. The byway is especially popular in the summer and autumn months and the foliage here is truly breathtaking. As I said, the road is narrow, but is well maintained.
One of Utah’s more prominent mountains, Mount Timpanogos, dominates the views here and many find the trek to the top both challenging and rewarding. I will have more to say about this later this summer when I hike to the top myself. Even if you aren’t up for the challenge of hiking the mountain, there are plenty of less strenuous walks and hikes in the alpine loop area. There are plenty of places to camp in the area if you want to extend your visit. Or, if you aren’t keen to sleeping outdoors, Sundance Resort is situated just north of Provo Canyon.
Needless to say, this place is beautiful. If you haven’t been, you should. And if you can, visit during every season as each one is like a whole new canvas.