Salt Lake City is lovely, but I’m also the kind of person who can’t stay too long in a big city. If you feel the same way and need to get away from cars and concrete, SLC has plenty of hiking trails in the nearby mountains. I was in Salt Lake City during the record hot month of July 2013. Some said it was too hot to go hiking, but it wasn’t for me. I was in the mood for an afternoon hike. The Desolation Trail to the Salt Lake Overlook is perfect in summer as it’s very shaded. At the overlook you can see the entire metropolitan valley, or most of it. Behind you, as you would have noticed on the way up, is the magnificent Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
The trail is 4.8 mile out and back, and rated easy to moderate. There are lots of switchbacks and you gain roughly 1,300 ft, so it takes some uphill work. Actually, the trail goes further and can be combined with other trails. The overlook is a perfect place to sit down and eat a snack, and to me it was the best way of saying goodbye to Salt Lake City before moving on to the south.
Finally! I’m going to hike the Wave this year in May. After four failed attempts, I finally won a permit in the online lottery. Hiking The Wave is the ultimate photo-adventure. Obviously I’m excited about the hike but also the opportunity to photograph one of the most stunning places in the world.
Expect the wild! There are no established trails in Coyote Buttes North, where The Wave is the main geological feature. It’s a remote area within the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.
These permits are hard to get. The odds of getting a permit in the online lottery are about 4-5%. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) only allows 20 people per day into Coyote Buttes North, and 10 of the permits are issued online through a lottery. The other ten are issued as walk-in permits, also through a lottery held at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center (long name) in Kanab, Utah. To enhance your chances, apply for weekdays. Normally they tend to get fewer applications.
PHOTO: In 2013 I did my best to win a permit in the walk-in lottery, but without any luck. Those guys ahead of me won, lucky them.
Ask me why I love to travel in Utah, and I’ll show you my photos of Arches National Park. This dream-like landscape of contrasting colors is simply why I find Utah so attractive. I’ll describe this park as surreal, kinda like a Dali painting. Here you’ll find thousands of stone arches as well as hundreds of pinnacles, fins and balanced rocks.
To me, the main attraction is Delicate Arch. During my full day at Arches I made it to Delicate Arch twice. I spent several hours at the arch in the late morning, and then also in the evening when I went back to shoot sunset photos. The hike is a 3 mile round trip, strenuous but not difficult. It’s actually a nice trail with wonderful scenery all the way to the arch. The arch is heavily visited, so don’t expect a solitary experience.
During the sunset, some photographers became clearly annoyed because people were standing beneath the arch. Although I understand a photographers mind, I also find it important to be courteous to other visitors. Besides, people can add scale to a photo of this 65-foot-tall landmark. I got plenty of photos with and without people. The hike back in the dark with hundreds of people using headlights was a magic ending to a perfect day. During the day and in between my Delicate Arch visits, I roamed the park to see some of the other arches and stone features. Most attractions in the park require only a short hike. There are lots of hiking trails, most are considered easy to moderate, but there are also some few strenuous trails, which I’ll consider for my next trip to Aches.