UTAH (ABC4) – As warmer days approach the state of Utah, many are finding themselves wanting to burst out their cozy bubbles and into the great outdoors for some much-needed adventure!
Hiking is a great way to not only get your joints moving but it is also a perfect way to see the world around you. Here are five unique Utah hiking spots you should dot down on your bucket list.
Utah has its very own rainbow hills if you didn’t know already, and they’re called Bentonite Hills.
📍Cathedral Valley Loop
These hills carry varying hues ranging from brown, red, purple, gray, and green.
According to the National Park Service, though this gem does not have a designated hiking trail, many are welcome to study the unique shades of rock and venture around the color rolling hills.
Cool facts about the Bentonite Hills:
- The hills are composed of the Brushy Basin shale member of the Morrison Formation. That means its current layer was formed during the dinosaur era when mud, silt, fine sand, and volcanic ash were deposited in swamps and lakes.
- Bentonite clay is altered volcanic ash. So when it rains, the ash interacts with water in such a way that it gives the hills a popcorn-like appearance
- Bentonite readily adsorbs a variety of minerals which give it color.
Red Cliffs National Conservation area
📍South-central Washington County
Utah’s red cliffs are not only iconic but are amazing to explore.
According to Bureau of Land Management Utah, this conservation area is 44,825 acres in size.
“The conservation area’s 130 miles of non-motorized trails provide world-class recreational opportunities while protecting crucial habitat,” BLM Utah shares.
The public is welcome to adventure out and discover all the interesting rock formations.
Cool facts about the Red Cliffs National Conservation area:
- This adventure spot protects the populations and habitat of the threatened Mojave Desert tortoise and other at-risk native plant and animal species.
- The NCA, encompasses two wilderness areas, the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, the Red Cliffs Campground, over a hundred miles of non-motorized trails, as well as heritage public use sites.
- More than 130 miles of non-motorized recreation trails for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trail riding, are available for public use in the NCA.
- The Red Cliffs Recreation Area offers camping and day-use areas in developed sites where fees are charged.
Wind Cave Tunnels
This gem is located near the Uinta-Wasatch- Cache National Forest.
This fun hike is ranked moderate for families and encompasses beautiful views of wildflowers and unique wind tunnels once you reach the very top.
Wind Cave Tunnels quick facts:
- The hike for this trail is about four miles long.
- The elevation gain is about 1,095 feet.
- Dogs are welcomed on the trail but require a leash.
Mineral Fork Trail
📍 Salt Lake City
This beautiful hike has many secrets, one of them being a hidden mineshaft.
If you are trying to gear up and have some sore muscles the next day, the Mineral Fork trail is 9.2 miles long roundtrip.
With spring around the corner, this hike is perfect for watching wildflowers blooming and wildlife emerging to take in the warm crisp air.
📍Echo, Summit County
This unique find is not a typical hike, but is more so a place meant for discovery!
Located near the town of Echo in northern Utah, you find a cluster of reddish-brown natural monuments called The Witches (also known as Witch Rocks, Witches Rocks, Witch Bluffs, or Witches Bluffs), composed of the Henefer Formation.
According to the Utah Division of Natural Resources, In 1858, army Captain Albert Tracy came across the cluster and described them in his journal as “witch-like” and “so singularly like figures in kirtles [long skirts] and steeple-hats, or bonnets that they have received the appellation [Witch Rocks]”.
How to get there courtesy of DNR:
From the south and west, travel along I-80 East to exit 169 (Echo) at the entrance to Echo Canyon. At the bottom of the offramp, turn left (north) to go under the interstate. Take a left (west) onto Echo Canyon Road heading towards the town of Echo. Continue on Echo Canyon Road/Echo Road/Old Highway 30 for approximately 2 miles (passing Echo). A landmark sign for The Witches will be on the right (east) side of the road.
From the north, travel along I-84 East to exit 115 (Utah State Highway 65/Henefer/Echo). Turn left (east) onto Main Street, cross over I-84, and as you curve to the right (south) towards the town of Echo, the road becomes Echo Road/Old Highway 30. Continue for approximately 2 miles until you reach The Witches landmark sign on the left (east) side of the road.
Wherever you may want to spend your spring, make sure to carry plenty of water and to stay safe!