Revisiting Some of Utah’s Most Beautiful Places

Once more around the national parks in Utah

An older image of Zion’s Overlook, in 2020

Visiting the national parks in Utah, of which there are many well known ones, was slightly different in spring, as the weather changed, and some of the snow remained on the mountains, making it a very pretty sight in many places, while the weather warmed, and yet the spring blossoms did not quite emerge to cover the ground with blooms. Unlike the forests of the Midwest, the landscape in Utah is more Martian, many say, and I would agree, with its reddish hues and desert landscapes, and the mountains with sparse ground cover that do not really ever seem to change with the season, in many places.

Skiing at Brianhead Resort was a very scenic sight, with beautiful vistas on many sides of the mountains, with the red hues in the distance against the white snow.

The best places to go in Utah that are National Parks are arguably the Big Five:

Bryce Canyon


The Canyonlands


Capitol Reef

There are also places of immense beauty that are lesser known, such as Snow Canyon, near St. George, and many places around St. George, like the Pioneer Park boulders and the trails in the Red Cliffs National Conversation Area. There are also pretty places around Moab that aren’t amongst the Big Five that are worth exploring, though I will leave those up for the visitor to discover themselves.

Not to be missed is Salt Lake City, with The Crater nearby (in Park City), and the white sands to the left of the city (an hour and a half away).

On the way back to the Midwest, Vail is a nice place to visit with its Swiss styling, even if one is not skiing and merely taking in the sights. Visit the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Shop for gifts if anyone likes chocolates.

There was just enough time to get back in time to see the Solar Eclipse with friends and family.

Vail, covered in snow, from one of the roads.

As always, all opinions are my own.

St. George, Utah

Words don’t really describe well the changing colors of the southern Utah landscape. For a month in winter, I hiked different trails, went skiing and climbing, and admired the beautiful landscapes again. It’s like living on Mars, many say, and time passes differently there, it seems like, with the long hours of reddish hues and golden grasses mixed with growing small towns into cities. Most of the time I spent in St. George, which is very close to Zion National Park.

For those who enjoy scenic views, camping in the high country near Yant Flats is very nice.

Of the prettiest trails, a walk through an easy trail in Snow Canyon was by far the favorite, which led to three lava caves and the gentle rock waves, and the balloons rising from the rocks in the morning over the town of St. George were a pretty sight during the weekend festivals they held.

As always, all opinions are my own. May your life be blessed with goodness this season.

Some photographs of Utah, with one of a trail in Red Rocks in Las Vegas.

Traveling Across the USA

When I look back at the photographs, the last eight months was extremely full of new sights and landscapes, though while I lived it, it didn’t feel very different. I spent weeks living a different lifestyle, traveling to Tuscon, Arizona, and to several different small towns and landmarks nearby, before the year turned toward the end. A snowdrift in Denver, during the cold spell, caused me to stay for a few nights in a very small former coal mining town, Leadville, with extremely beautiful snow capped mountains in the distance, in high altitudes, and an appreciation for various kinds of lifestyles, while I was there.

I returned to Indiana yet again in the spring, where the leaves were changing, the blooms were opening up and sprouting into green hues everywhere, and the placid lake in the mornings as the sun drifted over it changed morning and evening, reminding me once again why I liked being in Indiana so much, anyway.

The months passed slowly, and another trip out west happened. Weeks slowly became the past, as it kept moving on, and suddenly the blooms were gone and full leaves had been grown. I wandered around the New River Gorge, taking in the sights and climbing, and visited the Red River Gorge, on the way back.

Another trip took me to Asheville, where finally, I visited the Biltmore Estate and drove along part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, admiring the views.

In Yellowwood, someone who was traveling across the country said, “you might look to the future and aspire to it, but one day, you’ll look back and realize that the last ten years is what you did.” We often look to the future and admire our plans without fully realizing that where we are and what we’re doing is what we knit into our shroud, as the saying goes.

Spain and England

Involving two more countries and a marathon:

For two months, I was in Spain and England. I was actually in Scotland during a very momentous time in history, when the Queen of England died, and watched part of the precession gathering in Edinburgh, while it was being set up.

Spain was hotter than I expected, though I enjoyed wandering the cool streets in the Murcia region, in the south of Spain, and visiting the landmarks and cathedrals in Cartagena and spending quiet days in the small coastal town of Aguilas, swimming in the waters.

England, with its beautiful green landscapes in the countryside, and its varied regions, was no less interesting. I preferred Cornwall the most this time, as — perhaps it was the weather — there was a very peaceful feeling in the land while I was there.

I also visited Dublin, for a few days, and spent some nice evenings watching cricket on the lawns, seeing the interiors of the cathedrals and watching street music along the narrow streets, and walking by the River Liffey in the mornings and evenings. One day, it would be nice to spend a month exploring Ireland’s countryside, and visit places like Graystones, which was highly recommended by others.

There were train strikes in Oxford while I was there, and also the London Marathon, which I completed a couple days afterwards, following the course one day on my own.

New York

New York is a state full of lakes and forests. There are some beautiful places in New York state, which were on the way back to the Midwest. If you are there, visit these for their sheer gorgeousness and scenic beauty.

Watkins Glen State Park

There is a really nice stone-ledge trail that follows the ravine, leading to several waterfalls along the way. It is a little more than 2.0 miles long from the upper falls to the lower falls. One of the most scenic is Rainbow Falls. It is a quaint, essential stop along the way in New York state, or a visit in itself. Watkins Glen is a small town located on the edge of Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, in the Finger Lakes district.

Rainbow Falls, in Watkins Glen State Park
Rainbow Falls, in Watkins Glen State Park


The Corning Museum of Glass

It is a very large museum – any visitor to the Corning Museum of Glass will likely want to spend the two days the admission ticket allows to fully explore all the beautiful exhibits. Stretching from different time periods, the glass is used in different ways in various artistic exhibitions, and has many large galleries and rooms.

One of the galleries in the Corning Museum of Glass
One of the galleries in the Corning Museum of Glass


The Finger Lakes region – Ithaca

Ithaca is a destination in and of itself – it has Cornell University, here, as well as deep stone gorges and white rushing, cascading waterfalls. For a small town, it feels larger than its size, likely because of the steep mountain slope the Cornell University is situated upon, and the fact that University of Ithaca is nearby, as well as the large Cayuga Lake, where there are magnificent sunsets and sunrises viewable right from the shore at the clean, beautiful Stewart Park. Jog or walk along the 6 mile Waterfront trail that takes one from Stewart Park to other scenic places along the shoreline in Ithaca, and see the waterfalls in the area, as well as downtown – and visit the Botanical Gardens and impressive architecture in Cornell, before leaving.


The view on the bridge overlooking the Triphammer Falls, in Ithaca, NY
The view on the bridge overlooking the Triphammer Falls, in Ithaca, NY

Green Lakes State Park

Green Lakes State Park is a few miles outside of Syracuse, NY. It is located right next to a tiny town, Fayetteville. The park itself contains two glacier lakes that are not so big, but worth visiting.

The waters are a beautiful blue-green, very clear, and filled with water that does not mix, so one can see through to the bottom in most places. There are yellow fish that swim along the shore, as well as other species, and a beach lies on one side of the larger lake. A hiking trail within the woods goes right along the edge of both trails – roughly 3 miles loop for the larger trail, and about a 1 mile loop for the smaller trail. Both trails are connected, and return to the beach, which is right near the main parking lot and bathhouse.

The bigger lake in Green Lakes State park
The bigger lake in Green Lakes State park

The Boldt Castle and Yacht House

The renovated castle of the Boldt family is in the Thousand Islands region, right across from the Canadian borderline. The Boldt castle is on an island itself, which is crossed by a ferry twice an hour for visitors. It is easy to access this place – and the castle is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon, on its grounds, and within its doors.

The bay, where the Boldt Yacht house is on the left, and the castle, on the isle
The bay, where the Boldt Yacht house is on the left, and the castle, on the isle


Rochester is worth a visit also, with the beautiful Highland Gardens, and the beautiful gardens on the grounds of the Kodak museum, inside the mansion of the George Eastman estate.

Buffalo has a very cool set of architecture, too. There are many old churches and buildings that give the skyline character, and a walking tour of them would be worthwhile, if one has the time.

Cuhayoga Valley, right outside Columbus, Ohio, and the Lake Eerie beaches, make visiting Columbus worthwhile, though that is a different state. Also, visit the Columbus Zoo in Ohio for its large animal viewing areas, from different regions of the world.

Going East to the coast

A long road trip through to the east coast, taken slowly – over the course of a few days – made it possible to stop to see one or two attractions in a leisurely manner along the way. For those who like to take their time, or if they have the opportunity, going slowly to another place can be a nice way to go.

Columbus, Ohio

Going north east, towards New York, the first stop was in Columbus, Ohio, where there was time to walk through the Columbus Park of Roses, a rose garden with other small gardens within it. There was time to take in sights of the city landscape, which are pleasant from the Scioto River Boulevard. The Franklin Park Conservatory is another place I wanted to see, for its luxurious grounds and gardens, and the architecture of the Conservatory itself, which could take a few trips to fully experience.

Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio
Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

There is the Rock and Roll Museum, which is very cool, and not to be missed! Experience playing in a rock band in the live karaoke style room in the Garage, while learning how to play simple chords on the piano, bass, drums, and guitar in the nearby room. There is a lounge room with ukeleles and acoustic guitars free to play, and three floors of portraits, tour pieces – the Wall from the tour of Pink Floyd, for example, and costumes from Taylor Swift and many other artists – on the walls. There are theatres playing rock related movies and so on, and a cafe there, as well, although I did not see what was playing, as most of my time was spent in the Garage listening to the musicians.

The Rock and Roll Museum
The Rock and Roll Museum

Also in Cleveland is the wonderful Museum of Art, which has a world class collection of nearly every artistic genre, from Classical European paintings and sculptures and coats of armor and tapestries, to ancient Greco-Roman art, Egyptian, and Chinese, and African pieces. Then there are the modern contemporary sides, with galleries showcasing modern 20th century paintings and paintings from the last few decades and years. It is free, and so is parking nearby. The grounds are beautifully maintained, as well.

The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art

There are many things to do in Cleveland that seem very fun, such as walking on the beach boulevards, and going to the many free museums. This post has some good ideas: It is a vibrant city.

Niagara Falls, NY

The Niagara Falls, NY
The Niagara Falls, NY

Rochester, NY

When one conjures up images of Rochester, the beautiful Highlands park with a castle, and the George Eastman estate may not be the first picture that comes to mind. Both places are free, although the galleries inside the George Eastman estate – the Kodak entrepreneur – cost $18 to tour. However, it is beautiful there, in both places, with their gardens and stately architecture.

Rochester itself is a city with a style unto itself, somewhat rough, and unpretentious. For those who like the grit and atmosphere of it, there is charm there.

The George Eastman estate
The George Eastman estate

One of the old, tree-lined walking paths in Highland Park, established in 1883.
One of the old, tree-lined walking paths in Highland Park, established in 1883.


Lake Champlain – the Plattsburg & Champlain area, in upstate New York

Stretching along the coast roughly ten minutes from the Canadian border, crossing into Montreal for those who can or want to continue north from this town, lies Plattsburg and Champlain, along the large, seaside-style coast of Lake Champlain. A fresh water lake, its coastal ruggedness of rocky ledges and trees, and pines, in places, remind one of the northwest, in the Big Sur, or further north, perhaps by some stretches of the tristate areas of Highway 1. It is ruggedly beautiful, with cold water. It is cold to swim here, even in the summer months, and refreshing, although the sunny days are sparse in between clouded, overcast scenic vistas, although this may be part of its charm.

The coastline of Point-au-Roche bay, in its state park.
The coastline of Point-au-Roche bay, in its state park.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder – a small town nestled near the mountains, with outdoor outfitter shops with all the well-known brands, Patagonia, REI, Backcountry, Northface – in every shop, such as JAX, Black Diamond, and on and on…a balance between urban landscapes and the sheer, rugged beauty of snow covered pines, rushing river gorges running alongside ridges, and faces of gray stone rock for miles and miles on end.

In short, Boulder really does have it all, as many locals will likely tell you who are naturally, proud to live in Boulder.

What was fun about Boulder –

On the highway 14 east, a scenic vista of Lulu Mountain.
On the highway 14 east, a scenic vista of Lulu Mountain.

Go to Nederland, a small scenic town that is pretty in the evening across the waters. Looking at the lake under the stars, which come out after dark and shine, is a beautiful experience.

Any of the hikes in Boulder are worth doing, and many are short and near scenic places, such as the Flatirons trails in Chataqua Park, the Wonderland Lake loop, the Boulder Canyon trail.

Drive a scenic drive — the Lariat Loop in Golden that takes one past Lookout Mountain, with a nice short hike to the top, or the road to Estes, or the Peak to Peak highway – it is all beautiful.

Climb the Flatirons — or hike to the top, for stunning views.

The hot springs in Idaho Springs are worth seeing, especially the caves.

Dinosaur Ridge, with fossils, is a fun hike around the side of a mountain, and of course Red Rocks with its white blooming flowers along the red rock hiking trails is peaceful.

Bear Lake and Indian Hills are two of the cool, small, artistic and quaint mountain towns worth visiting — there are more places to explore, and Pearl Street is a boulevard not to be missed, either, when there.


Outside of Boulder:

The countryside is particularly beautiful, one or two hours into the country, where yellow rushes and fields turn to pine forests and snow-capped mountains.

Don’t miss Estes Park!



An Arizona Road-trip to Denver, Colorado

For those looking for isolated highways with a rustic feel, and endless landscapes, solitude, and the occasional wildfire, here is an Arizona — Utah — Wyoming — Colorado trip I loved, which takes roughly two weeks to enjoy thoroughly. This was a scenic route.

After spending some time in Arizona, in the Dragoon Mountains, it was time to take a trip back to the continental divide in the Rockies. For ten days, on a route picked out by a seasoned nomad and fellow climber, Gregory H., the scenic road wound through tiny mountain towns and desert, pine forest and scrub canyons, through rain, sleet (groppel), and pleasant weather, until we reached Boulder, Colorado, a place to rest for a week.

If you would like to see some of the scenic places along the route as well on your own, there are so many landscapes that are not well-known, that this route is worth taking some time on completing, as these are tiny highways away from the major routes of I-70 and I-80.

From the Dragoon Mountains, highway 10 to Tuscon, then 77 to Globe. Turn onto I-88 North, which passes by Roosevelt Lake, for roadside views of the lake as the highway winds up into the pine forests of the Tonto National Forest. Take the 260 highway towards Camp Verde, and spend the night in the Tonto National Forest, if you are camping, which we were — there is a lot of peace and quiet in the isolated forest campsites.

We stopped in Prescott (169 West), and took the highway to Jerome — a little mountain ghost town worth seeing for the drive alone, and then headed up to Sedona, on 89A. There is dispersed camping all around, and hikes in the beautiful red rocks — not to be missed.

From there, the Grand Canyon was next (180 to 64 northwards), where the snow in the pine forests along the Kaibab South Rim was particularly beautiful in the evening. In the morning, there were spectacular views of the South Rim, before heading to Cameron, a Native American Indian trading post and small town. After arriving in Page, Arizona (taking the 89 northwards), the Hanging Gardens and the beautiful, and often photographed, Horseshoe Rim ($10 entry) awaited. There was a nice off-road campsite somewhere off of 7065, in a mountain range of coppers and reds, somewhat near Old Paria.

Buckskin Gultch, a beautiful place, and slot canyon with a wave formation, was next. We stayed there one night, until moving northwards to Panguitch, where we stopped briefly, until staying on the lakeshore of Piute State Park.

Slot Canyon

The I-70 North highway took us to the 15 North, which was slightly smaller and more picturesque, heading along snow-capped mountain peaks, until Salt Lake City. The first night, there was a beautiful, secluded place in the Skull Valley Reservation, off 196, and the second night, which was better, a place right along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake, in the Great Salt Lake State Park.

An early morning view of the Great Salt Lake shoreline, Utah.
An early morning view of the Great Salt Lake shoreline, Utah.

Reaching the Flaming Gorge Recreational Area — one of the most beautiful places in the world, and a hidden gem, as it is not as well known as the popular National Parks — the I-80 East met with the 414 South, until Dinosaur National Monument, where we stayed in a beautiful field of purple meadow flowers, looking towards a rocky box canyon.

Overlooking the lake of Flaming Gorge Reservoir on highway 44, closer to the 191.
Overlooking the lake of Flaming Gorge Reservoir on highway 44, closer to the 191.

The road leading towards the box canyon near Turtlerock, Dinosaur National Monument
The road leading towards the box canyon near Turtlerock, Dinosaur National Monument.

Dinosaur National Monument, near the Exhibition Hall, on the west.
Dinosaur National Monument, near the Exhibition Hall, on the west.

After that, the 40 East to Craig winds through meadows, snow-capped peaks, and if you take the 14 East, eventually, Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, where there is a hot springs worth visiting, that is only $20 per person, cash. View the gallery of the hot springs here – it is one of the highest recommended hot springs in Colorado, one of 29 hot springs in the state.

Driving east on highway 14 through the Rocky Mountains, with snow-capped mountains in sight.
Driving east on highway 14 through the Rocky Mountains, with snow-capped mountains in sight.

The Mishiwaka Inn, along the 14, in Le Poudre, was one of the coolest little stops — a tiny little mountain of a scattered few buildings, it houses a diner and music concerts sponsored by the local Boulder radio station, the Colorado Sound.

The Mishiwaka Inn, on highway 14, in Colorado.
The Mishiwaka Inn, on highway 14, in Colorado.

On the way to Boulder, there was one last beautiful view, off highway 287, roughly 24 miles from Fort Collins, at the Lone Pine Trailhead, where a six mile hike leads to a historic homestead of John Eliot. There can be very gusty, strong winds, and snow even in early May, so be careful in Colorado’s mountain ranges. Safe traveling.