My latest for Fodor’s Travel: “Utah does two things remarkably well. Its unique climate catches the driest, fluffiest snow in the world, which is terrible for snowballs. But it’s heavenly for skiing—like gliding on clouds. Secondly, it stars some of the most fascinating rock formations and canyons on the planet–the former is out of this world, the latter legitimately rivals the Grand Canyon. More than 60% of Utah lands are public, and about 100% (give or take) of those public lands are otherworldly, photogenic, recreational paradises.” Continue reading…
Tucson’s Valley Overlook Trail courtesy Blake Snow
Thanks for reading.
Courtesy Visit Utah
Utah is well-known for its “Mighty 5” National Parks. But there is way more to see in this disproportionately beautiful state. Consider the following landmarks that are routinely overlooked by visitors but beloved by those who know. I’ve visited all several times and plan to again:
- Fantasy Canyon. Like something out of Star Wars.
- Mirror Lake. Picturesque mountain lake.
- Goblin Valley. Like walking among giant rock people.
- Snow Canyon State Park. Would be a national park in any other state.
- Cathedral Valley (pictured). One of the most remote sections of any national park (4×4 only).
- Wire Rim Pass. Stunning slot canyon.
- Lower Calf Creek Falls. Best hike in Grand Staircase National Monument.
- Peak-a-boo/Spooky Slots. Also out of Star Wars.
- Muley Point Overlook. Dramatic finish at the end of a dramatic drive (i.e. Moki Dugway).
- Kanarraville Falls. Terrific short hike.
- Corona Arch. Probably the best arch in the entire state accessible by land.
- Kodachrome State Park. Would also be a national park in any other state. Really.
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Probably the best arch period, accessible only by boat on Lake Powell.
- Valley of the Gods. Almost as good as the nearby Monument Valley but worth visiting nonetheless.
- Cedar Breaks. A mini Bryce Canyon.
Courtesy Utah Tourism
My latest for Paste Magazine: The first time I visited Flaming Gorge, I had no intention of boating it. After traveling through nearby Dinosaur National Monument, my family drove two hours north to Red Canyon Overlook to hike the rim and take in the 1400 foot cliffs.
Then we saw a handful of ski boats far below, enjoying “glass” conditions on the giant lake, in the middle of the afternoon. “We have to come back to boat this,” I said to my wife.
This summer we did. After years of enjoying Lake Powell on the opposite end of Utah, we now have a new favorite spot that’s a lot more “socially distant” but just as fun as the more popular Powell. Here’s why. Continue reading…
Courtesy Lonely Planet
My latest for Lonely Planet:
- The best time to go to Utah. With five national parks, more than two dozen national landmarks, and its award-winning skiing, Utah is one of the most beloved adventure states in America. With four distinct seasons, however, your mileage will vary depending on the timing of your visit. Whether hiking, off-roading, or playing in its snow or desert waters, these are the best times to go.
- The 8 best road trips in Utah. Utah is world famous for its red-rock arches and deep canyons, but as with many things in life, the journey is often better than any singular landmark. The same is true for the Beehive state – to really get to know it, fuel up, roll down the windows and hit the road.
Thanks for reading (and sharing with someone who might appreciate these).
My latest for Fodor’s: “America is home to a glut of amazing lakes. Tahoe, Crater, Flathead, and Havasu just to name a few. But in terms of sheer adventure, nothing beats Lake Powell for its houseboats, water-skiing, cliff jumping, swimming, boat-hiking, extra elbow room, and limitless exploration. Here’s what makes Lake Powell the most fun-loving body of water in the country.” Continue reading…
Hey, SUPER COVER fans.
My band is excited to play an all-new, 80’s-filled, rocking setlist this Saturday, June 26, 7:30 PM at Platinum Music in Provo. We’ll be covering The Clash, Duran Duran, Billy Idol, The Cure, Hall & Oates, Tears for Fears, Springsteen, and more, plus a few contemporary dance-rock surprises. Kids welcome—this is an all-ages show.
To help make it our biggest performance to date, would you please share the below posters with everyone you know?
Thanks and see you Saturday. 🤘
PS—Watch our last show here.
Courtesy Lindsey Snow
My latest for Travelocity: “Utah is well-known for its skiing, hiking, red rock, and welcoming residents. If you’ve already visited or are planning your first trip, consider the following statewide classics before finalizing your itinerary. While the below includes several city-based attractions, Utah is disproportionately known for its great outdoors, so plan on enjoying a few urban delights, as well as plenty of magnificent natural ones.” Continue reading…
Here’s my latest love letter published in Lonely Planet about the state I call home: “Utah is known around the globe for its five national parks, dubbed the “Mighty 5.” But some are better than others, depending on how you travel. Before booking your next adventure to red rock country, here’s what you need to know.” Continue reading…
My latest for Fodor’s: With so many other national parks and recreation areas overshadowing it, northeastern Utah is easily overlooked, especially when compared to Southern Utah. But with many of the same features minus the crowds, little-known Vernal is like Moab before it became overrun with tourists. From remarkable hiking, surreal canyons, and amazing arches, to prehistoric digs, whitewater rafting, and legalized cliff jumping, there’s so much to like about this so-called “Dinosaurland.” Continue reading…
Next to California and Alaska, Utah is one of the most disproportionately beautiful and geographically diverse states in America. It has five national parks, 10 national monuments, and dozens of other national recitation areas. Even some of its state parks that would likely be a national park anywhere else (I’m looking at you Snow Canyon). It’s a state I call home, and where I want my ashes spread when I die. About the only thing Utah doesn’t have are beaches, but the red rock just might make up for that absence. Either way, here are five impressive photos of some of the state’s most iconic scenery: Continue reading…
There are a lot of things I miss since coronavirus scared, scarred, and upended the world.
I miss the large number of people I used to freely associate with. I miss seeing the bottom half of people’s faces. I miss the wonderful customer service we used to receive from restaurants and other stores. I miss a normal workload.
I miss live events, especially sports, music, and movie theaters. I miss roaming about my city, country, and world in what was surely the heyday of global travel. I miss knowing that I could shake hands or high-five anyone I encountered. I miss the trust we used to have in immune systems, the ones that largely kept our species alive for hundreds of thousands of years.
But mostly, I miss being treated like a trustworthy human instead of a disease-carrying leper that should be avoided. That’s a gross feeling to confront on a near daily basis.
That said, I couldn’t have stomached and mostly thrived over the last three months had it not been for the following: Continue reading…
Credit: Blake Snow
This wasn’t the first time I’ve written about my favorite, lesser-known Utah outdoors. And it probably won’t be the last. Hope you enjoy.
Utah has some of the most beautiful national parks in the United States, if not North America as a whole. Because of this, numerous state parks and other protected lands are often forgotten; many would likely have national park status were they not located somewhere that already has five. Read on to learn about one of Utah’s best kept secrets. Continue reading on Lonely Planet…
See also: Which Utah park is right for you?
Excluding my non-bylined commercial writing, here’s what I’ve written for news media lately:
Thanks for reading and sharing.
I know I’m a good writer and author. But then I read something masterful by Laura Hillenbrand, David Foster Wallace, Norman Maclean, Bill Bryson, Mark Twain, Gay Talese, Alexander Dumas, Leo Tolstoy, or H. G. Bissinger and I begin to doubt myself.
After finishing Riders of the Purple Sage this week, I would add Zane Grey to that honorable list, especially since he was a dentist by trade, a semi-professional baseball player, and only wrote his popular adventure novels on the side!
But not only is Grey a great writer, he was also a pioneer. In fact, Riders invented the Western genre of storytelling when it was first published in 1912. Gun fights, southwestern backdrops, life and death on the American frontier.
But don’t let that genre or any misconceptions of it deter you. Riders is really two love stories in one, starring both a heroine and two heroes. It’s fantastically descriptive and emotionally engaged. I only dock it one star because there were a few times where Grey’s prose goes confusingly off trail, which forced me to re-read and decipher some paragraphs for clarity.
Nevertheless, it is a wonderful read. ★★★★☆
These were my favorite passages: Continue reading…
Courtesy Paramount Pictures
You are bound to encounter a noticeable number of people in life who don’t watch TV, avoid books, or ignore performance art and sports altogether. But you’ll probably never encounter someone who doesn’t watch movies—they’re that universal.
Because of this, film tourism (or “location vacations”) are a big deal. Indeed, an untold number of scenic or otherwise interesting places might not have entered our collective radars had some movie director chose to shoot somewhere else.
Of those immortalized backdrops, few trips are more iconic or deserving than to one of these. Continue reading…
Courtesy Clay Wood
I just published my first story for Frommers, the storied travel guide magazine that changed the way Americans traveled in 1957 after Arthur Frommer published his seminal Europe on 5 Dollars a Day.
My story isn’t that big nor will it make nearly as many waves, but I’m still proud of it and the friends that made it possible by joining me recently on a weekend backpacking trip into the High Uinta Wilderness, which I deem “the best western wilderness you’ve never heard of.”
Hope you enjoy it.
From the “we live in incredible times” file comes… “When I was your age, we rode jetpacks at the lake!”
Locals and tourists only—Metropolitan Utah welcomed two large museums this year: The re-located and significantly expanded Living Planet Aquarium and the all-new Museum of Natural Curiosity. Although both have their heart in the right place, only one is worth your family’s time and money.
To find out, I tapped the most imaginative minds I could find: my kids. Within a four day period last month, my wife and I took the children to both museums for the first time. Upon visiting, we didn’t coax, herd, or otherwise rush them to any exhibits. Rather, we let them set the pace and decide the order of exhibits. Here’s how it went. Continue reading…
Since moving to the Western United States 11 years ago, I’ve hiked many majestic trails. All are proof the area is still very wild and as breathtaking as ever.
Last week, I hiked the most impressive trail of them all: The Narrows, which I was unable to do the first time I visited Zion. In short, The Narrows is like a taller and deeper Little Wild Horse Canyon — my second favorite hike — with a river running through it. It’s so beautiful, I think it’s all I’ll do next time I visit Zion. I need that canyon in my life.
Readers: What’s the best hike you’ve ever been on?
2013 might be to the ’10s what 1991 was to the ’90s — a monstrous year for name brand music.
Phoenix already released their 4-star keeper. Vampire Weekend releases their third album next week to rave reviews (and another really great song). An all analog Daft Punk album follows a week later, which is also garnering favorable reviews and has a catchy summer single.
Then, Empire of the Sun, makers of one of my favorite albums of 2008, releases their second album in June. The first single is good stuff (and shot, by the way, in Bryce Canyon, Utah). And if the first five months are any indication, even more good vibes could crop up in the second half of the year.
As someone who likes to sing, dance, and play air guitar, I’m excited by the prospects. Calendar years are more memorable with good music.
Just watching this reminds me of Turk Malloy’s comment, “I think you’d dig Provo. You could do well there.”
It’s been 10 years since I moved to Provo. After seeing it from almost every angle, it still stops me in its tracks. This short video is no different.
I think that’s what happens when you find a place you truly fall in love with, wherever that may be.
Thanks to Frontier’s new route “with service to Provo,” Lindsey and I haven’t had to use Salt Lake Airport—nor make the 80 minute round trip drive to it—at all this summer. Since June, the savvy airliner has been flying into my backyard. A quick 50-minute connection to Denver, and we’re off.
While I normally prefer flying direct, the connection actually takes less time than driving to and enduring Salt Lake security lines. I can show up to Provo Regional Airport 30 minutes before departure and still make it to my gate with more than 20 minutes to spare. Security takes less than five minutes, if that. Admittedly, with two flights I’m still exposed to more cancelation, but so far, so good. As a bonus, the flight is significantly cheaper.
What’s more, the route is operating at 90% capacity, enough to justify a westbound flight to either Vegas or LA, officials say. Party on, Provo.
As seen near my house in Utah. Beautifully tall. Natural barrier-like trees. Love ’em. What kind are they?
If there’s one thing I don’t like about BYU fans, it’s that some of them actually cheer for Utah when the latter are playing abroad “because it’s good for the Mountain West Conference.”
Sickos. (Didn’t anyone teach them that the enemy of my enemy is my friend?)
Thankfully, this lame behavior by Cougar fans should finally die as Utah this week became the newest member of the PAC-10 conference. So from now on, I expect Cougar Nation to root for the everlasting demise of the Utes.
In other words: Go, Washington. Go, Washington State. Go, Oregon. Go, Oregon State. Go, Cal. Go, Stanford. Go, USC. Go, UCLA. Go, Arizona. Go, Arizona State. Go, Colorado.
But most of all, go, BYU!
I like golf, but I don’t like paying expensive green fees. So unless I get a freebie, it’s all public courses for me. And the “best value” I’ve ever played is Hobble Creek in Springville, Utah, which is $12 for nine holes or $24 for 18 (weekday walking). As you can see, it’s crazy green, physically attractive, and very well maintained. A must play for locals and visitors alike. What’s your favorite public golf course?
This granulated and dark photo taken with my Blackberry doesn’t do the course justice, but even public golf courses in Utah are something to look at. It’s enough to make me pick up golf again. Taken on hole seven at Cascade Golf Center in Orem.
Lindsey and I took the girls to a friend’s ranch in Heber City, Utah over the weekend (Many thanks, Jen and Morgan). In addition to a glut of food, college football, Liar’s Dice, Ticket to Ride, and Rock Band, we also went sledding. Here’s proof. (Most good-looking photos care of Quinn Gooch.) Continue reading…
Lindsey bought proper outerwear for the girls a couple months back and has been waiting for it to snow ever since. After much impatience, it came today. Here is proof.
Lindsey, the girls, and I drove the Alpine Loop for the first time yesterday. While the number of trees are admittedly more barren and less colorful than East coast foliage or the Appalachian Mountains, the scenic drive reminded me of my roots just the same, with some lovely mountain vistas not seen anywhere else. Screenshots or it didn’t happen. Continue reading…
Her Southeastern beauty may be unmatched, but Georgia has her share of irritants.
I moved to Utah from Georgia six years ago in pursuit of a degree from BYU (Go Cougars!). I came for the education (okay, not really), but stayed for the girl. It’s a place I call home and a state in which I’m happy to reside.
Earlier this month, Lindsey and I took a trip back to Georgia to see the family — something we hadn’t done in almost three years. Despite the laughs, good company, and unrivaled hospitality, I quickly recognized some things I don’t miss about Georgia. Here are seven of them: Continue reading…
Lindsey and I went ballooning this morning for our fifth anniversary. Here’s proof, not to mention more photogenic evidence that Utah is gorgeous.
Earlier this morning, I drove to the store to get gas for Lindsey — she was running late and still getting ready for an upcoming appointment with the girls. I walk outside, and I’m greeted with the warm blanket and smell of liberty that is summer weather. I love it.
Last weekend, I helped chaperone a youth camp in Eden, Utah for 10 boys and nine girls (a deflated tubeing ride pictured). Notice the contrast of the bluish lake, the rolling green hills, the snow-caped mountains, and clear sky in the background. Beautiful, not to mention the 85 degree weather the group enjoyed that day.
So if I had to rank my favorite seasons, they would be as follows: 1) Summer, by a long shot; 2) Fall; 3) Spring; and 4) Winter, a very distant fourth (I say “boo” to you, cold weather). What’s your favorite time of the year?
Locals only: A colleague took me to lunch last month to Yamato in Orem. It was my first time. From the outside, the place looks like a dump — definitly not a somewhere you’d want to eat, unless you like that fake soy-chicken garbage that cheap Chinese restaurants serve.
To my surprise, however, the inside is not only immaculate, but the decor “feels” authentic, and the atmosphere is soothing. More importantly, the Japanese cuisine is some of the finest I’ve ever had at a price that makes me wonder how the shop stays in business — it’s more than reasonable. Ask for the Orem lunch, which comes with soup, salad, 5-6 delicious dumplings, steamed rice, and succulent teriyaki chicken. Sushi is thankfully optional.
So for any Utah natives looking for any new place to eat, look no further. Yamato is Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto. That didn’t make any sense… suffice it to say the place is really good. Thanks, Eliot!
I could be wrong, but I believe Utah is one of the safest states in the nation.
So safe, in fact, that fellow coppers quickly get bored with their uneventful professions and back each other up on routine traffic violations, as depicted above (taken from my living room window).
I see this regularly; 2-3 patrol cars for every one perpetrator. Here’s an idea, Utah — reduce the number of cops and cut taxes! Yeah, I just went there.
Lindsey, Sadie, Maddie, and I took a three hour drive to Moab, Utah the day after Thanksgiving to do a little casual site seeing. In between Sadie’s public disturbances, we managed to take some pictures of the beautiful red rock country.
Arches National Park
Here’s Lindsey and Maddie about two thirds into the three mile Delicate Arch hike. Unfortunately for six week old Maddie, this is one of the few pictures of her as she opted for sleep in lieu of curiosity.
… While looking from my living room window (in Orem). Photo was taken with a point and click digital camera made by Canon that cost $119 when purchased three years ago. Don’t be fooled: It’s the beautiful surroundings — not the camera or camera man.
I love Utah.
Snarky headline aside, Seth Godin — marketing author extraordinaire — got clever with his upcoming book tour and will make a fortune from it (further solidifying his staunch marketing prowess). He’ll also avoid being stuck in Fargo, North Dakota sans book sales in the process.
Here’s how it works: if a state populace raises at least $25,000 in pre-purchased books (his new one), Seth will come and speak free of charge to local residents. Grass root ninjas Matt Reinbold, Phil Burns, and Jason Alba have put together an impressive local campaign that’s sure to bring the acclaimed author to Utah. If interested, click here for the salient details on how to participate, or pledge your $50 now.
See also: Seth at Google HQ discussing what I believe to be his best work, All Marketers Are Liars (It’s the storytelling, stupid.)
[Thanks to all who sent this in]
According to a recent study, 32% of the city’s households own a video game system, more than any other metropolitan area in the nation. That’s what happens when teetotalers don’t spend their money on booze, or at one of state’s million plus restaurants. Mormons have to do something with their spare time…